Scaling up and recipe help

I’ve been doing BIAB partial mashs for awhile now in my original 5-gallon kettle on the stove, so I’ve worked things out to do what I can with the equipment I had. Now I’m stepping up, my brother (who got me into this addiction, lol) got me a nice outdoor burner for Christmas. Naturally, that drove me to order up a 15 gallon kettle and a counterflow chiller. When I went to scale up a recipe to a 10 gallon batch, I discovered that even to do the partial mash that I was doing, it would take enough grain that I can see a need for a mash tun (enter Denny’s cheap and easy MT). I think this is going to be a big step forward in my brewing, but now I need to figure out how best to adapt my recipes…

  1. Should I just double my 5-gallon recipe (or use brewing software to make the change in amounts for me to scale up to a 10 gallon batch)? The downside would be that I would have to use even more extract than I already use, not sure how big of an issue that would be other than expense.

  2. If I convert the recipes to using more grain or all grain, how do I make the changes? Just sit and play with the recipe in BeerSmith until I come up with something that looks the same?

  3. Some of my partial mash recipes used specific extracts, like Northern Brewer Gold or Rye or the like. Should I stick with using those in my scaled up brews? If not, how can I reproduce what the extract achieved?

  4. A little off topic, but something I ran into anyway… I’ve been using a free brewing calculator online (Brewer’s Friend) and an app on my phone for designing my recipes. My brother bought me a copy of BeerSmith 2, but I found that when I would plug in my recipe information from a recipe that I had already established, the results it spit out for the brew (IBU, ABV, gravity, etc) didn’t match what the other calculators spit out, not even close. Any idea as to if I’m just doing something wrong in BeerSmith? When I would brew the beer, it would come out close to the results the free calculator spit out.

A few details on my brewing setup…

Old/original: 5-gal SS pot, electric range, chilled via water/ice bath (often resulted in a long chill).

New: 15-gal Spike kettle with false bottom, Edelmetall Bru burner (72,000 btu), all copper convoluted counterflow chiller, MT has not been purchased/built yet but I’ll take advice on that.

I do not currently have a crusher. It’s on the list of future things to get, but for now I’m going to be relying on pre-crushed grain until I can afford a decent crusher.

Any questions, just ask. Thanks!

On the recipe step up, just doubling or in my case now quadrupling has worked.

Here is a quick conversion chart for DME-LME-Grain. I would still plug the numbers into your favorite brewing software or site to double check.

Thanks for the chart, it’s not perfect, but it helps.

The first 10 gallon batch I’m thinking of making, with using the chart and doubling the recipe, it puts me around 25 lbs of grain… I suspect a lot of my brews will be 20-30 lbs of grain to go all grain… any idea what size cooler I’ll need for an MT to mash that amount of grain? Or do I need to take a step back and not jump in with both feet until I do a couple 5-gallon all grain batches?

Some mash calculators that are handy. Link: Green Bay Rackers calculators

I would start with 5 gallon all grain batches if I were to leave extract. The possibility of 10 gallons of undrinkable liquid would leave me sleepless for a few weeks.

I still have some extract left, so I wouldn’t have to go all grain right from the start and right to a 10 gallon batch of all grain. In theory since I have a couple brews that I’ve done before, there shouldn’t be any reason why it would be undrinkable. It just may not be perfectly dialed in to match what I did before. Of course, I could be way off base, but it sounds logical…

And thanks for the calculators, looks like I need a 10-12 gallon MT at least.

You mention Beersmith. Do you have it? If so there’s a recipe conversion built in that will convert your extract to all grain and then scale it to whatever size you want to brew. I’ve used it to scale my 5 gal recipes to 10 gal and it works pretty well. I have adjusted hops up or down slightly on a few recipes but that could be my taste and expectaion for the beer as much as anything.

Sorry didn’t read your post fully before responding…

I’ve never used brewers friend for recipe formulation but this could be due to different values in the programs for the grains and hops. Hops IBU varies from crop to crop and seasonally so the defauilt value in the programs could vary widely I suppose. ABV should be fairly close using the same grain bill.

The only thing that springs to mind is the efficiency. I think BS2 defaults to 75%. Maybe you have brewers friend set to a different efficiency value??

I actually was just playing around in BeerSmith and found that conversion, works pretty slick too. Wish I would have noticed it sooner, haha!

I still haven’t figured out why the calculations in BeerSmith are so different sometimes. I just entered a scaled up version of my one Amber Ale, and the results were pretty close to where I thought I should be. Then I tried entering for the one Belgian I did and it’s not even close. My other Amber isn’t very close either. Or my Irish Red Ale. There’s so many more settings in BS2 as opposed to the free stuff I was using that I might just have something set wrong somewhere. I did set the efficiency the same, but I know that will likely change too with going to a MT instead of trying to BIAB PM.

You sound like your all in so make sure your tun will be big enough for at least a 25 pound grain bill. I’m sure you’ll end up doing all grain since you are already mashing. 10 gallon extract batches will be expensive.

Yea, I have a tendency to jump in with both feet on things… As it is, my first brew ever was done December 2013, right after Christmas. Did a Brewers Best Chocolate Milk Stout extract kit that my brother got me with the brewing stuff. That was the only extract kit that I followed the instructions. I brewed 5 other extract kits, but the first few I added things to and the last couple I turned into a partial mash. The other like 20 batches or so I’ve made have mostly been my own recipes and partial mashed to boot. Now I’m taking another step forward and I see all-grain not being far away. I’ll probably still do a few partial mashes just to use up some of my extra extracts and buy time until I can purchase a grain mill, but yeah…


Looks like I’m going all grain…

Working on building a mash tun now. Been playing with recipes and trying to get them converted to AG and trying to build some new recipes, which I’ll probably be putting up some posts soon asking for some input as I get the recipes worked out. I’ve been debating on trying a full AG recipe in a 10 gallon batch as my first brew in my new equipment, but the more I’ve thought of it, I think I might be better off doing a 5-gallon batch first to see how it goes since it will be easier to deal with than a big batch if things don’t go well. That said, if I can get my primary fermenters empty, I can promptly crank out a 10 gallon batch too.

I would agree with the 5 gallon batch. Your system will likely operate differently between 5 and 10 gal batches. I would learn my system first, then worry about bigger batches.

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Might be a dumb question… but should I use a false bottom when I do the boil? I got a false bottom thinking that it might help filter out hop debris and all when I open the drain and run the wort through the chiller…

No it won’t help in that regard. I use one under my BIAB bag when I want to recirculate the mash though, so it could come in handy for that purpose.

You should consider bagging your hops to keep them out of your chiller or at a minimum whirlpooling after your boil and before you start to drain the kettle.

Well, I ran my first batch today…

Need to do some more work on my mash tun, had a hose pop off and nearly ruin my day.

I bought some stainless mesh hop balls, apparently one or both leaked hop material and some of it made it to the fermenter.

CFC froze. Gotta love these temperatures.

Bunch of other random issues including finding my liquid malt extract had gone bad, so I hurried up and converted the recipe to all-grain. Thankfully I had enough of the right grain to do that.

Bottom line… it’s in the fermenter and we’ll see how it ends up…

Oh, and I must have missed on my efficiency or something… I’m 10-15 points low on gravity… any suggestions on how to make that up? I’m 12 points low according to style (American Amber Ale). I have some dextrose, DME Amber and DME Pils. 5 gallon batch.

Your not going to keep ALL the hop material from entering the wort, just the majority of it. Nature of the game. But it will be just fine.

Can you explain when you say your CFC froze? Be careful with CFC and IC. And storing them outside. Any water in the line that freezes will expand, as you know, and can cause the tube to crack.

Not sure what I can tell you about your efficiency without knowing your process. I would add your the appropriate amount of DME pils. Here’s an easy way to figure out how much you need:
how much to add to increase OG

Ok, I wasn’t too worried about the hop material getting in the fermenter, but good to know that it isn’t going to be an issue.

With my new brew setup, I had to do the brew outside. It was pretty warm in the afternoon, so when I set things up, I took my copper CFC outside and set it on the tailgate. (I used my work truck as a brew sculpture, lol). By the time I was ready to use it, it was dark and getting cold. When I was ready to use the CFC, I hooked up the hose and turned it on. The water made it to the CFC and I could hear it virtually immediately turn to ice and stop flowing. The StarSan I ran through the wort side also froze in there. Naturally, the solution was to just start running the wort off the brew kettle and it warmed things up and got it moving just fine. Nothing sat in there long enough to really expand and cause damage. Just enough of an annoyance to make me grumble about the weather.

I had a lot go wrong on brew day. As can be expected with new equipment and a new process. My MT was cold when I put the strike water in at 168* and I’m not sure how long the mash stayed above 150*. My German Shepherd was pushing pretty hard that he wanted a walk, so after I got the mash started, I grabbed a cigar (HC Black maduro, toro size) and a brew (Rebel Rye Porter) and we went for a half hour walk. When I got back, I had trouble trying to read the grain bed temp, but I suspect it was below 150* (I’m going to have to look for a remote thermometer so I can monitor it without opening the top of the MT for cold-weather mashing).

When I went to run it, my rigged connection came apart and I lost a bit of wort. Lost a little more fighting with getting it connected again. First runnings were short of what I expected, so I added some extra sparge water which wasn’t heated beyond really hot out of the tap. Then somehow I overshot my target into the pot, so I boiled some off before starting the official boil. I can see where I could have lost points in a few places. I’m not going to fully blame efficiency of the mash, because there was some problems with my efficiency.

And thanks for the calculations to figure out how much I need to fix it. :grinning: