# Equipment calculations

Discussion in 'Calculator Support Forum' started by Todd Macom, Apr 3, 2020.

1. ### Todd Macom New Member

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#1
I am still pretty green so maybe I am wrong on how the equipment calculations are supposed to work (or what I am actually doing). I set up my equipment profile, and for "Lauter dead space" I have input 4.4qt to account for loss below my false bottom, herms coil and hoses. I select any recipe, brew and select "my equipment" which is where this profile is kept and the strike water does not account for these losses. For example, my grain bill is 11lb, mash thickness 1.2 qt/lb and it is telling me to heat 3.3 Gal strike water. Shouldn't brewers friend add in the losses for my equipment so the strike water would actually be 4.4gal?

2. ### Yooper Administrator Staff Member

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#2
Are you getting those figures from the "quick water requirements"?

3. ### Todd Macom New Member

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#3
No, I am getting them from "Brew Steps" Strike water volume is XX Gal at default mash thickness.

4. ### Yooper Administrator Staff Member

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#4
When you click "brew steps", the water values are calculated from your "quick water requirements" which do pull from your settings.

5. ### Todd Macom New Member

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So first off sorry I am new to all this, not real bright to begin with and as I get older even more escapes my already limited brain. So I guess my first question is fairly basic. To determine the amount of strike water I take the grain bill x mash thickness /4 to give me quarts then add in the amount of water in my herms/under false bottom and hoses which in my case is 1.1 gallons right? So, if I click on the water requirements, the amount of my initial strike water is there, the amount of grain loss and losses in my equipment are there but no where is the total amount calculated. I would assume since the program calculates total water, compensated for losses as well as calculating for losses from evap for the boil amount it would calculate the total amount of strike water......again unless I am using too much water and should only be using the amount of strike water it says I need.

6. ### Pricelessbrewing QA Software Tester Staff Member

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#6
The total water needed should be at the bottom of the quick water requirements, and the total mash (all water infusions/strike/sparges) is at the beginning. If you don't see this, please let us know.

7. ### Todd Macom New Member

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#7
Yes, the breakdown and total water are correct, but the program isn't calculating it correctly (at least in my mind). For example, set the Mash/lauder tun in the equipment to 1 gal losses. If I pull a recipe that uses 8lb grain at 1.5 qt/lb mash thickness I should need 4 gallons of strike water 8 x 1.5 /4 = 3 plus my equipment loss of 1 gallon =4 total gallons of strike water. If I click on water requirements it does break this down and say I need the 3 gallons on one line and on another line it says my equipment losses are one gallon. So, I should need to transfer a total of 4 gallons of water from my HLT to my Mash/Lauder tun. Now if I click on "brew steps" it tells me that "strike water volume is 3 gallons which leaves me a gallon short of the strike water I should transfer due to losses trapped in my herms coil, under the false bottom and hoses. The way I feel it should calculate is it should take the 3 gallons of water needed for the mash, add 1 gallon for the losses and brew steps should have me heat 4 gallons of strike water. Again, I am really new to this and from what I have read the amount of strike water to mash should be the amount of water above the false bottom and that is why I need the extra gallon. If I were to brew a recipe with a low grain bill, I don't think there would be enough water to cover the grain without accounting for these losses. If nothing else, brew steps should just tell me to heat strike water and I can figure out how much but not the wrong amount of water needed.

8. ### Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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#8
I hope you don't mind if I interject.
When I first started brewing I struggled with water volumes.
I did everything manually, and watching the following video was my "AHA" moment with water volumes.
Had to watch it a number of times, but it gave me a good understanding of the math.
The software here is great, but I believe that you need to have a good understanding of the process and the math to know what the software is telling you. Hope this helps, good luck.

9. ### Todd Macom New Member

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#9
Thanks Craig, I don't mind at all, in fact I appreciate it very much. Over the winter, I needed a project so I built an electric HERMs system based on the design from the Electric Brewery. From my very limited knowledge (although I have read a ton of stuff) and please feel free to correct me if I am wrong, with BIAB you don't have any losses when you are mashing vs those who have a continuous sparging system. We need to compensate for water that is below the grain bed, in hoses, herms coil etc. On the flip side, you have to calculate pre-boil volume taking into consideration grain absorption, etc. I don't have to consider grain absorption, all I have to do is continually rinse the grain with my sparge water until I get the correct pre-boil volume. From there on, everything is the same, we both have trub losses, boil losses etc. For both of us, all the other calculations are correct such as total water, boil losses, trub loses etc with the exception of initial strike water in "Brew Steps" The calculator should take the grain bill x mash thickness + equipment losses and populate that amount for the initial strike water. For those who are batch sparging you don't have any equipment losses so the correct amount of water is displayed. For me (or anyone continuous sparging) before I dough-in I need the amount of water you are using plus the amount of water in my equipment that's not on the grain bed. So where brew steps tells you to your strike water volume is 3 gallons, that is all you need. For me, if brew steps tells me I need 3 gallons, I actually need to transfer 4.1 gallons

10. ### Yooper Administrator Staff Member

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#10
Even if you squeeze the bejebus out of the bag, you may still have grain absorption, but not as much as I may.
I have an all-electric HERMs as well, and I recently started doing BIAB more than a traditional mash and sparge.
I am a 135 pound weakling, and I tend to brew 11 gallon batches, so not only do I not lift the bag, I don't squeeze it. So my losses are still about the same at about 1 gallon per 10 pounds of grain just in absorption.

So I'm not sure why you wouldn't consider any grain absorption at all unless you can manually squeeze the grainbed dry. Or am I missing something?

11. ### Todd Macom New Member

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#11
No, I am just terrible at explaining things! The reason I don't have to worry about grain absorption is because I simply heat extra water, beyond my water requirements, in my HLT. After the mash and when it is time to sparge, I pump the sweet wort, from below my grain bed, into the kettle. At the same time I am pumping sparge water from my HLT to the top of the grain bed rinsing all the sugar out so I just match the rate of fluid coming out of each pump until I reach my pre-boil volume. Here is a link to the brewing steps offered by the person who designed the equipment that I built my little brewery after: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/brew-day-step-by-step?page=8

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#12
Yes, I understand. But you still have grainbed absorption! The grain will absorb about .125 gallons per pound of grain. That water is part of the calculations.

13. ### Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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#13
Grain absorption is a fact of brewing, do yourself a favor and add it into your calculations. No brewer doesn't, sorry for the double negative, every brewer does. Brewing is cooking, and water is an ingredient. You kind of need to figure out how much to start with just like with any other ingredient. As far as your system losses, dead spaces. Do a water only run through with a pre-measured volume of water to calculate your losses in each step. Hoses are easy, you can google a calculator to determine the volume left in your hoses, length x ID.

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14. ### Todd Macom New Member

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#14
Last edited: Apr 7, 2020
Grain absorption is a thing I totally agree but our end goal is to get as much sugar out of the grain as we can and into our kettle, no matter the system used. With the system I am using, when I reach pre-boil volume in my kettle, I still have excess water in my HLT and I still have my grain covered in water, in fact the grain bed still has as much water on top of it as it did after the dough-in. But, there is very little sugar left in the grain, in fact about 10% less sugar than batch sparging, that is why the efficiency goes up. Theoretically I could calculate exactly how much water I would need to end up with my pre-boil target including grain absorption, equipment loss etc and use every last drop of it to get to my kettle but I just heat extra water in my HLT to run across the grain. Doing it this way, both of us still end up with the same OG in the kettle, you have used all the water you calculated you needed, I still have water in my system but very little sugar.

By the way, I am not trying to be argumentative nor do I not appreciate input. My goal initially was just to have brewersfriend add lauter dead space into the brew steps initial strike water calculation which I feel would benefit those who continuous sparge and not be a detriment to those who batch sparge (equipment loss would be zero). Having done a few brew sessions I know to add the equipment loss to this figure myself. It is so much easier talking to someone in person and showing examples than it is for me to try to explain writing in a forum so thanks everyone.

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15. ### Yooper Administrator Staff Member

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#15
Yes, exactly. You said it yourself- you want to get as much out of the grain and into the kettle (without risking oversparging).

To do that, you need to use water (called 'liquor') to mash and sparge.

In order to make any software work for you, you have to be very accurate with your volumes. You can't figure efficiency if you don't take your volumes into account.

There is water IN the grain, not just on top of it. I can't explain it any better. If you want to set up your equipment profile, you will need to know how much water you started with and how much you have left, as well as your losses.

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16. ### Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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#16
No worries, mate!

17. ### Todd Macom New Member

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I am so lost and just don't understand what I am not getting so sorry, sorry, sorry. The only volume I think I need to know to get to the kettle is my mash thickness and amount of lauter losses. From pre-boil on, I agree and understand (I think). Once I transfer liquor to my mash/Lauter tun, it is then self contained. I have say 4 gallons (based on fictitious recipe) in my lauter tun which does matter based on the mash thickness so I do need to figure thickness and how much water is lost in my equipment. I have an additional 10, 11, 12 gallons in my hot liquor tank, it doesn't matter, I just need enough to sparge with and any excess will be dumped. I then use a pump to draw beneath the grain bed and deposit on top continually recycling the 4 gallons of water through the coil in my HLT on top of my grain. To sparge, I take the sweet wort under the grain bed and pump it into the kettle, at the same time I am taking liquor from my liquor tank and with a different pump, pumping it on top of the grain bed rinsing all the sugars. I keep doing this, matching the rate each is pumping so they are even until I reach my pre-boil volume then I turn everything off. I may have a gallon left in my hot liquor tank or I may have 10 gallons left. I may have a gallon left in my lauter tun or I may have three. None of this should matter, all that should matter is how much sweet wort I have in my kettle, how much sugar I extracted (OG) and the grain bill to determine how much sugar I should have extracted. There aren't any calculations to determine what is left behind or still in the lauter tun to determine the efficiency right?

18. ### Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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#18
What you are doing is working for you right now, so don't stress about it. Make some beer, and have some fun doing it! You can't learn every aspect of brewing all at once, heck, you and I just can't actually learn every aspect of brewing!!!

19. ### Pricelessbrewing QA Software Tester Staff Member

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#19
Once things settled down, I'll see what I can do to help you out Todd, it might be a a bit of back and forth but we'll figure this out!

I also want everyone to know that we have some plans in place to improve the mash guidelines and quick water requirements to be more intuitive and, most importantly, agree with each other.

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