How much beer can I get from my kettle?

Any method that is not a 'full-volume' mash. Usually, but not always, requires more than a single vessel or heat source. Includes traditional, three-vessel brewing.
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How much beer can I get from my kettle?

Post by PistolPatch » 1 year ago

How much beer can I get from my kettle?
This question is almost nearly always asked by stovetop brewers, and, therefore, I am going to use a 19L/5Gal stock pot as an example in this 'article'. Other brewers who are wanting to make enough beer to fill a 19L/5gal keg or the equivalent in bottles, will generally have bought themselves a 40 to 50 L/quart kettle which is large enough to handle that 'Volume into Packaging (VIP),' (see Clear Brewing Terminology).

This article covers the following:

Finding the Basic VIF and VIP of Your Kettle
Subtle Factors that Affect Basic VIF and VIP
Full-Volume Brewing versus Full-Volume Variations
Understanding the Beauty of Full-Volume Brewing
Safely Applying Full-Volume Variations
Sparging
Dilutions
A Sensible Example
Last edited by PistolPatch on 27 Feb 2016, 15:47, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by PistolPatch » 1 year ago

Finding the Basic VIF and VIP for Your Kettle
As mentioned previously, this article is based on a 19L/5Gal stock pot. For irregularly shaped vessels, see this post.

Your Kettle Measurements

Measure the internal diameter and depth of your stockpot. Open the BIABacus file below and enter these measurements into Section B. Section B will then show your kettle capacity. Don't be surprised if your stockpot is sold as being 19L/5Gal but has a larger kettle capacity.
BIABacus PR1.3T - Basic VIP File.xls
Gradually Increase 'Desired Volume into Fermentor (VIF)

In Section B, in the VIF field, type in approximately half your kettle capacity. My kettle is 29.0 cm wide and 28.8cm deep and, therefore, has a capacity of 19.0L. To find my Base VIP, I typed in 9.50L into the field which resulted in the following...
FVV2.jpg
If you don't see at least one of the red warnings, as in the pic above, gradually increase your VIF until one does appear. Now, gradually decrease the VIF until any red warnings disappear. The 'sweet spot' at which the red warnings disappear, we'll call your basic VIF.

Basic VIF and VIP

For my example kettle, the 'sweet spot' at which the red warnings disappear, is 8.1 L, so this is my "basic VIF." Looking to the right, at Section K, we can also see that my "basic VIP," is 7.5L.
FVV3.jpg
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Post by PistolPatch » 1 year ago

Subtle Factors that Affect Basic VIF and VIP
Obviously, VIF and VIP, are directly affected by the volume of the kettle, but there are also other, more subtle factors that come into play. We'll explore these below in the order that you will come across them in The BIABacus.

Evaporation

Evaporation can vary immensely from brew day to brew day, as many factors play a part in it. For example, an outdoor brewer who brews on a hot, dry, windy day will have far more evaporation than on a cold, still and humid brew day. The BIABacus auto-estimates your evaporation by looking at your kettle diameter, as this is the only 'known' factor, and it's an important one. A 5-gallon kettle that is very wide and short will evaporate much more than the 5-gallon kettle that is tall and narrow. In other words, the basic VIF and VIP of a wide 19L kettle will be lower than a tall 19L kettle.

Boil Time

A one and a half hour boil results in 50% more evaporation than a one hour boil, so, reducing boil time from the recommended standard of 90 minutes, is one way to increase your basic VIF and VIP. Many craft breweries and home brewers, will only boil for 60 minutes, on a lot of beer styles, and find no problems. Water, malt quality, and beer style, play a big part in determining whether a noticeable change in quality, between a 60 minute and 90-minute boil, will occur.

Original Gravity (OG)

A low-alcohol beer with an OG of 1.030 will need far less grain/malt, than a high alcohol beer of say 1.080 gravity. For example, download the following BIABacus file...
BIABacus PR1.3T - Basic VIP File.xls
In Section C, on the first line, change 1.050 to 1.030. See how on the right-hand side of Section C, the grain bill goes down from 1896 grams to 1062 grams? This also means that our estimated Mash Volume in Section K drops from 16.99L to 15.83L.

Now, change the 1.030 to 1.080. Red warnings immediately appear! This is because we need more grain to make the 'bigger' beer and this, once again, affects our Mash Volume in Section K, which now shows 19.08 L. In other words, our kettle would be over-flowing!

Hop Bill

The version of The BIABacus used in this article does not take into account the size of the hop bill being used in a recipe, but, the hop bill does affect our basic VIF and VIP. For example, an 'Imperial IPA' with an OG of 1.080, will produce a lot more more kettle trub than an 'Old Ale' of 1.080 as the first style uses far more hops. Hops, regardless of form, retain wort, so, if we are making a 'hoppy' wort, we need to make more, to get the same amount of beer into our packaging.

Hop Management

In Section G of The BIABacus, the first field says 'Hopsock.' Any BIAB brewer can use their BIAB bag as a hopsock. After draining your bag, empty it and then rinse it under a tap. Devise a way of suspending your bag so that it lolls listlessly in your boiling kettle. The use of a hopsock can dramatically reduce your 'Kettle to Fermentor Loss (KFL)' and, therefore, increase your basic VIF and VIP.

'Whirlpooling,' can achieve the same result as a hopsock but only a few equipment set-ups suit whirlpooling.

Note that the BIABacus will lower your KFL if you employ either of the above techniques.

Crash-Chilling and Filtering

Crash-chilling and/or filtering, effectively compacts a lot of trub, which lowers your 'Fermentor to Packaging Loss (FPL).' The BIABacus will lower your FPL if you employ either of these techniques.
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Post by PistolPatch » 1 year ago

Full-Volume Brewing versus Full-Volume Variations
What is Full-Volume Brewing?

The original/pure BIAB method is the best example of full-volume brewing [see Clear Brewing Terminology for expansion of some of the terms used below.]...

All of the 'Total Water Needed (TWN),' is put into a single vessel (kettle). The water is then heated to 'strike' temperature. A fine-porosity bag is added to line the kettle, and then the crushed malt (grist), is poured in.

Normally 90 minutes is then allowed for the grist to be 'cleaned' by the water. Note that in multi-vessel or part-volume systems, 'cleaning' is done in two active steps, a 'mash' (soak) and a 'sparge' (rinse).

After 90 minutes, the bag is pulled which leaves 'sweet liquor' behind. Liquor means water, and, it is now sweet because sugars have been cleaned from the grain and washed into the water.

What is a Full-Volume Variation?

In the next post, you'll see that there are many types of full-volume variations. A very common one though, used for many years, by nearly all home all-grain brewers, and still widely used, is three-vessel brewing. In 3V brewing, one vessel/stockpot and burner, is used to raise the 'Total Water Needed (TWN)' to strike temperature. This vessel is called a 'Hot Liquor Tank.'

Once heated to strike temperature, some of the water is drained, or pumped, into the next vessel which is called a 'Mash/Lauter Tun.' Read mash as 'soak' and lauter as 'drain.' After about 60 minutes, the MLT is drained, via a filtering mechanism, into the third vessel, the kettle.

After the initial draining of the MLT, the hot water that remains in the HLT, can be used in several ways, the easiest being what is known as batch sparging. Read sparging as 'rinsing.' With batch sparging, the water left in the HLT is generally applied in two hits to the MLT. After each hit, the mash is agitated and then filtered/drained ('lautered') into the kettle.

Regardless of the Above, the Rest of the Brewing Process is Identical

After either of the above processes has been completed, the sweet liquor is brought to the boil, upon which, it is now called, boiling wort (pronounced 'whert').

The wort is kept boiling for a recommended 90 minutes, and, during that time, hops are added at different times, to create one, or a blend of the following: bitterness, flavour and/or aroma.

At the end of the boil, the wort is commonly cooled, as quickly as possible, to the correct 'pitching temperature,' upon which the appropriate yeast is pitched to the wort which, by this stage, will have been transferred to a fermentor. The pitched yeast then feeds on the sugars in the wort which then, normally within a week or two, results in an alcoholic beer which then just needs packaging and carbonation to bring it to copmpletion.
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Post by PistolPatch » 1 year ago

Understanding the Beauty of Full-Volume Brewing
It's very important for a brewer to appreciate the beauty of full-volume brewing before they consciously tamper with it. A re-reading of the first two paragraphs of the post above, hopefully, shows the simplicity and elegance of full-volume brewing; one vessel, at one height, with one heat source, heats and holds all the water needed to clean all the grist (crushed malt/grain).

So, the main rule, especially for BIAB brewing, is, "Don't do any full-volume variations if you can possibly avoid it." When you employ a full-volume variation, you not only disturb the beauty of full-volume brewing, but, you also attract a cost in at least one of the following areas...

Quality

Some full-volume variations, mainly dilutions done late into or after the boil, can decrease the quality of your beer.

Equipment

Nearly all full-volume variations require more vessels and heat sources.

Time/Labour

All full-volume variations cost in labour. Nearly all cost in time, if not during the actual brewing process, then after. For example, cleaning one vessel takes far less time than three.

Ingredients

All full-volume variations, bar one, result in an increase in ingredients.
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Post by PistolPatch » 1 year ago

Safely Applying Full-Volume Variations - Intro
Assuming you have read the above posts, you know that full-volume variations come with some sort of compromise. There are often scenarios, though, when it makes sense to use one or more full-volume variations to increase our basic VIF and VIP.

At the time of writing, the only software/program/spreadsheet, which can handle the complexity of full-volume variations is The BIABacus. The section that deals with full-volume variations is Section W.

When investigating full-volume variations, if possible, view your BIABacus on a wide screen and focus on the following view...
FVV4.jpg
This will show you how any change you make in Section W, or to your Desired VIF in Section B, affects how much grain you need, and your mash volume.

There are two basic types of full-volume variations. The first is where some, or all, of the water held back from the mash comes into contact with the crushed grain (sparging), and, the second, is where some or all of the water held back from the mash, does not 'see' the grain at all (dilutions). The next two posts explain this in detail.
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Post by PistolPatch » 1 year ago

Sparging
While full-volume variations, always increase your basic VIF and VIP, as stated above, there is also always, a compromise, when compared to full-volume brewing.

What hasn't been mentioned above, is that there are also limits as to how much you can employ any full-volume variation.

The Compromises of Sparging

Should you choose to employ a sparge, there will be no cost to you in quality or ingredients, however, you will incur equipment, time and labour costs. You will always, need at least one more vessel and, nearly always, one more heat source.

For the stove-top brewer, deciding to sparge, the easiest way is to have quite a large saucepan or pot. Some, or all, of the water held back from the mash, can be heated in that pot to at least mash-out temperature, and, at the end of the mash, the bag of mashed grains can then be transferred to the second pot. After agitating the mashed grains, the bag can then be pulled and squeezed. The runnings from the bag should be then added to the sweet liquor in the main pot, the kettle, which will then be brought to the boil.

Volume Limits to Sparging

Obviously, we can't have a kettle and then sparge an indefinite amount of water in a second vessel. As a silly example, with a 19L kettle, we couldn't sparge in a second pot, no matter it's size, with 19L of water as our runnings when poured into the main kettle would overflow it.

So, what are our limits?

In the second post of this thread, you had to play a game of 'twenty questions,' to determine your VIF and VIP. All full-volume variations require you to play that same game. In that second post, though, you were given a number to start playing the game with (half of your kettle capacity). We can do the same with sparging.

With sparging, assuming you have mashed with as much water you can comfortably fit in your kettle, at the end of the mash, when you pull the bag, there will be some extra space available now, in the kettle.

The picture in the last post, in Section K, shows a Mash Volume of 16.99L and a Volume into Boil (VIB) of 14.07L. What this means, is that, if you had full-volume brewed, after pulling the bag, you would have an extra 2.92L (16.99-14.07), safely available in your kettle. This Mash Volume minus VIB number is a good number to plug into Section W, if you choose to sparge. Here's a pic of The BIABacus, after I input 2.92L to 'Water Used in a Sparge.'
FVV Exploring Sparging.jpg
See how the Mash Volume has dropped from 16.99L to 14.01L?

This means I can now increase my 'Desired Volume into Fermentor (VIF),' a little. Increase it until you see a red warning appear above Section B.

You'll find that you can increase your desired VIF from 8.1L to about 10.0L. Here's the file...
BIABacus PR1.3T - Exploring FVV.xls
The BIABacus will throw you a warning if it looks like you are sparging too much. You'll see one in the file at the bottom of the file above. Dropping the amount from 2.9L to 2.8L will get rid of that warning but trigger others. Getting rid of all warnings involves a game of 'twenty questions,' by lowering gradually your desired VIF and/or 'Water Used in a Sparge.' The game can be quite endless, if you play it too tightly, so, be sensible.

Sparging Summary

Sparging allows you to increase your VIF and VIP, with no drop in quality, but, at the cost of increased equipment, time and labour. The higher the original gravity of the beer, the higher rewards/versus cost of sparging, but, if your kettle allows full-volume brewing on a high gravity beer, then, sparging will cost you without producing any reward.
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Post by PistolPatch » 1 year ago

Dilutions
As mentioned several times above, full-volume variations, allow you to increase your VIF and VIP, but, there is always some sort of cost, when compared to full-volume brewing. There are also limits as to how much you can employ any one full-volume variation.

Dilutions can be made in the bottom three fields of Section W of The BIABacus.

Dilutions always Cost in Ingredients

In the file you downloaded in the post above, type in some sensible numbers into any of the bottom three fields of Section W. You'll see that, whilst lowering your Mash Volume in Section K (and, therefore, giving you an opportunity to increase your desired VIF), the amount of grain needed for your brew increases.

In earlier posts above, the word "cleaning," was used. Imagine a pair of very dirty, white jeans. Now put those jeans in a bucket with 10L of water, jiggle them around, squeeze them, and then hang them out to dry. If you did the same thing with a bucket full of 20L of water, which would give you the whiter jeans?

Dilutions work the same way, we are using less water to clean the sugars out of our grains, so our crushed grains, when pulled from the 'bucket,' will be dirtier.

Some Dilutions Increase Quality while Others Can Decrease Quality

'Water Added Before the Boil,' increases quality. 'Water Added During Boil,' if added very early, will increase quality, and, if added very late, might decrease quality. 'Water Added to Fermentor,' also has the potential to decrease quality.

The technique of holding back water from the mash and adding it before the boil, without it touching the grain, to improve quality, was originally called, "No sparging," however, this term has, like many brewing terms, unfortunately been bastardised into meaningless. (A correct description can be found here).

Volume Limits to Dilutions

The BIABacus will throw you a red warning, 'RECIPE WON"T WORK!!!,' above Section A, if you are diluting to an extreme but, that warning is seriously extreme, so, if you trigger it, you need to lower your total dilutions a lot.

Dilutions Summary

Dilutions will allow you to increase your VIF and VIP, without any increased equipment cost, however, any dilution will cost you in ingredients, and dilutions towards the end of the boil or after, if using poor quality water, will compromise quality.
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Post by PistolPatch » 1 year ago

A Sensible Example
Although the principles above apply to all brewers, this article has used, as a base, the stove-top brewer, who, understandably, often wants to push a bit more production out of their kettle.

In the article above, I have used a 19L/5Gal kettle as an example, however, the stove-top brewer should be advised that many stove-tops, are incapable of boiling an 80% full, 19L capacity kettle. So, before considering any full-volume variations, the stove-top brewer should ensure that they can comfortably fill their kettle and bring it to the boil on their stove-top.

Should I Favour Sparging or Diluting?

Answering the above correctly has to be done by the individual brewer. Sparging always costs in equipment and labour whilst dilution always costs in ingredients. Some dilutions can increase quality whilst others, if using poor quality water, can decrease quality.

Even though Section W is just a small section of The BIABacus, creating and incorporating it was a very tedious, time-consuming and complex task. No other software has attempted anything like Section W, and, to replicate it (let alone more obvious features of the BIABacus), they would need to re-write their software from scratch.

So, if you really do need to get more from your kettle, and do it well, you must become a master of this thread and Section W.

'Water Used in a Sparge' or 'Water Added Before the Boil?'

The above should be your first question because, if you are deliberately planning to add water during or after the boil, you are really stepping into extremes!

In post #7 above, in this file...
BIABacus PR1.3T - Exploring FVV (1).xls
... we saw that we could increase our VIF, to 10.0 L if we chose to sparge with 2.92 L. Sparging though, requires extra equipment and labour.

In this file, move the 2.92L from 'Water Used in a Sparge,' to 'Water Added Before the Boil.' What happens?...

Whilst we are starting to stretch the limits of our kettle, and are increasing the grain we need from 2367 grams to 2474 grams, we don't need to employ any extra equipment or labour. In other words, on a 1.050 brew, it is usually more sensible to add water before the boil. The small increase in grain required far outweighs the equipment and labor costs of sparging.

You can use/play with the BIABacus to help you make the right decisions, for your circumstances and recipe. Studying the above will ensure you come up with the right answer.
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Post by Pat » 1 year ago

[Posted the below yesterday but forgot to unlock the thread :idiot:.]

This topic is unlocked now so feel free to ask any questions.

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Post by pkb4809 » 1 year ago

Hi PistolPatch, or anyone else who understands all this :?

Thanks for all of the information above, it helps, a LOT!!! .. but I'm still left with the following question ...
PistolPatch wrote:'Water Used in a Sparge' or 'Water Added Before the Boil?'

The above should be your first question because, if you are deliberately planning to add water during or after the boil, you are really stepping into extremes!
... I understand how those two numbers, entered into those cells, are used to represent the alternative options, but can you please explain the relationship(s) between 'Water Added During Boil' and 'Water Used in Sparge' (and 'Water Added Before the Boil', if any) and if (and if so how) I would distinguish/indicate to the BIABacus whether the during-boil additions are made with water (when diluting) or sparged wort (when sparging)? :scratch:

Cheers, Phil
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Post by PistolPatch » 1 year ago

[EDIT: Phil, a few hours after writing the below, I re-read your question and think I might have missed a few essentials. Too many beers today :). I'll look at it again tomorrow - hopefully I'm worrying about nothing but I do think I might have missed an essential part of what you were actually asking. Oops! It won't take long to clear up, relates to where you talked about "distinguishing" additions.]

Hi Phil and welcome to the forum :drink:,

Thanks for wading through the above and really glad to hear it made some sense. I think most people balk at long detailed posts/threads however it looks like you not only didn't balk but absorbed everything too which is pretty amazing. Don't think I've ever seen a 'second' post like yours so thanks a heap for putting that time in - much appreciated.

Your question is a great one too and really interests me as Section W was a very hard section to add to the BIABacus as it affects every other area so many existing formulas had to be re-written. I think the time spent though was worth it as it means that the BIABacus can actually be used for any form of three-vessel brewing (and extract) and, let's face it, many brewers start out with kettles that are smaller than they like. Another reason why we wrote Section W is that it can't be found in any other software. I know we requested it of some major software but it was too complex. Anyway, we have it now and many other things such as the auto-efficiency versus fixed efficiency of other software.

Oops! Better answer your question - just had my fellow brewer around. We did 3 hours work and then tested beers for about 5 hours :).

The Logic of Section W

The difference between 'Water Used in a Sparge' and all the other fields in Section W, is that 'Water Used in a Sparge' actually sees/touches the grain. In other words, it rinses the grain.

In full-volume, single vessel brewing (let's call that "pure" BIAB) the mash (soak) and rinse (sparge) are simultaneous as all the water is used in one hit. All that water, of course, "sees" the grain. What we've found over the years (including side by sides and just collecting data), is that it doesn't make any difference whether the grain sees the water in one hit or several - the end result is the same. The 'Dilutions' post above talks on dirty white jeans being soaked in water. The important thing is how much water you soak those jeans in, not the number of stages because, in brewing, we don't have a "spin" function like we do on our clothes washing machines. (That's a real mental hurdle to get over and took me a few years to even prove it to myself because I was educated to thin that a sparge is a rinse and therefore should be just like washing your clothes!).

So, in the BIABacus, any 'Water Used in a Sparge' is treated as water that can clean our grain from sugars. This means that if you add a number beside it, you'll find that none of the estimated efficiency figures in Section P will change.

However, any dilution figure will change Section P because, that water is not being used to clean your grain.

....

I put a pause there and you'll notice one in Section W of the BIABacus as well because all water that does not see the grain can be effectively regarded as dilutions.

The BIABacus splits those dilutions into three areas; 'Water Added Before the Boil', 'Water Added During the Boil' and 'Water Added to Fermenter' for two reasons. The first but not the most important is that when you add the dilution will affect important numbers such as 'Gravity into Boil', 'Gravity of Ambient Wort' and 'Gravity into Fermenter (usually Original Gravity)'. The second and more important reson is that where you add the dilutions affects the quality of wort and the BIABacus will throw you red warnings if your dilutions are getting out of control.

Two extreme/silly examples are on a standard batch (1.050 OG and 23L/6 Gal Volume into Fermenter):

1. If you added 19L or say 5 Gal before the boil (or any time after) you are going to be cleaning the grain with bugger-all water - you will get unacceptable extraction of sugars from the grain (kettle efficiency) and the BIABacus will tell you so. It will say... RECIPE WON'T WORK!!! (Examine warnings to right carefully.)

2. If you added 11L or say 3 Gal into your fermenter, besides the above, you are going to be "cheapening" your wort. The BIABacus warning in version PR1.3T will say Try to reduce dilution amounts to improve recipe integrity. I think we might have improved on that warning in later unreleased versions. I hope we have, as that amount of dilution into fermenter is crazy and only just prevents triggering the "RECIPE WON'T WORK!!!" warning.

Phil, I think that's about it :scratch:. I'm sure I have either put you to sleep, answered your question or something in between :). I enjoyed myself though :lol:.

In all seriousness, this stuff can be really confusing and complicated if, like me, you "grew up" with other software/tools. For brewers who have never been exposed to other "static" brewing software and the education that goes with it, the "dynamic" nature of the BIABacus (any change you make affects everything else) makes total sense.

Cheers :peace:,
PP
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Post by pkb4809 » 1 year ago

Hi PP
PistolPatch wrote:Too many beers today :)
... yeah, that's an "occupational hazard" whenever brewers get together :lol: ... no worries, but thanks for coming back to it and yes it's the "distinguishing" that I'm having difficulties with ... looking back at my question I realise that a typo crept in (with a couple of words missing) and what I meant to ask was ...
pkb4809 wrote:if I can (and if so how) I would distinguish/indicate to the BIABacus whether the during-boil additions are made with water (when diluting) or sparged wort (when sparging)?
... to clarify with a (rough) example, if I was brewing a Best Bitter (English Pale Ale) to an OG of 1.040ish, with a 4ish kg grainbill, in my 19 lts pot, overall I would expect (following Ralph's approach as depicted over there (link)) to;
  • heat up 15-16 lts to mash into
  • then sparge with 2-3 lts to top up the pot before the boil
  • and sparge another 4-5 lts to keep the boil topped up during the boil
  • and, after chilling my wort, dilute in the FV with another 4-5 lts, to my OG or VIF
... I recognise that I'm sparging with 2-3 + 4-5 = 6-8 lts, but how does the BIABacus know whether I'm putting that all in before the boil (which obviously wouldn't fit) or some before and some during? :dunno:

I'm sure if I can explain my "dilemma" to you, you'll be able to "sort me out" ;) ... hopefully I'm getting my point across now. Thanks in advance, for any help.
Cheers, Phil
Last edited by pkb4809 on 16 Jun 2016, 16:28, edited 1 time in total.


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Post by PistolPatch » 1 year ago

Meant to reply yesterday Phil but needed some time to recover from all the beers on Wednesday :P. The good news is now you can get a sober (and quick*) reply :).

The BIABacus won't allow you to distinguish between whether you add sparged water before and/or after the boil start - it assumes you would add before the boil start which is best (safest) practice. Ralph's maxi-BIAB example is about as extreme as get as can be seen from the height of the wort levels in the kettle :o.

If you did have sparge water you couldn't fit in before the boil (you really want to have all "sweet liquor" being boiled for a min of 60 mins) then the only problem you'll have, is that the BIABacus estimates for Volume into Boil and Gravity into Boil will be incorrect. All the other figures would be the same. Also, bear in mind that hot volume and gravity readings are hard to measure accurately due to the swelling of the wort at near boil temps, cooling of the wort gravity sample and a few other things.

To get proper estimates, you'd actually have to take two volume readings and 2 gravity readings which would be a super PITA and would also add inaccuracies. You'd need to measure your VIB and GIB but alos you'd have to measure the volume of sweet liquor that you couldn't fit in, and it's gravity, then do the calcs to add them together (which is easy enough)**.

As pre-boil measurements are really only a preliminary check, I never give them too much weight. What you could do though instead of the above, is wait until you have added all your sweet liquor into the boil. Let's say your boil is 90 minutes and you manage to get all your sweet liquor in within 30 minutes of the boil start. What you could do, is, after you have added all your sweet liquor, turn the flame off, allow the wort to "unswell" for half a minute, then take a volume reading and grab a gravity sample. You would then add these numbers in as VIB and GIB. This will then give you your "Efficiency into Kettle" number in Section P - in other words, you have your preliminary 'sugar' check.

....

Why I call the VIB and GIB readings a preliminary check.

Let's say that my VIB and GIB ended up resulting in an "actual" Efficiency into Kettle" 5% lower than the BIABacus estimated. I wouldn't bat an eyelid. Even if it came up with 20% less than estimated, there is not much you can really do as the ship has sailed (Was one grain mis-measured? Was your mash thermometer right?) This is why I always have double-checks on my grain weighing and mash thermometers.

If your VIB estimate was really high and GIB really low but your EIK was close to the BIABacus estimate, then you can assume that you probably added too much water at the start of the day. If the opposite, then too little. I would then though, take a second volume and gravity check from the kettle (doesn't matter when but make it earlier in the boil rather than later) and see if the second readings confirmed the first. If they did, then I would consider extending the boil or adding more water. (Once again though, double-checking the water volume being used on the brew day prevents all this.)

You'll often read about some brewers even very experienced on suggesting you make boil corrections based on your VIB and GIB estimates. I never do this as I know how unreliable hot measurements can be. Also, things like evaporation rate, especially of you brew outside, can vary greatly from day to day let alone season to season. The BIABacus defaults are set up so as you'll usually end your brew day with the volume you want or less but at higher gravity which you correct with a small pre-pitching correction of adding 'quality water' to the fermenter (Water Added to Fermenter in Section N). This makes things safe and easy as you really don't want to end up with a weak wort at the end of the day - too hard to fix!

* Sorry, forgot I write as much sober as drunk!!!

Hope that explains things though Phil. Not sure if you have a hundred brews under your belt or none so, some of the above could well need more explaining such as the calcs I marked with **. So, let me know if you (or anyone else) need more info.

Cheers ;),
PP
Last edited by PistolPatch on 17 Jun 2016, 09:03, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by PistolPatch » 1 year ago

Working with Phil (pkb) on this via email as the question actually involves translating a "maxi-BIAB" recipe written into a very early (multi-sheet) maxi-BIAB calculator that didn't have the "dynamic" formulas that the BIABacus does. We'll let you know what we come up with ;).
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Post by JayP » 1 year ago

Hi PP. I'm a new Perth brewer, and have to say I'm blown away by the amount of quality information available on this site. I just keep digging and digging, and the depth is amazing.

Anyway, in your post above you explain why dilutions cost in terms of ingredients (which makes sense) but that sometimes dilutions improve quality. Can you elaborate ?

I am a stove top BIABer and have to add water before the boil due to kettle constraints. I would have thought this would dilute my batch, reduce SG and therefore reduce the quality of my wort. But this is not the case ?


Topic author
PistolPatch
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Post by PistolPatch » 1 year ago

Hi there jayP :thumbs:. Another Perth brewer - excellent! (Subscribe to [ur=viewtopic.php?f=12&t=285l]this thread[/url].) Feel free to drop in for a beer or a brew day some time.

Glad to hear you are stumbling across a bit of info that might be useful. I'm now working on the new site full-time which has two goals; the first is to make info really easy to find and the second is to get it up and running before I go broke :lol:.

As for dilutions, lost in one of the posts above is..."The technique of holding back water from the mash and adding it before the boil, without it touching the grain, to improve quality, was originally called, "No sparging," however, this term has, like many brewing terms, unfortunately, been bastardised. (A correct description can be found here)."

The original article by Dr George Fix on the "no-sparge method can be found here. Oops! Can't find it even after going through about five pages of Google. There is an article on it in the BJCP manual by Louis Bonham but, again, I can't find a link to it online.

The principle though is the same as the following... When you make an espresso coffee, you don't run the entire mug of hot water through the coffee grains. Instead, you run the water through until the output turns from a creamy colour to black. This works out to be about say 25% of the mug. The other 75% is simply made up of hot water which never "sees" the coffee. If you ran 100% of the water through the coffee, you get an awful astringency to it. No-sparge is a bit like that; instead of allowing all the water to touch the grain, we hold some back. This results in two things; we need more grain to get the same gravity as we are using less water to clean it however the resulting beer is said to be maltier, or, more pure if you like.

We have some other considerations though in brewing. The earlier we can add our dilution water the better. Let's pretend we were going to hold 50% of our total water back. Imagine that water was say slightly chlorinated. If you added it right at the end, that's not going to be good. Allowing that water to be boiled is a much better practice and there are probably other chemical reasons for it that are beyond my understanding.

Hope that helps a bit Jay,
PP
Last edited by PistolPatch on 10 Aug 2016, 12:18, edited 1 time in total.
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