Just going back up the page a bit...
Agitating the Mash
To stir the mash without twisting the bag, use a paint stirrer or potato masher type padel. This used in an up and down motion surpasses all other types of paddles. (Historical note: I believe it was yours truly who brought this idea to the breaking world way back in 2006. You'll even see a pic of it in the first BIAB guide I wrote! I've never mentioned that before but it is truly one of my favourite ideas.) See here
for steel ones and here
for my original one I still use today.
It's very easy to maintain the heat during the mash by adding heat whilst stirring assuming you haven't covered your kettle etc in rubber or anything!
"Efficiecny" (Kettle and Fermentor Efficiency) is a Variable
GA, the statement, "Is 79.2% a typical efficiency for BIAB?" is incorrect in two ways although you would have seen similiar statements all over the net. Firstly, there are two main types of efficiency, kettle and fermentor. You must state clearly what one you mean before sense can be made of anything. (You'll see that rule was forgotten above in several posts. The guys were probably drunk
). Efficiency into Fermentor is a very poor cousin to Kettle Efficiency...
Click here to understand the two types of efficiency
Both efficiencies are variables; they are not constants. For example, if you brew a beer that has an original gravity of 1.080, you are going to get a much lower percentage of sugars out of the grain; your kettle efficiency, and therefore, fermentor efficiency will be much lower than brewing say a 1.045 beer. The reason that you read everywhere else things like, "I always get such and such efficiency on every brew," is for many reasons. One main reason though is because...
No other software besides the BIABacus is able to handle kettle efficiency or fermentor efficiency as a variable.
It doesn't matter whether you type in 1.080 or 1.045 into other software, it will just tell you that you will get the kettle or fermenter efficiency that you have set it to. With the BIABacus though, it looks at what you are brewing and many other factors and then gives a very good estimation of what your actual efficiencies will be. (On some brews you should get 90% kettle efficiency and in other massive beers it can get down to say 55%.)
Metric versus US Inputs
There's no way, even with unprotecting the BIABacus (you can do that by simply opening it in LibreOffice and then saving it as an .ool, which, btw, you shouldn't do because you can then never get it back to a properly working .xls and you'll for certain, make errors), that you can change it to US inputs as the spreadsheet is massively complex. On all the major cells to get US appearing on the right beside metric, it will often be passing through masses of other cells. There are heaps and heaps of hidden cells in The BIABacus and some parts it takes even myself a few hours to remember how certain sections work. Read this post
and the one after for more info on why The BIABacus has to currently be like this and another way you can use some bits with US numbers. (Btw, there is the converter on the second sheet of The BIABacus as well don't forget.)
BIABAcus and Other Software
Finally, you mentioned about tweaking BeerSmith to match the BIABacus. Not only does the BIABacus auto-estimate your kettle and fermentor efficiencies, it also auto-estimates a lot of other things by looking at lots of factors; it is dynamic. All other programs are static. For example, "efficiency," which is hardly ever defined as kettle or fermentor, is whatever you tell it to be. Trub losses are whatever you tell it to be. Evaporation is whatever you tell it to be and so on. It takes ages to match a recipe in The BIABacus and BeerSmith because of the differences in this "horsepower". (The fact that there are terminology problems and actual incorrect calculations thrown into the mix don't make things any easier!)
The hardest things anyone finds, who has used other software instead of using The BIABacus from the start, is firstly, realising just how much of a "disease" poor terminology is in the home brewing world. Secondly, this site is the only site that was game enough to take on the incredible labour of producing clear brewing terminology and dynamic versus static brewing software. Static brewing software formulas can be written into a spreadsheet in an 8 hour day (probably 4), because it is basically just adding numbers. The true dynamic nature of brewing and The BIABacus relies on hundreds of multi-layered if/when formulas etc, etc. This complexity, hidden underneath the spreadsheet, results in a very simple and educational tool. You hardly have to know a thing to start using The BIABacus, even though it is so powerful, and can handle a myriad of different brewing circumstances.
Is that enough?
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