Strike temp in cold weather

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Strike temp in cold weather

Postby budvar » Sat Nov 24, 2007 2:00 pm

I do my brewing in the garage and with the weather growing ever colder as the days get shorter my strike temp is off by a few degrees lower each time. During the summer days it was spot on each time

Do I need to recalibrate my mash tun for colder weather or can I adjust the values somewhere in the program to make up for the temp drop outside?

Just before brewing I take a temp reading of my grain and of the mash tun and I plug those values into the program but I don't know where to put the mash tun value.

I need to correct for my mash tun being 60 degrees instead of 75 degrees.
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Re: Strike temp in cold weather

Postby jeff » Sat Nov 24, 2007 2:50 pm

budvar wrote:I do my brewing in the garage and with the weather growing ever colder as the days get shorter my strike temp is off by a few degrees lower each time. During the summer days it was spot on each time

Do I need to recalibrate my mash tun for colder weather or can I adjust the values somewhere in the program to make up for the temp drop outside?

Just before brewing I take a temp reading of my grain and of the mash tun and I plug those values into the program but I don't know where to put the mash tun value.

I need to correct for my mash tun being 60 degrees instead of 75 degrees.


The ambient air setting should be set to the temperature of the air on your brew day. What do you have yours set to?
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Postby budvar » Sat Nov 24, 2007 3:35 pm

I set it to 55 degrees and water to 55 degrees.

I guessed at the water temp.
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Postby budvar » Sat Nov 24, 2007 3:40 pm

I was going for 155 degrees and it setteled at 151 after 5 mins.

I had a strike temp of 172 @ 1.25 qts per pound with 13 pounds of grist @ 61 degrees.

My mash tun was 56 degrees after washing.
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Postby jeff » Sat Nov 24, 2007 3:52 pm

budvar wrote:I was going for 155 degrees and it setteled at 151 after 5 mins.

I had a strike temp of 172 @ 1.25 qts per pound with 13 pounds of grist @ 61 degrees.

My mash tun was 56 degrees after washing.


Are you heating the strike water in the mash vessel or in a separate pot?
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Postby budvar » Sat Nov 24, 2007 4:23 pm

Separate pot
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Mashing vessel, heating vessel setup

Postby jeff » Sat Nov 24, 2007 4:57 pm

budvar wrote:Separate pot


Ok, if you using a separate pot as your heating vessel, have you set this vessel as your "Heating Vessel" in the mash-in editor? If you have this menu set to "None" or the same vessel as your mashing vessel, the heat capacity of the mashing vessel will be ignored when calculating strike temperatures. This is because BTP assumes that the brewer is applying direct heat to the mashing vessel to heat the strike water.
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Postby budvar » Sat Nov 24, 2007 5:46 pm

I have it set to heating vessel and I calibrated the heating vessel.

I really think I need to account for the difference in the mash tuns physical temp from when I first calibrated it when it was warmer till now that it's getting cooler outside.

Hope this photo shows, it's a pic of my setup.

Image
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Postby jeff » Sat Nov 24, 2007 6:29 pm

budvar wrote:I have it set to heating vessel and I calibrated the heating vessel.

I really think I need to account for the difference in the mash tuns physical temp from when I first calibrated it when it was warmer till now that it's getting cooler outside.


You can experiment with various heat capacities using the Window->Calculators->Mash->Strike Temp utility. The "Vessel Heat Capacity" refers to the mashing vessel, which appears to be a picnic cooler in your case. Hopefully you can nail down your settings.
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Postby jawbox » Sat Nov 24, 2007 7:45 pm

i'd second jeffs advice. Make sure you change the ambient air temp. I'd also use your next brew session as a recalibration for cooler temps. I'm going to do this with my next brew.

Jeff would you get better results using data collected from an actual mash to calibrate your equipment than just adding water?
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Postby budvar » Sat Nov 24, 2007 9:59 pm

When I change the ambient air temp from 80 to 40 I only get a 1 degree difference in strike temp. 171.3 verse 172.3. I'm seeing a 4-5 degree lower final temp verse spot on in summer.

If I go in to the calibration menu for my igloo and change the environment settings to 40 degrees it lowers my strike temp to 171.7.

There has to be some method of making up the difference in the temp of the cooler because a colder cooler will take more heat to hit the desired temp, just like you can change the temp of the grain and have it corrected.

The reason it concerns me is because it's still going to get colder and I don't want to be to far off because I can't heat my cooler.
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Postby jeff » Sat Nov 24, 2007 11:16 pm

budvar wrote:If I go in to the calibration menu for my igloo and change the environment settings to 40 degrees it lowers my strike temp to 171.7.


Yes, this would have the opposite effect of what you want to achieve because you are reducing the vessel heat capacity by lowering your calibration environment temperature. If you instead change the 5 minute temperature a few degrees lower, you increase the vessel heat capacity setting. More heat capacity has a greater effect on temperature. Thus if you want your picnic cooler to affect the temperature calculations more, its heat capacity has to be higher. Then ambient air settings will have a greater effect on strike temperature.

budvar wrote:There has to be some method of making up the difference in the temp of the cooler because a colder cooler will take more heat to hit the desired temp, just like you can change the temp of the grain and have it corrected.


Try increasing your picnic cooler heat capacity until you get results closer your your actual measurements. You can duplicate your current vessel and make changes to the copy so that you don't lose the original.
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Postby budvar » Sat Nov 24, 2007 11:50 pm

I see what you mean by increasing the coolers heat capacity. But wouldn't I be behind the curve each time because I would have to guess at the heat capacity prior to brewing.

Looking at my notes from my last brew I was off by 2 degrees, and this time it was 4 degrees. If I remember correctly it was around 60 out the last time I brewed and today it was 42 out.

I think what I need to do is keep the grain and cooler in the house and taking it out just before use that way I can gain some consistency.
I can have a 70 degree vessel saved for winter months and a 80 degree vessel saved for the summer months.

I think I'll also make my house beer to calibrate the cooler for both changes.

Thank you for all your input. You've helped me find the solution.
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Postby jeff » Sun Nov 25, 2007 10:45 am

budvar wrote:Looking at my notes from my last brew I was off by 2 degrees, and this time it was 4 degrees. If I remember correctly it was around 60 out the last time I brewed and today it was 42 out.


If you were off in both cases, this makes a strong case that your picnic cooler heat capacity is set too low or the grist temperature is off. If it is the picnic cooler calibration causing the problem, increasing the heat capacity might be just what is needed to reign in your 2 and 4 degree discrepancies. If it were me, I would double the heat capacity of the picnic cooler, and work from there. If the rest temperature climbs a degree or two high, it is easy enough to correct.
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