Mash Water Calculation is Coming and We Need Your Help

May 20th, 2013, by Kyle (Backend Dev)

Calling All (Grain) Toads!

Mash water calculations. You want ‘em, and we want to build ‘em.

This is your chance. We really want your feedback, and given how many requests we’ve gotten for this feature, I expect a lot of you will weigh in with your opinions. Bring ‘em. I’ll update this post to reflect the ongoing discussion.

Equipment Profiles

Equipment profiles will define certain defaults like batch size, evaporation rate, top up water, mash tun volume, preferred sparge method (none, batch, continuous/fly), preferred mash thickness, etc.

If you want, you’ll be able to have more than one mash profile, and you’ll be able to choose one to use by default.

New recipes will use your default equipment profile, and we’d add an input to the recipe editor to allow you to change your equipment profile on a per-recipe basis. This will automatically set your recipe type, batch size, top up water, and evaporation rate, and will also dictate how we calculate your mash water.

Update 5/21: Work on equipment profiles has begun! This is just a first approximation. More fields will be added and the UX will almost certainly evolve. Consider this a teaser.

Screen Shot 2013-05-21 at 8.42.19 AM

Existing Mash Steps

Mash steps, as they’re currently implemented on the site, will need some additional fields added to them. Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Type (infusion, decoction, or direct heat)
  • Time (length of rest, in minutes)
  • Temperature (rest temperature)
  • Infusion Volume (volume of water required to reach the rest temperature (for infusion steps only))
  • Infusion Temperature (temperature of water required to reach the rest temperature (for infusion steps only))
  • Other fields TBD for decoction and direct heat steps (decoction volume, decoction boil time, direct heat ramp time, etc.)

Where Do Mash Steps Belong?

I would argue that mash steps shouldn’t be attached directly to a recipe, but instead to a brew log.

This way, if another brewer wants to brew your recipe exactly as you entered it but with a different mash/sparge style, they don’t have to create a variant of your recipe to do it.

This data would also be interesting to aggregate. For example, we could display average measured OG numbers for any recipe with brew logs, broken out by no-sparge, batch sparge, fly sparge, etc.

If we move the mash steps to brew logs instead of the recipe itself, we’d probably want to add a “recommended mash temperature” input to the recipe editor. This value would then be used for the saccharification rest temperature when automatically calculating mash steps. Maybe add a “protein rest suggested” option as well?

Denny Conn’s Equal Runnings Batch Sparge

I usually use this method of mashing, as I find that it strikes a good balance between efficiency and simplicity. It’s easy to calculate and quite popular among homebrewers. This seems like a good place to start.

This technique is described in detail on Mr. Conn’s website, “Cheap ‘n Easy Batch Sparge Brewing”.

User KenN has already contributed an excellent spreadsheet with all the math, so adding support for this will be a snap.

What Else?

How do you mash? What features do you absolutely need? No sparge? What about partial mash? Multi step infusion? Decoction?