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Brewbirds

How we fixed our brew day woes

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The Brewbirds were plagued with not hitting gravity readings, missing boil off and grain absorption rates and struggling to get an equipment profile dialed in and we often found ourselves scrambling on brew day to compensate. We made beer and it was good but as co-brewers, each thinking the other was making mistakes, the stress level was high.

I want to stop here a moment and give a big shout out to haerbob3 because he was kind enough to take on the trying task of walking us through our processes and procedures to see if he could spot our problem. I promise there is a superior beer waiting in heaven for him after all the hair pulling we surely caused. So a big thanks hearbob3 you are a kind and generous man and we are making better beer because of your help.

I calibrate my thermometer and my refractometer and my hydrometer regularly and check my scales so out of total desperation I decided what the heck I’ll check my measuring cups too. Here is what I did:

Google “weight of water” and you will find websites that show you what water weighs at a certain ambient temperature (which effects density). For us on that day one cup of water weighed 8.3176 ounces at 80 degrees.
So I tared (zeroed out on the scale) my 1 C. measuring cup and added 8.3 ounces of water and low and behold you can see where I used a Sharpie to mark a new line. We double checked on the other scale BTW.


[attachment=14380]TareCup.JPG[/attachment]
Zero Out Cup


[attachment=14381]WeighWater.JPG[/attachment]
Weighed 8.3 OZ H2O


[attachment=14382]MarkCup.JPG[/attachment]
Marked Correction


With my newly marked 1C cup I checked the bigger 8C measuring vessel that I use most; you can see the results. HOLY COW


[attachment=14383]Mark2QtCup.JPG[/attachment]
8 Quart Corrected

I’ll add a disclaimer here that I have 3 dedicated measuring vessels for brewing and I am NOT slamming the manufacturers (in fact they are all from different companies). I am just sharing the results of a test we did in an attempt to improve our brew day by trying to get more precise measurements. I did not buy them for this purpose they belonged to my mom’s extensive kitchen collection and were appropriated for beer making knowing they were intended for general cooking use. I do not state that you will find the same results.

So after I moved on to my primary brew kettle, an 8 quart stock pot ( which, by the way, DOES NOT hold 8 quarts that would mean filled right to the brim) which is marked every half quart and it was marked wrong too so we had to fix that.

We found a solution which I thought may be just as helpful to my fellows here on the Borg. See my second thread “Ruling on Brew Day”…

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Many measuring devises aren't precise, in fact, some of the less expensive (china) models are pretty inaccurate. I found out this by giving my students an activity where they measure how many Tablespoons in a cup ect. I had to double check myself because soem were so far off. (another reason bakeries go by weight, not volume)

Good find and correction.

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For recipes of a different subject, we used highly calibrated cylinders to measure,
then we weighed that amount.

From there, the weight was used to measure.
As long as you used the same accurate scale, weights are more accurate.

But if going by measuring cups or other volume devices, make sure to use the same one.

But weight is necessary if needing to be 100% accurate.

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Your counter isn't flat...

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

No I think it was camera operator at fault not the counter. I actually even pulled out my level and checked that to. Everything was getting calibrated that day; wish I could share the look on my brothers face, he thought I'd lost my marbles for sure.

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Were you weighing it with the ambient room temperature at 80*F or was the temperature of the water 80*F? The density of water depends on the temperature of the fluid itself, not the ambient room temperature. In any case, that's pretty crazy how inaccurate the measuring cups can be.

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"philm00x" post=389412 said:

Were you weighing it with the ambient room temperature at 80*F or was the temperature of the water 80*F? The density of water depends on the temperature of the fluid itself, not the ambient room temperature. In any case, that's pretty crazy how inaccurate the measuring cups can be.

Actually both were about the same in my case. I treat 6 gallons jugs with campden tablets so it sits until I need it.

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I sure been lucky so far. All the measuring cups I get from the Dollar Store are right on the mark. I fill them up with a cup of water, and after I drink the cup of water, they're empty. So far, so good.

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"Joechianti" post=389431 said:

I sure been lucky so far. All the measuring cups I get from the Dollar Store are right on the mark. I fill them up with a cup of water, and after I drink the cup of water, they're empty. So far, so good.

That seems to be accurate!

The only question I have,

when you only drink half of the water,
would you consider the measuring cup to be half full or half empty?

That one always stumps me? :chow:

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"SelfFueled" post=389436 said:

"Joechianti" post=389431 said:

I sure been lucky so far. All the measuring cups I get from the Dollar Store are right on the mark. I fill them up with a cup of water, and after I drink the cup of water, they're empty. So far, so good.

That seems to be accurate!

The only question I have,

when you only drink half of the water,
would you consider the measuring cup to be half full or half empty?

That one always stumps me? :chow:

Don't be fooled Joe doesn't drink water. :gulp: :gulp: :gulp: :laugh:

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"Brewbirds" post=389438 said:

Don't be fooled Joe doesn't drink water. :gulp: :gulp: :gulp: :laugh:

You got that right. Unless you count all the melted ice cubes in my gin and tonics.

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The counter isn't flat comment refers to the pic of one of the cups - no matter how you tilt the camera, you can see that the water level in the cup is not flat.

I just tested my three cups (two 2 cup and one 4 cup). Pyrex and Anchor. At 70 degrees, a gallon of water should weigh 8.329 lbs, so doing the math and converting to grams (since it's a more finite unit of measurement), a cup should be 236 grams, a pint 472.25 grams, and a quart 944.5 grams (rounding to nearest quarter gram, my scale shows whole grams only).

All of my cups are close enough for government work, the only different is maybe the top or bottom of the water level. So I'm good!

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[attachment=14400]thanks-rainbow-ag1.gif[/attachment]
Thanks BB's Glad to hear you are getting a handle on things!!!
[attachment=14401]graphics-beer-737871_2013-07-27.gif[/attachment][attachment=14401]graphics-beer-737871_2013-07-27.gif[/attachment][attachment=14401]graphics-beer-737871_2013-07-27.gif[/attachment]

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This is good to know I never would have thought to check the measuring cups - I think ill be testing mine tonight :chug:

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BB's just to throw ya another curve. Remember that grains, sugar, and other dry goods. The weight will also change with humidity. Crushed grains will adsorb more due the increase in surface area.

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"haerbob3" post=389675 said:

[attachment=14400]thanks-rainbow-ag1.gif[/attachment]
Thanks BB's Glad to hear you are getting a handle on things!!!
[attachment=14401]graphics-beer-737871_2013-07-27.gif[/attachment][attachment=14401]graphics-beer-737871_2013-07-27.gif[/attachment][attachment=14401]graphics-beer-737871_2013-07-27.gif[/attachment]

You know we would not have been able to do it without your help.
We are unique in that my brother does all the computer /recipe stuff and I do all the kitchen/labor stuff so I know it was a huge challenge for you to work with us to figure out why we were not getting dialed in.

I did not want to step on his toes but on brew day standing at the stove I would scratch my head on occasion at something even after we did our walk through. Once we found out our measurements were off and we started using the ruler we have been hitting targets with every batch.

You have been a huge help even though you could not see it in person and I thank you again I promise our beers have improved because of it.

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Yep and you are making great beer. That is if we can trust Joe's opinion :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: Brew on guys!!!!!

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after all this is a description of a beer drinking adventure of his

[attachment=14402]tumblr_lek64mRS6T1qakx30_2013-07-27.gif[/attachment]

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