Mash efficiency is a crucial metric when calculating a homebrew beer recipe. Using the software BeerSmith 2, it’s a bit of a challenge to modify your mash efficiency percentage because the tool uses brewhouse efficiency instead. In this post, Mike shows you what he does to work around this feature to dial in his mash efficiency with a few changes to the inputs of his equipment profile. Watch this video to learn more about how you can set an accurate mash efficiency in BeerSmith 2 as well.

Using Software to Calculate Your Recipes

When you are developing a recipe, you need to know your mash efficiency to correlate how much grain you need to attain a target original gravity. If you don’t know what your mash efficiency is, then you can’t know how much grain you need to hit the original gravity that you want for your recipe.

Because mash efficiency is a calculation, there is a chance that the gravity numbers you see in the software do not match what you see in real life after taking a hydrometer reading. Mike had experiences with this issue and saw on forums that others did too.

The small issue that Mike found, that is specific to BeerSmith, is that the software calculates mash efficiency from brewhouse efficiency. The mash efficiency percentage cannot be edited – it’s “grayed out”. Because the BeerSmith software has many features so that it can be used by homebrewers and professional brewers alike, you need to work with it so that it gives you the output you need. In this particular case, the tool is set up more for a larger scale brewery but Mike figured out what to change to make it work for his homebrewing needs.

Beer Smith 2 Software Hack

Brewhouse efficiency is calculated using measures that account for wort loss throughout your whole brewing process such as:

  • Loss based on using a chiller
  • Loss from wort that can’t be extracted from trub
  • Top off water
  • Fermenter loss

If you zero these inputs, then the brewhouse efficiency becomes your mash efficiency. Since you can input a percentage into the text field next to the BH Efficiency heading, you can quickly make changes to your recipe by just inputting different percentage numbers into that box in BeerSmith 2.

Mike has had this topic on his mind for a while. He wanted to post something that would help other homebrewers figure out why software sometimes says one thing and their homebrew day measurements are different.