Friday, September 30, 2011

Press Release: Another Chance to Win Some Free Tickets on MBR

9 comments
OK everybody, it's that time again! You can win tickets to the Kohler Wine and Food Experience on October 22.

I'll bet you're wondering how. There are three ways to win:

Comment on this post with your First Name and Last Initial.
Comment on this post at MBR's Facebook Page.
Retweet this post from MBR's Twitter Feed.

I will stop collecting names on Friday October 14, 2011. I will let you know who won the tickets Monday October 17. You have two weeks starting .... NOW!


Oktoberfest at the Kohler Food & Wine Experience http://www.kohlerathome.com/kfwe-2011-82.html

Saturday, October 22 at 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Celebrate our Wisconsin Heritage along with the German tradition of Oktoberfest. Featuring local and regional microbrews, polka music by the John Roehl Orchestra and bratwurst from Johnsonville. Be sure to bring your lederhosen.

$36.75 per ticket

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Audience Participation: Forgive But Don't Forget

7 comments
Mark Twain once wrote: "Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it."

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. This idea of forgiveness and giving a brewery another (another) shot.

When do you stop giving brewery another shot? When do you say "enough is enough, I'm done"? What can a brewery do to encourage that second (or third or fourth) chance?

How much of that decision is marketing? Can a brewery market itself out of a hole?

How much is simply the culture of craft beer? There seems to be a culture of consumer experimentation in craft beer - trying different beers from different breweries - how much is simply coming back around to the brewery?

In cases where the brewery is forgiven, what were the triggers? What changed about the beer or the brewery?

Three examples based on (un-named) in-state breweries:

Brewery A is from a small town. It makes a large range of beer that is firmly within the experimental tradition of craft beer. However, technical issues present flaws in the beer. I bought two or three packs from this brewery. Got frustrated, gave it a full 6 months to year off (didn't purchase any of it). I had some at a beer fest that was actually pretty good (no flaws), bought two more packs of it in the store and one had the same flaws as before, while the other did not. Gave it another few months off (put it in "the rotation" more or less) and came back to the same flaws. Have not purchased it since (2 or 3 years ago) and have no intention of purchasing it again.

Brewery B is also from a small town. It makes a medium range of beers that are all very good. There was a long run of beer, however, that had serious diacetyl problems in the bottles and on tap. I stopped buying any brands from this brewery for a long period of time (maybe 9 months or so). When I came back to it, some of the brands had been "fixed" (have not exhibited the problems at all), while others continue to be very spotty. In this case, I continue to purchase the "good" brands from this brewery, while I purchase with far less frequency (if at all) the "spotty" brands.

Brewery C makes a large selection of beer. Some of the beers are (subjectively) really good, some I don't like at all. I never purchase the ones I don't like. In fact, I only purchase the ones that I do like and won't purchase a new release from this brewery until I have had independent confirmation that it is even worthy of trying from friends and acquaintances whom I trust.

So, there seems to be a pattern on my part of willingness to forgive technical issues, so long as the brewery is able to fix them. However, I am far less willing to forgive compete market misses.

Have you given this as much thought as I have? Any conclusions?

Friday, September 23, 2011

When Craft Brewers Bicker

7 comments
So I subscribe to this RSS feed that I can never read the full article for. Why? Because the silly pay wall prevents me from reading Beer Business Daily. But the teaser (because you never know, with a teaser like this I just might pony up the $500+ per year for a subscription) goes like this:
Holy cow. There's trouble in paradise. Here's what happened. At about 3pm yesterday, outspoken brewer Larry Bell of Bell's Brewery rang BBD from the Cubs game to relay that it is his opinion that the small brewer tax bill (H.R. 1236 and S. 534), which sets a new tax threshold at 6 million barrels, should be scrapped in favor of language which keeps the threshold at 2 million barrels...
If you're like me you read that and went "Holy Cow! I have no idea what any of that means or why it matters but it sounds incongruous and meaningful so I'm going to research it."

Like I said, "If you're like me ... and you have a beer blog ... and you find tax law interesting ... and you have a Thursday morning to kill ..."

Anyway. There's a bit of a backstory to this: At the end of last year the Brewers Association was faced with the problem that Sam Adams would no longer qualify under its [the BA's] definition of "craft beer" which put a barrel cap at 2 million barrels to be a member. So, rather than face the lost dues of its biggest member, the BA, unsurprisingly I suppose, simply raised the barrel cap to 6 million barrels, thereby retaining Sam Adams as its largest member by a rather healthy margin.

There. That ought to fix it, right?

Right.

Relatedly, and by relatedly I mean in a causative not a correlative, manner, Sam Adams faced another problem: the tax code gives a break to certain small brewers. The tax break goes like this: every brewery owes the federal government an excise tax of $18 per barrel; except, we don't want to hurt small breweries, and, in fact we want to encourage them, so instead of $18 per barrel, any brewery under 2 million barrels only has to pay $7 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels.

You see where this is going right?

If you guessed that Sam Adams, through its puppet the Brewers Association, would lobby the government to increase the barrel limit from 2 million barrels to 6 million barrels you win a prize.

Given all of that, we come back to the Present Day. Larry Bell bitchin' in the Rags. Why does Larry Bell care? I'm sure if I had paid my $500+ per year for that damned subscription I could probably tell you. But, as it is, I have to guess.

My guess is that Larry Bell, like the rest of us, gets testy when he sees rules bent for "the special case." Even if the rules might ultimately (but probably not) affect/benefit him. It's the principle of the matter. Why should we treat Sam Adams any different?

It's a really good question, actually.

2 million barrels is a lot of beer. 6 million barrels is 3 times "a lot" (is that a "shit ton"?). Is it even possible to be a "craft" brewery at 2.5 million barrels of production? Given the scale of production is the $11 per barrel tax break on a mere 60,000 barrels (less than 3% of your production) incentivizing you at this point? Would an increase in $11 per barrel on less than 3% of your production really hurt you? And, if it's not providing an incentive or meaningful break, why should we (the American people) subsidize you? We need all the money we can get. Adding $660,000 isn't much, but, hey, it'll pay for a couple new school renovations.

In other words, if the Brewers Association weren't just a puppet of Sam Adams and listened to people like Larry Bell instead of Jim Koch, the Brewers Association might waste its lobbying dollars on increasing the 60,000 barrel part of that equation instead of the 2 million barrel part of that equation.

Friday, September 16, 2011

We Haven't Talked About Hops In A While I Guess

4 comments
Joe is our resident hop expert, but I'm the resident hop lover.

I'd place this wager with Joe, or really against anyone: I will put my AA per beer ratio up against anyone, winner has to drink a Ruination and Ruud Awakening back-to-back.

I don't want to hear any crap about balance. Fuck balance. I want hops. Malt is for dopplebocks (which I also love). Don't give me this "ooo...this IPA is perfectly balanced with an emphasis on aroma hops and a backbone of amber malt." Screw that. I want to smell the hops the second the cap comes off the bottle. I want a huge white head foaming over the top. I want effervescence. I want enough bitterness to question whether you're drinking the most delicious lemonade ever made. I want a lip-licking, resinous, sticky, aftertaste of citrus fruit and pine.

Anyway. This is all to say that when I heard that Bill Rogers was having a Hop Week at The Malt House next week (September 18-24), my heart went all a pitter-patter. Here's a list of what you'll be able to drink at The Malt House:

Gaverhopke ExtraChouffe Houblon
Hommel Bier
Troubador Magma
De Ranke XX
Red Eye Black IPA
Central Waters Illumination
Potosi Tangerine IPA
Satisfaction Jacksin
Tyranena Hop Whore
Oppigårds Amarillo
Weyerbacher Simcoe DIPA
Wintercoat Double Hop
Bell's Oracle DIPA
Nøgne-Ø IPA
3 Floyd's Arctic Panzer Wolf
3 Floyd's Dreadnaught
Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale


Not a bad list at all. The ExtraChouffe, Magma, and Oppigards are particularly intriguing and I haven't a Dreadnaught in a while. So, I will be hanging out at Malt House most of next week. In fact, on September 19, Malt House will have Wisconsin hop experts Gorst Valley Hops out to talk alpha acid with you:
Celebrate the hops harvest with Gorst Valley Hops and help kick off Hops Week September 19 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Malt House! Sip an awesome selection of some of the hoppiest beers around, chat with GVH hops experts, sample hops "tea," pick a pack of hops to take home (one per guest, please, while supplies last), and test your hops knowledge in our trivia contest to earn a chance to score some GVH bling. The Malt House is located at 2609 E. Washington Ave.
Wisconsin, thanks to Gorst Valley, is revitalizing its hop industry. Indeed, Wisconsin was a hop-growing region well before Washington and Oregon. Gorst Valley does this by purchasing hops from its growers, providing a processing service, and selling the hops directly to brewers. In this regard, Gorst Valley is encouraging and subsidizing (to some extent) farmers throughout (mostly Southern) Wisconsin to grow hop varieties that are in demand: primarily Cascade, but other varietals as well. As a result over the last few years hop acreage in Wisconsin has grown tremendously; of course, it doesn't come anywhere close to the hop farms of Washington and Oregon.

Brewers like Furthermore and Central Waters and Tyranena are using Gorst Valley hops in their own brews.

So, I hope you'll join me in celebrating the hop harvest at The Malt House. I'll even let you buy me that Ruination when you lose the bet.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Press Release Thursday: Hop Head Beer Tour and Free (free!!) Tickets

0 comments
Hop Head Beer Tours is run by friend-of-MBR Justin Schmitz. Their tours are sweet. You should go on one. Before you do, stop in to Alchemy, Glass Nickel (Atwood), or Vintage and put your name in the hopper to win some tickets for an upcoming tour.


------------------START PRESS RELEASE--------------------


Greetings Hop Heads!

The Alchemy Cafe, the Glass Nickel Eastside Madison and the Vintage Brewing Co. are all hosting their own raffle for 2 free tickets to the Heritage Ale Trail, our beer history themed brewery bus tour on Saturday, Sept. 24th. Sign up at the bar with your name and contact information for the raffle and the names of the winners will drawn on Monday, Sept. 19th! So stop in, grab a pint and sign up!

Hop Head will be at the Great Lakes Beer Fest in Racine, WI on Saturday, Sept. 17th. We have partnered with the Grumpy Troll Brewpub in Mt. Horeb to pour their beer in the beer tent while promoting our tours!

Upcoming Tours:

Heritage Ale Trail: A History Themed Brewery Bus Tour. Saturday, Sept. 24th. Originates in Madison, WI and travels to the Minhas Craft Brewery, Haydock Beer Memorabilia Museum, Potosi Brewery and the National Brewery Museum.

Madtown Brewery Tour: Saturday, Oct. 15th. Originates in Neenah, WI and travels to Schultz's Cheese Haus, Capital Brewery, Vintage Brewing Co. and Ale Asylum.

Fox River Beer Tour: Saturday, November 12th. Originates in Madison, WI and travels to Schultz's Cheese Haus, Stone Cellar Brewpub, Titletown Brewing Co. and the Hinterland Brewery.

In Planning for Spring 2012:

Chicago Brewery Tour: Originating from Madison in Feb 2012.

Central Wisconsin Brewery Tour: Originating from Neenah in Feb 2012.

Backroads Brewery Tour: Originating from Madison in April 2012.

Milwaukee Brewery Tour and Brewers Game: Originating from Madison and Neenah in June 2012.

See you on the bus!


Cheers,

Justin Schmitz
Managing Director
Hop Head Beer Tour Co.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Second Hand Knowledge

1 comments

In the blog universe, I suppose, this is a bit like "So, I heard from my friend's mom's uncle ..." But some information from The "Beer Me" Blog from MSNBC:

  • Budweiser, down 30% to 18,000,000 barrels
  • Milwaukee's Best Light, down 34% to 1,300,000 barrels
  • Miller Genuine Draft, down 51% to 1,800,000 barrels
  • Old Milwaukee, down 52% to 525,000 barrels
  • Milwaukee's Best, down 53% to 925,000 barrels
  • Bud Select, down 60% to 925,000 barrels
  • Michelob Light, down 64% to 525,000 barrels
  • Michelob, down 72% to 175,000 barrels
What I find most interesting is this: New Glarus' Spotted Cows sales for the state of Wisconsin is almost 50% of Michelob. Almost. Stan Hieronymous has some more information about this: "Anheuser-Busch sold 8 million barrels of Michelob in 1980 ... It took A-B only eight days in 1980 to sell as much Michelob as it sold in all of 2010."

Frankly, I'm amazed A-B sold 925,000 barrels of Bud Select. I've never seen anyone intentionally order that beer when it wasn't free.

Finally, MGD is 1/10th the sales of Budweiser. Who knew?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Who Owns Your Beer?

2 comments
Phillip Howard, Assistant Professor at Michigan State University, has some great slides on the beer industry that you might find interesting. At the very least, I find them interesting.

The first is a chart of brand ownership. It basically shows that 11 breweries own the vast majority of the most popular brands.

The second graphic points out that just two firms, AB-InBev (47.9) and MillerCoors (28.9), have almost 77% of the market share. Boston Beer, the largest craft brewer in the nation, has a mere 1.1% of the national market share.
This is one of my favorite graphics:

Finally he ends with a graphic showing Breweries per Capita by State. Which, we are all pretty familiar with, so I'll leave it to you to check out on his site.
This isn't really anything that we didn't already know. But these are some unique graphical representations that help to drive home the point of what, exactly, 5% of market share looks like. More importantly, it shows why, despite minor protestations, Miller and AB are not particularly afraid of craft beer. They are, however, savvy enough to recognize general trends (double digit growth of craft for almost every year of the 2000s) and are making plans to head craft brewers (via its lobbying entity the Brewers Association) off at the pass before craft becomes big enough to loosen the grip that the big brewing cabal have on the industry.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Press Release Thursday: Keg & Cork Toast To A Cure

0 comments
-----------------START PRESS RELEASE----------------------

Keg & Cork: Toast To A Cure
Friday, September 16, 2011, 5-9pm
Capital Brewery- 7734 Terrace Avenue, Middleton WI
For more information call 608-298-9902 or email us at madison-wi@cff.org

http://madison.cff.org/kegandcork

Advance tickets are $45. Day of tickets are $55.
All proceeds benefit The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Beers from Big Bay Brewing, Capital Brewery, Cross Plains/Essers Brewery, Gray’s Brewing Company, Rhinelander Brewing Company, Vintage Brewing and Wisconsin Distributors.

Wines from Barossa Wine Distributors, Fawn Creek Winery, Northleaf Winery, River City Distributors, Spurgeon Vineyards and Weggy Winery.

Food from Northwoods Cheese, PF Changs, Scott’s Pastry Shoppe, Sprecher’s Restaurant, Tropical Cuisine, Tutto Pasta and Vintage Brewing.

We will also have a silent auction and beer/wine pulls. There will be entertainment from Cait Shanahan of Cait and the Girls, and Devil’s Fen.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Two New (Glarus) Releases

5 comments
As summer comes to a close, New Glarus Brewing Co. has come out with a two very different new seasonal beers: Laughing Fox Kristal Weizen and Black Top Black IPA. One is traditional, the other modern; one is mild, the other assertive; one is light, the other dark; one is...ok I'll stop there, but you get the idea.

New Glarus Laughing Fox Kristal Weizen

RB(NA) BA(B+)
Appearance: Surprisingly dark, copper-orange with a big, foamy, lingering head.
Aroma: Clove, cinnamon, and just of hint of the hefeweizeny banana ester.
Flavor: In short, very mild. Hints of wheat and clove, with a very thin body. None of the caramel flavors the darker color implies come through in the taste. The yeast notes become a bit more pronounced as the beer warms up; I'd drink this one at cellar temperature for full effect. A very light, clean beer with mild hefeweizen-yeast notes.
Drinkability: Absurdly drinkable.
Summary: The copper color made me think that Dan might be throwing us a curve ball here, but this beer is basically a light, filtered Hefeweizen, which, I suppose, is exactly what a Krstial Weizen should be. According to the bottle, the color is meant to match that of a fox's fur, which it nails head on. I have to say I prefer Dancing Man, but that one clocks in at 7.2% abv, where as Laughing Fox is a modest 4.5%, making it a good choice for a session on the last few hot days of summer (which may already be behind us, unfortunately).

Black Top Black IPA
RB(NA) BA(B+)
Appearance: Very dark brown if not quite black, with hints of dark amber when held up to the light.
Aroma:: Classic American hop notes of Citrus and Pine, with a hint of caramel in the background.
Flavor: Assertive American hop flavor up front, finishing with a strong bitterness and just a hint of roast. I suspect they use a combination of de-bittered black malt with some roasted malt to get the dark color without too much roast. There is a hint of an acidic bitterness, likely from the roast malt, that melds with the hop bitterness to form a minerally, almost quinine-like bitter note. However the roast flavor is restrained enough so as to not be astringent or unpleasant. A very interesting blend of flavors.
Drinkability: Moderate. The bitterness and roasted note combine to wear out the palate a bit as the glass goes down. I don't see my self drinking a bunch of these in a row.
Summary: Not an IPA/Stout hybrid, but rather a solidly bitter IPA with just a hint of roast that adds some uniqueness and complexity. A tasty brew.

Monday, September 5, 2011

More Legislation: This Time for Homebrewers

0 comments
Back in April we talked about a kerfuffle that arose around serving homebrew in public places. Primarily, we noted that it was, technically, illegal. Yet, obviously, "everyone does it". If you've been to a Wisconsin beer festival in the last few years, there's a good chance that a local homebrew club has had a space set up to do demonstrations and provide tastes of their own products.

Homebrewing is a vital level of the modern american brewing scene. Many of your favorite professional brewers began their lives as homebrewers. Homebrewing also been singularly responsible for the surge in popularity in cider and mead. To the extent we want to encourage nascent entrepreneurs to perfect and expand their industries, this is exactly the activity that homebrewers and homebrew clubs do.

Of course, the naysayers will naysay. Opponents will point to the fact that homebrew is an even more nefarious public health risk than regulated beer - who knows what gets put it into it, how much alcohol is in it, whether it is sanitary, etc. Distributors will point out that this is the only alcohol product that is untaxed.

So, the Wisconsin Homebrewers Alliance have proposed some draft legislation to attempt to remedy their problem: namely, that much of what they currently do, in practice, is not, technically, legal. Even if it goes largely unenforced.

The following is the draft legislation.

------------------------------START DRAFT LEGISLATION-------------------


125.06 License and permit exceptions. No license or permit is required under this
chapter for:


(3) Homemade wine or fermented malt beverages. The manufacture of wine or
fermented malt beverages of any alcoholic content by any person at his or her home,
farm or place of residence if the wine or fermented malt beverages is to be consumed by
that person or his or her family and guests, and if the person manufacturing the wine or
fermented malt beverages receives no compensation.

(3) Homemade wine or fermented malt beverages. (a) The making of homemade
wine or fermented malt beverages by any person, if the total of the homemade wine or
fermented malt beverages made during a calendar year does not exceed one hundred
gallons in a household having one person of legal drinking age or two hundred gallons in
a household having two or more persons of legal drinking age, and if the homemade wine
or fermented malt beverages is not sold or offered for sale. For purposes of this Chapter,
a person who makes homemade wine or fermented malt beverages is not a “brewer”
or “manufacturer” as those terms are defined in s. 125.02, as long as the person making
the homemade wine or fermented malt beverages receives no compensation.

(b) The possession, storage, or transportation of any such homemade wine or fermented
malt beverages, or the mash or wort produced for the purpose of making such homemade
wine or fermented malt beverages.

(c) The demonstration, judging, tasting, sampling, exhibition, contest or competition
of such homemade wine or fermented malt beverages. An owner, lessee, or person in
charge of a public place, including a brewer, licensee, or permittee under this Chapter,
may conduct, sponsor, or host a demonstration, judging, tasting, sampling, exhibition,
contest, or competition of homemade wine or fermented malt beverages at the public
place or the premises described in the license or permit, as long as they do not acquire
any ownership interest in or sell the homemade wine or fermented malt beverages.
A licensee or permittee may allow homemade wine or fermented malt beverages to
be stored at the premises described in the license or permit if the homemade wine or
fermented malt beverages are clearly identified and kept separate from the alcohol
beverage stock of the licensee or permittee. The possession, storage, providing, or
consumption of homemade wine or fermented malt beverages as part of a demonstration,
judging, tasting, sampling, exhibition, contest or competition is not a violation of ss.
125.09 (1), 125.14 (5), 125.315, 125.32 (6) or 125.67, and the labeling requirements of s.
125.32 (7) do not apply to homemade wine or fermented malt beverages kept or served as
part of such events or activities. Homemade wine or fermented malt beverages submitted
or consumed as part of a demonstration, judging, tasting, sampling, exhibition, contest, or
competition are not “sold or offered for sale”, and a prize awarded at such demonstration,
judging, tasting, sampling, exhibition, contest, or competition is not “compensation” for
purposes of the exception set forth in s.125.06(3)(a).

139.04 Exclusions. No tax is levied by ss. 139.02 and 139.03 in respect to:

(1) Making of wine, cider or fermented malt beverages at home solely for consumption
therein and use thereof in such home by the family and guests without compensation.

(1) Making, possessing, storing, transporting, or consuming homemade wine or
fermented malt beverages produced in accordance with s. 125.06 (3) (a), or conducting,
sponsoring, or hosting a demonstration, judging, tasting, sampling, exhibition, contest or
competition of homemade wine or fermented malt beverages as described in s. 125.06 (3)
(c).

Friday, September 2, 2011

Five Gallons At A Time: Decoction Temperatures

0 comments
Hitting a target temperature with a decoction can be tricky if your mash tun doesn't have a heat source. That's because (1) your main mash will get colder during its rests and (2) the decoction will need to raise the temperatures of both your mash and your mash tun.

To account for heat loss over time, you should conduct a simple test with your mash tun: add hot water, measure its temperature, wait an hour and measure its temperature again. You can then determine your mash tun's rate of heat loss by plugging the measured temperatures into the following equation:

dQ = 8.33 x Vw x (Tw1 - Tw2) / (Tw1 - Ta)

where:

dQ = rate of heat loss (BTU/hr/degf)
Vw = volume of water, measured cold (gal)
Tw1 = initial water temperature (degf)
Tw2 = final water temperature (degf)
Ta = ambient temperature (degf)

By assuming dQ is a constant (it'll be close enough at mash temperatures), you can calculate the temperature loss of a given mash rest with this equation:

dT = dQ x (T1 - Ta) x t x (8.33 x Vw / mg + 1) / (8.33 x Vw / mg + 0.4) / (8.33 x Vw + mg)

where:

dT = temperature loss (degf)
t = time of rest (hr)
Vw = volume of mash water, measured cold (gal)
mg = mass of grain (lb)

In reality, Vw and mg will decrease after you pull a decoction. However, the math would require iteration if you needed to know the decoction volume to figure out the decoction volume. To get in the ballpark for the portion of a rest where a decoction is being pulled, you can multiply both values by 0.7. Most of the terms cancel out, resulting in the following equation:

dT = dQ x (T1 - Ta) x t x (8.33 x Vw / mg + 1) / (8.33 x Vw / mg + 0.4) / (8.33 x Vw + mg) / 0.7

The reason why I like these calculations, as opposed to assuming a fixed temperature drop per hour, is because they account for the fact that small mashes cool down faster than big mashes.

To deal with temperature changes in the mash tun, I assume that the inner surfaces of my mash tun are at the mash temperature, the outer surfaces are at ambient temperature and that the temperature gradients between the two are linear. These assumptions aren't perfect, but they're adequate for predicting the initial temperature of a mash rest. As far as the math is concerned, half of the mash tun gets heated up to mash temperature and the other half stays at ambient temperature. Including your mash tun in your calculations, and assuming the decoction will have the same water-to-grain ratio as the mash, will change the heat transfer equation from this:

Vd = Vm x (T2 - T1) / (Td - T1)

to this:

Vd = (cm x mm + cmt x mmt / 2) x (T2 - T1) / (cm x (Td - T1)) / dm

where:

Vd = volume of the decoction (gal)
Vm = volume of the mash before pulling the decoction (gal)
T2 = target mash temperature after returning the decoction (degf)
T1 = main mash temperature before returning the decoction (degf)
Td = temperature of the decoction before returning to the main mash (degf)
cm = specific heat capacity of the mash (BTU/lb/degf)
mm = mass of the mash before pulling the decoction (lb)
cmt = effective specific heat capacity of the mash tun (BTU/lb/degf)
mmt = mass of the mash tun (lb)
dm = average density of the mash (lb/gal)

Specific heat capacity of the mash? Mass of the mash? Average density of the mash? Yeah, there are a few variables you'll probably never measure. Thankfully, you can mathematically manipulate them into brewing parameters that you care about:

Vd = (1 + cmt x mmt x (8.33 x Vw / mg + 1) / (8.33 x Vw / mg + 0.4) / (8.33 x Vw + mg) / 2) x (1.018 x Vw + 0.0837 x mg) x (T2 - T1) / (Ts - T1)

Based on some crude testing, my mash tun seems to have an effective specific heat capacity of 0.33 BTU/lb/degf (I love using pounds as a unit of mass. Don't have judgment). If you use a plastic cooler for a mash tun, that number should work for you too. Anyway, you can see that accounting for temperature losses made the calculations a lot more complex. On that note, I'll leave you with some food for thought: should we worry about evaporative water loss from the boiling decoction?