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Brewing Topics => Cider, Mead, Wine and Others => Topic started by: mr_beer on January 23, 2019, 10:31:05 AM

Title: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: mr_beer on January 23, 2019, 10:31:05 AM
I am puzzled.

Attached is a recipe "xxMead" which is Mr. Smith's recipe that I got from the cloud and fiddled with to localize it to my environment.

On the Design tap it shows an ABV of 15%.  I increased the Honey to 30 poiunds the Ext. ABV did not change.  Increased it to 40 pounds and the Est ABV did not change. 

The OG changes but nothing related to Est ABV.  If I increase the fermentation a lot I expect that the Est. ABV will change correspondingly. 

Am I using this tool improperly??

There must be something I am missing here.
Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: Oginme on January 23, 2019, 10:46:05 AM
Yes,  what you are missing is that with the release of BS3 the program uses the maximum alcohol tolerance of the yeast as a cap to how much a given wort/must can ferment.  If you want to work around this limitation (which is published by the yeast manufacturers), then you can edit the yeast and increase the max alcohol tolerance for that yeast in the recipe.  your results, however, can only be validated by actual readings on your brew.

Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: mr_beer on January 23, 2019, 11:35:43 AM
Thank you for the prompt reply.

Apparently the program was changed but it was not important to change the documentation.

The program is great with lots of capabilities.  It is a shame that the documentation is so sparce and often non-existent on many program options.

I would give the program an A- but give the documentation a D.
Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: dtapke on January 23, 2019, 11:53:36 AM
What documentation would need to change? it seems the issue is that you're not familiar with the ingredients you chose. That yeast has an alcohol tolerance of 14%, therefore achieving an estimated ABV higher that 15% would be impossible. The program reflected that.

It sounds more like an issue of the user not understanding how fermentation works, the program cannot account for the user being unaware of what they're doing, and no documentation can account for that either. The program does not teach one how to brew, it expects that a user is competent and understands the dynamics of brewing...
Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: dtapke on January 23, 2019, 12:09:58 PM
sorry my short temper there....

the issue is, if they upped fermentation to levels beyond what the yeast can handle then everyone would want to know why their beer/mead/cider fermentation stopped right? like, "i made this mead recipe for 25% alcohol, why did it only ferment to 15% ABV?"

so by limiting the recipe to the ability of the ingredients, he's effectively prevented this level of stupid, yet instead brought on a whole other level of problems with people saying "why can't i make a recipe that's 50% ABV?"
Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: mr_beer on January 23, 2019, 12:21:52 PM
Thank you for you reply dtapke.  Since you are a BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer I am sure you understand a lot about fermentation. 

I have commented repeatedly in my prior posts regarding the [lack of] good documentation.  The BS3 documentation is so bad that I started writing my own user manual ? it is on revision 19 at this time. 

My background is in software/hardware development that helped lead several companies to great growth.  So I believe I speak with the voice of experience.  My thesis is that all software starts out trying to solve a business/process problem.  Initially it is tailored to the "expert".  As the software becomes better, the documentation improves and more people start to use it who are not experts.  Eventually the software will embody the business/process characteristics to assist the novice in usage and understanding the problem space. 

If along the way the documentation and software fail to account for the change in the experience level of the user community, then the support burden will continue to grow, costs will spiral out of control and growth will be self-limited.

In my opinion, BS has the opportunity to essentially capture the market but absent good documentation growth will be limited.
Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: Oginme on January 23, 2019, 12:45:07 PM
If you read the documentation on the version release, the limit on the %ABV based upon yeast tolerance is right there listed on the documented updates from BS2
Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: mr_beer on January 23, 2019, 12:59:17 PM
I do not want to get into some type of back/forth contest. 

My point is that good documentation is essential to growth/usage of the software.

Reading the small print of what changed between releases is truly what the "experts" will do.  The general community will not read that info and in fact may not have it. 

Users want documentation that is complete and tells they how to use the product and what the various options are. 

Open up the BS3 Help menu.  Do a search for "Est ABV" and it has something to do with custom reports. 
Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: dtapke on January 23, 2019, 01:30:38 PM
Seems there's lots of info when searching the forum, there's also info when searching for "alcohol"

given the vast differences from system to system, batch to batch, nobody could write all encompassing documentation to cover every aspect and variation. And as Oginme stated, its right there in the BS3 version documentation as well (yeast tolerance) Which just goes to show, even if you provide documentation, not everyone reads it.

I'm an Auto Mechanic by trade (15 years or so) do you know how many people ask us about things that are right there in their owners manual? You know, the one thats still in plastic wrap in their glove box?
Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: dtapke on January 23, 2019, 01:33:00 PM
and AFAIK "grandmaster" status is just dependent on the number of posts in the forum. That said, i brew twice a month on a 1bbl system and have been brewing for 12 years, so yeah, I have a pretty decent grasp on brewing i guess. still an idiot though :)
Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: BOB357 on January 23, 2019, 05:41:48 PM
Thank you for the prompt reply.

Apparently the program was changed but it was not important to change the documentation.

The program is great with lots of capabilities.  It is a shame that the documentation is so sparce and often non-existent on many program options.

I would give the program an A- but give the documentation a D.

Would you complain any less if Beersmith predicted an ABV that was unattainable with a particular yeast? Nuff said.
Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: mr_beer on January 24, 2019, 05:21:53 AM
To answer your question ...

I would expect that if there were any internal inconsistency regarding ingredients or profiles that BS would advise the user -- popup window text, red blinking text, something.  After all the program "knows" there is an issue and it should not be a guessing game to determine what it is.

It is obvious to me that the BS "defenders" and aficionados seem to be blind to product improvements that would be quite easy.  And that in turn leads to my thesis that as the market expands less skillful and knowledgeable users will need help with the underlying process.  That is how the market will expand and sales will grow.

As you said "Nuff said".  This thread probably should be closed
Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: dtapke on January 24, 2019, 07:21:24 AM
I'm sure Brad would gladly take a donation of your time to write the hundreds of hours of code to make that happen. Or a donation of your time to provide better Documentation.

Or you know, take charge with that attitude! make yourself a better program! Take the lead in the market!

alas, its obvious to me that BS "haters" seem blind to what it takes to make particular changes to a program. And that in turn leads to my thesis that haters gonna hate, especially when all they have to do is feign knowledge behind a computer screen.

-sorry dude, i'm no "BS defender" but i've used a couple other programs and BS is the best by far.

Is it perfect? Nope.
Can i do better? Nope.
Can most people with a modicum of intelligence figure out what they need to figure out to make the program work properly? Yep.
If, God forbid, they cannot; do they generally get a very quick response on the forum dedicated to helping them figure it out? Yep.
Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: jomebrew on January 24, 2019, 08:33:30 AM
Software is hard and pleasing everyone is rare. I've in the industry for over 30 years.

Anyway, checkout starting 2:35 into this video tutorial http://beersmith.com/creating-a-mead-recipe-in-beersmith-3/

Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: mr_beer on January 24, 2019, 09:05:24 AM
Thank you for your link -- I have viewed it many times.  Everyone on this thread, with the exception of your comment, seems a shade snarky or defensive on the topic of improvement.

I have communicated with Mr. Smith on this topic and his responses to date have been non-committal.  It is his product, his company and his budget.  He understands where he wants to take the product and the audience it will serve.

Regarding software, development and refinement is not rocket science.  If fact with modern tools, it is not even very hard.  Like you, I have extensive experience, both as a developer and in a management capacity.  So I believe I speak with the voice of experience. 

Restating my prior post, my thesis is that all software starts out trying to solve a business/process problem.  Initially it is tailored to the "expert".  As the software becomes better, the documentation improves and more people start to use it who are not experts.  Eventually the software will embody the business/process characteristics to assist the novice in usage and understanding the problem space.

What is difficult is determining the objectives of the software itself, the target audience and of course the budget and time frame as the product evolves.  Those items interact and help explain how and why the various features are implemented.   

My evaluation is that at this point BS3 has great capability but expects the user to be an "expert" or close to it.  The transition for the future could be to change the product so it is more usable to the novice user and expand the market.  Trust me when I say that there are more novice users than "expert" users in any market space. 
Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: dtapke on January 24, 2019, 09:21:45 AM
Hey look at that! you're a grandmaster now!
Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: Oginme on January 24, 2019, 09:39:46 AM
Yup, he hit 100 posts!  Congrats Mr_Beer!
Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: jomebrew on January 24, 2019, 10:03:54 AM
It is pretty well known, though not likely by new/novice users, that Beersmith has a steep learning curve though a lot depends on how you want to use it.

Your original post asked if you were using the tool improperly or missing something.  I think Oginme answered exactly what you sought and you kindly thanked him.  That is the beauty of the forum and brilliant folks like oginme, who interpret your issue and apply it to their understanding of how the software works including nuances like this one

This issue is documented. Just not in a format that was helpful to you. As you watched the video, it didn't click that the max ABV in a recipe would be limited by the alcohol tolerance of the yeast you selected.  Brad documented this exact question in the Beersmith 3 New features as well (http://beersmith.com/beersmith-3-features/ see Mead).  Again, maybe you didn't read it, maybe it wasn't relative at the time and long forgotten.

As for snark, we do get a little defensive when we think folks are bashing the tool when it is not, in our opinion, the tool that is causing the issue but more of an issue how it is being used.  In this case, it feels like you are bashing the documentation without a reference so, it seems you are just ranting about it versus being a bit more constructive and pointing out the discrepancy. At least that gives Brad a specific to track a defect against.

Hope your Mead turns out fantastic.  I have about 70lbs honey waiting for me to cross the beer / mead chasm and make something interesting. Sadly, I am not a fan of honey flavor so getting the inertia to cross the chasm is difficult.

Cheers!

Thank you for your link -- I have viewed it many times.  Everyone on this thread, with the exception of your comment, seems a shade snarky or defensive on the topic of improvement.

I have communicated with Mr. Smith on this topic and his responses to date have been non-committal.  It is his product, his company and his budget.  He understands where he wants to take the product and the audience it will serve.

Regarding software, development and refinement is not rocket science.  If fact with modern tools, it is not even very hard.  Like you, I have extensive experience, both as a developer and in a management capacity.  So I believe I speak with the voice of experience. 

Restating my prior post, my thesis is that all software starts out trying to solve a business/process problem.  Initially it is tailored to the "expert".  As the software becomes better, the documentation improves and more people start to use it who are not experts.  Eventually the software will embody the business/process characteristics to assist the novice in usage and understanding the problem space.

What is difficult is determining the objectives of the software itself, the target audience and of course the budget and time frame as the product evolves.  Those items interact and help explain how and why the various features are implemented.   

My evaluation is that at this point BS3 has great capability but expects the user to be an "expert" or close to it.  The transition for the future could be to change the product so it is more usable to the novice user and expand the market.  Trust me when I say that there are more novice users than "expert" users in any market space.
Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: BOB357 on January 25, 2019, 12:36:23 PM
Well stated jomebrew!
Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: jomebrew on January 28, 2019, 08:57:34 AM
Not surprising, this thread helped me with a couple recipes just this last week.  I even found another reference to the yeast settings capping of ABV by Brad in the process.

I made a DIPA using 2 packets of SafAle US-05 that was targeted for 9%ABV.  My new brew system has a much higher efficiency (15% higher) which I didn't account for in the recipe.  After adjusting the efficiency, the estimated ABV jumped to 10% exactly.  My 1.093 finished at 1.016 or 10.2%.  I edited the detail of US-05 and found it is capped at 10%.  I changed it to 13 and BeerSmith shows over 10% as expected.

Same for my intended Triple IPA I am planning. White Labs WPL090 is capped at 10% in the configuration and thus the ABV was capped at 10%.  I am now increasing the value on all the yeasts I use.

Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: dtapke on January 28, 2019, 09:25:00 AM
So, did he just put 10% down across the board? WLP090 can hit 15% without much trouble if i'm not mistaken.

I see he's even got 099 listed at 18%, and I know that'll hit 25%+ if you're good to it and know what you're doing.

I'm curious why his numbers are inaccurate... I can understand the inaccuracies in hops and fermentables as they change from crop to crop, but yeast is a pretty set tolerance
Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: Oginme on January 28, 2019, 10:46:22 AM
I may be wrong, but I believe that most of the numbers come from the specification sheets from the manufacturers.  A lot of these have been in the program from the beginning (V1) and I am not sure any updates to more recent specs have been made.  I do know that in the 6 years I have been brewing, several of the yeasts I use have been updated by the manufacturers with new limits and I have updated these myself in my copy of BeerSmith.
Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: BILLY BREW on January 29, 2019, 06:23:16 AM
Long and short of the conversation, I would think, would be to make your batch, take your readings and figure out your calcs. based on that. I have been making mead for some 30 years, and with all the additives, honey profiles, yeast variants, etc To expect any program to give accurate findings is possible, but would constantly be changing to add variant ingredients on top of yeast strains, batches, age, and climatic conditions.
As an armature beekeeper, there are 10's of thousands of honeys. And that is just domestic. If you buy your honey from a store, there is a good chance that you are not buying honey at all but a sugar blend from China that is sold to importers. That in itself would completely screw up any readings, baselines.
My humble advice... Make it, try it, if you like it then clone it. If you don't figure out why and change it. But ALWAYS buy your honey from a local keeper to ensure that what you are buying is actually honey, and a thumbnail of what kind.
Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: jomebrew on January 29, 2019, 10:44:34 AM
The two yeasts I looked, 090 and SafAle US-05 were  at 10%.  It looks like they did not come from the manufacturer.  Maybe a new install is different.  I upgraded from 1.4 to 2 to 3 over the years.
Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: Oginme on January 29, 2019, 11:28:00 AM
Fermentis lists US-05 at 11% for alcohol tolerance right now.  I looked back on a few other forums and it seems like there was some discussion around 2007 to 2009 about what the actual limit was as no one could find it on a spec sheet for that product. 
Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: jomebrew on January 29, 2019, 12:05:19 PM
Fermentis lists US-05 at 11% for alcohol tolerance right now.  I looked back on a few other forums and it seems like there was some discussion around 2007 to 2009 about what the actual limit was as no one could find it on a spec sheet for that product.

I changed the entry on my BS3 to 13 so I don't have to remember the yeast settings will limit my potential though this will come back to haunts some time later I am sure. I checked their website which now says 9-11%. 

honestly, I would like to see a flag indicating the estimated ABV is based on yeast settings and not the recipe. I fnot for this post, I would have had no idea and not sure I would have crafted a good enough search term.

Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: Oginme on January 29, 2019, 12:32:41 PM
I have answered this same question several times since the update to the software, so the threads are out there.   It just may be the search based upon the title of the thread is not very revealing to the actual question asked and answered.
Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: djlysuc on March 08, 2019, 05:51:57 AM
I would expect that if there were any internal inconsistency regarding ingredients or profiles that BS would advise the user -- popup window text, red blinking text, something.  After all the program "knows" there is an issue and it should not be a guessing game to determine what it is.

Sorry to go back to brewing advice, but I'm making my first mead and from what I am seeing and assuming is if you want a sweet mead then that is mainly done by overdoing the honey so there is excess fermentables and sweetness by the time the yeast get killed off by alcohol content? so there is no maximum amount you should put in? Also is it possible to make a sweet mead without hitting the maximum alcohol tolerance of the yeast? Would a certain non/part fermentable sugar be my best option or is it best to get the sweetness another way?
Title: Re: Mead versus Est ABV
Post by: Oginme on March 08, 2019, 08:15:48 AM
I am by no means a mead expert, but usually sweet mead is made by fermenting the batch out, stopping yeast activity by adding Sulfites, and then back sweetening with honey or sugars to get the flavor you want.  You can also try to halt the fermentation process by adding the Sulfites in some point and someone more experienced may be able to tell you how to do that.