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Beersmith Primary vs Secondary Dry Hop and the Whirlpool


Grandmaster Brewer
Jul 26, 2012
Reaction score
Los Angeles
It certainly seems that BS3 doesn't have a differentiator in dry hopping in either stage of fermentation.

Typically, I'll dry hop for 3-4 days in Primary (biotransformation or to scrub out the oxygen with remaining yeast) and then rack to a purged keg, or secondary, and do a second charge. For the sake of organization, I'll separate these in BS with the appropriate amounts and days.

BS will organize these based on time, similar to the whirlpool issue. Because my Primary dry hop is less time than my keg, or secondary, charge, it places it out of order. You can see in the attached image, that my dry hopping in Primary is for three days and is dumped to the bottom. Ultimately, for this recipe, I will dry hop at the peak of fermentation, let it finish out and then rack on top of the second charge in the keg which will sit for 7+ days before bottling.

Ideally, these would stay in order. We all have the same problem with the whirlpool, but I have a workaround by manipulating the ingredients (although it doesn't make my IBU calculations accurate). As for the dry hop question I have here, I can't seem to figure out a workaround for the time it's in there.

I hate to ask if I'm missing something, but if it isn't a feature, I'd love to put that in as a request for future updates.


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So, I understand your thinking, but in terms of the software the number of days is measured based upon the date of bottling/kegging.  So a 3 day charge is set to 3 days before the packaging date.  You want to set the time of hopping to reflect this reference point and record the removal/transfer off the hops in your notes or it really becomes part of the fermentation profile, since you are transferring the beer to a new container.  I set keg hops to 0 days.  Since there is no affect of dry hop additions on any of the calculated numbers, this works fine and it is used more for timing of the hop additions rather than any measured or calculated value.

When it comes to you whirlpool, you want to do it the same way.  Set the first charge for the remaining time of the whirlpool/steeping and other charges are lower in time exposure from there.  If you physically remove the whirlpool hops at a certain point, you can adjust the temperature to reflect the estimated IBU of that addition and the timing for the timer function for addition times.  While not perfect and given that IBU from the whirlpool/steep are pretty much a guess anyway, it is the easiest way to have the numbers come out to where you want.
I see. I didn't realize it was from packaging. I'll adjust the dry hopping as such. Good suggestion on setting keg hops for 0 days--makes perfect sense.

Oginme said:
When it comes to you whirlpool, you want to do it the same way.  Set the first charge for the remaining time of the whirlpool/steeping and other charges are lower in time exposure from there.

The first charge for my whirlpool is at flame out--I let it sit around 200 for 15 minutes, then add the second charge at about 175-180 for 30 minutes. I don't remove the hops so setting the first charge for 45 minutes would give me the wrong IBU calculation, no? I suppose I can just make note of it with the correct estimation and time it sits at 200 in the notes tab.

Right now, in my design tab, I have my first whirlpool addition set at flame out (boil for 0 minutes), which doesn't estimate any IBUs. Then I add zero ounces of a "hop" I created called "whirlpool" for 45 minutes (or the total time of my whirlpool). Then add each subsequent hop with the according temperature and time. Those have the appropriate estimated IBUs, but the flame out hops don't. I suppose it's just a matter of me using the calculator and jotting it down for my estimated IBUs?
When I design a beer where I am adding hops at flame out and chilling right away, then I use the 0 minutes boil time.  When I do any type of whirlpool/steep, I add these hops at the total time of the whirlpool and then I adjust the temperature to where I think the IBU contributions will be based upon having tested whirlpool and bitterness over many recipes. 

In the last iteration of the BeerSmith 3 beta, Brad removed the whirlpool % utilization since he rationalized that the temperature was already compensating for that factor.  It really threw my previous work out and I started manipulating the temperature setting in the program (not in real life) to attain the approximate IBU perception I was getting.  Since I brew based upon the timing of additions and have mapped out the temperature drop of the wort over time, I can make this work. I know from experimental data and experience that if I wait 15 minutes, my wort will be around 190F and at 25 minutes it will be at 180F. If I ever get an automated system I may be struggling again to figure this out.

Another tip that I use is the creation of a 'hop' called 'whirlpool pause'.  I add it in for the full time the kettle will be sitting after flame out. It contributes no IBU but is used to set the timer in BeerSmith to alert me when it is time for the whirlpool charges.  For example, I usually add a charge in at 190F for 15 minutes and another at 180F for 5 minutes.  Using the 'pause' hops, I set this for 30 minutes, he first charge for the 15 and the second for 5 minutes.  I then adjust the temperature in the software down 5 degrees from the actual target to get what I sense is the actual IBU contribution.  It has taken more than a few brews with whirlpool hop additions alone to figure this all out for my system, but I also ended up with some nice recipes for an American wheat beer and American pale ale which are only whirlpool hopped and are very popular.