Author Topic: Questions from learning session  (Read 4089 times)

Offline DownstairsBrewing

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Questions from learning session
« on: May 01, 2018, 06:16:20 PM »
I am trying to learn BeerSmith by using to plan out my next brew - a fairly simple extract with grains from 'Methods of Modern Homebrewing' - "Hennepin Avenue", an American Extra Pale Ale.  I have entered the process steps according to the recipe.  Hitting a few questions that I am wondering if someone can help me with.

1.   I have loaded the Add-On styles, not seeing an Extra Pale Ale.  I have set it up as an American Pale Ale, comes in on the lower end of the range, but in 'the green'.   Is there another source for styles?

2.   I caught the pellet/leaf point for the hops, but even adjusting to pellet, BS is showing 38.5 IBUs versus 43 IBUs in the book.

3.   Similarly, the OG is low 1.045 instead of 1.051, so ABV comes in at 4.5% instead of 4.9%

4.  I assume I include the Dextrose used to bottle-carbonate in as an 'after boil' ingredient?  That is where it is now, without it the ABV is lower.

5.  The recipe calls for a top up to 5 gallons, so for equipment I am specing the default Pot 4 gallon  Playing around with other options, it appears I can either increase OG or IBU, but not both by changing the equipment spec.  The IBUs I understand, the more the hopped wort is diluted the lower the IBUs, but I must be missing something about the OG.

Anyway, I would be grateful for pointers as to where to look - I'd like to get as close as possible.

Offline BOB357

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Re: Questions from learning session
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2018, 04:44:19 AM »
Put simply, the same recipe brewed on different systems will usually have different results. Even if you hit the numbers cited in the recipe the beer probably won't be the same. Often the recipe won't even include the manufacturers of ingredients, malt colors or hop AA%, in which case you likely won't be able to match the ingredients. That doesn't make much difference since you haven't tasted that beer anyway. Let's address your questions now.

1 - Extra is usually just a word that some brewers use to enhance the description of their beer. Style guidelines are written for competitions. If you're not entering the beer into a competition, use them as guidelines. 

2 & 3 - See above. Your system is different than what the recipe was written for. Looks like the OG, ABV and IBUs are all in line with each other. Before addressing this, you need to set up an equipment profile if you haven't already. Here's a link to a video that describes the process of doing that: http://brulosophy.com/2014/08/04/beersmith-tutorial-equipment-profile-setup/  Once you have set up your equipment profile you need to select it from the Equipment drop down in the upper left of the design page. If your numbers still don't match you can either adjust your ingredients, using the Scale Recipe feature, adjust your your batch size or leave both alone and just brew it.

4 - Most people don't enter the priming sugar into the recipe. Doing so will skew the numbers.

5 - Topping up is just adding the water needed to achieve the volume the recipe calls for going into the fermenter if you aren't able to do a full volume boil. Boiling less wort and topping up will decrease the hop utilization, but not the OG. The decrease in IBUs is due to the density of the wort in the boil, not the topping up.

If you need more clear answers, Beersmith has a bunch of articles and videos on their web site that are very helpfull.
http://beersmith.com/support/

Bob

Offline DownstairsBrewing

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Re: Questions from learning session
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2018, 06:31:36 AM »
Thanks for your answer - there are a couple of things to think through there.  But one thing puzzles me - the 'skewing the numbers' you refer to.   Depending on carbonation levels, but assuming somewhere in the 2 to 2.7 vol range, the corresponding increase in ABV is between 0.3 and 0.4%, not trivial when you are talking about a 4.9% recipe.  We know that alcohol is produced because we are calculating the byproduct.  I would think not quantifying it would skew the numbers more, unless BeerSmith is accounting for it somehow.

Offline BOB357

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Re: Questions from learning session
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2018, 10:02:02 AM »
Not saying you can't do it, just that most don't. I've followed several threads on the subject and none seem to have a consensus either way. Entered in add after boil it will raise your FG and thus efficiency #s. Guess it'd be a tradeoff either way. You could always just add the resulting % to the ABV after the fact. Something I just never bother with.
Bob

Offline Oginme

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Re: Questions from learning session
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2018, 10:40:05 AM »
Just to add to what BOB357 has said, I don't put the sugar into the recipe for a number of reasons:

1.  It is easier to figure out the efficiency of your system planning a brew from start to into the carboy.  Once you start adding sugars post fermentation into the recipe, it throws off your calculations.  If your goal is to make your process more predictable and consistent, then this will play havoc with your ability to match what you get on a consistent basis when the carbonation rate is varied between recipes.

2.  The amount of sugar typically only affects the ending ABV by a couple of tenths of a percent.  Given the accuracy most of us measure our gravity before and post fermentation, much of this is lost in the noise.  Unless you are brewing commercially where your label needs to accurately reflect the product inside, a tenth or two off in ABV is really not going to be noticed by anyone and the revenuers are not going to come knocking on your door.

3.  Most brewers I know will pre-dissolve the sugar before adding it to the beer when bottling.  So, if you are going to account for the sugar, you also need to account for the water addition.  This makes it waaay to complicated for my tastes.  This hobby is supposed to be fun and I already make it much more complicated that it really needs to be.

4.  The first thing that the sugar will do is to restart the yeast, which will look to multiply.  As they are going through this growth stage, they are giving off CO2, but not much Ethanol.  The yeast will also scavenge the Oxygen in the wort as they build up their reserves against the alcohol already present, which is a good thing.

5.  In the priority (mine at least) of what is important during the brewing process, consistency in producing the wort I target, consistency in yeast health and pitch rates, and fermentation control (temperature, time) are far more important to work on.  My ending goal is the flavor, aroma, color, and consistency of what I produce.  If it is not exactly the ABV that I aimed for due to a little bit of sugar for carbonation, it will at least be consistent from batch to batch of the same recipe.

P.S. And don't even get me started about IBU  ;)


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Offline DownstairsBrewing

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Re: Questions from learning session
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2018, 08:28:45 AM »
Started going through another recipe to develop some comparisons - the equipment connection seems to be a red herring, which is not a surprise because it is comparing two desktop exercises (book and software).  The book assumes 70% extract efficiency in the math, so net brewhouse efficiency must be somewhere below that, and below the BrewSmith default.

The problem is basically parametric - the recipes assume 6 lbs of LME (4.9 of DME) in 5 gallons of water will produce a SG of 1.044, BrewSmith comes out at 1.037.

My main reason for wanting to get the recipe and BS predictions fairly close is that I am set up to do 23L batches, and I'd like to use BS to manage the scaling.

Now to figure out what is going with those 8 missing IBUs...

Offline Oginme

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Re: Questions from learning session
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2018, 10:05:00 AM »
Make sure that your recipe type is set for extract, otherwise the program will apply the mash efficiency to the extract potential. 

Now about those IBU...

IBU is at best a SWAG (Scientific Wild A$$ed Guess) and very dependent upon individual process.  I recommend listening to the BeerSmith podcast with Glenn Tinseth and also the Experimental Brewing podcasts on "The IBU is a Lie" along with their interview with Glenn.  The only real way to 'dial in' the IBU number to make sense to what you want is to brew a clone of a commercial beer or something in the same general bitterness level with commercial beer of known IBU and taste them side by side.  from there you can determine if your process will produce the same or similar bitterness BY PERCEPTION to the established and measured value.  From there, you can bias your IBU target to match where you want it to fall.

The other way is to brew up a number of recipes with varying IBU estimations and have them all sent out for testing and analysis.  This will only give you part of the correlation.  By far the best method is with your own perception of bitterness.

Personally, I have a number of recipes where I target rather low IBU for the style (wheat beers especially), because my recipes always seemed to come out more bitter than the style (and I) called for.   Likewise, I tend to target higher for some IPAs that I make because I will chill them down very quickly and the perception of bitterness is not as strong as I would like. 
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Offline DownstairsBrewing

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Re: Questions from learning session
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2018, 02:40:31 PM »
One of the reasons I am working from an extract recipe first is because it drops out the mash efficiency entirely.   In this case, it is just down to the differences in input data - which may have to be adjusted according to the ME I use for it anyway.  BeerSmith says I need to put another 200 grams of extract into reach the specific gravity.   I guess I will make a batch, see what kind of SG measurements I end up with, and then calibrate from there.

For the IBU's, the recipes and BS both say they are using the Tinseth method, so I guess I will do a calculation of the same in Excel to see where I come out.   Interesting idea to do a clone or something to compare with a known IBU.   I don't care at all about the actual values, but being able to predict your IBU outcome allows you to do a recipe of an unknown beer with a reasonable chance of replicating the original intention.

Offline Oginme

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Re: Questions from learning session
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2018, 06:09:17 PM »
OK, so here is the thing.  4.9 lbs of DME into 5 gallons will give you (at 42 pppg): 42*4.9/5 = 1.041 gravity IF THERE ARE NO OTHER PROCESS LOSSES and disregarding any boil off.  Differences between those factors between what the recipe assumes and the program is set for can easily explain the difference.

Now about those IBU numbers:  Maybe I wasn't clear about matching the numbers, so let me tell a bit of a story,  One brewer I knew early on the in my formative years of homebrewing had a gold medal winning IPA recipe.  He shared it with a whole bunch of people, including me.  It is one of the three all-grain recipes that I brewed that I have not designed myself.  I brewed it and it was closer in bitterness to the low end of a pale ale  specs in terms of perceived bitterness.  Come to find out that his chilling method was to pace the kettle in a cool bath (no water running, no ice) and let it sit for 2 to 3 hours to get it down to around 80 F.  When I chill with my immersion chiller and cold well water, I was down to below 120F in 15 minutes.  Same exact recipe with the hops adjusted for %AA and matching the estimated IBU numbers exactly.  THIS is when I went through the process of calibrating my taste buds for the beer I brew versus a (relatively known) standard.  Now I know how to set the IBU target to try to reach the sensory target I want. 

Your difference in IBU can again come down to process losses post boil.
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Offline DownstairsBrewing

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Re: Questions from learning session
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2018, 07:14:54 PM »
OK, so here is the thing.  4.9 lbs of DME into 5 gallons will give you (at 42 pppg): 42*4.9/5 = 1.041 gravity IF THERE ARE NO OTHER PROCESS LOSSES and disregarding any boil off.  Differences between those factors between what the recipe assumes and the program is set for can easily explain the difference.

Now about those IBU numbers:  Maybe I wasn't clear about matching the numbers, so let me tell a bit of a story,  One brewer I knew early on the in my formative years of homebrewing had a gold medal winning IPA recipe.  He shared it with a whole bunch of people, including me.  It is one of the three all-grain recipes that I brewed that I have not designed myself.  I brewed it and it was closer in bitterness to the low end of a pale ale  specs in terms of perceived bitterness.  Come to find out that his chilling method was to pace the kettle in a cool bath (no water running, no ice) and let it sit for 2 to 3 hours to get it down to around 80 F.  When I chill with my immersion chiller and cold well water, I was down to below 120F in 15 minutes.  Same exact recipe with the hops adjusted for %AA and matching the estimated IBU numbers exactly.  THIS is when I went through the process of calibrating my taste buds for the beer I brew versus a (relatively known) standard.  Now I know how to set the IBU target to try to reach the sensory target I want. 

Your difference in IBU can again come down to process losses post boil.

I might be missing something that BeerSmith is doing to model process losses - I think I have controlled for that with the top off parameters (the recipe clearly calls for topping off to ensure a minimum level).  But I had the same calculation as you have.  The puzzle I have left is why what I think should be the 'model' that produces the lower number is producing the higher, and vice versa.

I understood your basic point about 'calibrating' to use a sensory target.   The recipe I want to make is stated as 43 IBUs.  I don't know what that beer is supposed to taste like, but if I head to the local and can find a lighter IPA with a close IBU rating, I can compare to see if I have come in high, low, or pretty close.   That makes perfect sense.

Absolutely fascinated that the extended cooling could make that much difference to the hop uptake.  Did you ever figure out how much you had to increase the hop load to get the intended taste for that recipe while using your process?

Offline Oginme

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Re: Questions from learning session
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2018, 05:57:14 AM »
BeerSmith models process losses by what YOU list in the equipment profile or when you pick one of the default profiles allow that profile to dictate.

For the extended cooling, there is mostly anecdotal information on the various forums and some data which has been collected.  BeerSmith actually has settings in the whirlpool and steeping hop section to help predict the additional IBU contribution from end of boil to below 180F.  You can set the timing and turn on or off this feature in your equipment profile.  A good source for this information comes from the Aussie Homebrew Forum thanks to their work in the'no-chill' method of cooling down the wort to pitching temperatures.  It is something that I have not pursued but a brilliant piece of work (just like the BIAB method they developed and popularized) for those in areas where water is scarce, expensive, or too warm to do effective chilling. 
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Offline DownstairsBrewing

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Re: Questions from learning session
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2018, 07:38:42 AM »
Equipment explains most of the process loss, but there seems to be a separate boil-off/top-up parameter affected by equipment but operating separately.  Haven't quite got the zero I wanted, but fairly close.  BeerSmith seems to take a perverse joy in changing 19L back to 18.93L.

I will have to take a look at the Aussie forum.  I don't have any particular problem with water, but I can also allow for a few hours of cooling fairly easily.   For making some of the real hop-heavy brews like an Imperial IPA, improving hop uptake is significant.

On a related note, the trial recipe I am using calls for splitting the extract evenly into a full boil and an addition with 10 minutes left.  Moving just 200g of extract from the front to the back load to reduce the solution gravity picks up 2.5 IBUs.  Not sure if I am doing anything but playing with numbers there.  I am curious enough about some of this that I might do some 2 gallon batches to do some single parameter comparisons.  I doubt I can meaningfully taste a 2.5 IBU difference, but the no-cooling would be a neat experiment.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2018, 07:49:34 AM by DownstairsBrewing »

Offline BOB357

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Re: Questions from learning session
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2018, 08:33:36 PM »
Late extract additions can significantly impact hop utilization.
Bob

Offline DownstairsBrewing

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Re: Questions from learning session
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2018, 06:11:59 AM »
Late extract additions can significantly impact hop utilization.

Yes, I knew that - that is one of the two reasons in the text for why the recipe splits the extract load.  But I was still surprised that moving 200g from one to another could have that large of an effect.

Between that, and the difference produced by cooling time noted by Oginme, I am thinking about doing a series of small-batch variations on the recipe.  I think it will be an interesting learning exercise, as well as letting me dial in the BS parameters.

Offline BOB357

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Re: Questions from learning session
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2018, 01:18:42 PM »
Your difference in moving the 200g was likely weighted more by the density of the wort than the amount of the extract you moved.

Always good to strive for consistency and it looks like you're very determined as you do so.
Bob

 

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