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Old 01-14-2007, 12:40 AM   #1
AiredAle
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Default Which IBU calculator do you use & why?

Well, the title says is all. In the past, I have always made my own recipes up, based on fond memories of beers drunk in the past, so I haven't paid any attention to IBUs. I have used AAUs, since these are self consistent within my little brewing world.

Now, based on reading the long SNPA cloning thread on Northern Brewer's forum, I am inspired to try that recipe. The problem I am running into, is that is seems there are lots of IBU calculators out there, and I can't figure out which one to use to match the SNPA IBU target.

Can anyone recommend one? Or, if you've made the SNPA clone based on Beerfan's recipe. what calculator did you use, and how did the beer turn out?

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Old 01-14-2007, 11:09 AM   #2
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I use BeerSmith software; not only a IBU calc. but a full fledged brewing package... Free to try for 20 days or something and $19.95 to buy. Great program though!

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Old 01-14-2007, 11:21 AM   #3
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I use Beersmith, too. It uses the 'Tinseth' calculation by default but you can change which formulae it uses.

However, it is worth remembering that IBUs are affected by many, many different factors and one calculation is no better than another. It's unlikely you'll get exactly the bitterness you're looking for first time, but you will have a reference point for your next brew.

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Old 01-14-2007, 01:10 PM   #4
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Once you get into the real high IPU numbers, all the programs begin to break down. When they look at the actual IBU content of beers chemically, it seems that you can't get more than 100 IBUs in solution. Yet, the programs will come up with calculations showing 278 IBUs, for example. I just did an IPA that supposedly is 90 IBUs, but I highly doubt it.

In any case, if you are consistent with one program or calculator, you'll still get good info. But, 60 IBUs for you may be 70 IBUs for someone else, or 50 in reality.

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Old 01-14-2007, 01:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_bird
In any case, if you are consistent with one program or calculator, you'll still get good info. But, 60 IBUs for you may be 70 IBUs for someone else, or 50 in reality.


the_bird is right (though at times convoluted - how could he spout pure content for 4000+ posts? ) - As long as you take good notes and use the same method of calculations every time, you're all good.
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Old 01-14-2007, 01:29 PM   #6
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Hey, if I were a "real" post whore, I would have said "Be consistent and you're good!" and not brought up the issue of the numbers aren't terribly accurate to begin with.

Although, a "real" post whore would also feel the need to respond to your comment....

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Old 01-14-2007, 01:51 PM   #7
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You doubt my hopwine???

I do too. It's a classic example of the calculators failing. It's actually a little on the sweet side with the raisin flavor dominating. I suspect I would have gotten the same actual bittering with one oz. of Columbus. Since it was a very old recipe, the original hops were probably much lower AA%.

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Old 01-14-2007, 02:58 PM   #8
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Hops (ounce) x AA X % Utilization Divided by 6.7 (5gallonx1.34)

Depending on your system 60 min boil=30-35 %, 30 min=15-17%, etc...

ex: 1oz 8AA hops boiled for 60 min= 1(8)(30)/6.7=35ibu

Thats what I use...It may not be dead-on-balls accurate but it works well enough for me.

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Old 01-15-2007, 03:26 AM   #9
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Thanks folks. The one real unknown is the % utilization. For example, assuming a 60 min 1.050 gravity full wort boil, this seems to range from 20% (Garetz) to 30% (Rager); that's a dirty great big range. So who's right, and what's their evidence? I agree with the responses that counsel a trial and error approach, I just want to see if there is some good basis for choosing a % utilization.

What do professional brewers do? Get the AA content measured? Beyond my means...

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Old 01-15-2007, 11:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AiredAle
Thanks folks. The one real unknown is the % utilization. For example, assuming a 60 min 1.050 gravity full wort boil, this seems to range from 20% (Garetz) to 30% (Rager); that's a dirty great big range. So who's right, and what's their evidence? I agree with the responses that counsel a trial and error approach, I just want to see if there is some good basis for choosing a % utilization.

What do professional brewers do? Get the AA content measured? Beyond my means...
Well that's just it isn't it. It is all about perception, no? As you know you can make some styles taste far too hoppy on less hops than another. So in a nutshell that kind of defeats the whole 'bitterness'....in other words....the IBU might be right for one style but the same IBU would be way too high for say a wheat so, it may be the same measured IBU but this does not account for perception! My personal feelings (I use the calculations that come from Palmer's book...not sure which one it is) but for my brews I have been using those and tuning my recipes to the results generated from those calculations. I think this will be a mysterious area of brewing and beer appreciation in general for a long time to come.

I guess what I am getting at is that although the equations are time and gravity dependent, there is still another piece to the puzzle. The way some flavors and profiles dominate the palate can create interesting effects. I tend to wonder if using the theoretical FG based on mash profile might not be an area to explore for tweaking the equations.
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