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Old 12-13-2012, 12:42 PM   #1
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Default Rager or Tinseth??

Rager or Tinseth? which formula is better? what are the differences?



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Old 12-13-2012, 03:41 PM   #2
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I don't find either particularly useful. My club just did a barley wine which, by the Tinseth numbers with the parameters adjusted to best fit what actually happens in my brewery and the markings on the hops bags should have produced 67 IBU actually came in at 37. This kind of variation (46%) is perhaps larger than usual but certainly 20 and 30% variations are not.

I use the Tinseth formula because it has the two parameters and because if you have actual bitterness data you can adjust those parameters to best fit your equipment/practices as I have done but until you start to get reliable alpha acid data on the hops you buy you can't really expect any model to give very good predictions.



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Old 12-13-2012, 03:47 PM   #3
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There rarely is a better or best in brewing...it's not a contest. It's just a matter of preference, all that is really important is to stick with one..... But in terms of accuracy, they're all accurate, you might think of it simply being that they're in different languages....as long as you stay consistant in using one over any other it will be right.

But in reality it's all arbitrary anyway...they're just numbers.

If you ever listened to Palmer's basic brewing interview shortly after he attended a professional conference on hops and brewing, where he admits he got it all screwed up, you'll realize none of it really matters...

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March 20, 2008 - What Is an IBU . . . Really?
John Palmer, author of How to Brew, shares information from a conference that challenged his concept of what defines an International Bitterness Unit (IBU).

Click to Listen
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Old 12-13-2012, 05:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
should have produced 67 IBU actually came in at 37.
Just out of curiosity, how did you determine the actual IBUs?

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Old 12-13-2012, 07:16 PM   #5
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ASBC MOA (Method of Analysis) Beer 23A. The bittering principal is extracted into essentially very pure gasoline by putting a sample, some hydrochloric acid and the 'gas' in a tube and shaking vigorously. The clear organic phase is then transferred to a cuvet and the absorption (A) at 275 nm in 1 cm measured. IBU = 50*A

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Old 12-14-2012, 12:40 PM   #6
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Tinseth is more accurate, but I find that many recipes are formulated via Rager. I find that if I calculate hop additions from an existing recipe and use Tinseth, the bitterness will be higher than expected.

In my opinion, it makes little difference which formula you use. But you have to calibrate your bittering expectations with the formula used. I've stuck with Rager just because that formula meets my bittering expectations in the finished beer.

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Old 12-14-2012, 06:17 PM   #7
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I'm especially interested where the formulae fail in underestimation. I recently brewed a Lil Sumpin Sumpin (Lagunitas) clone where Rager estimated 40s, and Tinseth 30s, but Lagunitas claims 65, and Jamil translated hop additions straight from their brewers.

Beer color can be decently collapsed to one dimension like SRM. Limiting IBUs to hops and not other factors like minerals really 'dilutes' the value of the metric.

I realize experiments try to measure iso-alpha acid amounts, but I still don't have any clear rules of thumb of their stability or utilization from whirlpool, or just exactly how dry-hopping affects perceived bitterness...

If commercial breweries are looking elsewhere, I'm excited!

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Old 12-14-2012, 07:05 PM   #8
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lockwom,

commecial brewers don't obsess as much about estimating IBUs as much as home brewers do. That's mainly because there are many factors that affect IBU's that are not captured by the IBU estimation formulas and because measuring IBUs and adjusting the recipe based on that measurement is a more reliable and practicable approach for home brewers. That's also why all these IBU estimation formulas have been developed by home brewers.

I agree with Martin's position, that you should stick with one formula and calibrate your bitterness expectations. In case of your Sumpin clone, adjust the hops until it tastes like the commercial example. If that means that your estimated IBUs will be 40 while the measured IBUs of the commercial beer is 65, then that's what it is. Next time you want to brew a beer with a similar bitterness, shoot for an IBU estimate of 40.

That's one of the first things I learned in home brewing when I brewed a SNPA clone, aimed for 39 IBUs and found that the beer was way too bitter.

Kai

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Old 12-14-2012, 07:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaiser View Post
lockwom,
I agree with Martin's position, that you should stick with one formula and calibrate your bitterness expectations. In case of your Sumpin clone, adjust the hops until it tastes like the commercial example. If that means that your estimated IBUs will be 40 while the measured IBUs of the commercial beer is 65, then that's what it is. Next time you want to brew a beer with a similar bitterness, shoot for an IBU estimate of 40.

That's one of the first things I learned in home brewing when I brewed a SNPA clone, aimed for 39 IBUs and found that the beer was way too bitter.
Kai
Indeed, I liked the position enough to bestow my first forum 'like'!

I hope to keg the LSS clone soon to see how far off the mark it is. But my next beer will be a MO/Cascade SMaSH, and I will use it to calibrate many things. Added to the list will now be an IBU formula preference.
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Old 12-14-2012, 07:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lockwom View Post
Added to the list will now be an IBU formula preference.
It could either be a formula preference or a simple scaling factor. E.g. if you want the bitterness of a commercial beer with Y IBU, aim for X = 80% * Y.

Kai


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