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Old 04-19-2007, 12:25 AM   #1
grrtt78
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Default hop/malt balance

I have made a few beers and with the exception of a few like my stout and porter i havent been able to make a nice balance. they are either really hoppy or really malty. It may have been intentional in the recipe but i was just wondering about how much hops are needed to balance out certain ammounts of malt? i do full boils w/ lme. i was also wondering if i made a hop tea would that giv me an idea of wat different hops taste like? i kinda wanted to make a few just to get a feel for different hops.

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Old 04-19-2007, 02:01 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by grrtt78
I have made a few beers and with the exception of a few like my stout and porter i havent been able to make a nice balance. they are either really hoppy or really malty. It may have been intentional in the recipe but i was just wondering about how much hops are needed to balance out certain ammounts of malt? i do full boils w/ lme. i was also wondering if i made a hop tea would that giv me an idea of wat different hops taste like? i kinda wanted to make a few just to get a feel for different hops.

The thing you need to do is to look at your BU:GU ratio. This is simply the hop bitterness in IBU's divided by the gravity units (the digits after the decimal point in your original gravity. For example I have a nice dunkelweissen that per style is lightly hopped with a nice maltiness. This beer is 17 IBU with an original gravity of 1.055. To get the BU:GU ratio you divide 17 by 55 for a ratio of .31. For a really hoppy northwest IPA you would need to go for a ratio closer to 1.0, i.e. with a gravity of 1.065 you would need about 65 IBU.

By playing with these ratios you can get pretty much any balance you want. There is a chart I used to use to deal with this situation. You can check it out here. http://www.brewsupplies.com/hops-gravity.htm . This should make it easier to visualize the relationship between hops and malt. In my opinion, I think the flavor descriptions are skewed a bit for the malty side.

Hope this helps a little.

Wayne
Bugeater Brewing Company
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Old 04-19-2007, 02:13 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Bugeaterbrewing
The thing you need to do is to look at your BU:GU ratio.

very true


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Old 04-19-2007, 03:06 AM   #4
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I totally and wholeheartedly disagree.
The thing you need to do is taste the beer, and if it's too bitter, back off the hops a bit next time.
Trying to design recipes off of a chart is like playing darts in the dark. Looking at twenty popular recipes of a given style before creating a beer is a good place to start. Find what they have in common and try to support that in the finished beer.
If you're the sort of brewer who always just does one-off's instead of trying to tweak a pile of recipes to perfection, just find a trusted source or twenty and brew their beers.
Oh, and hop tea tastes NASTY! I wouldn't recommend it. If you're in a homebrew club you can do like we've done a couple times: get a basic pale ale recipe or something simple and do a single-varietal hop throughout; each member a differnt hop. Then you bring them all together in a couple months for a tasting. Good stuff. I was amazed at how ungreat an all-Saaz IPA was, for example.

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Old 04-20-2007, 03:57 PM   #5
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ok thanks i think i got it now

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Old 04-20-2007, 04:02 PM   #6
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The BU:GU ratio is a very important consideration in the design of a recipe that strikes the RIGHT balance for a particular style. It's something that Ray Daniels spends a lot of time discussing in his book (which I would HIGHLY recommend picking up, it's an invaluable resource).

As to the "plating darks in the dark" commend; if you know the appropriate BU:GU range for a given style (as well as the overall parameters of the style), you stand a very good chance of making a good beer the first time around. You might still want to tweak the recipe, but paying attention to these things in the design phase will get you in the right ballpark.

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Old 04-20-2007, 04:08 PM   #7
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Use the force luke. er..

Trial and error and you'll get the hang of it. Alch content, IBU's, hop Flavor and Residual sugar all come into play. Eventually you'll just know what to mix, at least 90% of the time. Keep good notes too!

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Old 04-20-2007, 09:47 PM   #8
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As far as making up a recipe for a given style, I'm right with you the_bird. Ray Daniels' data on BU:GU of winning homebrews and commercial examples is a great place to start as far as the bittering goes. Too bad we don't have more of those ratios, like AA:HBU or BU:TGU.
grrtt78's original question was about bitterness to a certain amount of malt, and there's just no way to make a meaningful equation. You can say something general like, more malt=more hops, but a 1.050 IPA will have much higher IBU than a 1.070 bock, e.g.

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Old 04-20-2007, 10:07 PM   #9
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My purpose in posting the URL for that chart was to give the OP some place to start. I don't totally agree with the chart either but you have to start somewhere when you start to experiment.

Wayne
Bugeater Brewing Company

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Old 04-20-2007, 10:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimone
very true


Oh dear, I think I'm unbalanced.

-a.
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