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Old 12-13-2012, 02:32 PM   #11
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I use BeerSmith and really like it for handling calculations, storing recipes and all other functions but remember it's a tool and nothing more. The fact is that from year to year the factors involving Hop AA values and grain specs change due to the different seasonal variables that go into production. In addition, there are many different producers, regions and maltsters creating the product so there are numerical variances that will throw off the calculations from one brewer to another.

This is one reason why many people create and post recipes based on percentages of ingredients instead of actual measurements. It allows the next brewer to input the information on their system to arrive at the same recipe constraints more or less.

Not many people list the maltser of their grain bill so if one person uses Rahr and one uses Briess and their factors are different of 1-3 points all calculations will differ. IMO these differences are really not a big stumbling block.

I like to pencil out my recipes based on percentages and then when I'm happy with it I will input it, tweak it and brew it. Once completed I will then evaluate it, make notes and tweak it again until I am happy with the product.

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Old 12-13-2012, 02:37 PM   #12
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The reasons the IBU's, and other things often don't match in one software or another is simple, and are easily correctable.

This comes up alot, when folks compare programs head to head.

A couple of the biggest issues that cause consternation to folks, especially if they compare programs, or if they take for example a recipe from byo or someplace and input it, and find differences have to do with batch size settings and which IBU formula the software is defaulting to.

The final volume of a lot of Palmer and Jamil's recipes, and some of them in magazines are usually 5.5 or 6 gallons whereas most of the time we write recipes for the standard 5 gallon recipes. That often accounts for differences between what we might input in software. Make sure the final volume is matching.

The other thing is, that there's several different calculations used to figure out IBU. And they give different numbers. Somewhere in either a book or on the software it should tell you what the default setting is, and even give you the option to change it to match. But often they don't make it obvious.

Here's an explanation of how Beercalculus calculates it from their Hopville Blog for example;

Quote:
Previously, the default IBU calculation for Beer Calculus was based on an average of a few popular formulas. It did four calculations (Garetz, Rager, Tinseth, and the legacy Hopville calc) and averaged them together. I chose to blend a few conflicting numbers together instead of committing to a single one by default. That neutral position tended to cause some confusion among both types of brewers: those who cared which formula was in use, but didn’t know you could change it, and those who didn’t care at all. Plus, the only indication that a formula selection was being made was a subtle message “avg” near the IBU result – pretty vague about what was happening behind the scenes. Recipes now default to the Tinseth formula. Hopefully this will satisfy those who prefer this formula, and also clarify the default calculation to folks who don’t really care.
IIRC beersmith is defalted to tinseth (maybe). So comparing the two in terms of IBUS is going to show up differently.

One of the most recent thread discussing this is here. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f84/different-ibus-provided-different-software-218066/

The other thing has to do with the efficience a given recipe was created with and the efficiency setting in the particular software. 75% is usually the default in the software, but a lot of folks, especially people who have their systems dialed in may have a higher or lower efficiency setting in their native software, so the anticipated og and fg may be different.

None of these are the software, or mean that one software is better than the other. Often it's the user's own settings that are off.

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. I think a better analogy than what I posted above would be instead of languages think about Fahrenheit vs Celcius or Brix vs specific gravity, they're valid and accurate scales. Just present the same "data" differently.

All you need to do is make sure that anything that you are imputing is matching the settings of the software you're using.
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Old 12-13-2012, 02:55 PM   #13
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There are some important points above. One thing to keep in mind is that almost all of the calculations in any of the software options are approximate. The only one I can think of to put much stock in is the in-kettle SG of an extract batch. That's probably pretty accurate from the moment you start up the software. Everything else can only be as accurate as the measurements you make of your process and the consistency from one batch to the next. That's before we even get into questions about whether you can accurately predict IBU (hint: not really).

I started off doing things by hand. It's useful, as it gives you a feeling for how the calculations work. Crucially, it pulls the curtain back on some of the magic that the software seems to perform. Behind the (sometimes) slick interface, there's just a simple mathematical model that takes a few numbers and estimates another. Once I figured out how that worked, I found it was too much effort to calculate and recalculate things by hand, so I went to software.

I used a nice free one called BrewTarget for a while. I recommend it. I've since moved over to BeerSmith because it has a few additional features, but I haven't found it to be much better or worse, just slightly different. It took some tinkering to get recipes to agree between them, but once you sort out the various settings, like Revvy says, it turns out they are doing the same thing under the hood.

So, to give this post a conclusion, I'd say that the best way to calculate recipes is "approximately." If you've taken a science lab class, you've probably learned (and likely since forgotten) that it's important to record measurements with a precision that reflects the precision of your instrument. If your ruler has mm markings on it, don't write down "12.47375 mm," just call it "12.5." The same applies here---unless you are very experienced and very careful, your brewing process is probably not precise (and certainly not accurate) to better than 10%, so don't worry about recipes being any more precise than that.

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Old 12-13-2012, 06:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
The reasons the IBU's, and other things often don't match in one software or another is simple, and are easily correctable.

This comes up alot, when folks compare programs head to head.

A couple of the biggest issues that cause consternation to folks, especially if they compare programs, or if they take for example a recipe from byo or someplace and input it, and find differences have to do with batch size settings and which IBU formula the software is defaulting to.

The final volume of a lot of Palmer and Jamil's recipes, and some of them in magazines are usually 5.5 or 6 gallons whereas most of the time we write recipes for the standard 5 gallon recipes. That often accounts for differences between what we might input in software. Make sure the final volume is matching.

The other thing is, that there's several different calculations used to figure out IBU. And they give different numbers. Somewhere in either a book or on the software it should tell you what the default setting is, and even give you the option to change it to match. But often they don't make it obvious.

Here's an explanation of how Beercalculus calculates it from their Hopville Blog for example;


IIRC beersmith is defalted to tinseth (maybe). So comparing the two in terms of IBUS is going to show up differently.

One of the most recent thread discussing this is here. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f84/different-ibus-provided-different-software-218066/

The other thing has to do with the efficience a given recipe was created with and the efficiency setting in the particular software. 75% is usually the default in the software, but a lot of folks, especially people who have their systems dialed in may have a higher or lower efficiency setting in their native software, so the anticipated og and fg may be different.

None of these are the software, or mean that one software is better than the other. Often it's the user's own settings that are off.

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. I think a better analogy than what I posted above would be instead of languages think about Fahrenheit vs Celcius or Brix vs specific gravity, they're valid and accurate scales. Just present the same "data" differently.

All you need to do is make sure that anything that you are imputing is matching the settings of the software you're using.
I'll add to this another "gotcha" that can get you.

Most software will all have different default Alpha Acid %'s values for their hops.
Make sure that you are lining those up to be equal between the software and not just selecting 1oz of hops in each, the AA% is almost always ifferent.
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Old 12-13-2012, 06:35 PM   #15
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Very good catch! I forgot about that one,our packet are often not the same aaus as the creator used.

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Old 12-13-2012, 08:13 PM   #16
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Yeah, I was about to say that the stats of the ingredient may be very different. One of the reasons why when I add to the inventory i update the numbers to what it says on the packages. Same with when I do a brew.

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Old 12-13-2012, 09:39 PM   #17
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IBU calcs are essentially meaningless. If you add 8 oz of dry hops it's not going to show much change in IBUS, but you're sure going to have a hoppy beer.

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Old 12-13-2012, 10:11 PM   #18
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Does Beersmith 2 do anything that the original Beersmith doesn't? Trying to figure out if I want to spend money on the license...

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Old 12-13-2012, 10:23 PM   #19
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Quote:
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IBU calcs are essentially meaningless. If you add 8 oz of dry hops it's not going to show much change in IBUS, but you're sure going to have a hoppy beer.
Dry hopping doesn't add bitterness, so there is no reason for the IBUs to change.
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Old 12-14-2012, 12:03 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pm5k00

Dry hopping doesn't add bitterness, so there is no reason for the IBUs to change.
My point exactly. Calculated IBUs are calculated, not actual and a theoretical bitterness level doesn't equate to hop flavor.
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