So this is my first post, and I want to say how unbelievably helpful this forum has been. I've only been brewing since November, but I'm already on my 6th brew. I jumped straight into the deep end with All Grain brewing.
Bear with me for my question. In my learning process I've been reading books, magazines and this forum and using BeerSmith. Inputing clone recipes into BeerSmith from the web, books and magazines has taught me a ton about how each component affects the final product and the final numbers. Recently I decided to try put together a clone recipe of New Belgium's Snow Day. I used the recipe from this Homebrewtalk thread as my basis: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/project-snow-day-286555/
As it states on that thread: Pale malt, Crystal 80, Midnight Wheat and Centennial, Cascade and Styrian Goldings hops. 55 IBUs, 17 plato (1.070) OG and 2.35 plato (1.009) FG. That's straight from New Belgium's site.
When I input the recipe into BeerSmith and play around with amounts, I can pretty easily get to 1.070 OG, 55 IBUs and an SRM that jives with Snow Day, but I can't even come close to 1.009 FG. I've tried many different yeasts, different mash profiles, etc... And even if I did, an OG of 1.070 and a FG of 1.009 is an 8% ABV beer. Snow Day is 6.2!
I've noticed this with a few other recipes that come (relatively) straight from the brewer. I can hit my target OG, but the final ABV is always higher than the commercial product. What's going on here? Is it an efficiency thing? If anything, I would think commercial breweries are getting higher efficiency. Is New Belgium brewing an 8% beer and then diluting it? And if so, why and how do they decide how far down to go? Did they dilute different samples to different ABV levels and decide that the 6.2% sample was the most drinkable while retaining the characteristics they intended?
I think cloning your favorite commercial beers is fun, but in the end that's not why I'm asking. I could care less about creating a perfect Snow Day clone; I'm just curious about the recipe design process as a whole. I'd love to get to the point where I can look at a recipe and understand why the brewer made the choices they did, or conversely, read a recipe and be able to have some idea of how it will turn out.
Thanks in advance and apologies for the long post.