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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Commercial vs Clone ABV
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Old 01-08-2013, 05:12 AM   #1
Superbuck
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Default Commercial vs Clone ABV

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/proj...ow-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.


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Old 01-08-2013, 05:30 AM   #2
Soldevi
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Which other examples do you have? 1.070 down to 1.009 is like 87% attenuation. Is that even possible? I don't know. Could it be a typo on their site? Maybe they meant 1.019. That would be 6.6% You have me curious.

Anyways welcome to the hobby. I've been brewing for just over a year and like you I didn't bother with extract. I'm sure someone with some experience will chime in. Hahaha


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Old 01-08-2013, 12:33 PM   #3
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I ran into this thread a little bit ago:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f69/bell...ey-come-91488/

And they discuss some issues with trying to reconcile OG/FG/ABV numbers for a clone of Bell's Two Hearted, where much like in your case most of the info came direct from the brewers.

I think the OP in the thread I linked revised the recipe so now it is showing the 7% ABV that Bell's Two Hearted has labeled on their bottles, but there is a lot of good discussion that seems related to what you are interested in.

Oh, also this clone is amazing. First beer I have brewed twice, with very minimal tweaks. Probably going to be a mainstay for me with such a simple hop schedule and excellent results.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:43 PM   #4
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LowNotes, I've actually got a Bells Two Hearted clone sitting in secondary dry hopping now! Can't wait to taste it! That's one of the recipes that I had this issue on, so thanks for posting the link.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:48 PM   #5
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Where did you find the OG on their site? I only see ABV.


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