Balanced Beer Ratio

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Breadontap

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2014
Messages
90
Reaction score
8
So I have been thinking about this a little bit and wanted to get some different opinions. I have seen different ratios regarding IBU:ABV but after brewing a Belgian IPA that is really out of balance I had to consider another variable. I think residual sweetness needs to be a variable considered while brewing for balance.

The beer I just brewed is 1.009: 9% ABV : 70 IBUs. Obviously far from the ratio below. The hops are great but the alcohol and bitterness are both a little to high for what I would consider balanced for an IPA.

I brewed it on my new system and had way more boil of than I had experienced with a test water run. I wound up with 2 gallons an hour boil off.

Anyways, has anyone considered a 3 term ratio of FG:ABV:IBU? (FG being a single point above 1.000) This is really just a guide line for recipe development.

I understand that not all styles are meant to be totally balanced i.e IPA = high IBU, Scotch ales = high FG. I think this could be used on anything from a barley wine to a American lite lager.

I was looking at a ratio of 1:0.5:4

This would give your dry lower ABV sours relatively low IBUs and your pale ales at a reasonable 1.010:5:40.

I feel pretty good about the FG: ABV but the IBU I think could use some tweaking. Maybe between 3 & 4.

Let me know what you think.
 

Yooper

Ale's What Cures You!
Staff member
Admin
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
74,664
Reaction score
12,285
Location
UP/Snowbird in Florida
I've been happy with the OG/IBU ratio, so I'm not really looking at anything more complex. I know a .300 ratio will be awesome in a cream ale, and a .950 will work great in an IPA. The FG really hasn't been an issue for me- they always finish where I expect and are "balanced" where I expect.
 
OP
B

Breadontap

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2014
Messages
90
Reaction score
8
Thanks Yooper. I suppose your right but I feel there is a place in recipe development/ refinement for FG or residual sweetness.

I guess there is an issue with determining how much residual sweetness you will end up with. You could calculate fermentability some how, yeast attenuation, non ferment able & fermentables.

I'm sure other factors would also come into play that may make this way too complicated such as oxygen, temperatures, pitch rate & pH just to name a few.

Thanks for bringing me back down to earth.
 

Yooper

Ale's What Cures You!
Staff member
Admin
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
74,664
Reaction score
12,285
Location
UP/Snowbird in Florida
And add to that each system can give different attenuation rates..........:D

And throw something new into the mix- our IBU calculators are set up on a flawed system (using boil gravity, for one), and so even if we do the best we can with what we have, we can find out in lab testing that we're not even close............................

Anyway, I don't mind to bring you back to earth! I think we need deeper and better thinkers than people than me.

I'm more of a concrete thinker- 'Well, I know my system and what tastes like 50 IBUs and an OG of 1.050 on my system with my calculator and my boil off". Who knows? If I had it lab tested, it could be 25 IBUs or 75 IBUs- but I still know what it will taste like based on my experience with my system. I also know the FG, within a couple of points, based on that experience, and my experience with the ingredients I use.

Luckily, I don't have to please anybody but myself. I'm a perfectionist, but more to my tastebuds than to my measurements. If I had a beer that was too bitter or too sweet in the finish, I'd definitely troubleshoot that.
 
OP
B

Breadontap

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2014
Messages
90
Reaction score
8
Ha, yeah I too am a perfectionist and only brew for myself. I like to go around looking for problems to solve. I guess that's all this was. Thanks. I'll see if I can come up with another solution without a problem for you someday[emoji6]
 

beergolf

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2011
Messages
6,102
Reaction score
1,281
Location
collingswood
I've been happy with the OG/IBU ratio, so I'm not really looking at anything more complex.
The BU:GU ratio works just fine for me also. Yooper you got the ratio backwards. Right idea though.
 

BrewinBrian44

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2016
Messages
11
Reaction score
1
Why all the number crunching? At the end of the day, it's all about what tastes right to you.

Let beersmith get you in the ballpark for IBU's, taste the beer, take notes, dial in the recipe with the next few iterations.

If your IPA came out too too dry and bitter, try increasing your mash temp. Sure you'll get less attenuation, but it's a simple adjustment to your recipe that can make a big difference in the finished beer. You can always compensate for the ABV loss by adding more grain too.

Are you getting some extra gravity points with simple sugars? If so, you can dial back on these and increase your base malt to bring up those FG points a little.
 

VApatriot

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2009
Messages
503
Reaction score
418
Location
Canton, MI
I don't have the Beersmith program I use the chart below. Am I the only one who uses this chart? I find that if I use this in combination with the IBU calculator on brewersfriend.com I get fairly repeatable results.


ibuguchart.jpg
 
OP
B

Breadontap

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2014
Messages
90
Reaction score
8
It was never an issue with the programs or recipe adjustments after the initial brew. It was (as Yooper pointed out) the flawed idea of attempting to account for residual sugars along with IBU and ABV. The problem is that FG is going to be pretty variable. As stated above, outside of recipe development, you have yeast strain, health, O2, alcohol levels and many more things that can cause a FG to change by a couple of points. There is no real benefit in trying to calculate what your FG might be outside of the attenuation rate given by the yeast manufacturers.

Thanks for all the help though.
 
Top