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Brewing beer at home: Not all roads lead to Rome

Brewing beer at home: Not all roads lead to Rome



When you want a boring chore done you should give it to a lazy person. He will find the most efficient way to do the job.


And homebrewers have software. No complicated calculations, just fill in some numbers and everything will be done with the speed of light.


Wine makers have a bit more work. Measurements, consulting tabels, calculating.


Right, that is what you thought. The calculations involved in wine making are not many, and really simple.


And the homebrewers software? Yes, it is not correct. Calculating the alcohol percentage is no problem. But bitterness? Not really.


My friend uses "Biermacht". I use a dutch program called "Brouwhulp". Since he is more knowledgeable than I am, I asked him to make a recipe with liwuid malt extract, and some steeped malt. A simple beer, light in colour, about 6% alcohol, not very bitter, but a bit more hop aroma.


He prepared a recipe for me and it looked good. I entered it in "Brouwhulp" and the bitterness was IBU 32. Not extremely bitter, but still.. His program "Biermacht" said that the bitterness would be IBU 24. A huge difference.




Apparently there are more ways to Rome. But they are not going to Rome.





In "Brouwhulp" you have several options for the bitterness calculation. That sounds great, but it is not.


Here are the IBU values for my recipe with the different calculation options:


  • Rager IBU 32
  • Tinseth IBU 45
  • Garetz IBU 19
  • Daniels IBU 30
  • Mosher IBU 22
  • Noonan IBU 30


Between 19 to 45. Poor beermaker. How can you recreate a recipe when you don't know how the bitterness was calculated?


The nice book by Adrie Otte explains that there are several options for the bitterness calculation and advises to choose one and learn how a certain bitterness feels. In fact he sais that you should always make the same mistake. Which I believe is a good advice.


But it is impossible to copy a recipe from somebody if you do not know which method was used!


After this revelation it became even worse. You can also set several calculation methods for the colour of your beer. Behold the results:


  • Daniels EBC 23
  • Mosher EBC 15
  • Morey EBC 9


Again the results are very different!


And again the same advice. Pick a method and always make the same mistake!


Brewing software...... We sleep at night. With one eye open!




P.S. I: It gets worse. I will tell you later.

P.S. II: Visit the brouwstore of Leven in de Brouwerij. The Braumarkt with the best blog of all Brouwland!


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