Author Topic: Fermentability  (Read 2176 times)

Offline PeeBee

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Re: Fermentability
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2019, 12:24:35 PM »
So looking at your recipe representing a single data point, you are mashing at 74C which is higher than the recommended range for alpha amylase and way above the range for beta amylase.  I think this skews any correlation of non-fermentable aspects of the crystal malts.  The model for fermentability of the wort hits a max at 71C and does not respond to higher temperatures.  This is intended to mirror the speed of denaturing of the enzymes due to this same high temperatures.  Basically, you are above the range that the model is capable to predicting due to limitations within the software.  That is your issue and not necessarily the potential of the crystal malts.

I think if you petitioned Brad to extend the range for wort fermentability as a function of mash temperature to cover the range up to 74C that might give you a better prediction of what you would obtain.
Maxes out 71C, that is valuable to know! So what flags, banners and other apparatus do I need to petition Brad? 74C would be nice, but I think alpha-amylase is still good at 75-76C (only mashing for 30 minutes, and for this situation who cares if beta-amylase is getting a hard time). Some old Victorian recipes (Porter?) were allegedly mashed at such high temperatures too.

And being able to tweak "fermentability", even if only roughly, would be a nice-to-have too. A percentage "not fermentable" rather than an all or nothing checkbox.

Offline Oginme

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Re: Fermentability
« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2019, 12:51:34 PM »
You can write to him directly and explain what you are attempting to do.  You can then explain to him (examples are always good to help him understand the application) why you want the upper limit of the fermentability range increased.  His email address is on the BeerSmith web site.


As an aside, Wells Bombadier is made in a similar fashion.  I distinctly remember and interview with the head brewer (or someone who talked to the head brewer maybe) where he stated that they mashed at around 74C and did not expect much, if any, fermentable sugars at that temperature.  They then add invert sugar to get the fermentable portion of the wort. 
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Offline PeeBee

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Re: Fermentability
« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2019, 06:35:55 PM »
- As an aside, Wells Bombadier is made in a similar fashion.  I distinctly remember and interview with the head brewer (or someone who talked to the head brewer maybe) where he stated that they mashed at around 74C and did not expect much, if any, fermentable sugars at that temperature.  They then add invert sugar to get the fermentable portion of the wort.
I listened to the 2012 Jamil Show "Can you brew it?" for Well's Bombardier and it was interviewing the brewer at Well's, Jim Robertson. And yes, they mash at 74C, use a lot of sugar and manage to get the FG down to 1.011-12 (from 1.050-55). Jim spoke of 74C as if it was quite normal.

I get an attenuation of only about 30% mashing at that temperature, but I'm not using any sugar and fermenting with a dextrin/"maltotriose" adverse yeast. I consider "maltotrose" to be a dextrin (about 18% of fermentables in a "standard" wort).

Offline brewfun

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Re: Fermentability
« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2019, 07:02:03 AM »
Are we still thinking apples to apples, here?

It seems that unfermentability is properly built into BeerSmith from mash temperature. You're mashing high, as advised by a podcast, and getting the proper results in your own fermentation. You're not using the sugar addition that would match the Bombardier technique and desired yeast conditions to limit malt fermentation.

Very low alcohol brewing is akin to very high alcohol brewing. It's on the edges of "standard" techniques. Personally, I can't fault software for using accepted, standard calculations from not being able to predict what'll happen when brewer's push the boundaries. I've hit some unexpected results in my career that certainly don't match what software or a spreadsheet says. The reason is usually a combination of changes to conditions, techniques or ingredients. I tend to question myself more than I question software.

That said, there are frequently observed bugs in BeerSmith that have gone unaddressed for years and years.
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Offline Oginme

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Re: Fermentability
« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2019, 07:26:35 AM »
- As an aside, Wells Bombadier is made in a similar fashion.  I distinctly remember and interview with the head brewer (or someone who talked to the head brewer maybe) where he stated that they mashed at around 74C and did not expect much, if any, fermentable sugars at that temperature.  They then add invert sugar to get the fermentable portion of the wort.
I listened to the 2012 Jamil Show "Can you brew it?" for Well's Bombardier and it was interviewing the brewer at Well's, Jim Robertson. And yes, they mash at 74C, use a lot of sugar and manage to get the FG down to 1.011-12 (from 1.050-55). Jim spoke of 74C as if it was quite normal.

I get an attenuation of only about 30% mashing at that temperature, but I'm not using any sugar and fermenting with a dextrin/"maltotriose" adverse yeast. I consider "maltotrose" to be a dextrin (about 18% of fermentables in a "standard" wort).

And the point of the commentary in that show was that they use the grains strictly to attain the flavor and mouthfeel profile they want and the added sugar to get the alcohol.  While you are not adding sugars in your recipes, you are operating at a range which is outside the accepted range for all-grain wort fermentability.  While the simplified attenuation adjustment in BeerSmith gives a linear relationship, it is hardly linear.  There are distinct limits on both the bottom end of the fermentability range, where there is little gelatinization of the starches to make them available for reduction by the enzymes, and on the high end, where the enzymes become denatured too quickly to fully act upon the available starches to convert them into a large amount of sugars which can be utilized by the yeast.  When you work outside the limits of what is typical, you need to have a lot of experience, as the brewers at Wells do, to understand where your process will end up. 

As Brewfun pointed out, this is really on the edge of accepted techniques and to expect the software to properly model it for your specific case may not be reasonable.  All you can do is ask the developer to adjust the limits on the projection for wort fermentability, but even then it would be a hit-or-miss type of estimation -- being too far away from the linear portion of the fermentability model to be very accurate.

Your best move would be to keep good records and notes of what your process yields given these conditions so you know what to expect in the future.

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Offline PeeBee

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Re: Fermentability
« Reply #20 on: November 07, 2019, 11:34:40 AM »
Hey you two, don't shoot the messenger! This is the "suggestions" forum, and the suggestion I was making relates to a relatively new concept that is gaining a lot of interest - now wouldn't it be nice if Beersmith kept up with that interest? If Beersmith doesn't, the next "new thing" will and I don't imagine Brad want's to let Beersmith fall by the wayside.

But I've been given instructions to petition Brad for what I think will be useful modifications; thanks very much for that.

I'm quite used to fudging programs to get what I want (but I wasn't even aware that Beersmith switches off when mash temperature gets over 71C - thanks again for that). I'm rather keen to try "Brew Bama's" idea of fudging a dummy ingredient so I can split an ingredient's potentially "fermentable" extract and "not fermentable" extract (particularly to help guesstimate extracts from 71C-plus mashes).

I'd still like mash predictions to extend beyond 71C, if only roughly (better than nothing at all). I'd still like "not fermentable" to be a percentage not an all-or-nothing checkbox option. But these changes are to gain some user tools, not demand Beersmith provides accurate estimates for extreme uses.

Along the way this thread has picked out that the modifications could be used for mainstream "alcoholic" brews ("Bombardier" like beers) not just my pet subject of "low-alcohol" beers. I might be tempted to experiment along those lines (I'm not a saint for most days of the week).

I'm impressed; I'm getting more than I bargained for out of just making a suggestion!

Offline Oginme

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Re: Fermentability
« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2019, 12:00:46 PM »
I didn't think we were trying to "shoot the messenger" and sorry if it came across that way.  I have no issues with the extension of the fermentability model a little beyond what is normally accepted, with the caveat that the accuracy of this prediction of FG may be way off. 

I was thinking again about this problem during my daily walk (I have an incentive to walk enough calories off each day to earn my nightly beer!), specifically around the amount of activity which might be expected from the beta amylase enzyme at this mash temperature.  Since the beta amylase is the main enzyme responsible for the production of maltose and would have a much shorter time for activity at the higher mash temperature, the only real conversion to fermentable sugars would be the random action of the alpha amylase which cleaves the starch chains down to smaller variable lengths of dextrins.  There are already a certain amount of fermentable sugars in the caramel/crystal malts which would be made available just through solubilization.  So the big question is really how much of the base malts would be reduced to fermentable species?

Given this amount of fermentables available from the specialty malts would help to define just how much fermentable sugars get produced from the base malts.  As Brewfun stated earlier, there is about 3% of the sugars which are glucose molecules, presumably from the action of the alpha amylase (random cuts).  So given a few results (OG/FG) and the corresponding grain bill, you might be able to make a stab at how much fermentable sugar comes from the base grains with the minimum probably being around the 3% level.

Just some food for thought.

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Offline Oginme

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Re: Fermentability
« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2019, 01:16:10 PM »
So because I am procrastinating on doing a cash flow projection on a new project, I started fooling around with the program.  If I use a Maris Otter/Crystal 40 combination split 60%/40% and set the OG at 1.012 (as per the information given) with a mash temperature of 74C, I got a FG prediction of 1.007.  Now I marked the Maris Otter as non-fermentable and the FG came up to 1.009.  Pretty much matches what you actually achieved. 

Of course, your actual recipe and malt split may be different, but it does support modelling the lack of activity of the beta amylase at that temperature.
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Offline brewfun

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Re: Fermentability
« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2019, 01:35:20 PM »
^^^ While typing my response, Oginme did the math. It's a solid workaround.

Hey you two, don't shoot the messenger! This is the "suggestions" forum, and the suggestion I was making relates to a relatively new concept that is gaining a lot of interest - now wouldn't it be nice if Beersmith kept up with that interest? If Beersmith doesn't, the next "new thing" will and I don't imagine Brad want's to let Beersmith fall by the wayside.

I agree that suggestion threads deserve more deference than the same subject in another forum. I certainly was trying to show my own experience as a contrast to yours, not as a criticism. I'm sorry if I came off in any other way.

I don't think BeerSmith will fall based on missing a trend or two. I think just about everything BeerSmith calculates has some backing in research by others. There is also consensus understanding about general brewing techniques that are baked in.

Lower alcohol beer has become a subject of interest, owing much to the research of Ron Pattinson. So at this point, we have some quantitative data about historic methods, but not much technical or qualitative. I think Mr. Pattinson makes a few important points along the way. First, beer as "style" is an evolution, not a destination or a singular historic time point. Secondly, brewers have always modified their recipes and techniques based on emerging technology and changing public preference.

In a recent podcast, Mr. Pattinson noted that British beer changed a lot around WWI because of ingredient availability AND government. New taxes were initiated, mandates for production of low alcohol beer was initiated, changes to pub ownership (tied houses) emerged and prices increased faster than wages for a while.

When it comes to using a 21st century program to model late 19th to early 20th century techniques, I think it's a bit of a stretch. Those forefathers had to figure it out based on experience and intuition. So, let the program get you into the right ballpark for your brewing system. Then, be an artist; let your experience and skill show.
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Offline PeeBee

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Re: Fermentability
« Reply #24 on: November 07, 2019, 05:52:52 PM »
So because I am procrastinating on doing a cash flow projection on a new project, I started fooling around with the program.  If I use a Maris Otter/Crystal 40 combination split 60%/40% and set the OG at 1.012 (as per the information given) with a mash temperature of 74C, I got a FG prediction of 1.007.  Now I marked the Maris Otter as non-fermentable and the FG came up to 1.009.  Pretty much matches what you actually achieved. 

Of course, your actual recipe and malt split may be different, but it does support modelling the lack of activity of the beta amylase at that temperature.
Had to have a go at that! Made a copy of the recipe (about 17% crystal .. I think it would be 80; EBC150-170). Base malts Rye (75%) and Munich (25%), about 1kg; marked as "not fermentable". 18L batch. Predicted OG 1.015, predicted FG 1.013. Drat, that don't match what I achieved (1.009).

A graph (attached) generated by a "Tilt" hydrometer (OG1.065 - this ain't "low-alcohol"!) shows the feature of Fermentis S-33 yeast I'm relying on. It shows the yeast hitting the "maltotriose" "wall". Most yeasts finish a bit less abruptly as it slowly "has a go" at the dextrin. I'm not expecting Beersmith to model the kookiness of these yeasts.


I'm using an old example of my "low-alcohol" attempts because the more recent ones play with "cold extraction" and that seriously messes with fermentability calculations!

Offline PeeBee

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Re: Fermentability
« Reply #25 on: November 08, 2019, 04:47:31 AM »
. . . Lower alcohol beer has become a subject of interest, owing much to the research of Ron Pattinson. So at this point, we have some quantitative data about historic methods, but not much technical or qualitative. I think Mr. Pattinson makes a few important points along the way. First, beer as "style" is an evolution, not a destination or a singular historic time point. Secondly, brewers have always modified their recipes and techniques based on emerging technology and changing public preference. . . .
Cheers Brewfun. I had a grub about in Ron's work and I think he is really talking about historic "table" and "small" beer. I'm not helping talking about "low-alcohol" beer but that's a reflection of the strict alcohol laws over here (UK). You over there (and most of the rest of the world) would describe what I've been babbling about as NO alcohol!

Brewing at <0.5% ABV is more a "modern" trend that wouldn't interest a historian like Ron. I'm pleased that Oginme bought up "Bombardier" to rescue my suggestions to apply to a wider audience of "normal" strength beers, not just the very narrow appeal "no-alcohol" beers.

My interest in "no-alcohol" brewing is so I can keep up my hobby and drink its results every day. Whereas if I was to drink "normal" strength beer every day it might lead to a situation where I'm told to stop drinking beer completely, or face a miserable death. That would spoil a good hobby! I'm not the only one thinking like this, though there are others with other reasons to brew such weak beer, but I am the tip of a very fast growing "iceberg" of interest in brewing "no-alcohol".

Offline Oginme

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Re: Fermentability
« Reply #26 on: November 08, 2019, 06:16:45 AM »
Cheers to you for your work so far.

I know that some of the head brewers that I have talked to at length have come to know their system and its quirks.  In doing so, they use software such as BeerSmith not for the actual results that it spits out, but for the process steps and recipe design, knowing full well what their outcome (mostly FG and bitterness) would be different than what the software predicts.  I suspect that the brewers at Wells & Young's Brewery know their system intuitively at this point to understand exactly how to manipulate it to get their desired results.

Now that we have narrowed down the real issue you were facing, maybe Brad will read through this and make a change to allow for the flexibility in designing and producing beers such as you are working towards.

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Offline PeeBee

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Re: Fermentability
« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2019, 06:00:31 AM »
This was a fairly interesting "discovery" that should help me fill-in some blanks in the work-arounds ahead of any potential tweaks to the Beersmith program:
https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Fermentable-sugar-profiles-mashed-in-at-10-different-temperatures-and-compared-with-the_fig4_226691242
"Maltotetraose"? Is there any end to it! I've still to "petition" Brad to extend the mash temperature range; can't find his email? I know why it can't be posted into a forum! But any other pointers?

I found the above link researching what Well's get up to with the "Bombardier" mash schedule. Especially the 52C step; another "protein rest" I'd thought (yawn). Not at all! "Limit Dextrinase". That was pretty interesting stuff and certainly fits in with the 74C mash. I'll give it a miss for "low-alcohol" brewing though.

Offline Oginme

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Re: Fermentability
« Reply #28 on: November 10, 2019, 06:18:49 AM »
Thanks for the literature link.  It will make interesting reading, I am sure.  Usually, it is the limit dextrins which contribute to the body of a beer, since the amylase enzymes are not designed to sever the 1-4 glucosyl bonds. 

Brad's email address is on the main BeerSmith web site.
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Offline Brew Bama

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Re: Fermentability
« Reply #29 on: November 12, 2019, 06:27:48 AM »
I've still to "petition" Brad to extend the mash temperature range; can't find his email? I know why it can't be posted into a forum! But any other pointers?


Try this: http://beersmith.com/contact-us/

 

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