Author Topic: Steep/whirlpool should add bitterness to every addition  (Read 24132 times)

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Steep/whirlpool should add bitterness to every addition
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2013, 11:13:24 AM »
Hi Tom! And welcome back!

I knew I took a chance in drawing you out with that post. I agree, you're not one to whom I was speaking. Neither was Brad, nor the idea of calculating whirlpool bitterness. I have no doubts about your abilities. You're one of the most advanced brewers I've come across in forums without actually meeting in person. Plus, you race cars and I'm a NASCAR fan.

Thanks.  To digress for a moment: The reason I haven't posted in a while is that there is some issue between Simple Machines Forum software and Android OS.  I get an Error 303 almost every time I try and post from my Android device.  I use that almost exclusively for 'net browsing, for the obvious reasons of convenience.  This weekend I've been confined to the bedroom where my main computer is (a nasty head cold combined with Strep throat).  Hence, posting at will.  Anyway, back to the topic at hand.....

Take that further, a brewer can read someone else's recipe and come up with something very similar, through a combination the recipe specs and understanding their setup.

These are the things that make a formula and recipe software valuable. Which is exactly the point I think you're making. Correct?

Yes, absolutely.  I knew you weren't really intending the extreme position. Since you know JamilZ, you will possibly recognize my approach and position on such formulas (particularly hop formulas) as similar to his.  Quite frankly, many of my own thoughts on the matter come from listening to all of his TBN episodes.  I've also been a control systems engineer, and the algorithm described is essentially how a closed-loop control system works.  I don't need a perfect representation of real life, I just need a consistent prediction mechanism and feedback mechanism.  From those two things I can assess and adjust without regard for the lab results. 

My other point is that since this technique and its results are relatively new, there's scant data out there to show correlation between techniques and results.

100% Agreed! The current calculation that Brad is using has allowed me to dial my hop utilization back from 120% to 100% based on my most bitter beers.

Understood.  Of course, there are many more recipes and homebrewers out there now which/who are experimenting with whirlpool hops.  So, the need to have some method for representing/predicting the results, in order to drive repeatability and a common language between brewers.   

Indeed! And these were the norm long before the burst/whirlpool hopped palate busters of today. The previous IBU calculation model served those beers very well. Hence, why I'm pointing out that once saturated, the IBU number isn't all that important.

I distinguish between hoppy and bitter beers.  To me the flavors are very different---I'm sure they are to you, as well.  I get where people are coming from when they say that hoppy increases the perception of bitterness, but I have a strong preference for hoppy versus bitter.  A true 65 IBU beer with little or no late additions is not one of my favorite styles.  I much prefer the 2 lb/barrel 5 minute addition type of beers---IF I'm going to make a IPA/DIPA style. 

In actuality, I'm over the DIPA and related beer phase.  I still make a PtE variant a few times a year, simply due to demand (at parties and what not), but personally...once a year would be enough for me.  But, there are a few NorCal transplants here in TX...and they get a PtE craving every now and again...they seem to think mine is indistinguishable in their minds. 

However, it might be a curious experiment to move all the early PtE hops to the last 30 minutes of the boil. 

I have core products that range from 14 to 88 lab measured IBUs. My top seller is a 26 IBU Export Pilsner and my third is a 34 IBU Red Ale. Second place is, of course, IPA at about 70 IBU.

A FWH then is in there for up to 5 hrs. Yet, what I get is flavor, not increased bitterness.

The Pilsner has an aroma charge at flameout which, according to the OP, should contribute more than 20 IBUs to the beer. It doesn't. It contributes the expected 2 IBUs even though it had 90 minutes of contact time at or above 195F.

This is interesting, and says that the formula currently presented may not be valid.  You don't need a perfect formula, but you do need something that is in the ballpark.  An order of magnitude of error is NOT in the ballpark. 

I was taught that only fully isomerized alpha acids persist in a beer. I was taught that it takes at least 45 minutes of boil to get strong persistence and that it is the boil agitation that does the trick, along with heat. Given that sweet wort is often surprisingly bitter but the bitterness fades with fermentation, that lesson has served me well.

My American Wheat's bitterness comes from a burst hop addition at 10 minutes of 14% aa Sorachi Ace. Twelve days into fermentation and it's pretty bitter at 20 IBUs. But, by packaging it mellows to 14, which correlates to the expected isomerization. In return, I get a pleasant light lemon aroma and a beer that tastes like a Japanese lager, rather than a flabby American wheat.

Hmmm....interesting.  I have three questions:

1.  Is this decrease 6/20 = 30% consistent with other styles?  Higher?  Lower? 
2.  So, is it your opinion that the decrease from 20 to 14 is some function of the "full isomerization" you describe above (or rather the lack therefore due to the very late addition)? 
3.  What yeast do you use for your A.Wheat (cal-ale, or some less flocculant strain)?  I find that lesser flocculant strains pull more bitterness out of a beer after clarifying.  But, there is also an element of time (it takes a lot longer to clarify a crystal-hefe than a english IPA).  I haven't tried to control for this variable. 

Exactly! If you think it needs a change, you do it. That's what being a brewer is all about! Quantifying it with a formula is a relative metric, not an absolute.

The bold was also precisely my point.  I just need a way to take my "twice as bitter" or "twice as hoppy" taste perception and turn that into a recipe change that will be a better approx. of my goal.  As long as I get closer each time, eventually I'll get there.  Obviously, the better the formula represents real-life the less iterations it will take.  But, even a consistent but inaccurate formula will allow me to get there. 

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On Tap: Apfelwein, Kolsch(v2), Pumpkin Ale, Belgian Specialty 
Aging/Storing: Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter, Flanders Red, English Barlywine
Fermenting: Maggie's Altbier
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Offline brewfun

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Re: Steep/whirlpool should add bitterness to every addition
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2013, 01:02:17 PM »
Since you know JamilZ, you will possibly recognize my approach and position on such formulas (particularly hop formulas) as similar to his.

Heh. Jamil and I go back to some of his first wins at the CA State Fair. We were practically neighbors when I lived in N. Cal. He's always honing his observations and mining the trades for new data. I've nearly always been on the judging side of homebrew comps. Jamil has a lot of my score sheets in his files and I have a lot of his beers on my waistline.

This is interesting, and says that the formula currently presented may not be valid.  You don't need a perfect formula, but you do need something that is in the ballpark.  An order of magnitude of error is NOT in the ballpark. 

Right. The OP is correct IF the measurement is immediately post chill. The most IBUs will be found there. But, we all evaluate the beer in a glass, when it's done and say, "That tastes like XX IBUs." What persists are whole isomers (cis-isomers) and some trans isomers (I should probably look them up, but there are like five forms of alpha acids between the hop plant and a full stable isomer). Trans isomers fade and are generally less than 30% of the IBUs found in finished beer. This is a primer: http://mv.picse.net/fermentation/hops/how-are-the-alpha-acids-isomerised/

3.  What yeast do you use for your A.Wheat (cal-ale, or some less flocculant strain)?


It's my lager yeast, HP 925, a high pressure German strain. This gives me a place to park it and sort of regenerate it because of the lovely nutrients and proteins of wheat. I try to get 20+ batches out of a single purchase (that's about 12 to 14 generations).

I find that lesser flocculant strains pull more bitterness out of a beer after clarifying.  But, there is also an element of time (it takes a lot longer to clarify a crystal-hefe than a english IPA).  I haven't tried to control for this variable.

I'd concur. Yeast absorb isomers. Some strains more than others. Yeast also have enzymes to break isomers (remember that isomers are mildly antiseptic; yeast would rather not have a lot of them). The result of that breakage is a transformation of hop flavor, to us.

As a judge, yeast in suspension blocks my perception of hops and other flavors. It essentially can pull the curtains closed, giving a chalky, muddy flavor.

1.  Is this decrease 6/20 = 30% consistent with other styles?  Higher?  Lower? 
2.  So, is it your opinion that the decrease from 20 to 14 is some function of the "full isomerization" you describe above (or rather the lack therefore due to the very late addition)? 

It's only indirectly consistent. It's quite consistent with recipes that calculate out to 100+ IBUs. It is not consistent with my Pilsner, which is pretty stable through the whole process.

With the wheat, I consider it an artifact that there is not enough boil time to make more cis-isomers. In fact, the bitterness has a pithy, harsh quality until it fades. With the Pilsner, I believe that the process creates a lot more stable isomerization.

*phew!* I need a beer! Can I get you anything, while I'm up?  :D

PS: I was hanging out with a group of pro brewers (would that be a Mash of Brewers?) and the subject of Pilsner came up. There is a lot of respect for making a great Pilsner; if for no other reason that the instant you say it, we all know the recipe: Pilsner Malt, Noble Hops and Lager Yeast. Then, there's nothing to hide behind, so it's all brewer skill that separates good from great. Hop handling turned out to be as big a concern as tank space.
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Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Steep/whirlpool should add bitterness to every addition
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2013, 01:39:19 PM »

This is interesting, and says that the formula currently presented may not be valid.  You don't need a perfect formula, but you do need something that is in the ballpark.  An order of magnitude of error is NOT in the ballpark. 

Right. The OP is correct IF the measurement is immediately post chill. The most IBUs will be found there. But, we all evaluate the beer in a glass, when it's done and say, "That tastes like XX IBUs." What persists are whole isomers (cis-isomers) and some trans isomers (I should probably look them up, but there are like five forms of alpha acids between the hop plant and a full stable isomer). Trans isomers fade and are generally less than 30% of the IBUs found in finished beer. This is a primer: http://mv.picse.net/fermentation/hops/how-are-the-alpha-acids-isomerised/

That reference is maddeningly barely informative.  Now i have to learn where the trans-isomers go.  Do they precipitate out, or are they chemically unstable and break down into something else?  Do they react with something else when they do?  Does this reaction result in "other" flavors? 

Great another rabbit hole to dive into.  :-)

PS: I was hanging out with a group of pro brewers (would that be a Mash of Brewers?) and the subject of Pilsner came up. There is a lot of respect for making a great Pilsner; if for no other reason that the instant you say it, we all know the recipe: Pilsner Malt, Noble Hops and Lager Yeast. Then, there's nothing to hide behind, so it's all brewer skill that separates good from great. Hop handling turned out to be as big a concern as tank space.

A.  I don't make lagers.  My fermentation room is temp controlled at 9C.  That's on the harry edge of being able to properly ferment a lager, and I don't have a cold storage room/fridge for the actual lagering step.   Yes its a room, with space for 4 temp controlled primary fermenters, 4 aging kegs and 4 kegs on tap.  I can squeeze in another 4 kegs or two secondaries if needed (it has happened). 

B.  I'm not a big fan of the pilsner style or really lagers in general.  I can "appreciate" them, but my personal preference has always leaned toward ale yeast character.  That said, I think the Ale equivalent would be a Kolsch, and I'm a HUGE fan of these for much the same reason.  There IS something about the simplicity of a Kolsch, as with Pils.  I love the soft round flavor from the Kolsch yeast. 

I started with JZ's recipe which includes about 4.8% Vienna.  I'm currently playing with the amount of vienna (considering 5% to be an upper bound, and exploring the spectrum between 0 and 5%).

I suppose this bit is a little off the topic, though...as whirlpool hops and Pilsner/Kolsch have nothing to do with each other. 
R.I.P.:Belgian Blonde
On Tap: Apfelwein, Kolsch(v2), Pumpkin Ale, Belgian Specialty 
Aging/Storing: Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter, Flanders Red, English Barlywine
Fermenting: Maggie's Altbier
Next Up: PtE(1.1), Belgian Dubbel?

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Offline AnthonyB

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Re: Steep/whirlpool should add bitterness to every addition
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2013, 06:21:36 AM »
I'm certain that if you had the added data of ACTUAL IBUs, you'd hone that even more. Ironically, you could likely find that the IBU number doesn't change much, but the perception of aroma and flavor does. There's taste panel data from breweries that show bitterness perception is lower when hop flavor/aroma is lower. I think this taste panel data has shown up in AHA conference presentations.

I'm basing my complaints on actual measured IBU data from HopUnion's Alpha Analysis lab.  For our American Pale Ale I'm getting most of our IBUs from what are essentially whirlpool additions.  I have the beersmith utilization setting at 120%.  We do two 1100 liter batches into the fermenter.  OG is about 1.050 and Ferment with S-05.  For each half batch we add about 300g of 16% alpha hops at the beginning of the boil.  We then add 750g of 10.6% Alpha hops 5 mins before flame out and 750g of 10.6% Alpha hops after turning out the coils on the kettle.  The wort is stirred for 5 mins.  It settles for another 15 mins.  Cooling takes somewhere between 50 and 90 minutes per half batch depending on my water temps.  I've had this beer measured at 44 IBU and 38 IBU a few months after bottle refermentation was complete.

Before the measurements, I assumed that the 5 minute addition was roughly equivalent to a 15 minute addition and the flame out addition was equivalent to a 10 minute addition.  I think that the reality is closer to the 5 minute addition being a 20 or 25 minute and the flame out being a 15-20 minute addition based on my measurements.

I'd really like to be able to specify that all my hops will undergo a steep of some period of time which more or less matches up with my realized utilization so I can anticipate how hop changes or new recipes come out.  (I realized that the 60 minute addition isn't going to add anything more to the IBUS.)  As I mentioned before, with the current setup I'm forced to mark my late additions as being earlier in the boil in order to make the calculations reflect reality.  It's a shame to have to fudge a work around like this when dealing with the software.

Offline Beezer94

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Re: Steep/whirlpool should add bitterness to every addition
« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2013, 10:41:19 AM »
It seems the easiest solution would just be to add a hot steep timer next to where the boil time is.  If I have a 60 minute boil and then I put in 30 minute hot steep, have it just add 15 minutes to all hop addition bitterness calculations.  So a 60 minute addition will be calculated for 75 minutes, a 15 minute addition for 30, and a 0(flameout) for 15 mins.

The formula you already use for hop additions shows how a 60 minute moved to 75 adds a tiny increase in IBU's so I think this doesn't need to be that complicated.  Unless we send out our personal hops for AA testing and have our beers sent to labs for IBU testing, it's always going to be an approximate expected value.

This is how I've manually adjusted for my hop additions for quite a while.

Offline brewfun

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Re: Steep/whirlpool should add bitterness to every addition
« Reply #20 on: December 06, 2013, 08:49:08 AM »
Before the measurements, I assumed that the 5 minute addition was roughly equivalent to a 15 minute addition and the flame out addition was equivalent to a 10 minute addition.  I think that the reality is closer to the 5 minute addition being a 20 or 25 minute and the flame out being a 15-20 minute addition based on my measurements.

This is a great bit of data. The use of actual measurements over assumptions is the only way to create accuracy.

Do you find that the numbers track similarly when the estimates and measurements are over 60 IBU?
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Offline AnthonyB

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Re: Steep/whirlpool should add bitterness to every addition
« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2013, 05:32:28 AM »
Before the measurements, I assumed that the 5 minute addition was roughly equivalent to a 15 minute addition and the flame out addition was equivalent to a 10 minute addition.  I think that the reality is closer to the 5 minute addition being a 20 or 25 minute and the flame out being a 15-20 minute addition based on my measurements.

This is a great bit of data. The use of actual measurements over assumptions is the only way to create accuracy.

Do you find that the numbers track similarly when the estimates and measurements are over 60 IBU?

I'll try to get some more data and post it when possible, but my feeling is that you really need to boost the amount of Alpha when you try to get over 60 IBU.

Offline brewfun

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Re: Steep/whirlpool should add bitterness to every addition
« Reply #22 on: December 07, 2013, 05:55:32 AM »
I'll try to get some more data and post it when possible, but my feeling is that you really need to boost the amount of Alpha when you try to get over 60 IBU.

That matches what most breweries report. It's also in line with some recent ASBC papers, though they're focused on high gravity brewing for mass lagers (20+ Plato). 
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Offline natebriscoe

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Re: Steep/whirlpool should add bitterness to every addition
« Reply #23 on: January 11, 2014, 08:49:45 AM »
It seems the easiest solution would just be to add a hot steep timer next to where the boil time is.  If I have a 60 minute boil and then I put in 30 minute hot steep, have it just add 15 minutes to all hop addition bitterness calculations.  So a 60 minute addition will be calculated for 75 minutes, a 15 minute addition for 30, and a 0(flameout) for 15 mins.

The formula you already use for hop additions shows how a 60 minute moved to 75 adds a tiny increase in IBU's so I think this doesn't need to be that complicated.  Unless we send out our personal hops for AA testing and have our beers sent to labs for IBU testing, it's always going to be an approximate expected value.

This is how I've manually adjusted for my hop additions for quite a while.
I had thought of this myself. A boil\ steep\ knockout timer would be pretty handy, just due to some people chilling in 5 min some may take 2 hours.