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Fenton, MI
13 Posts

I've used brewersfriend and found that, aside from color, it didn't really fit my needs. So I developed my own calculator. Does anyone else venture off on their own with respect to this? I thought it might be interesting to chat about any tools we've developed with respect to recipe creation.

My primary issue is the iterative process needed to develop a recipe, particularly on brewersfriend. I toy around with batch size too much (small batch BIAB on a junky stove with volume limitations) so everything becomes circular and I have to constantly tweak all of the values to hit the targets. It's annoying to me.

So, in my sheet I can establish the following targets:
1. OG or ABV Target
2. Batch Size Target (this can be in whatever form: finished gallons, gallons in the fermentor, mash space in the tun/kettle, etc)
3. IBU Target

combined with the following inputs:

A. hop type & times,
B. grain bill in % format
C. All the standard constants: boil off rates, trub losses, efficiency, etc

to give me my grain weights, hop weights, and water volumes (including kettle heights).

Did I just describe BeerSmith? I don't have it, so I don't know.  Anyway, I use the "solver" function in Excel to accomplish this. All I do is establish whatever recipe targets I need for a particular brew, click the button, and the weights/waters automatically get calculated in order to meet the targets in about one second. Its pretty sweet (for me).

Since the solver calculates to really strange decimal places, I have another area that rounds the grain weights off to make shopping easier, and calculates cost.

All of this also feeds into a brew day tracker, which I print out and write down the info. When entered back into the spreadsheet, it recalculates all of the constants (grain absorptions, efficiencies, etc) for comparison against my assumptions and establishing a baseline for the next brew.

In my short time of brewing (since last August), I don't see much discussion about these sorts of things, so was curious if I was the only one or not. What say ye? ...Bueller...? : )

Posted 34 days ago.
Edited 34 days ago by dave

Charter Member
The Internet
314 Posts

This is an interesting idea, but it sounds like you're working backwards of most calculators out there.  Not that that's a bad thing.

Most people will use something like BeerSmith or Brewtoad to do what you're describing.  I'll have an idea of OG/color/IBU and start putting in approximate values for grain and hops and see where it leaves me.  I'll tweak numbers until I get where I want it.  

I don't think anyone really talks about it because by the time you start formulating your own recipes, you already have a pretty good handle on how much base malt to start with, hopping additions, etc.  You're just using the recipe program to tweak out the numbers into sane, easily purchased amounts.

Posted 34 days ago.

Fenton, MI
13 Posts

The sheet itself works forward and presents the inputs/outputs just like anything else that we're used to. It only works "backwards" in the sense that it tweaks the numbers automatically so that you don't have to, while maintaining whatever grain bill & hop schedule ratio's that you've specified.

So when you say "I'll tweak numbers until I get where I want it. " and "You're just using the recipe program to tweak out the numbers into sane, easily purchased amounts" its doing that via a button-click instead of fiddling yourself. Maybe I'm just a bit OCD in that I want it theoretically exact; but for me I spend a bit of time (like maybe a minute max, but its an annoying minute) going through that process.

I think my need was born out of my small pot & inadequate stove. Every time I saw a recipe that I wanted to use, I'd have to pare it down to fit my set up and at the same time maximize the volume.  Keeping a target IBU isn't bad, but when I want to keep a certain IBU ratio is just kind of mucks things up a bit. Then if I want to go off the beaten path a little bit and bump up the ABV it seems to get even more messy (especially if I have to go back and adjust hops to hit a ratio).

Posted 34 days ago.

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