Brewing without a computer program
  • JayrizzleJayrizzle
    Posts: 90,299
    It seems odd to me that everyone seems to use Beersmith or the like. I've used it, but never felt that it gave me anything useful.
    Strike water temps are nearly impossible to calculate due to factors that are hard to quantify. Just add water that's about the right temp until the mash is the right temp. If it's a little thick or thin it'll still work.
    Color calculations are just unnecessary, and if you really care do the math out by hand. The formula is relativity simple. For general brewing most people can estimate approximate color with out any math, and does it really matter that much?
    IBU's, I do run these in a program sometimes, but I don't get accurate numbers back. Again, there are too many variables to really get the accuracy I can taste let alone the accuracy that people talk of.
    "I don't have TP, but I do have ammo."
    -Some guy in Ohio
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 88,619
    I use an Android app for strike water and refractometer conversions. I'm never more than a degree off on target mash temp.
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • jlwjlw
    Posts: 16,454
    I think this is mostly true. I use beer smith I don't know that it does anything special for me. Mainly I'm too lazy rondo the calculations by hand. I guess I use it more these days as an electronic place to store recipes.

    I do think it helped me understand how to build a recipe in my early stages.
  • JayrizzleJayrizzle
    Posts: 90,299
    A lot of why it's not useful to me is my sloppy brew style. I leaned a good deal from playing with the program when I first started. But even then I couldn't hold to a recipe, it was just a way of learning; if I tweak y than x happens, with out having to brew hundreds of times.
    "I don't have TP, but I do have ammo."
    -Some guy in Ohio
  • JayrizzleJayrizzle
    Posts: 90,299
    C_B said:

    I use an Android app for strike water and refractometer conversions. I'm never more than a degree off on target mash temp.



    I heat water to about 170-190 and mix it till it's the right temp. I'm never off.
    "I don't have TP, but I do have ammo."
    -Some guy in Ohio
  • jlwjlw
    Posts: 16,454
    Now that I know my system I could probably go without it.
  • JayrizzleJayrizzle
    Posts: 90,299
    jlw said:

    Now that I know my system I could probably go without it.



    Do it! It's so much more satisfying.
    "I don't have TP, but I do have ammo."
    -Some guy in Ohio
  • jlwjlw
    Posts: 16,454
    One of thes edays I'm going to get one of those brewing books and bill learn all the calculations.
  • FuzzyFuzzy
    Posts: 49,695
    jlw said:

    One of thes edays I'm going to get one of those brewing books and bill learn all the calculations.



    i do the strike water and decoction calcs by hand occasionally. i find it to be a bit more accurate than most of the programs around. ibu's i just go with whatever beer calculus tells me. close enough.
    The pinnacle of lame and awesome in one singular moment. -Lake
  • BenSBenS
    Posts: 6,248
    I use an android app just to keep track of my random ass recipes. Otherwise I forget
    There's no starting point. It's just a massive sea of shit to wade through until you find the occasional corn kernel. -DrCurly
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 121,968
    BenS said:

    I use an android app just to keep track of my random ass recipes. Otherwise I forget


    that pretty much my approach. i have my spreadsheet, which is the recipe, and the calculations.

    one spreadsheet for each brew.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 53,828

    C_B said:

    I use an Android app for strike water and refractometer conversions. I'm never more than a degree off on target mash temp.



    I heat water to about 170-190 and mix it till it's the right temp. I'm never off.


    Tsk tsk .....
    Do it right lad .... heat up 1.25 quarts per pound of grain until just starts to hit the point you can't stand it when you flick some on your wrist ..... done ... whats this thermometer crap?
    Never attribute to malice, that which can adequately be explained by stupidity.
  • JayrizzleJayrizzle
    Posts: 90,299
    ceannt said:

    C_B said:

    I use an Android app for strike water and refractometer conversions. I'm never more than a degree off on target mash temp.



    I heat water to about 170-190 and mix it till it's the right temp. I'm never off.


    Tsk tsk .....
    Do it right lad .... heat up 1.25 quarts per pound of grain until just starts to hit the point you can't stand it when you flick some on your wrist ..... done ... whats this thermometer crap?


    I didn't say anything about a thermometer.
    "I don't have TP, but I do have ammo."
    -Some guy in Ohio
  • jlwjlw
    Posts: 16,454
    I think I'll start using a Slide rule and abacus
  • JayrizzleJayrizzle
    Posts: 90,299
    jlw said:

    I think I'll start using a Slide rule and abacus



    Forget all that and focus on the malt, hop, & water.
    "I don't have TP, but I do have ammo."
    -Some guy in Ohio
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 121,968
    You're all whack.

    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • frydogbrewsfrydogbrews
    Posts: 44,679
    ceannt said:

    C_B said:

    I use an Android app for strike water and refractometer conversions. I'm never more than a degree off on target mash temp.



    I heat water to about 170-190 and mix it till it's the right temp. I'm never off.


    Tsk tsk .....
    Do it right lad .... heat up 1.25 quarts per pound of grain until just starts to hit the point you can't stand it when you flick some on your wrist ..... done ... whats this thermometer crap?


    i just throw caterpillars in until it dies instantly, but DOESN'T explode.....done....what's all this wrist crap?
  • JayrizzleJayrizzle
    Posts: 90,299

    ceannt said:

    C_B said:

    I use an Android app for strike water and refractometer conversions. I'm never more than a degree off on target mash temp.



    I heat water to about 170-190 and mix it till it's the right temp. I'm never off.


    Tsk tsk .....
    Do it right lad .... heat up 1.25 quarts per pound of grain until just starts to hit the point you can't stand it when you flick some on your wrist ..... done ... whats this thermometer crap?


    i just throw caterpillars in until it dies instantly, but DOESN'T explode.....done....what's all this wrist crap?


    What kind of caterpillars are best judge of a highish mash temp?
    "I don't have TP, but I do have ammo."
    -Some guy in Ohio
  • jlwjlw
    Posts: 16,454
    I would thnk k the tent worms.
  • CZsCZs
    Posts: 228
    being obviously late to this one - I can see we're down to sacrificing critters

    anyways - I have Beer Smith 2 and recently have been playing with Brewer's Friend - it seems the latter is a little underestimating but does have a few items that Beer Smith 2 doesn't - I've used it enough that I have all the data I could want, but I'm actually really starting to enjoy the simplicity of Brewer's Friend in conjunction with a boil timer on my Galaxy
  • JayrizzleJayrizzle
    Posts: 90,299
    I guess I shouldn't have" eyeballed" my priming sugar....
    IMG_20130523_194325.jpg
    1944 x 2592 - 1M
    "I don't have TP, but I do have ammo."
    -Some guy in Ohio
  • JayrizzleJayrizzle
    Posts: 90,299
    CZs said:

    being obviously late to this one - I can see we're down to sacrificing critters

    anyways - I have Beer Smith 2 and recently have been playing with Brewer's Friend - it seems the latter is a little underestimating but does have a few items that Beer Smith 2 doesn't - I've used it enough that I have all the data I could want, but I'm actually really starting to enjoy the simplicity of Brewer's Friend in conjunction with a boil timer on my Galaxy



    I've never heard of brewer's friend. I'm tempted to look into it, but take far more pleasure in doing calculations out in chalk... Or just guessing as I go.
    What really killed the programs for me was IBU calculations. The beer I'm drinking right now has , by taste about 75-90 but a program would put it at 500 or something impossible.
    It's hard to come up with really good formulas for this stuff. There are just too many variables too get it all.
    "I don't have TP, but I do have ammo."
    -Some guy in Ohio
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 121,968
    Is this the beer where you dumped in a bunch of old hops?
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 88,619

    I guess I shouldn't have" eyeballed" my priming sugar....


    Pour slower.
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 53,828
    yeah.... once you get up so high in "calculated" IBUs... you stop perceiving any difference... can't tell say between 200 and 700...
    Never attribute to malice, that which can adequately be explained by stupidity.
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 53,828
    good ole Tinseth seems to work better to me in predicting IBUs....
    But eveybody's perception is a tad different... so any method of calculating is going to vary from person to person as to accuracy
    Never attribute to malice, that which can adequately be explained by stupidity.
  • JayrizzleJayrizzle
    Posts: 90,299
    ceannt said:

    yeah.... once you get up so high in "calculated" IBUs... you stop perceiving any difference... can't tell say between 200 and 700...



    I was under the impression that extraction doesn't work so well above the 80IBU range and it was near impossible to even get anything above 100. I did a taste test of the beer which was spoken of. Rough tests showed it at less than 100, more than 50. That beer (4.5gal) had several lbs of hops in it, all old, but still should have had enough alpha acids to make that beer undrinkable (and would have if they had been extracted in a solvent and then added during the bottling possess).
    "I don't have TP, but I do have ammo."
    -Some guy in Ohio
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 53,828

    ceannt said:

    yeah.... once you get up so high in "calculated" IBUs... you stop perceiving any difference... can't tell say between 200 and 700...



    I was under the impression that extraction doesn't work so well above the 80IBU range and it was near impossible to even get anything above 100. I did a taste test of the beer which was spoken of. Rough tests showed it at less than 100, more than 50. That beer (4.5gal) had several lbs of hops in it, all old, but still should have had enough alpha acids to make that beer undrinkable (and would have if they had been extracted in a solvent and then added during the bottling possess).


    what kind of solvent? acetone? (that would make it "undrinkable"!)
    Never attribute to malice, that which can adequately be explained by stupidity.
  • JayrizzleJayrizzle
    Posts: 90,299
    ceannt said:

    ceannt said:

    yeah.... once you get up so high in "calculated" IBUs... you stop perceiving any difference... can't tell say between 200 and 700...



    I was under the impression that extraction doesn't work so well above the 80IBU range and it was near impossible to even get anything above 100. I did a taste test of the beer which was spoken of. Rough tests showed it at less than 100, more than 50. That beer (4.5gal) had several lbs of hops in it, all old, but still should have had enough alpha acids to make that beer undrinkable (and would have if they had been extracted in a solvent and then added during the bottling possess).


    what kind of solvent? acetone? (that would make it "undrinkable"!)


    Butane works, I think grain alcohol works too but I haven't tried that.
    "I don't have TP, but I do have ammo."
    -Some guy in Ohio
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 53,828
    You could also just do "infusions"... steep a pound of hops per gallon of water... for 6-10 hours in hot water... in several batches... (boil one or two gallon's worth for 90-min.) and use for strike and sparge water...
    Never attribute to malice, that which can adequately be explained by stupidity.
  • JayrizzleJayrizzle
    Posts: 90,299
    ceannt said:

    You could also just do "infusions"... steep a pound of hops per gallon of water... for 6-10 hours in hot water... in several batches... (boil one or two gallon's worth for 90-min.) and use for strike and sparge water...


    I did some complicated split boil with this last beer to get thing as high as possible. It didn't work that amazingly.
    Though I've though about the acetone. If it was to be fully evaporated before use it could work nicely. I do enjoy using a good strong solvent.
    "I don't have TP, but I do have ammo."
    -Some guy in Ohio
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 53,828
    Hey... they use acetone to "extract" the goodness out of the leaves to make Ginkgo pills.... don't know why you couldn't use it for hops...
    Never attribute to malice, that which can adequately be explained by stupidity.
  • CurlyFatCurlyFat
    Posts: 71,622
    I used to use promash. Then i realized I rarely re-brew anything, and always came up with recipes in my head before entering them anyway. I don't even write anything down anymore. Occasionally I'll check out a book for reference if I'm not sure what malts/hops to use, but mostly I just wing it. I still end up with beer. And it's still just as good (arguably better).


    I took a short one a couple hours ago. It was nice. --
    C_B

  • ThymThym
    Posts: 121,968
    DrCurly said:

    I used to use promash. Then i realized I rarely re-brew anything, and always came up with recipes in my head before entering them anyway. I don't even write anything down anymore. Occasionally I'll check out a book for reference if I'm not sure what malts/hops to use, but mostly I just wing it. I still end up with beer. And it's still just as good (arguably better).



    i like to re-brew stuff.

    i actually prefer to re-brew a recipe than to try something new. i always "want" to try something new, but i dont brew often enough to have time for a failed experiment...
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • CZsCZs
    Posts: 228
    after my wife's Brown Ale and then my Witbier, I need to get Porters and Stouts out of my system, followed by an Oktoberfest, then I'll probably be back to some 2nd versions and re-work what I liked / didn't like from this past year.

    However, Ceannt has me interested in these extinct to semi-extinct brews that I may postpone any re-dos until I can have a few old-timers out of the way. The Grisette is awesome and the Happe is next on my list, followed by the Schwenke. Darn you awesome, creative hobby!
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 53,828
    CZs said:

    after my wife's Brown Ale and then my Witbier, I need to get Porters and Stouts out of my system, followed by an Oktoberfest, then I'll probably be back to some 2nd versions and re-work what I liked / didn't like from this past year.

    However, Ceannt has me interested in these extinct to semi-extinct brews that I may postpone any re-dos until I can have a few old-timers out of the way. The Grisette is awesome and the Happe is next on my list, followed by the Schwenke. Darn you awesome, creative hobby!



    Ain't obsessions great?
    Never attribute to malice, that which can adequately be explained by stupidity.
  • CurlyFatCurlyFat
    Posts: 71,622
    Lakewood said:

    DrCurly said:

    I used to use promash. Then i realized I rarely re-brew anything, and always came up with recipes in my head before entering them anyway. I don't even write anything down anymore. Occasionally I'll check out a book for reference if I'm not sure what malts/hops to use, but mostly I just wing it. I still end up with beer. And it's still just as good (arguably better).



    i like to re-brew stuff.

    i actually prefer to re-brew a recipe than to try something new. i always "want" to try something new, but i dont brew often enough to have time for a failed experiment...


    I've never brewed and not ended up with beer. And I like beer. Generally, the less thought I put into it, the better it is. Thinking is not my forte.


    I took a short one a couple hours ago. It was nice. --
    C_B

  • CZsCZs
    Posts: 228
    i think I may be heading in that direction, at least with building the recipe - especially the ones I've done 5 times over - forgetting about the beer is the best part for me - I get excited all over again when I re-discover something, especially if its been bottled, then in the fridge buried behind something for a while. I just found a Winter Kolsch I made with Crystal 50-60 that was stuck behind a couple flat two liters that haven't been touched. It was so crystal clear, freezing cold and perfect.
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 53,828
    I have gone through several stages in my brewing.... I started out mostly just "winging it"... mainly because I didn't know how to do the calculations (luckily I still took good notes!) I went through one period that I was absolutely anal about the calcs... even tweaking things if the AA of the hops on hand were the tiniest bit different from what I had "assumed" Then I went back to winging it again....
    Now, I calculate everything... (the spreadsheet I made up helps with this a good deal) but I still tend to formulate the recipes in my head... the spreadsheet is more of a "record" than anything... so I don't have to write it all down... it also gives me a better prediction... and in the long run, all calculations are is a prediction... the results are what they are... and that, is BEER!
    Never attribute to malice, that which can adequately be explained by stupidity.
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 121,968
    ceannt said:


    Now, I calculate everything... (the spreadsheet I made up helps with this a good deal) but I still tend to formulate the recipes in my head... the spreadsheet is more of a "record" than anything... so I don't have to write it all down... it also gives me a better prediction... and in the long run, all calculations are is a prediction... the results are what they are... and that, is BEER!



    This is what I do and why.

    But I will recalculate my hop amounts based on actual AA% using hop magic (available under tools)
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • CZsCZs
    Posts: 228
    I will probably always formulate just so I can either tweak based off of my note and generally have the record of it as you mentioned - especially if someone is psyched and wants ideas or to brew the same thing

    I absolutely loved using my leftovers and just throwing it together and see what happens - it was very therapeutic - I didn't waste anything and it reminded me what I love most about this hobby - brewing. Sometimes I can get caught up in the process of creating things "just so" that I can make it into another item on my list, rather than taking a deep breath and knowing generally it will make for a really drinkable beer, and, if lucky a fantastic one that I stumbled into