- Feb 2, 2015
- Reaction score
I didn't use arbitrary numbers, what I did was to brew a beer that the bitterness was set by boil additions, I then whirlpooled at 165F and followed the advice that no isomerization would take place below 180F. The beer was extremely bitter for a pale ale. I guessed at the IBU's and started using the whirlpool portion of the calculator. I then figured out that the rule of 180F was pure bulls*&^. My goal at the time and still is to brew a pale ale @ 35-40 IBU's with a lot of flavor and aroma. I ended up at about 3% utilization at 165F. If i were to raise the temperature I would have to raise that percentage. This is an example of the recipe. It's going to NHC finals for the third year in a row, it wins me a lot of awards and is a fantastic beer.Here's a question...since you were able to dial in and predict IBU numbers as a result of arbitrary utilization settings, how did you go about deciding that X hop at Y time and temp yielded Z IBUs?
I basically use the calculator to add the hops I want in the whirlpool and then I add the rest in the boil, which is usually cascade for 5-10 minutes depending on the targeted IBU's. In the recipe I just brewed I got @13 IBU's from the cascade addition, then I ignore the cascade addition from that point on. I figured it wouldn't contribute that much bitterness since the wort was chilled to 165F within 3 minutes of the end of the boil and it worked.
Each hop has an alpha acid percentage, that's the way you can adjust the bitterness in the whirlpool, if you add Galaxy @ 15% AA, the calculator will use the 3% utilization number to adjust bitterness. You have to watch your AA% in the whirlpool or the bitterness will get out of hand. The 180 rule is partly true, but not completely.
I was going for a pale ale, there is some wiggle room with bitterness, but the palate is the best way to estimate the bitterness. Mine lands somewhere in the middle of the style, some commercial beers are more bitter and others not as bitter. You know when your off, it just doesn't taste right, either too bitter or not enough. The palate is also fooled by the big aroma and flavor, so it may not be as bitter as one perceives.Compare bitterness with other beers that were of a known IBU number?
For me it wasn't too hard and I'm happy with the results.