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  1. #1

    Beersmith brewing at altitude


    I've been using Beersmith 3 to adapt recipes I've found online. I've set the boil elevation parameter to 1600m which appears to factor reduced boiling temperature and therefore lower hop utilisation into the IBU calculations. I adjust the hop bill to the target IBU stated in the recipe but my beers are turning out more bitter than expected. For example the same hop bill returns 28 IBU at sea level and 20 IBU at 1600m. I'm very much in the beginner category so I'd be interested in your thoughts, is it normal practice to increase your hop bill when brewing at altitude? Are there any rules of thumb I can use as a sanity check?

  2. #2
    Senior Member JIGSAW's Avatar
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    Im in Cape, so only use 25M but it doesn't effect hop IBU's

    If I was to use 1600M, then yes i would have adjusted either hop amounts or boil times.

    Maybe try a test with 0M and see if you happy?
    The Problem With The World Is That Everyone Is A Few Drinks Behind.!


  3. #3
    I also use bs3 and did the same. Went up to 1400m. But my beer was overly bitter. So i brew with it at sea level. 0m. To me it pulled the beer out of balance. Ive newer used that function again

    Sent from my SM-A515F using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    The general hands on consensus I seem to see on groups and forums is that it does affect utilisation but not to the extent indicated by these calcs. My latest saazless saaz pilsner is very bitter for style, and I used the actual altitude. I have seen a handful of people overseas have found an experimental compromise of dividing the altitude by 2. I havent tried that yet but will next brew.
    Cheers,
    Lang
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    "Dudddde...Hold my beer!".... ; "I wonder what will happen if I ...."

  5. #5
    Forget about ibu (and beersmith) use bu:gu or rbr and brewfather. I also don't think the altitude adjustment is that major thing to worry about. Also keep in mind your mash efficiency here, if its not repeatable then your balance is out of kilter each time.

    Sent from my SM-N970F using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    I think hop alpha isomerisation (or whatever it's called) happens > 88C, if I'm wrong someone feel free to correct me. So I'd say as long as you're boiling hotter than 88C, use the normal hop bill.
    I also use Brewfather and live in Pta.

    Also check the batch of hops you use for AA%. Example: East Kent may be 5% according to brewing software, but your specific batch might be 4.5% or 5.5% or any value that's not the same as the brewing software, and adjust that for your calculations.

    I'd say use a recipe you've brewed before that turned out overly bitter, and use the original hop bill and compare. Only way to know if it will work for you.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by groenspookasem View Post
    Forget about ibu (and beersmith) use bu:gu or rbr and brewfather. I also don't think the altitude adjustment is that major thing to worry about. Also keep in mind your mash efficiency here, if its not repeatable then your balance is out of kilter each time.

    Sent from my SM-N970F using Tapatalk
    I use Brewfather and was playing with the altitude setting just last week (I had it set to 1600m on my equipment since i started using it).
    There is actually quite a big difference in IBU when I disable it. It's the difference between 15 and 22 IBUs for the same amount of hops...
    That will kill the Hefeweizen i'm wanting to brew and 15 IBU is the upper limit for the style.
    On the flip side, if I use the hop amount that achieves 15 IBU for 0m, I would only be getting 10 IBU using 1600m

    What are the Brewfathers users doing with regards to this? Do you trust the Altitude adjustments or do you not have the setting enabled on your equipment?

  8. #8
    I'd personally just skip the altitude adjustment altogether, bu:gu/rbr will indicate your perceived bitterness. There's more at play though, if you design a recipe with a specific ibu and on brewday your efficiency is down a few points. It will not necessarily increase your ibus drastically, but will have a huge impact on the bu:gu/rbr and the perceived bitterness of the beer.

    You could check the minor ibu increase and the drastic bu:gu/rbr increase by adjusting your original recipe the actual efficiency to verify the impact on your beer, except of course, if you compensated the recipes hopping rates or boil duration based on a preboil sg.

    in short; get your process/kit dialled in first before faffing about with altitude adjustments which is a hit or miss and mostly a negative experience based on the few comments here.

    I'm at the coast, but never worried about altitude adjustments in my beers at all.

    drop your recipe on here (link to brewfather) for more yakkety sax
    Last edited by groenspookasem; 14th October 2020 at 12:52.

  9. #9
    https://share.brewfather.app/PzNBLVxyaWekbo

    I think the halving of the altitude sounds like a better failsafe. You will be closer to your required value than if either of the other two are way off.

  10. #10

    to bring the rbr back slightly drop it to 10.1g hops / scaled to 14 ibu. not sure if you'd even pick up the relative bitterness ratio being slightly over the style guide.
    i'm not au fait with hefes, i've never brewed one but it's not very hoppy is it?

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