A perfect example of a low integrity recipe.

Post #1 made 4 years ago
[EDIT: This thread has been written in a certain style that I don't normally use. It was written as what I hoped to be a short-cut/fast-track for brewers. In other words, reading the below will hopefully fast-track brewers into seeing that they should not place absolute trust in many recipes they may read. Since publication (ages ago mind you), twice now it has been mentioned that the thread comes across as arrogant or smacks of hubris. These criticisms could well be correct but please bear in mind that this thread was aimed as a tool to assist us in answering the many hundreds of questions requesting help in duplicating recipes.]

When a new brewer wants to brew beer, they must begin with a recipe. That should be really easy right?

What about if you chose to brew the same recipe that, "earned Jonathan Perman the illustrious title of Homebrewer of the Year in the 2012 AHA National Homebrew CompetitionNational Homebrew Competition." Source: American Homebrewers Association / Homebrew Recipes / Sitzung Helles.

How excited are we to get that recipe? :party: :drink: :party: :drink:. Why wouldn't you be excited?

1. Homebrewer of the Year!
2. Published by the American Homebrewers Association!
3. Really nicely laid out website - a lot easier to read than this one!

Let's go!!!!
AHA LIR1.JPG
In reality, this recipe is a great example of a low integrity recipe.

In this thread, I am going to pull this recipe completely apart.

In the next post, we'll look at the first two paragraphs.

:peace:
PP
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Last edited by PistolPatch on 04 Apr 2014, 17:54, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #2 made 4 years ago
Let's take a look at the introduction to this recipe...
AHA LIR2.JPG
The second sentence of the first paragraph is totally wrong for a start. "First wort hopping," is not done at the beginning of the mash. That is called mash hopping and is totally different from FWH'ing. So, what did Jonathon Perman actually do? Mash hopping or FWH?

So within the first paragraph, the reader is being totally misinformed. But come on, this recipe is from the American Homebrewer's Association. It's probably just a typo. Fair enough. Let's move on.

In fact, I can hardly wait. The above actually promises a, "water treatment to create an award winning Munich Helles."

It doesn't get much better than that :party: :drink: :party:
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Last edited by PistolPatch on 04 Apr 2014, 18:01, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #3 made 4 years ago
So, here is the recipe....
AHA LIR3.JPG
On the first line we already have a problem. It says, "For 7 gallons (26.5 L)."

A new brewer would have no idea what that 7 gallons meant but don't worry new brewers, neither do I! I could muck around for a while using a lot of advanced skills working out what the original brewer may have meant but even when I do that, I usually find that the original brewer has just been following a recipe report from a brewing program that they don't really understand.

So, first problem we have here is that the 7.5 gallons does not say whether it is...

VIP - Volume into Packaging: How much beer you want to bottle or keg.

VIF - Volume into Fermentor: The volume you want to get into your fermentor.

VAW - Volume of Ambient Wort: VIF plus your 'KFL - Kettle to Fermentor Loss'. This is the volume figure we need when duplicating a recipe.

VFO - Volume at Flame-Out: The volume of your hot wort before shrinkage from cooling.

Not knowing this has ramifications.

And that is the first major benefit of this site. Clear terminology.

A recipe that is not specific in its volume lacks integrity straight away. Nearly all recipes a brewer comes across will not define the volume. Descriptions such as, "Batch Size: 7 gallons," or, "For 7 gallons," are quite meaningless.

I have no problem with the grain bill so let's move on to the hop bill in the next post.
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Last edited by PistolPatch on 04 Apr 2014, 18:25, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #4 made 4 years ago
The recipe says that it requires 1.85 ounces or 52 grams of Mittlefruh hops. It says they were FWH'ed but the first paragraph says they may have been mash hopped. :scratch:.

Let's move on.

The first problem is that there is no Alpha Acid percentage given for the Hallertau hops used and this is important. Every year, hops are grown and every year, their intensity can increase or decrease. This can be as much as 40% (off the top of my head) so it is really useless for me to give you a recipe without me telling you how potent the hops I used were.

You might say that it doesn't matter that the AA% has not been published because they tell you in the recipe that the beer totals around 20 IBU's. See this post re Rager, Garetz and Tinseth for a small introduction on how that is definitely not the answer.

...

Let's move on to efficiency....
Last edited by PistolPatch on 04 Apr 2014, 18:47, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #5 made 4 years ago
I look at the pic in the last post and I see that it has
Efficiency: n/a
and they have that exactly right because the word efficiency and a number on their own mean nothing.

Two major types of brewing efficiency exist and I'll write and link on this later. But, the word, "efficiency," is bandied about without education on other sites. Just ignore it. The BIABacus calculates both of them (and many other things) for you. (Like driving a car, the BIABacus works out whether you are driving up a hill, down a hill or straight and level. It then adjusts the fuel accordingly. Every other program assumes you are driving on flat ground and take the same amount of rest breaks.) Ignore!!!

...

Next, we'll explore the, "water treatment to create an award winning Munich helles."

Wow!
Last edited by PistolPatch on 04 Apr 2014, 19:03, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #6 made 4 years ago
Finally, we get to the magic :party: :drink: :party: :drink: :party:.

This must be the secret right? We just have to add 3 grams of one salt and 1 gram of another salt. Too easy!!!

Hold on :scratch:. Now, it's not clear if the original brewer added the magic ingredients (don't worry, new brewers, they are not magic) pre or post-boil or pre or post mash and I am a bit worried because he has "n/a" written beside pre-boil volume so if I guess the pre-boil volume and add the magic ingredients then, then I might be wrong. And, hold on, I'm just re-reading the above and I'm not sure if the volume they are talking was into the boil or out of the boil.

I don't know!!!!!

At least this can't get any worse. (Yes it does.)
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Post #7 made 4 years ago
To add insult to injury, this recipe published that you need to add 3 grams of one salt and one gram of another to make this 'perfect' Munich Helles.

But, every water is different. Adding the salts recommended in the recipe might work in x town in this country on many days of the year but me telling you what salts to use, when I live in another town is purely ridiculous.
Last edited by PistolPatch on 04 Apr 2014, 19:39, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #8 made 4 years ago
[This post was reserved but is now replaced with the following...]

dexter.rose in post #21 also points out that the Munich malt was fully ambiguous. This is another major error.
Last edited by PistolPatch on 04 Apr 2014, 19:45, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #9 made 4 years ago
[This post was reserved but is now replaced with the following...]

The main issue in most recipes is the inability to determine the, 'VAW - Volume of Ambient Wort. I have written on this elsewhere but it is probably worth having in this stickied thread.

It is no use you giving me a recipe to copy unless you tell me what your VAW was. Let's look at a pic...
Kettle - VAW.jpg
Imagine if you had a high tap on your kettle compared to me siphoning. My KFL would be less than yours. This means that I need to use less grain and hops than you used.

KFL can vary wildly from brewer to brewer. Basing a recipe on VIF instead of VAW can lead to an immediate major loss of integrity.

The good news is that brewing is very forgiving so no matter how badly a recipe is conveyed and interpreted, you will usually end up with a good beer. It is far better though, for everyone, to just communicate recipes well.

If this thread shows one thing it is that many recipes are conveyed in an appalling/pretty much useless manner.
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Post #10 made 4 years ago
The aim of the above is to hopefully un-bewilder brewers who have come across information on other sites, books etc that seems confusing, illogical or just plain wrong. Even though you are a new brewer,you are probably correct.

Let that last sentence sink in.

Everything written in this thread above is correct and cannot be argued.
Last edited by PistolPatch on 04 Apr 2014, 20:29, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #13 made 4 years ago
Thanks PP. Great info as always.
In my haste to clone the recipe I didn't notice any of those contradiction's. At this stage in my learning curve I am doing so many things for the first time (for example this weekend ill do my first FWH along with a decoction mash) and learning as I go and by the way haven't made an AG beer yet that I though was bad.
Very much still learning to pick apart ingredients to what works together.
One thing I have started doing in recipe creation is have a look at the maths behind it. I found this info somewhere on the web and copied it into word (attached). I could well have even got it from this forum so apologies if I did but I honestly cant remember now where I got it.
Im sure the experienced will wonder why I would bother work it all out on paper first before entering into biabacus which will work it out for me. Well I suppose being an engineer I like the idea of working it out myself and then getting verification.

This works for me in the fact that I can get qtys of ingredients but then comes the other part of what ingredients work together. That's where it stops being science and starts becoming art. Like I say still a lot to learn.

Sorry didn't mean to babble on.
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Post #14 made 4 years ago
One thing to bear in mind is there are good quality & high integrity recipes around too (especially on this site).

If anybody finds a high integrity recipe, or even has had a recipe converted for them that they have tried and "proved" they could do us all a service by posting up in this thread Here.

BTW - Nice work Pat!
Last edited by mally on 07 Apr 2014, 15:19, edited 1 time in total.
G B
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I've stopped drinking, but only when I'm asleep
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Post #15 made 4 years ago
This is great, and really should drive home as to why most "recipes" on the internet are crap.

We really owe it to ourselves to grow the thread mally just linked us to.

I'm a new brewer, so I've been hesitant to post my self-made recipes. BUT, considering I've brewed a consistently good pale ale .. I'll add my recipe there once I iron out some wrinkles in the notes section.
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Post #16 made 4 years ago
Yettiman wrote:A great post, funny but illustrative
It was probably a lot funnier to read before I edited it and removed all my whingeing, moaning and ranting :lol:. But, it is amazing how much time this low integrity stuff chews up - new brewers trying to understand it and then us trying to explain the nonsense :).

Thanks to everyone for your posts above - feedback and the suggestions make such a difference :salute:.

Dave the word doc is quite nicely written but there are a few number and terminology errors in it. I won't go into great detail but he's a bit vague on his volumes - the old batch size and terminology problem. I haven't checked his colour calcs but had a quick look at the IBU's and he's got two large but common errors there. Tinseth formulas are based on wort gravity meaning gravity at the end of the boil, not the average of the boil gravity. Also the volume is the end of boil volume, not the average boil volume. This comes straight from an email from Tinseth himself and you can see on his utilisation table that it clearly says, "Original Gravity". We didn't ask whether the end of boil volume meant hot or at ambient but we use ambient as this is sensible and gives the highest reading of the two alternatives.

As for working the stuff out on paper, everyone learns in different ways. Some people get into the numbers. Some get into the art side. As long as people have a good understanding of the limitations and advantages of each side then that is excellent!

Thanks again,
PP

P.S. Off to do my last post for today which hopefully will be a final pre-release for the guys to check over in the advanced thread :party:.
Last edited by PistolPatch on 08 Apr 2014, 16:25, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #17 made 4 years ago
Good stuff as always, King PP. Personally, I would recommend any beginner to follow the advice frequently bandied about here - get 'Brewing Classic Styles' or 'Brewing Your Own British Real Ale at Home'. Both books only need minor adjustments, which will be provided by PP or (I think) Mally. Between the two books, there are more than enough recipes to be going on with, and I'm sure they can be adjusted to taste once you get a few brews under your belt. That's certainly what I hope to do, anyway.
With regard to water treatment, this is the only detail I'm now worried about. My well water is legendary (years ago, the local doctor used to send people out to the old,now defunct, pump across the road from my house to get water if they needed a tonic). My only worry is that it is supposed to be fairly high in iron. Is this an issue? That said, it tastes absolutely fine. And no, I won't be getting it tested - it would set me back over a hundred Euro.

Post #18 made 4 years ago
This seems to be the post which most easily sums up your thoughts on integrity of recipes - very good! I have read a bunch of links previously on the site, but perhaps you should point new BIABers to this post specifically - I think it does a very good job of addressing all the issues in a very easy manner to comprehend and I'm sure it would have saved me a lot of time if I read it a couple of months ago!

Post #20 made 4 years ago
Wow! This op absolutely solidifies everything that frustrates me about all the forums and magazines recipes out there. There is so much more that goes into it, as you outline here.

Post #21 made 4 years ago
PP, you could also go on to add that the malt manufacturer was not identified. The ECB of the malt was not identified. Is this Munich I or Munich II?

If I were to go on past experience, I would say that this is from the Weyermann malt house and you should use Munich I. But I get it. Recipes are ambiguous. I caught a few of things that you mentioned. I especially cringed when when the recipe talked about water treatments when no source was specified.

Post #22 made 4 years ago
Too right dexter and sorry I did not reply earlier. (Busy days.)

I have re-written the previously reserved posts 8, 9 and 10. Please read them. (Dexter, you get a mention in #8.)

Drawdy, you will especially like post #10. It's what this site is all about.

:peace:
PP
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Post #23 made 4 years ago
This is great thanks PP, I must be getting better as I spotted a few of the obvious exclusions (and missed a tonne).

I found a link ages ago to a heap of American winning brews, I thought to myself "Gold!" And saved the link, turns out they excluded a lot of info too (f@ckers). Haha

When I make my winning recipe possibly years from now, expect a vague as shit, very low integrity recipe from me gents lol! (Just kidding).
For the price of a coffee you can support this site and the wealth of info shared on this site.

Post #24 made 4 years ago
jhough wrote:Very informative PP. Sometimes an old dog can learn new tricks .
I have decades of chemistry lab experience. A goal besides "weight-by-date" was always a Robust Process. That would be a written procedure for others to follow and get the same results. It might also be called a Recipe With Integrity.

While good beer is the overriding goal, and the attitude here is right for me, at first I thought the emphasis on the 'integrity of the recipe' was somewhat snobbish. I mean there is great support and encouragement for all kinds of mis-haps caused by the infinite variables of home brewing, but hardly a smidgen of tolerance for any recipe that has holes. It took a while for me to see that it was driven by sincerity rather than hubris. My mom was an excellent cook and yet she hardly ever strictly followed a recipe. In addition, anyone using her written recipe was guaranteed to get different results due to (my contention) that she purposely left a thing or two out of the written form so that no one could make it like she did. :scratch:

Using the BIABacus and collecting brew day data followed by filling in the numbers honestly will give me a "Robust Process" or "Recipe With Integrity." Can I live with what would be Mom's style / recipe? Hell, Yes, if the beer is good. But nobody could expect to duplicate it. Now I understand.
Last edited by ShorePoints on 11 Aug 2014, 01:19, edited 1 time in total.

Post #25 made 4 years ago
Great post ShorePoints. I would have never thought of the hubris angle. Wow!

I don't even know what to say on that. It is a great post but I think the only people that can correct the hubris misconception are people like yourself that are able to see it. There is a lot of stuff like that I and others certainly miss.

Please post more!!! (That is the real key. An individual like you can make a real difference.)

:salute:
PP
Last edited by PistolPatch on 11 Aug 2014, 21:17, edited 1 time in total.
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