American Rye Brown Ale - Integrity?

Post #1 made 1 month ago
Hello everyone,

I'm getting ready for my first BIAB and I'm trying to create this recipe. I completed the biabacus, which is attached. I was informed that I should try to get this reviewed for integrity, so I hope I've followed this process correctly. I was confused a bit on some items in how it relates the biabacus. For example, the original recipe calls for 13 lbs grain bill. But based on 'What I should Use ' the total is 8.75 lbs. Listed below I've used the figures that biabacus calculated as 'What I Should Use'. Should I be using the original figures?

Anyhow, if those who know a thing or two about this, I would love some feedback on what I've provided.


Style: American Rye Brown Ale
Yeast: Nottingham
Fermentation Temperature: 67
Original Gravity: 1.057
Total IBU's: 27.5
Colour (EBC): 45.8
Efficiency at End of Boil: 69.7%
Mash Length (mins): 60
Boil Length (mins): 60
Your Vessel Type (Pot/Keggle/Urn): Pot
Source/Credits: ... cipes.html

Note that The Calculator download below is based on this recipe.

Volumes etc.

Your Vessel Volume (L or gal): 10 gal
Your Vessel Diameter (cm or in): 13 in
Water Required (L or gal): 6.21 gal
Mash Temperature (C or F): 152F
Volume at End of Boil (L or gal): 5.55 gal
Volume into Fermenter (L or gal): 3.78 gal
Brew Length (L or gal): 3.5 gal ( Is this the same thing as Volume into Packaging?)
Total Grain Bill (g or oz): 140 oz (8.75lbs)

Grains - Colours - Percentages and/or Weight (g or oz)

Grain 1: 52% Pale 2-row
Grain 2: 23% Rye
Grain 3: 15% Biscuit
Grain 4: 6%Chocaloate
Grain 5: 4% C60

Hops - AA% - IBUs - Weight (g or oz) at Minutes

Hop 1: Zeus - 16%AA - .5oz at 60 min
Hop 2: Willimwtte - 4.5%AA - .5oz at 5 min

Adjuncts/Minerals/Finings etc

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Re: American Rye Brown Ale - Integrity?

Post #2 made 1 month ago
Hi Nick,

Always a great idea to check your recipe here. Recipes found on the net can be very difficult (sometimes impossible) to "translate" as critical information is often missing.

I'm going to do two consecutive posts here - in this post, I'll answer your question above and in the next post, I'll check your BIABAcus.

So, let's answer your question above. For all BIABacus recipes, you always use the amounts on the right hand sides of Sections C and D (What you will use."


There's quite a few reasons and they range from simple to complex. A simple example would be if you and I had exactly the same equipment and were brewing exactly the same recipe but I wanted to brew a bigger "batch." You'd send me your file and then in Section B, I would increase the Desired Volume into Fermenter (VIF) to what I wanted and, naturally, all the weights on the right hand side would increase.

That's easy to understand however, often you'll see a recipe from a magazine, another website or from other brewing software and, even if you match their "batch size" the BIABacus may show you needing less or more ingredients than the recipe you are copying. The reason for this is due to some or all of the following...

Different Equipment

So, let's say you are a single-vessel all-grain (SVA, pure BIAB ) brewer and I am a multi-vessel all-grain (MVA, batch or fly-sparge ) brewer. You want to brew exactly the same recipe and exactly the same Volume into Fermenter as me. It is extremely unlikely that you will end up using the same weight of ingredients because our equipment will have different characteristics such as...

Evaporation Rate: A tall narrow kettle will evaporate less than a shorter wider kettle. What this means, is that the kettle with the higher evaporation rate will require more water to do the same brew. This also means that there is more water for the grains to be washed in, you can get them cleaner. (Think in extremes... imagine getting two cloths and soaking them in a pot of black coffee. Now try getting them clean. Put one cloth into a container with 2 litres of water and the other in a container with 4 litres. No matter how much you jiggle the cloths,wring them out etc, the one you're cleaning with 4 litres will end up cleaner.)

[In your BIABacus file, just for fun, change the Kettle Diameter in Section B to a much higher value. Look what happens to the top line of Section K and also the right hand side of Section C.]

Losses: In my multi-vessel system, I may have "dead-space" in my mash-tun which means a bit of sweet liquor gets trapped there whereas in your SVA system there is no dead-space. I might also have my kettle badly set-up so as when I drain the kettle, I might leave a lot of wort behind. You may have your kettle well set-up and leave hardly any wort behind. The more losses I have, the more wort I need to make and the more ingredients I will need.

[In your BIABacus file, once gain, just for fun, Section W, change KFL to say 10 L see what happens on the right-hand side of Sections C and D.]

Poor Terminology

One of the biggest problems in copying recipes from magazines, software reports, websites etc is poor terminology. For example, crazy though it sounds, recipes from different sources might all say "Batch Size = 5 gallons," but they can mean totally different things. One site might mean the Volume at Flame-Out (VFO), another the Volume of Ambient Wort (VAW), another Volume into Fermenter (VIF) and yet another might mean Volume into Packaging (VIP).

So, if all those sites published exactly the same recipe, you'd find that the weight of ingredients on the site whose batch size meant VFO would be much less than the site who meant VIP.

The above is just one example of the seriousness of poor terminology. We have similiar problems with the defining of many other commonly used terms. For one of the most bizarre problems, you can read this post on bitterness.

The above is why this site developed Clear Brewing Terminology as the building blocks of the BIABacus.

Standard Defaults

Commercial software cannot handle the complex mathematics hidden underneath the BIABacus. For example, the BIABacus looks at the equipment and recipe and then automatically calculates "efficiency" figures, losses etc. In commercial software, the user has to estimate these.

This means is that users of commercial software tend to rely on the standard defaults. So, we'll often see that a brewer may publish a recipe for a low alcohol beer (say 1.035 OG) and one for a high alcohol beer (say 1.070 OG) but their recipe report will show that both recipes have the same "efficiency" and losses. This is not correct.

A high gravity recipe should have a Lower Efficiency into Boil (EIB) and Efficiency into Fermenter (EIF) than the low gravity recipe because we can't "clean" a high gravity beer as well as a low one and, there will also be more Kettle to Fermenter Loss (KFL) because there will be more grain debris (kettle trub) in the higher gravity beer.

[NOTE: The next version of the BIABacus to be published also increases the losses on hoppy beers compared to less hoppy beers because lots of hops means more loss due to hop debris.]

I think the above is enough to at least let you know that there are some serious problems when trying to interpret recipes so, in the next post, let's have a look at your BIABacus....
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Re: American Rye Brown Ale - Integrity?

Post #3 made 1 month ago
Firstly, great job on printing the report in the first post and including the recipe source. Often people forget to include where they are trying to copy the recipe from.

The Source Article

A few quick corrections... The article calls BIAB a "no-sparge" method. This is a very common terminology error. The correct definition of "no-sparge" can be found here. The author also mentions that one limiting factor of BIAB is its decreased efficiency with larger grain bills. This is another common error. As discussed in the post above, multi-vessel all-grain has exactly the same problem. The solution proposed of holding back some water does not make any difference (we've done many tests) for the same reason as the coffee-soaked cloth I mentioned in the post above.

We also have the problem where we don't know what the author means by a "five-gallon batch."
Your File
Good on you Nick. All the info is in there from the original recipe and you've put everything in the right place :thumbs:

Let's go through now and see if there's anything we can improve on...

Section B: I've changed your boil time to 90 minutes. This is a safer time than 60 minutes. By that, I mean that it can fix some faults that can occur with some water and/or styles. It also gives you a bit more time on your brew day to relax. You can read a bit on 90 minute boils here.

Section C: Just an error on the Pale 2-row. It should be 6.5 pounds. I've fixed that and rounded out the other grams to whole numbers.

Section D - Part 1: Here we run into the terminology problem of not knowing what the author means by "five gallon batch." The author says he "routinely gets 78% mash and brewhouse efficiencies." Because he's used the word mash, I'm pretty sure he means Efficiency into Boil (EIB). When people just say "efficiency" or "brewhouse efficiency" it could mean EIB or Efficiency into Fermenter (EIF) which are two entirely different things.

It's important to get the Volume of Ambient Wort (VAW) on the first line of Section D right when copying a recipe so I'm going to use a few BIABacus features (I won't explain that here) to help us check if the author's batch size does mean VAW...

And, the answer is No. This is very common and that's why it's a really good decision you made to have your recipe checked here Nick.

It looks like he means Volume into Fermenter so we now have to try and work out his VAW and this can be tricky, sometimes impossible. The good news is that, without going into details, I'm confident that the original VAW can be treated as 6 gallons (22.7 L).

Even though the original recipe says 27.5 IBU's, I'm going to delete that due to the problems explained here (one of the links I gave in the last post.)

Section D - Part 2: Another common problem with many recipes is a failure to publish the AA% of the hops. AA% of the same hop variety can often change dramatically from one year to another. The AA%'s you have typed in look close to the average for those hops so nice job. That is really all you can do. I'm happy with that.

(Remember, when you buy your hops, if they have a different AA% than what you typed on the left, then type the new AA% on the right under the Substitutions section.)

Section E: I'm changing that to a 90 minute mash. 60 minutes is enough for multi-vessel all-grain because another half hour or so is spent sparging. The grain's contact time with water is an important factor for getting the most sugar from the grain.

Section F: Three things... The WYWU part of this section has an incorrect formula. Too much whirfloc is not good. One tablet will actually do 50 litres so I've changed that. Also, whirfloc should be added 5 mins before the end of the boil, no earlier.

Section H: Nottingham is a wild beast of a yeast so I would pitch it at 16°C (61°F) and keep it there for three days. After that, let it gradually slip up to 20°C (68°F).

I reckon that's about it Nick.

Let us know if you have any questions. Some of the above things can, understandably, initially be a bit confusing.

Once again, nice job :salute:

[EDIT: I forgot two things in attached BIABacus! See Nick's post below and my corrected version two posts below.]
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Last edited by Pat on 04 May 2018, 09:02, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: American Rye Brown Ale - Integrity?

Post #4 made 1 month ago
Wow! That's all I can say, PP, is Wow!

Your explanations and review are great. Thank you so much!

You noted in your review you changed my boil time to 90 minutes. When I review Section B in your updated file you attached, the Boil Time still indicates 60 minutes. When I change it to 90, it increases volumes to ones that are greater than my kettle's capacity and gives the red warnings that the recipe won't work. Is this the same same thing? Did you update it elsewhere in the file? Or are you suggestion that the 90 min boil should be used in my brew day instructions (and it's not accounted for directly in the biabacus)?

I'm going to head over to my LHBS today to get the grains and hops! My LHBS grind my grain. What's your recommendation on how fine the grain should be milled to?

Thanks again for the prompt response, explanations, and review!

Re: American Rye Brown Ale - Integrity?

Post #5 made 1 month ago
Sorry Nick, not only did I forget to change the boil time but, I also should have noticed the Mash Volume warning thrown up even with a 60 minute boil....

Your kettle is 27.2 L
60 Min Boil results in a Mash Volume = 26.96 L (WAY too close for comfort)
90 Min Boil results in a Mash Volume = 28.72 L (Bigger than kettle!)

What to Do when Your Kettle is Too Small

There's quite a few ways around this. They range from simple (e.g. reducing Desired Volume into Fermenter) to unnecessarily complicated. [There'll be a detailed post I've written on this buried somewhere but I reckon it would take a while to find it. Try searching "small kettle" if you feel like it.] The main thing is that when your kettle is too small, there is always some sort of compromise to be made whether it be in labour, quality or ingredient costs.

The easiest and most sensible thing that I would do in this case (and most cases) is to hold back some water from the mash. For your recipe, holding back 6 litres works nicely. It gives you a few inches of headspace in the kettle and the only cost is you'll need about an extra 350 grams of grain which costs nothing. (In the attached file, watch what happens to the grain bill when you delete the 6 that I have added in Section W).

How to Do It

In the attached file (besides correcting the 60 min boil to 90 minutes) I have, in Section W, put 6 litres in the "Water Added Before the Boil" section. On your brew day, here's what you'll do...

1. Put all the Total Water Needed into your kettle (25.53 L*** - first line of Section K). In other words, fill your kettle with 29.8 cm of water (first line of Section S).
2. Then use a measuring jug to remove 6 litres. You can put that 6 L into any food-grade container (fermenter, white bucket, stock pot etc).
3. Heat the water in the kettle (about 19.5 L to strike temp. (It expands as it heats. That is why the second line of Section K says 19.92 L instead of 19.53L.)
4. Do your mash and after you have pulled the bag, you'll have enough room to add the 6 litres. (You can even boil that 6 L before adding it if you have the means to.)

*** Number Accuracy

Above I've used ridiculously accurate numbers (e.g. 25.53 L) as they appear in the BIABacus. This is good for educational purposes however there is a downside to this, new brewers can give too much respect to numbers...

In real brewing, especially small batches, measuring out things like 25.53 L of water or filling your kettle to exactly 29.8 cm is not realistic. Nor is it possible to record gravities exactly. Evaporation can change from day to day as can the amount of "sugar" in a pound of the same grain bought on different days.

The BIABacus defaults are actually written with the aim of you getting more "sugar" than you expect at the end of the day. For example, in your brew, the BIABacus says you'll end up with an OG of 1.057. Don't be surprised if this ends up at 1.060. It might even end up a bit higher in which case, you can use some "nice water" (boiled and cooled) to dilute the wort down giving you more beer (use the second line of Section P).

A lot of home brewers think that brewing can be accurate. Even the largest mainstream breweries cannot replicate their beers without making adjustments to each batch as the characteristics of the raw ingredients are constantly changing.


1. Weigh/measure raw ingredients and initial volumes as well as you can. (Double-check them). This avoids any major errors and it is the one area where you do have control.
2. Take as many measurements as you can to fill in Sections L and M. (A lot of those measurements are very hard to take accurately in reality hence the reason to take a few).
3. Before pitching, if the original gravity seems way off, double-check it before doing any corrections.
And, don't even bother trying to correct something like an actual OG of say 1.060 to match a predicted 1.057 (or worrying if you only have 1.053!)

Looking forward to hearing how all this goes :peace:
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