I think , and have always done, that Graham's books, are probably the best available (well not available now) books for learning to brew, even if the earlier ones are now showing signs of becoming dated. The recipes in them are sound and work, not something that could be said of Dave Lines, although with a few modifications ( And that is just upping the base malts by 20%, as Graham as pointed out the bitterness of the recipes should
be fine) even Dave's recipes are good.
Dave Line did make a couple of howlers, and there were some things that he didn't get quite right, but he was the best that was around at the time and his recipes were sound enough. He was not the first to write about all grain brewing by any means; there were a couple of other small, but reasonably good, books out there that did not get the recognition, but Dave Line was the first to cover the subject in such depth. The hobby was hampered by winemakers writing about brewing. They had little knowledge about the brewing process and had even less inclination to learn, so there were quite a lot of what amounted to malt-and-hop-flavoured country wine recipes out there. The first editions C.J. Berry's "Home Brewed Beers & Stouts" is laughable but Berry, also being the publisher, had the wherewithal to revise his book on an almost annual basis, usually by pinching bits word-for-word out of his other authors' books, so the later editions are not quite as jaw dropping as the early ones. He was also in a position to achieve dominance, the ruddy thing sold damn near a million copies overall, which shows you just how big the home brew hobby was in those days, and what Dave Line had to fight against. Home brewing books sold in hundreds of thousands then; the first edition of Ken Shales' "Brewing Better Beers" sold 273,000 copies, and it ran for another three or four editions. I left it rather too late to catch that particular bus.
Aleman wrote:As one of the "detractors", I have a couple of things to say.
It wasn't just you; it began as a whisper that grew into a murmur, and was beginning to make me doubt my own instincts and ability.
Aleman wrote:Firstly my observations were not based on comparing Tinseth with a fixed utilisation method, but of actually brewing beers from the books and comparing them side by side with casked and bottled samples. To my palate, and others, I should point out, our versions were perceived to be consistently more bitter than the commercial beer. It was this that led David Edge to look at the effect on bittering of late hops on the overall bitterness of the beer, and he saw that there was significant utilisation of the alpha acids of such late hops and this could explain why. Coming across the Tinseth formula which added a time factor to the calculation appeared to be a boon, and the right answer. Indeed when using it I got much better results, and those results became better, when using the QA lab in my lunch times, at the brewery I was working, at to alter Tinseths Fudge factors.
It is fine knowing that late hops contribute bitterness, but understanding why is a different matter, and you cannot account for it mathematically if the mechanism behind it is obscure. If it is beta-acid, then the effect is going to be less pronounced the fresher the hops are. Does some auto-isomerisation take place on the plant? In which case that is likely to be highly variable.
Also, many people who purposely derive bitterness by late hopping tend to use obscene amounts of hops in the current curry-house trend in home brewing, which would be uneconomical in the commercial world. The beers in my book are relatively light on late hops, well below the quantity used for the main bittering hops, and the alpha-acid content of aroma hops is usually well below that of the main bittering hops too. I assumed that any bitterness contributed by late hops would be insignificant, would be swamped by the main hops, and would serve to compensate for any deterioration in the main hops between harvest and their use. Many well-respected British beers had no late hopping at all.
I think that part of the problem is that, say, a ten-minute addition is usually sitting in the hot wort for a lot longer than ten minutes.
Aleman wrote:Roll on 20 odd years, and a couple of changes of brewing equipment, and I have been forced, over the last couple of years, to re evaluate just how useful Tinseth is for our purposes. It works fine to give you an ex copper bitterness for a single addition of moderate alpha hops, boiled for 60 minutes in a 1.050 wort, but as Graham has so eloquently explained in this slap down you can't take that through to finished beer bitterness. . . . I'm not even sure that it would work under those conditions with the Braumeister for example. Unfortunately I wasn't ready to come out of the closet, and am still not, but what the hell.
Whoops! Remind me never to drop the soap if I ever have to share a shower with you. Fortunately, for me, I do not participate in any sports so the situation is unlikely to arise. Closet? Yet more transatlantic influence?
Aleman wrote:So Graham, I am sorry to have caused you to change your mind, you had a couple of people saying the beers were over bittered, and many more saying the clones were spot on, it was your choice/decision to change how you formulated your recipes.
Like you said, It was my decision and my fault. But if a home brewer wishes to brew "a substance almost but not quite entirely unlike" beer, then surely it is the duty of a writer to satisfy that desire. In the end it made little material difference. People will have this disagreeable habit of putting my recipes into brewing software to adjust for different volumes, alpha-acid, etc. and then wondering why my utilisations turn out different from Tinseth's. Often they accuse me of being wrong, which is unfortunate. I see it all the time on the various forums (I know it should be fora, but hardly anyone says that these days).
Aleman wrote:Where does that leave us in having a formula to work out how bitter our beers are? We can't with any sense of certainty. All the formulae do is give us a number, and how that number relates to the beer in the real world is down to the ingredients, equipment, method and perceptions of the individual brewer. I'm going back to an age old method of calculating hop usage and that is pounds per barrel, or in my case grams per litre. To come up with a 'new' formula is pointless, (although Grahams NAU method was interesting), and as Graham says does require a well equipped lab and the willingness to repeat brews many times, and make many rigorous observations. When I had access to such a lab, I was to naive to ask the right questions and now I no longer have access I'm no longer too concerned with the minutiae of brewing.
I made the same mistake when I had access to a lab and some of Britain's foremost hop specialists.
If you look at the pounds per barrel or pounds per quarter quoted for some of the beers on Ron Pattinson's blog, Dave Line's interpretation was not very far out. (I refuse to use ball-park).
NAUs is a modern metric version of Dave Line's AAUs but normalised to grams per litre. It is simply the total alpha acid added to the beer expressed in grams per litre. It turns out to be the same as the usual EBU formula, but with the utilisation set to 100%. It enables one to compensate for different alpha acids and different volumes in one hit - something that you can't do with Dave Line's AAUs. It is also independent of volume, which AAUs isn't.
Any future recipes that I generate will probably express the bittering hops in NAUs. it enables any adjustments required to be made with a basic calculator and if people wish to use a utilisation formula, then they just substitute the 100% with their utilisation figure. As no utilisation is expressed I can not get the hassle of being accused of not matching Tinseth et. al. It has the advantage that it will not work directly in most brewing software until they catch up, so direct comparisons will not be possible, but that will possibly generate a different form of hassle.
Aleman wrote:Beer just wants to be made!
But does good beer want to be made?
I will leave you with just one other quote, which backs up something I've said in many earlier threads.
The idea is to use the same figure for utilisation for the initial brews, irrespective of the type of beer being brewed. If the beers are consistently too bitter, the utilisation factor is increased next time; if it is consistently too low, the utilisation factor is reduced. Within a few brews a figure is derived that suits the system
I don't really buy this theory that utilisation necessarily needs to be "tuned" to the system. I regard it as another get-out clause by the authors of these formulae to explain away the obvious errors that exist.
If people have to bugger about with utilisation to make it work, then they are not going to bother. If they brew a different recipe they are likely to have to do it all over again.
The idea behind a utilisation formula is that it takes out the variation between recipes, but the current ones do not do that. Also any error in the prediction should be the result of unaccounted for external factors that can be tuned out, not errors generated by the formula itself. As I said before, if the formula function does not match the real world than the twain can only meet at one point and will require retuning for different recipes. A good formula should only need tuning at one point, and the rest should follow automatically, but the results should be close enough by default to not justify tuning at the amateur level.
The tendency for people to attempt to speed things up by skimping on boil time may be an issue here, but that is up to them. These people are not likely spend time "tuning" their system.
Relying upon human perception to tune the system is about as unreliable as you can get.
Aleman wrote:Of course where that leads to with beers that have large amounts of late hops is anyone's guess
I suspect that will require a different approach and a separate formula, Let's hope that someone knowledgeable about the subject gets there before any of the previous workers have a go.
This issue of utilisation is one of the many stumbling-blocks that has contributed to the delay in finishing my book. I do not want to be seen to promote the fantasy, but I do not have a tried and tested alternative to offer.
I thought that one solution would be to describe the Tinseth formula to give people the option of using it, but to also give the reasons why I think that it is flawed. But this has its own issues; people quite rightly expect answers and solutions from a book of this type, not ands, ifs and buts and descriptions of flawed methods. I don't wish to describe Tinseth, but it would be dangerous to ignore it altogether without a viable alternative.