The BIABacus Pre-Release - Temporary Help

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The BIABacus Pre-Release - Temporary Help

Post by BIABrewer » 5 years ago

Over the new year period, we will be working as hard as we can on a site re-structure and the release of the BIABacus. Unfortunately, these things are quite complicated and time-consuming. Many hours are spent for the smallest improvement. We would like to give members here the opportunity to start learning and using the BIABacus so we have done a pre-release in this thread.

Some preliminary help threads are written below and will be added to. Please read the ones marked, "Important," first.

To give your feedback, please the pre-release thread above.

For any questions, use this question thread..

BB
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Post by BIABrewer » 5 years ago

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Post by BIABrewer » 5 years ago

Changelog (Can be ignored by most users) V P/R 1.0 - Latest Release (Name change and provision of two files)
V 2.25C - Change hop formulas to accept DH or DR for Dry Hops. Change layout of B and C. Change version number to, "BIABacus P/R 1.0"
V 2.25B - Strike Water default changed. (Minor: "Y" in crash-chilled removed beside, 'Crash-Chilled' in Section L to avoid pop-up trub warning.)
V 2.25A - Initially used in this ound in this post.
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Post by BIABrewer » 5 years ago

Advanced Trub Management The BIABacus has been designed in a manner that capitalises on the experience level of the user. In other words, the inexperienced all-grain brewer has to make very few decisions to get safely under way as advanced numbers are automatically estimated for them. As the experience level increases, the brewer can, if necessary over-ride the built in auto-estimates. Trub management is one example of this built-in intelligence.

The basic trub defaults in the BIABacus assume the user is not using any advanced trub management methods. They assume there will be considerable losses in the kettle and fermentor. The most common outcome of these defaults is that the user will get the amount of beer at the right gravity they want. If their trub turns out less than the estimates, they will just end up with more beer at the right gravity.

As the user's experience level/equipoment grows, advanced trub management methods will probably be employed. For example, the user might use a hop sock or decide to whirlpool to decrease their, "Kettle to Fermentor Loss (KFL)." Or, they may choose to crash-chill their fermentor or filter before kegging to decrease their, "Fermentor to Packaging Loss (FPL)." The user can select these options in Sections K and L as seen below.
BIABacus -Advanced Trub Management.jpg
Finally, the experienced user might find that their interests are better served by changing their KFL and FPL in the, "BIABacus Default Adjustments," section (see above) found towards the lower right hand of the sheet. Changing any default in this section will trigger the following to display just underneath the, "Adjustments and Tools," heading as illustrated below.
BIABacus - Default Adjustemnts Warning.JPG
Please advise in this thread if the above pictures are unclear or if further explanation is required.

Cheers,
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Last edited by BIABrewer on 23 Dec 2012, 07:36, edited 2 times in total.


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Post by lambert » 5 years ago

Thanks for the above - I did change the hopsock but did not realise that whirlpool, crash-chill & filter also played a role. Nice work!

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Post by BIABrewer » 5 years ago

Kettle Capacity, Depth and Headspace As can be seen below, the BIABacus tells the user the depth of wort and the headspace left in the kettle at various stages of the brew. For example, in the recipe below, you can see that after mash in, the kettle should be 31.4 cms (12.38 ") full leaving a headspace of 0.7 cms (0.26 "). Always take measurements in the centre of your kettle.
BIABacus - Depth and Headspace.JPG
If your kettle is stock pot shaped (a cylinder), all you need to do is type the internal width and centre depth of your kettle into Section B as illustrated below...
BIABacus - Section B.JPG
With these two measurements, the capacity of your stock pot is calculated. (Please see section below if you use a keg-shaped kettle). Notice the red warning? The BIABacus looks at the headspace in your kettle and displays a warning if your recipe will be stretching or exceeding the limits of your kettle. A warning has been displayed in this case as the headspace at, 'Mash Volume,' is only 0.7 cms (0.26"). If you see a red warning, you can either reduce the, 'Desired Volume into Fermentor (VIF),' figure in Section B or consider making some adjustments using the, "Maxi-BIAB Adjustments," section.

These features also work for keg-shaped kettles.

One of the many features that can't be found in any other software is the ability for brewers with keg-shaped kettles to still use the headspace and depth feature. To set this up, you will need to take one or two additional measurements depending on your kettle shape. The diagram below shows how to take these measurements.
BIABacus - Kettle Shape Adjustments.jpg
Once you have the necessary measurements, enter them into the BIABacus Default Adjustments section towards the bottom right of the sheet. The picture below shows that this brewer uses a kettle with a sunken base. The kettle capacity, depths and headspaces will now read correctly in the BIABAcus.
BIABacus - Default Adjustments - Kettle Shape.JPG
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Post by BIABrewer » 5 years ago

Strike Water Temperature Default - Can/should I adjust it? In Section I of the BIABacus, you will find what temperature to heat your strike water to in order to achieve your desired mash temperature.
BIABacus - Strike Water Temperature.jpg
The correct temperature to heat your strike water to is affected by many factors. BIAB makes reaching and maintaing the correct mash temperature very easy however, it is much easier to heat a mash than cool it. For this reason, the BIABacus uses a low, 'Strike Water Temperature Adjustment Factor,' of 0.2.

Adjusting the Strike Water Temperature Adjustment Factor.

The default, 'Strike Water Temperature Adjustment Factor,' of 0.2 is a safe place to start and will work well with heavy equipment such as a thick-walled kettle, powered by a gas burner on a heavy stand. (Such a set-up means heat continues to radiate into the mash after the flame is turned off.) Other equipment such as electric urns require a higher strike temperature. This means you will have to change the adjustment factor. For an electric urn a good starting point would be 0.4.

The, 'Strike Water Temperature Adjustment Factor,' can be changed in the, "BIABacus Default Adjustment," found towards the lower right of the sheet. The picture below shows how this section might appear for an electric urn brewer...
BIABacus - Strike Water Temperature Adjustment Factor.JPG
If you make this change in the BIABacus V2.25B, you will see that two things happen. Firstly, the strike water temperature in Section I will increase to 69.6 C (157.4 F) and the following warning will appear just below the, "Adjustments and Tools," heading... BIABacus Default Adjustments have been made.

It take several brews to start getting to know your equipment so don't rush into making adjustments. With this particular adjustment, please remember that it is always better to strike lower than higher.
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Post by BIABrewer » 5 years ago

Auto-Efficiency Whilst the BIABAcus has many features not seen before in brewing software, the auto-efficiency feature was at the forefront of our requirements for the BIABacus. stux pioneered this hard work in the Maxi-BIAB Calculator which older members will remember him developing here. Why is this feature so important?
The main reason the BIABacus auto-efficiency feature is so important is that the new user/brewer no longer even has a need to know anything about efficiency, either ever or for at least several brews. In other words, a first-time all-grain brewer can completely ignore the rest of this post.
What is Efficiency?

"Efficiency," basically means how much, 'value' has been obtained from the fermentables bill at different stages of the brewing process. Unless an efficiency figure clearly states what stage of the brewing process is being referred to, it is a meaningless number. For example, the recipe used in the BIABAcus V2.25B has an estimated, 'Efficiency into Kettle (EIK),' of 82.7% and an, 'Efficiency into Fermentor (EIF),' of 70.9%. Nearly all forum posts and most brewing software reports do not clearly state, if at all, what stage of the brewing process their efficiency figure refers to.

This lack of clear terminology has lead to an incredible spread of misinformation and knowledge on efficiency which has, in turn, lead to the ridiculous situation where two brewers can brew the same recipe side by side, use the same weight of ingredients, on the same equipment, record exactly the same measurements but will post two totally different "efficiency" figures. The brewer using program A might post, "I had an efficiency of 82.7%," while the brewer using program B is thinking, "Why did I only get 70.9%?"

PistolPatch, who kicked off the BIAB movement back in 2006, has written many posts on BIABrewer.info explaining this problem. Search his posts using the keyword, "Efficiency," if you require more information.

How the BIABacus' Auto-Efficiency Works

Almost every number that brewing software yields, relies on an efficiency figure. However, all existing software either asks the user to input an efficiency figure not explained clearly, or, worse still, just assumes a fixed generic figure that is also not defined. The result of this is that the user often inputs EIK instead of EIF or vice versa. If they do this incorrectly, critical calculations done by the software are wrong.

The more popular programs require the user to input an efficiency figure into what is usually called an, 'equipment profile'. Even if the user interprets whether the input requires EIK or EIF, the estimates given by the program will assume that you will achieve the same EIK or EIF for every brew you do. This assumption is totally incorrect as, just for starters, high gravity brews are far less efficient than low gravity brews.

How the BIABacus' Auto-Efficiency Works

The core calculations in the BIABacus are based on Efficiency into Kettle (EIK). EIK is the most versatile and meaningful efficiency figure available to brewers as it can not only be taken at several stages of the brewing process but is also unaffected by kettle and fermentor trub management methods which vary widely from brewer to brewer.

Above we mentioned that the gravity of the brew is the most critical factor that affects EIK. More accuratley, the most critical factor affecting EIK is how much water actually, 'touches,' the grain. The more water that comes into contact with a given amount of grain, the better the efficiency into the kettle. The BIABacus looks at this and then estimates the EIK.

Some other major factors that affect EIK are...

1. Mash Time
2. Mash Temperature
3. Mash-Out (V2.25A onwards has a slight adjustment for this. More figures are needed though - see below.)
4. Mash pH*

The current BIABacus auto-efficiency feature is a massive breakthrough in brewing software. However, we would like to continually improve the base formula. To further improve it requires both new and experienced brewers contributing to threads such as Mash Gravity Figures Needed for BIABacus. (Latest figure requests are detailed here).
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Post by BIABrewer » 5 years ago

Limitations and Benefits of the BIABacus Before opening the BIABacus, please be aware of the following points...

Understanding the Limitations

Whilst the BIABacus has many extremely useful and powerful features unavailable in other programs, it is still just a spreadsheet. Desigining a spreadsheet that can be used in not only Excel but Libre and Open Office has imposed tremendous limitations on us. For example we cannot use any type of macro or drop-down list. This means...

1. Things like grain names, hop names or beer styles have to be manually typed in.
2. If a recipe contains a sugar or an extract, the user has to use an advanced section of the BIABacus.
3. The BIABacus displays metric and US units side by side however metric units are used in the input fields.
4. Try and change your spreadsheet settings so that the cursor does not move after you press ‘Enter’. This will stop the cursor jumping to strange places. Otherwise, focus on driving the BIABacus with your mouse.

The above can make the BIABacus appear somewhat clumsy compared to software written in a programming language. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about this at this stage. However...

Understanding the Benefits

Whilst some brewing software looks good/professional etc most of them are extremely difficult to learn and/or have incorrect formulas/results and/or little valuable information. This is why we started the BIABacus project.

The BIABacus has been designed so that new users (hopefully) will be able to learn it relatively quickly. A minimum of information/knowledge is required to safely design or scale a recipe. For example, things like efficiency, evaporation and trub are automatically estimated. More experienced brewers can use other parts of the BIABacus to over-ride defaults or to get valuable information that is incredibly complex to calculate and is not found in any other software.

The BIABacus will have links (not written yet) that will immediately take the user to detailed help on the area they have clicked on. Other parts of the BIABrewer site will be re-written so as all the terminology, help, BIABacus recommended recipes and key threads, work together cohesively.

What is Missing in the BIABcus I Have just Downloaded

No help links (?’s) or hyperlinks work in the BIAbacus as yet as they still need to be written. The header area of the BIABacus has had little thought as has the, "Copyright Claim." More reports are envisioned as well.
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Post by BIABrewer » 5 years ago

Questions to Ask Yourself when first Opening the BIABacus The final intake of betas were required to first read Limitations and Benefits of the BIABacus and were then asked to answer the questions below. Answering these questions may also help you to learn the BIABacus more quickly and/or contribute to it.

The Blank BIABacus

Q. What are your first impressions?


Q. Do you think you can work out the basic logic/flow of information?


Q. Does it look easy enough to tackle or too hard?


Q. Any other thoughts?

The All Amarillo APA

Q. Does this sample recipe clear up any questions you had above?


Q. Can you work out the two fields you need to change to scale the recipe to suit your equipment? This question was quickly removed from the betas as it is ambiguous/badly-written. Basically, changing the fields in Section B will scale the recipe for you. Kettle diameter and height are the critical ones.


Q. Do you notice what happens when you type some numbers into some of the fields in the Maxi-BIAB Adjustments area? (This are is on the far right of the sheet. Try putting in some very large numbers as well.)


Q. Do you think you’d be able to input a recipe if I sent you one? In other words, have you worked out what the most important fields are?


Other Feedback

Q. If you have used other software, do you think this will be easier or harder to learn than that software?


Q. Is there any other feedback you would like to provide?
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Post by BIABrewer » 5 years ago

Q. How many Fields must I Complete to 'Start' the BIABacus? Answer. Five On a first glance, the BIABacus will seem daunting however, once you become familiar with it, you will find it is incredibly fast and flexible. For example, one common question is, "Is my kettle big enough?" Let's take a look at that one common question...

There are actually only five fields you need to complete to get this answer. Six, if you want to trigger the warnings. The following picture shows these fields. 'Kettle Height,' in Section B is marked with a dotted arrow. It is not essential but it would be silly not to type this number in.
BIABacus - Trigger.JPG
Let's say you have a stock pot shaped kettle that is 40 cm (15.75 ") wide and 40 cm (15.75 ") deep. Typing these two numbers into Section B will tell you that your kettle has a capacity of 50.3 L (13.28 G). Let's assume that you want to boil for 90 mins and that your fermentor safely handles 23 L (6.08 G). Let's also say that the brew you wish to do has an Original Gravity of 1.050 and is all-grain (no sugars or extract). Here is how your BIABacus should look now...
BIABacus Trigger 2.JPG
All you have done is fill in the four fields in Section B, 'Original Gravity (OG)' in Section C and type, '100' into the first, 'Grams,' field in Section E.

[SIDE NOTE: On your BIABacus, at the bottom of Section E, you should see a red warning that says, Percentages have been used above so no original colour estimate. Weight or percentages can always be used in Section E.]

There are no red warnings at the bottom of Section B so you can conclude that you can safely full-volume BIAB 23 L into your fermentor of a 1.050 all-grain recipe. Another thing you will see is that in Section F, it tells you that you will need about 5362 grams (11.82 #) of grain for such a brew.

I have those six numbers typed in. What else can I learn?

A lot can be learned and built on from just those numbers. For example, if you jump over to Section O, "Your Estimated Volumes," you will see estimates of every volume figure from the, 'Total Water Needed (TWN),' through to your estimated, 'Volume into Packaging (VIP). (Please see the Brewing Process and Terminology Chart for more explanation.) With our original numbers, it should look like this...
BIABacus Trigger 3.JPG
You might also ask, "What's the most I can safely brew of such a recipe?" If you type, 24.6L (6.5 G) into the, 'Desired Volume into Fermentor (VIF)' field in Section B, all looks good. Now type in, 24.7 L (6.53 G). You'll now see the warning, WARNING: Mash Volume approaches kettle limits. Type in, 28L (7.4 G) and you'll see, WARNING: Mash volume exceeds kettle size.

[SIDE NOTE: When changing VIF above you will have probably noticed that your cursor jumps to an inconvenient location of the BIABacus. This is one of the limitations that a spreadsheet has. Some spreadsheet programs allow you to change them so that upon pressing Enter, the cursor does not move. Do this if possible. Otherwise, with some practice, you will learn to use the mouse rather than your Enter button to navigate.]

Another question you can answer is, "What's the biggest beer I can full-volume BIAB with my equipment?" Set your VIF back to 23 L. Now go to Section C and keep increasing your OG until you see a warning. Your first warning will be triggered at an OG of 1.064.

Playing the Game of Twenty Questions

If you put in the diameter and width of your own kettle, you'll notice that to get the answer to the last two questions above, you have to keep typing in numbers by trial and error until you see a warning triggered. When you have to do this, we call it, "having to play the game of twenty questions." The less you have to play this game the better.

The two questions we explored above are, 'one-off,' questions. A unique feature of the BIABacus is that you will rarely find a need to play this game. All major brewing software we have explored requires continual employment of this game for it to function correctly. This is a very subtle but incredibly convenient and useful feature of the BIABacus.

One Layer of Many

The above shows one of the first layers of the BIABacus. Many of you will need nothing more. If you see warnings pop up though with your equipment, you will need to firstly explore Section K and L. If warnings still persist, you will need to explore the Maxi-BIAB Adjustments section.

Learning any new software takes time and can be difficult. If you have any trouble with the BIABacus, do not hesitate to post your questions to this thread.
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Post by BIABrewer » 5 years ago

Colour Questions We need to explore several questions regarding colour as they are all inter-related. Please read the post in entirety.

Why don't you have a space in the BIABacus that would show us what the beer should look like?

The first and last reason is that it cannot be done with an any acceptable degree of accuracy. We could write a formula for it, without macros, into the BIABacus. This is tempting as it would make the BIABacus more interesting and dynamic. But, it would just be a gimmick.

Firstly, any colour displayed on computer screens varies greatly. We have looked at brewing software that shows what your beer will look like on three screens side by side. Just take a look at this website on two computers side by side and you will probably see a difference.

Secondly, the colour formulas themselves are very primitive. We have used what is regarded as the best of the lot, the Morey equation. Even so, it is nothing but an estimate.

Thirdly, colour is also affected by many other factors such as the water being used in the brew.

If we write some better help on the limitations and dangers of colour estimates, we might add a, 'colour pic,' in down the track. For now though, we think it's not a priority.

New brewers, and some software, often give too much emphasis to colour.

Brewing software basically estimates four things, volumes, gravities, bitterness and colour. Volumes and gravities can be estimated quite well. Bitterness and colour estimates are far less accurate. No brewing software can estimate the most important thing of all - flavour. What this means, in the colour area is that many new brewers and some software, fiddles with colour whilst ignoring the effect this has on flavour.

Colour formulas basically look at the colour of the grain, the weight used and the end of boil volume. [NOTE: Some programs actually have the basic formula wrong as they use, 'Volume into Fermentor', instead of 'End of Boil Volume at Ambient'.] As mash efficiency is ignored, small variances will occur in the colour estimates when the same recipe is brewed on different equipment. Some software tries to correct for this but doing so creates problems, the biggest being that a recipe can quickly become distorted after just a few scalings.

As Gordon Strong points out very well, flavour is the important thing to focus on in beer, not colour. Colour adjustments should always be made with flavour in mind. We think that such adjustments should be made conscioualy and therefore manually.

Why does the colour estimate in Section F often vary from the original recipe?

There are several reasons why this can occur. They essentially boil down to three factors...

1. The original recipe may be using an incorrect formula - Some software and therefore recipe reports and even books use, 'Volume into Fermentor,' instead of, 'End of Boil Volume at Ambient (EOBV-A),' in their calculation. This is incorrect. Some older recipes may also use out of date colour estimate systems.

2. EOBV-A in Section C may be incorrect - Even though this is the most important volume figure in recipe design, it is extremely hard, often impossible, to determine in nearly all software, recipe reports and books. Colour and bitterness formulas need this figure. If you find a large discrepancy in colour estimates, this may be the cause. If EOBV-A in section C equals EOBV-A in section O, your colour estimates should match. In real life, these two numbers will rarely match because...

3. The original recipe had a different, 'Efficiency into Kettle' - A less efficient system requires more grain to achieve a certain gravity than a more efficient system. Colour formulas are weight-based. This means that the less efficient system will have a higher colour estimate than a more efficient system as more grain was used to achieve the same EOBV-A.

Section F will always be the colour estimate you should rely on most.

In Summary

There are many problems in colour estimation. Colour adjustment is also nearly always a flavour adjustment. Flavour adjustments are an advanced area and therefore brewers should not make colour adjustments unless they have a sound knowedge of the flavour impact of each and every fermentable.

Gordon Strong provides excellent information on flavour adjustments in this BeerSmith podcast.
Last edited by BIABrewer on 04 Jan 2013, 14:59, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by BIABrewer » 5 years ago

Brewing Process and Terminology Chart

A primary goal of the BIABacus has always been to provide unambiguous terminology. Clear terminology acts as the building block of the BIABacus. As far as possible, we have tried to use terminology that is self-explanatory, unambiguous and easily acronym-ed. The chart below shows all essential terminology and the acronyms.
Brewing Terminology 3.0.jpg
Upon studying the chart, you will notice a unique feature of the BIABacus in that it completely avoids the use of terms such as, 'Batch Size,' and, 'Efficiency,' as such terms can mean a variety of things. These terms have been replaced with fast to learn, unambiguous acronyms such as...

VIP - Volume into Packaging: How much beer ends up in bottles or kegs.
VIF - Volume into Fermentor: How much wort ends up in the fermentor ready for pitching.
EOBV - End of Boil Volume: The volume of hot wort in the kettle at the end of the boil. [EDIT: Now changed to VFO: Volume at Flame-Out]
EOBV-A - End of Boil Volume (Ambient): The volume of hot wort in the kettle at the end of the boil once chilled. [Edit: Now changed to VAW: Volume of Ambient Wort]
EIK - Efficiency into Kettle: A percentage that reflects how much of the 'sugars' available in the grain you were able to extract after mashing and lautering. (Mashing and lautering occur simultaneously in a full-volume BIAB).
EIF - Efficiency into Fermentor: A large difference between EIK and EIF indicates that too much clear wort might be remaining in the kettle. A small difference may indicate that too much trub is being transferred to the fermentor. EIF conveys little information inless published in conjunction with the EIK.

A full glossary will be written later however if you have any questions or suggestions now, please ask or make them in Use this thread to convert recipes to suit your equipment....
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Post by BIABrewer » 5 years ago

Section C - Source Recipe Information [EDNOTE: The lay-out and wording of Sections C and D has been going on for well over a year as it is the hardest area to make easy and logical. The few fields in these sections have a lot of power in them but we have never been happy with the layout/wording. A new way of designing these sections has just come to mind. Incorporating them will require a new pre-release version and some re-posting of pics in this thread which will take some time.]

In light of the above, we will only address a few important issues here.

Recipe Integrity

The overwhelming majority of recipes published on the internet are of low integrity. By low integrity, we mean that not enough information is given to copy or scale the recipe accurately. Here is an example of a recipe that entirely lacks integrity...
Atrocious1.JPG
Immediately we can see that the 22 L is undefined. This could mean anything from VIP through to EOBV (see above post). No original gravity is supplied or hop alpha acid percentages. Such a recipe should be totally ignored.

Here's another one where we could scale the grain bill with some detective work (or let the BIABacus do it instantly) but we are given no hope on hops!
Atrocious.JPG
Notice how this recipe has a five star rating? Any new brewer would think that the recipe has integrity even though the hop bill can only be guessed at.

Nearly all recipes on the net are like this. Even respected brewing programs have recipe reports lacking critical information. The first thing to do when thinking of scaling a recipe is to determine it's integrity. There are many factors involved. What we will do for now is start a new thread Does this recipe have integrity? Can I copy it? where you can post a recipe to determine it's integrity.

Regarding Section C...

Original Gravity

If the recipe you are trying to copy does not have an original gravity figure, it almost certainly is of very low integrity and is not worth copying/scaling.

End of Boil Volume at Ambient (EOBV-A)

This is the most useful volume figure in the communication of a recipe but is absent from nearly all published recipes and reports. When this figure is absent, there are, sometimes, other ways of determining it. The number is not needed for grain bill calculations but is nearly always needed for accurate hop bill calculations. We have some members here who are very skilled at working this side of things out. They will tell you if the recipe has no integrity or if there is a work-around. To access their advice, use the new thread Does this recipe have integrity? Can I copy it?

High Integrity Recipes

The only source we have found to date of high integrity recipes is in the book, "Brewing Classic Styles," by Jamil Zainasheff and John L. Palmer. It is the only product that BIABrewer publicly endorses to be recipe friendly. We'll do another post here later on how to scale the recipes in that book.

A part of the new site re-structure is a total re-design of the recipes section of BIABrewer. Once done, you will be able to find and access high integrity recipes. Hopefully, the new integrity threadwill help us discover other sources of high integrity recipes.
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Last edited by BIABrewer on 06 Jan 2013, 22:41, edited 2 times in total.

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