No problems DrD and thanks for getting back to this thread. I have hardly any spare time atm but have chosen to reply to this thread while winding down for the day as replying here might help me later to write on how one should and should not go about designing recipes. I won't have time to double-check everything I write below so let me know if anything I write here does not read clearly or make sense so as I can tidy it or correct it when I get the chance...
The first thing to realise is that recipes need to be designed in your head/heart/senses first, not in a computer program.
A computer program's numbers, if written very carefully, (the BIABacus is the best you will get at time of writing) will still only give you four things even slightly relating to recipe design... original gravity 'points' (volume
x gravity 'points'), final gravity 'points', colour (very low importance and very poor estimates) and bitterness (let's not even go there
). The BIABacus does the first better than any other software. It does all the others at least as well, usually better, than any other software but all these estimates are just estimates. The colour and bitterness formulas that all software uses, including the BIABacus, are extremely vague, often appalling.
When designing a recipe, the first thing you want to think of is, perhaps, the percentages of grains you want in your grain bill. That is what the left hand side of Section C is for. If you can't imagine, in your head, your grain bill as percentages, then you should not even be thinking of designing recipes in my view. Designing recipes is an advanced skill and depends on a lot of factors. (Btw, even if you do design a brilliant recipe, your next and far more complicated problem, if you were a commercial brewer, is working out how to replicate that recipe from
week to week given the varying inputs/qualities of ingredients available.)
As for the hops, there is no great way, in brewing software of dealing with this highly complex subject. For a start, all the hop IBU estimate formulas we rely on, are old. Secondly, IBU's are only one part of recipe formulation. Flavour and aroma are far more important than IBU's but there are no formulas for these things. So, once again, unless you realise how vague IBU formulas are and their relative second place to flavour and aroma, in many, if not most, styles, you probably shouldn't be designing yet if that makes sense.
You mentioned above that you find the design invasive and restrictive. When you 'feel' this from
the BIABacus, it is usually (hopefully) a sign that the way you are approaching your brewing/recipe formulation, isn't quite right. Hopefully some of the above explains this?
If not, the test of this is to write here, in detail, what you are finding invasive/restrictive and then we can see where we can design or educate or formulate better.
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