Author Topic: Best options for scaling recipes?  (Read 1333 times)

Offline Steve L

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Best options for scaling recipes?
« on: February 18, 2014, 12:15:58 AM »
Hi all. For a bit of background, I do 3 gallon all grain, mainly for a lack of available space. I have been brewing my way through Brewing Classic Styles and I 've been scaling the recipes from 6 gallons to 3. I've been concentrating recently on Northern English brown. I've done the recipe as a partial mash and an all grain but I find my results weak. I am entering the recipes into Brewmate and scaling them down. This essentially keeps the ABV the same but halves the ingredients.  So far the 2 beers I've done seem somewhat weak in maltiness and body. I've read that when scaling down a recipe for ABV, one should not only reduce the base grain but potentially increase the specialty grain and mash at a bit higher temps. Should I do this as well when scaling an entire recipe for size instead of ABV?
Thanks for any suggestions.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Best options for scaling recipes?
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2014, 12:37:31 AM »
I don't know if there is a one size fits all method. I think it depends on the beer. In the NEB, if I recall correctly, there's a few specialties. Cutting base and doubling specialty would be undrinkable.

I think I would try counting his recipe as a 5 gallon batch and scale down from there. In other words cut to 3/5ths instead of 1/2.

Offline Steve L

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Re: Best options for scaling recipes?
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2014, 01:05:38 AM »
I don't know if there is a one size fits all method. I think it depends on the beer. In the NEB, if I recall correctly, there's a few specialties. Cutting base and doubling specialty would be undrinkable.

I think I would try counting his recipe as a 5 gallon batch and scale down from there. In other words cut to 3/5ths instead of 1/2.

Very interesting! So I entered the info into  Brewmate as a 5 gallon al grain then scaled all ingredients to 3 gallon. My ABV was 1.066 at this point. Then I scaled the Base grain back until I got the ABV close to the recipe OG of 1.053. Interstingly enough, this made the ingredient percentages VERY close to those in the recipe (those shown for the Partial mash version). When I was scaling the recipe before as the all grain version it raised the base grain percentage by 5% and reduced the percentages of the specialty grain between 1-2%. I'm now beginning to wonder if my method of scaling was flawed. I'm wondering if this 5-6% differential has made a difference in the flavor and body... I think you're right, this may be a good place to start.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2014, 01:22:47 AM by swlusk »
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Best options for scaling recipes?
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2014, 01:27:11 AM »
Sounds like a software problem.  All the percentages should stay exactly the same when scaling down -- no need to mess with increasing or decreasing certain grains unless your efficiency is radically different from the original recipe... and then I would still aim to keep the percentages of all ingredients the same as the original recipe.  Scale everything equally.  I use StrangeBrew and this software keeps all the percentages the same when scaling.  Works for me.

For the record... I usually brew 1.7 gallons.  Why that?  Well, I'm actually shooting for 1.6666 gallons, or exactly 1/3 of a standard 5-gallon recipe.  Why such small batches?  Well... 3 gallons and 2.5 gallons were too much.  I enjoy variety yet I don't drink like a fish and it takes time for me to finish off any batch.
Dave

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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Best options for scaling recipes?
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2014, 01:43:24 AM »
Personal experience is the rule for sure. I don't scale down so no experience. I'm solely going by experience with shilling beers. I only change base grain amount to 60/- 70/- or 80/-. I'll be brewing a strong scotch soon and the same will apply. But, that's just me and just Scottish. Going more volume, probably everything gets scaled. Going different OG but same volume? I'd probably only change base amount.

Offline Stevie

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Re: Best options for scaling recipes?
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2014, 01:59:14 AM »
The percentages for the specialty grains will change due to a large amount of malt being used in the all-grain version. i.e 6lb extract compared to 10lb 2-row. The overall weights of the specialty grains generally will stay the same. Need to be careful reading his all-grain option sometimes.

Offline Steve L

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Re: Best options for scaling recipes?
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2014, 10:43:31 AM »
Perhaps my problem isn't in the recipe but in my expectations of the finished product. So far in my all grain experience I've done about 20 batches. Here recently I've been trying to make a really nice northern English brown ale. So far I've tried the 2 batches and I'm planning my third. My problem may be that I'm comparing my results to that of the commercial browns I've tried which seem to have more character. Mine seem to be milder. Hard for me to know if the commercial versions I've tried we're brewed to style or if mine is a closer version. Mine do not taste bad, in fact they are nice. just seem a bit thin. I know English browns tend to be on the low side of carbonation, I wonder if a bit more carbing would improve the flavor? Of course I'm my own worst critic. I may try a batch and bump up the specialty grains about 5% and see how that turns out. Experiment a bit.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Best options for scaling recipes?
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2014, 10:58:58 AM »
There's just too many variables in your problem. Which commercial examples? Then there are only like 300 things that all contribute to those characters. It could be only your recipe if all the others were good to go.

I'd suggest a side by side comparison of the. Write down the top three of four things that are different. Then adjust for that. Could be mash, water, boil, aeration, yeast, temp, etc.

Edit
Are you shooting for a clone, or good drinkable version of the style? Number 2 might be easier and better
« Last Edit: February 18, 2014, 11:20:56 AM by klickitat jim »

Offline tommymorris

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Re: Best options for scaling recipes?
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2014, 01:39:28 PM »
I have a brewing class  styles equipment profile in Beersmith. I enter the recipe from the book with that profile and then use the built in scale feature to convert the recipe for my equipment. Very easy.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Best options for scaling recipes?
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2014, 01:51:25 PM »
Awesome idea! Most of my best recipes were stolen from that book. Slightly modified to be all me of course lol

Offline Steve L

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Re: Best options for scaling recipes?
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2014, 02:06:31 PM »
There's just too many variables in your problem. Which commercial examples? Then there are only like 300 things that all contribute to those characters. It could be only your recipe if all the others were good to go.

I'd suggest a side by side comparison of the. Write down the top three of four things that are different. Then adjust for that. Could be mash, water, boil, aeration, yeast, temp, etc.

Edit
Are you shooting for a clone, or good drinkable version of the style? Number 2 might be easier and better
I just recently had an equipment change that may make a difference. My first two NEBrowns were brewed using BIAB and I wasn't happy with my mash temp control, efficiency between 75-80%. I now have a cooler mash tun and my first couple of batches have had excellent temp control. Other than that I aerate with pure O2 (45 seconds @ 1 LPM) full wort boil, not terribly vigorous boil, just a nice rolling boil for 60 or 90 minutes depending on base grain, yeast has been mostly dry by moving to liquid yeast as we speak, I pitch about 3 degrees below target ferm temp, that part seems good, no problems hitting FG.
I haven't sampled any beers from my new mash  tun and using liquid yeast may make a enough of a difference.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Best options for scaling recipes?
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2014, 02:16:28 PM »
Sounds like you are doing great. I've been upping my game lately too. It's fun to be drinking a beer that's way better than your last one and knowing the next one will be even better. I'm approaching the fine tune stage where I can do a better job of repeating and estimating what recipe and temp changes will do. That's hard when so many aspects of the process are not well controlled.


Offline Steve L

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Re: Best options for scaling recipes?
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2014, 02:33:13 PM »
Sounds like you are doing great. I've been upping my game lately too. It's fun to be drinking a beer that's way better than your last one and knowing the next one will be even better. I'm approaching the fine tune stage where I can do a better job of repeating and estimating what recipe and temp changes will do. That's hard when so many aspects of the process are not well controlled.
That's kinda where I'm going with my brewing. I chose one of my favorite styles and I'm re-brewing the same recipe and tweaking things as I go along to see what results I get and dial in my process and new equipment as I go along. This is my kinda fun!
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Best options for scaling recipes?
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2014, 03:12:08 PM »
FWIW, I brew 3-gallon all-grain recipes myself, and I adapt recipes from BCS all the time. I use Brewers Friend and the recipe-scaling functionality is pretty good and robust. Basically, all the grains would remain the same by percent of the recipe. The only time I would adjust the base grains and specialty grains of a recipe by different percentages is if I was taking an existing recipe and either Imperializing or Sessionizing it. If the only difference is the batch size, then all the grains scale by the same amount.
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Offline Steve L

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Re: Best options for scaling recipes?
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2014, 03:12:55 PM »
I have a brewing class  styles equipment profile in Beersmith. I enter the recipe from the book with that profile and then use the built in scale feature to convert the recipe for my equipment. Very easy.

I may have to take the plunge and get Beersmith, or as a good friend called it... 'Build a Beer Workshop'.
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