Fermentables

Getting Started

How does the Fermentables box work in the recipe editor?

Fermentables are the backbone of a beer recipe. Fermentables are the sugars yeast digest to make alcohol. Fermentables give a beer color, flavor, mouth-feel, and sweetness. Add fermentables by entering their weight and selecting them from the drop down. The drop down contains a pre-populated list we maintain that is cultivated for accuracy and brevity. The list contains grains by country, adjuncts, sugars, and extracts. As you enter fermentables, the OG of the recipe will increase. The color each grain imparts is also estimated, and recipe's color (SRM) will change. Gravity can also effect hops utilization, so the recipe's IBUs can change as well! Sorting: Use the sort button to reorganize the list in order of weight. Extract Batches: For recipes using the Extract brew method, only extracts and sugars are available as fermentables in the drop down. Stats on Fermentables: To see what the PPG and Lovibond for a fermentable is, click the down arrow (▼) below the fermentable line, or click the '▼ All'. If you do not see the fermentable you are looking for in the drop down, click the Add Custom button. This will bring up a custom fermentable line where you can provide a name, the PPG (points per pound per gallon), the Lovibond value (how dark), and if the item needs to be mashed. Grains are typically mashed, but sugars are not. Usually the manufacturer provides these numbers, but you can also look at similar ingredients as a guideline. If you want to use the custom fermentable across several recipes we recommend you add it to your Inventory as a 'Custom Fermentable'. It will then appear at the top of the fermentables drop down list. The Mash Checkbox: The sugar contribution from mashed ingredients is impacted by the efficiency setting at the top of the recipe. Most likely the box is checked for any grain that is crushed, but left unchecked for raw sugars. The Late Addition Checkbox: Use this to exclude the fermentable from the estimated boil gravity used in the calculator. To reveal this for a standard fermentable, click the down arrow (▼) below the fermentable line, or click the '▼ All' button. This is usually done for about half of the total fermentables in an extract batch, but can also be done in any brew method when boosting the gravity with sugar. Doing it this way increases IBUs (higher utilization), so you get more bitterness out of the same hops. The OG value: This is an estimation of the per-line gravity contribution based on the fermentable's ppg, amount, and recipe batch size. Line item OG values will not always add up to the batch OG because of small rounding differences. For recipes set in Plato mode, the per-line OG figure is really just an estimate. Reason being - the gravity to Plato conversion is not linear. This has to do with physics, not software. Instead of reporting the per-line Plato value independent of the other sugars (which would be inaccurate), the system takes the percentage gravity contribution and multiplies that by the batch OG. That is what the brewer is actually interested in anyway.

Diastatic Power

Diastatic power (DP) is a measurement of a malted grain's enzymatic content. The purpose of the malting process is generally to break down the protein structure of the raw grain, by soaking the grains in water and then sprouting them. The term "modified malt" or "highly modified malt" refers to how broken down this protein structure is during this process. Highly modified malt, for example, has almost all of the protein structure broken down, and that is the most common type of malt available to us. The malt is then dried in a kiln, where these sprouts fall off, leaving behind the malted barley grain. Light colored grains like pilsner malt are kilned the least, while the darker colored grains like Munich II are kilned to a darker color. For even darker grains and specialty grains, the malt is sometimes roasted to make ingredients like crystal/caramel malt, roasted barley or others like victory malt.

In addition to changing the protein structure and fermentability of the grain, malting also develops the enzymes needed for mashing so that the starches can be converted to fermentable sugars during the mashing process. Beta amylase and alpha amylase together are diatase enzymes, and we as brewers are probably familiar with them. This type of enzyme is where the term "diastatic power" derives from. During the saccrification rest (the mash at temperatures of approximately 146-158° F), these are the enzymes responsible for converting the starch from the grain into fermentable sugars. Diastatic power is an indicator of the amount of those enzymes available to do this conversion, and is described in degrees Lintner in the US. In Europe, often the diastatic power is given in degrees WK, which stands for Windisch-Kolbach units. You can convert WK to Lintner using the formula Lintner=(WK+16)/3.5. To convert the other way, WK=3.5*Lintner – 16. In general, a diastatic power of at least 30°L is required to convert a mash, although it could take longer than a mash with a higher DP.

For custom fermentables, enter the diastatic power for the grain on the manufacturer's malt analysis sheet in the box provided. This will default to 0, so if you are adding grains with diastatic power, add the correct DP in degrees Lintner in the box.

Goals

See the goals section for entering fermentables by percentage and auto determining the amount of grain needed to achieve an Original Gravity or ABV.

Inventory

Click the inventory button in the upper right to choose a fermentable from your inventory.

Custom Fermentable

If the fermentable you have is not in the list then you can create your own. You will need the PPG, Lovibond and DP. See above for what these values are.

Custom Fermentable Block

Add to Catalog

This refers to user contributed brands and ingredients. This will reveal options for Origin, Category and Type.