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Different Fermentation Directions

I am just starting my second batch, NB bourbon Barrel Porter and the recipe calls for 1-2 weeks primary, 2-3 weeks secondary (and an additional 1-2 weeks for the bourbon/oak inclusion,) and finally 1-2 weeks bottling. That gives a range from 5 to 9 weeks. Curious, I plugged the recipe ingredients and boiling times into the BeerSmith software program (with the exception of bourbon since I haven’t figured out how to add it) and was given the following timeline: 4 days primary, 10 days secondary and 30 days bottling. While the 44 days falls into NB’s 5-9 week range, what accounts for the huge differences in the various stages? And which timetable would you recommend?

The first timeline. Not sure if there is a programming error with Beersmith or not but it ALWAYS gives that. You can change the timeline manually as well as the ferm schedule.

Fermentation happens at different rates due to many conditions, and you can’t just plan ahead of time what to do when on a calendar unless you have everything under tight control or you plan to give a lot of time for each step. Take fermentation for example: how long the beer should be left in primary depends on what yeast you are using, how much yeast you pitched, how healthy the yeast population is, what temperature you are fermenting at, what temperature you pitched at, how well you oxygenated the wort, and to some extend what recipe was used. And then there are undoubtedly some minor considerations on top of that.

Other stages have similar lists of variables. Take all recommended schedules as guidelines, not gospel.

Doubt it’s a programming error so much as that it might be darn near impossible to write a computer program that can accurately customize fermentation timelines to beer recipes. That part of brewing’s an art as much as it is a science. So safer to just always use a canned schedule that users can edit if they want to.

Beersmith is a TOOL to help you brew. It IS NOT instructions about how to brew. You decide that for yourself.

I don’t expect it to self customize. I just was pointing out that it always self populates with these time lines. I find those amount of days very odd, that’s all. Beersmith v1 and v2 did not do that. It started for me when I updated it.

Well put Denny.

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