As I understand Tinseth's formula is derived from curve fitting (as I read it from his article).

However I can't see if he's using pellets or cones and I think that the utilization differs. I expect that eventually one would get the same utilization from hops and pellets so the difference in the formula should then be in the time constant in the time factor. That would lead to a formula like:

IBU = ... (1-exp(-kt))/4.15

Should one use different value for k depending on if I use pellets or whole hops? Which one does the standard value of k=0.04 applie? Or is there a different formula for the use of pellets or whole hops?

1 Answer 1


On the Experimental Brewing podcast, we did a test to see how close the IBUs you actually get are to what software predicts (hint:off by as much as +/- 40%). https://www.experimentalbrew.com/podcast/episode-32-ibu-lie As part of it, we interviewed Glenn Tinseth. We were shocked to have him tell us that he never tested pellets, and if you use pellets and get anywhere near what he predicted it's strictly chance. He said that when he was doing his tests pellets were so bad that no one used them. Also, he only tested with his brewing system so any other systems might produce vastly different results. Glenn's advice, we we concur with, is not to worry about the numbers but to find what you like and stick with it. And to answer you question more directly, no, there is no way to adjust for pellets instead of whole hops using his formula.

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