Author Topic: Basic Recipes help  (Read 673 times)

Offline FLbrewer

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Basic Recipes help
« on: January 20, 2014, 02:37:49 PM »
I would really like to create my own recipe (or use a solid one) on my next brew. I think I'm done paying for kits, or would like to be! Most of the brew software I see doesn't necessarily "tell" you if a beer will turn out ok by plugging in pieces.
Is there software like this? Would I be better off using recipes here for now and tweaking them how I see fit?

Offline In The Sand

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Re: Basic Recipes help
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2014, 02:53:01 PM »
I use Beersmith. It has beer style guidelines per BJCP. Google is your friend for hop varieties and descriptions. But really the only way to know if the beer is going to be good is trial and error.  You'll make good beer from your own recipes.  It's not that hard. I don't think I've ever made a bad beer. Just make sure you try a commercial example of a style that's new to you before brewing it (I learned the hard way with a Saison).
Trey W.

Offline garc_mall

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Re: Basic Recipes help
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2014, 02:55:57 PM »
I don't think anything can tell you if a beer will turn out "ok" other than your own palette. If you want a proven recipe, I would recommend the ones on the Wiki. However, in my experience, it is really difficult to make a bad beer with only malt, hops, yeast, and water. As long as you don't do crazy spices, you can kind of make up whatever you want, and even if it is less than ideal, it still should be drinkable.

The only things I have found to make beer undrinkable are spices and infections. Everything else might be less than ideal, but always drinkable. If you can drink it, you can make it better.
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Offline denny

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Re: Basic Recipes help
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2014, 02:59:47 PM »
I don't think anything can tell you if a beer will turn out "ok" other than your own palette. If you want a proven recipe, I would recommend the ones on the Wiki. However, in my experience, it is really difficult to make a bad beer with only malt, hops, yeast, and water. As long as you don't do crazy spices, you can kind of make up whatever you want, and even if it is less than ideal, it still should be drinkable.

The only things I have found to make beer undrinkable are spices and infections. Everything else might be less than ideal, but always drinkable. If you can drink it, you can make it better.

Well said, buddy!
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Basic Recipes help
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2014, 03:20:03 PM »
The software just helps you crunch the numbers. You visualize the beer, brew the beer, taste the beer, and adjust the recipe accordingly.

Its more important to figure out how to get what you want out of your ingredients and process. What good is your own recipe if the resulting beer isn't what you wanted?

When I started branching out from kits, I would brew one kit several times, tweaking one ingredient at a time. This way, you can learn what individual ingredients bring to a beer while being fairly confident the result will be worth drinking. You can also start learning the software this way. Input the kit ingredients into a recipe and explore a change before brewday.

If you're brave, you can brew a beer with one malt (or type of malt extract), one hop, and one type of yeast. Then, brew the beer again, and add a steeping grain, or change the type of base malt (extract), and see how the beer changes. IMO this is the best way to learn ingredients, but its tough to commit to one type of beer!

Either way - its a fun time in your journey as a homebrewer! Embrace it and dive in!
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Online HoosierBrew

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Re: Basic Recipes help
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2014, 04:00:18 PM »
I don't think anything can tell you if a beer will turn out "ok" other than your own palette. If you want a proven recipe, I would recommend the ones on the Wiki. However, in my experience, it is really difficult to make a bad beer with only malt, hops, yeast, and water. As long as you don't do crazy spices, you can kind of make up whatever you want, and even if it is less than ideal, it still should be drinkable.

The only things I have found to make beer undrinkable are spices and infections. Everything else might be less than ideal, but always drinkable. If you can drink it, you can make it better.

Great advice.  Start with one from the wiki, brew it as accurately as you can, and as you learn about individual ingredients over time, you can learn to tweak it to your liking.
Jon H.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Basic Recipes help
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2014, 04:40:56 PM »
I'd also highly recommend Brewing Classic Styles. Every recipe I've tried in there is great and a good way to get started on a new style I haven't brewed before. Plus, Jamil gives a good description of the styles and gives a little insight to most of the recipes.
Eric B.

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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Basic Recipes help
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2014, 04:54:05 PM »
I'd also highly recommend Brewing Classic Styles. Every recipe I've tried in there is great and a good way to get started on a new style I haven't brewed before. Plus, Jamil gives a good description of the styles and gives a little insight to most of the recipes.

This!

I switched to designing my own after two kits. Then I found out I didn't know anything. Then I bought BCS, picked a style, read, adapted slightly to let me feel creative. Then I stumbled onto Drews Brewing on the Ones speech. Started brewing more simple recipes. Now I'm learning that much of the flavor and quality comes from proper water and proper fermentation.

I'd highly suggest a copy of brewing classic styles.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Basic Recipes help
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2014, 04:56:37 PM »
Pick a style and consult bjcp.com - then design a recipe and come back and ask the forum for advice.
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Offline dannyjed

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Re: Basic Recipes help
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2014, 04:57:17 PM »
Post your recipe on here before you brew. It took me a long time to figure out the different flavors that specialty grains add to overall flavor of the beer. We won't be shy at picking your recipe apart or not.
Dan Chisholm

Offline jamminbrew

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Re: Basic Recipes help
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2014, 05:02:00 PM »
If I'm brewing a style that I'm unfamiliar with, or haven't brewed before, I will research numerous recipes for that style. If you have a general idea of what flavor contributions the various specialty malts give, you can take parts of several recipes, or just get a good feel for what goes into the recipe, and go for it.
And as several others have said, barring crazy spices and infections, your beer should be drinkable, and you can figure out what you do/don't like about it, and adjust it for the next go around.
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Offline FLbrewer

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Re: Basic Recipes help
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2014, 05:32:17 PM »
Good suggestions. Thank you!


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Offline majorvices

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Re: Basic Recipes help
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2014, 06:01:04 PM »
When you design a recipe, the most important thing in many instances is to choose a base malt and a yeast. These will be your building blocks. So, say, you want to brew a dry stout. Do you want a very clean yeast character or would you like a little English character going on. English? Choose an English style yeast like wlp002. Maybe you want a little drier? Go with wlp007. Or clean and super easy? Go with US-05. Then basemalt. You want some buscuitty malt character or are you looking for malt charcter to hide a bit behind the yeast? Buscuit? Go with a good floor malted Maris Otter. Then you will need to look at the supporting malts that go with a dry stout. Bing! Litte research and ... There they are! Flaked Barley and Roasted Barley.

Now, do you want hop aroma? Maybe a little hop spiceiness but not any citrus character? Choose a good English hop like East Kent Golding - or, if you decide you just want the roast to shine through use a bittering addition only.

Or, say you want to brew a simple American pale ale. You probably want a nice clean ale yeast and maybe you want some buscuit malt but not too much. Go with a clean US ale yeast and maybe cut your basemalt 50/50 Maris Otter and an American 2-row. Hops: You want clean bittering? Go with Magnum. You want a little more aggressive hop bittering flavor? Chinook or Columbus. You then might decide if you want really clean hop flavors/aromas and how much citrus flavors/aromas. A good blend of Centennial and Amarillo might be just that. Or, maybe you want some magno like character? Citra. Or some funky cat pee? Simcoe.

The most important thing in building recipes is to start simple. Get an idea about how your ingredients change the flavor of your beer. And make the same recipes over and over again, but change a little here or there.

Brewing is a craft. And the "craft" part of brewing take a little bit of time to develop. But it is not really all that hard once you get a bit of experience under your belt.

The great thing is that you can never have too much experience. I'm constantly learning about brewing. Going on 20 years of designing my own recipes and playing with ingredients. Tons of fun!  :D
« Last Edit: January 20, 2014, 06:04:03 PM by majorvices »
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Re: Basic Recipes help
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2014, 06:26:42 PM »
Fantastic advice from Major - that's the thought process to learn.  +1 to brewing for ~ 20 years and learning something new every time. I've learned more in the last 5 years than in the first 15, easily. 
Jon H.

Offline fmader

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Re: Basic Recipes help
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2014, 06:39:29 PM »
I think recipe design is probably my favorite part of brewing. I started brewing extracts just about two years ago. Four months later I started all grain batches. I started making my own recipes at that point. I can't say that I've ever designed a bad beer. Sure, some are way better than others, but that's the fun in it. I still consider myself quite the novice and continue to learn with every brew. I have 35ish grain brews under my belt, and I've only rebrewed 3 of them. I just have so much fun brewing all of the recipes that I create. If I'm bored in the evening, this is what I do. And as Major said, post them on the forum.... I probably post one every other weekend. Everybody has what they want in a beer... By designing your own, you brew the beer that YOU want.
Frank