I began simplifying my recipes a while back based roughly on Drew’s ‘Brewing on the Ones’ concept and Palmer’s template. I’ve gone thru iterations and refined it to my tastes. The simplicity just makes life easier, reduces inventory, and produces some fairly tasty beers IMO.
Most of my recipes have C malts in them. I use C malts for color, body, and flavor. For example, I’ll use British Crystal in British beers, Continental Cara(s) in German styles, and American C# malts in American styles. I think the country of origin matters because the different barley variety used to make the malt produces a certain flavor inherent to the style. IOW Pils malt made from American 2-row is different that Pils malt made from German 2-row. The other malts in the portfolio follow suit.
Roasted malts start appearing in my Ambers and darker for further flavor and color. I’ve learned that if I use a ‘specialty malt’ (e.g. Biscuit) I will try to balance it with an ~equal C malt addition. Of course, sugars (turbinado, candi syrup, inverts, etc) play a role in certain styles as well.
Below is my basic template. I riff off that. ‘Base’ could mean one malt or a combination of base malts depending on style ( e.g. Pils + Munich and/or Vienna). C malts are normally 5% of grainbill but could go higher.
Yellow = Base + 10*L C malt (For example this could be 95% Pils with 5% CaraHell.)
Blonde = Base + 20*L
Golden = Base + 40*L
Pale = Base + 60*L
Amber = Base + 40*L + 1% Choc/Carafa
Brown/Dunkel = Base + 40 or 60*L + 2% Choc/Carafa
Porter/Schwartz = Base + 60*L + 4% Choc/Carafa
Stout = Base + 60*L + 4% Choc + 1% Roast Barley
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Thanks for sharing all of that. I'm not familiar with Drew's Brewing on the One's. I'll have to research it. Funny, I've been working on base beer descriptions like you outlined on the bottom. Thing is, I make so many Stouts and Porters that I've been going from Dark to light. I feel I'm good down to the brown/amber range where I can appreciate the Crystal additions. When I get paler than that, I'm struggling to find a crystal mix that I like. Maybe there isn't one for me as I prefer my beers dry. But I have made note of your template, so thanks again. Good stuff.
The Beer1/Beer2 thing wasn't meant to be taken literally. For what it's worth I've never used more than 2% C120 except in a Porter and that is one of my best beers. I know what the flavor descriptors are for the range of C malts and I've tasted enough commercial examples of over-crystaled beers to last a lifetime. I know what I *don't* want, so at least I have that going for me.
I was just looking for how people handle these malts without making the finished beer too cloying (most overused word in beer reviews, maybe for a reason). Reading a lot of recipes, I swear sometimes people throw in gobs of crystal because they think it's a requirement.
Some suggestions I pulled from all of the above:
Balance with some roast. More/deeper crystal may be appropriate for dark, roasty beers.
Balance with hop bitterness. More bitter can be balanced with a little more crystal.
Dry with an appropriate yeast.
Think "country of origin".
Start small and adjust as needed.