Chapter 20


Developing Your Own Recipes

Recipe design is easy and can be a lot of fun. Pull together the information on yeast strains, hops, and malts, and start defining the kinds of tastes and character you are looking for in a beer. Then choose a style that is close to your dream beer and decide what you would like to change about it.

To help get your creative juices flowing, here is a rough approximation of the recipes for the common ale styles:
Pale Ale - base malt plus a half pound of caramel malt,
Amber Ale - pale ale plus a half pound of dark caramel malt,
Brown Ale - pale ale plus a half pound of chocolate malt
Porter - amber ale plus a half pound of chocolate malt,
Stout - porter plus a half pound of roast barley.

Yes, those recipes are pretty crude, but I want you to realize how little effort it takes to produce a different beer. When adding a new malt to a recipe, start out with a half pound or less for a five gallon batch. Brew the recipe and then adjust up or down depending on your tastes. Try commercial beers in each of the styles and use the recipes and guidelines in this book to develop a feel for the flavors the different ingredients contribute.

Read recipes listed in brewing magazines, even if they are all-grain and you are not a grain brewer. By reading an all-grain recipe and the descriptions of the malts they are using, you will gain a feel for what that beer would taste like. Use the principles given in Chapter 12 to duplicate the recipe using extract and the specialty grains in the recipe. You may need to use a partial mash for some recipes.

Look at yeast strain information and determine what flavors different strains would give to the recipe. Use the calculations in Chapters 5 and 12 to estimate the IBUs and the gravity of the beer. Plan a final gravity for the beer and decide what factors you would use to achieve it, i.e., extract brand, mash schedule, yeast strain, fermentation temperature, etc. You as the brewer have almost infinite control over the end result. Don't be afraid to experiment.

Mosher, R., The Brewers Companion, Alephenalia Publishing, Seattle Washington, 1995.

Chapter 21 - Is My Beer Ruined?

Papazian, C., The Homebrewers Companion, Brewers Publications, Boulder Colorado, 1994.

Gold, Elizabeth, ed. Evaluating Beer, Brewers Publications, Boulder Colorado, 1993.