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Old 01-13-2012, 04:56 PM   #1
davidcr80
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Default How do you create a recipe?

I am trying to figure out if there are better methods and resources to help me create recipes:
Currently I am using hodge-podge info and sources for creating recipes (in 5 gal extract and partial grain batches). Most of the time I first pick and study a style using various sources and beers, second find a recipe or clone that comes close to what I want, then modify that recipe yet again because of personal preferences and/or because of ingredients available at my local HB supply store.

So, in light of my methods thus far (8 batches under my belt). What are other ways to go about creating a beer. For simplicity lets stick with having the style picked-out i.e. "I want to make a refreshing American Wheat, not too heavy or hoppy". so where do you point someone from there...(I am not necessarily looking for details on the "American Wheat", just an example for guidance in putting together recipe).

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Old 01-13-2012, 05:03 PM   #2
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Do you use the BJCP guidelines? They've been invaluable to me in getting started creating recipes.

BJCP 2008 Style Guidelines - Index

That's my first go to. It gives you commercial examples which you can get recipes for, then go from there.

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Old 01-13-2012, 05:04 PM   #3
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Designing Great beers


That book and BeerSmith

And this Malt Yield Table
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Old 01-13-2012, 05:04 PM   #4
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On this forum there are plenty of recipes, as well as just googling one. I have a few guide books with recipes. Basically you have a base malt and build from that with other malt towards style. American wheat can be all wheat or part wheat part barley. Pick you hops, and yeast and go. I order my stuff on line and brewmasterswarehouse.com has a free building guide to help you and you can just click order recipe and it all gets shipped.

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Old 01-13-2012, 05:05 PM   #5
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I think about what I want and the style I'm thinking of. Then, I consider what it is about that style I want or don't like. My husband is great at this- he'll taste a beer and say, "Well, I like the color and the amount of bitterness but I wish it had maltier feel and a bit more body, and I'd like citrusy hops in the finish." Or he'll say, "I'd really like a lighter feeling pale ale, with earthy hops" and from there I start thinking about what will get me there.

I do look at the BJCP guidelines, to see what sort of IBUs and OG would get me there, and start with the base malt. From there, I add the specialty grains and hops.

Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels was a book that really helped me with designing recipes, as even if I knew I wanted a "warmer" flavor, I didn't know what malts would give that to me. With practice, I rarely refer to the book, at least with the styles I'm most familar with. But if I was designing a dopplebock, that'd be the first place I'd look! I also look at recipes in our recipe database to see what they have in common. If most bock recipes have Munich malt in them, I would probably use Munich malt in my recipe as well.

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Old 01-13-2012, 05:06 PM   #6
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All of your styles are going to begin with a basic base malt. Belgian, UK, German, American, etc. From there, you just need to decide what specialty malts will give you the color and flavor that belongs with that style. You'll pick this up over time.

I'd highly suggest picking up "Designing Great Beers". It's a great book, and I still pull it off the shelf from time to time. It goes into detail about ingredients, mash temps, fermentation temps, hops, yeast, etc. It also gives you a great backround on most of the styles you'll be brewing.

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Old 01-13-2012, 05:07 PM   #7
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I basically do what you have been doing. I decide on a style I want to do, then I look at a lot of recipes. Then I try to determine which ingredients I want to use. I plug them into Beer Calculus on Hopville.com.

I have done 2 partial mash recipes. One was great and one was very good.

I have also done an all grain that is in primary now.

Next up is an all grain version of the partial mash that I thought was [I]only[I] very good. It is a Pale Ale.

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Old 01-13-2012, 05:22 PM   #8
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It's like asking an artist how to create a masterpiece, it just happens...

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Old 01-13-2012, 07:55 PM   #9
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Randy Mosher is on the most recent BeerSmith podcast talking about designing beer. It's a pretty good listen. Designing Beer with Randy Mosher - BeerSmith Podcast 30 - YouTube

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Old 01-13-2012, 08:48 PM   #10
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I'm certainly no expert, but I would say the two biggest factors (this applies to cooking as well) are 1) familiarity with your ingredients (taste your malts, smell the hops, etc. etc.) and 2) using your imagination. Picture exactly what you want in your mind's eye (imagine the maltiness, the mouthfeel, the color of your brew, imagine it intensely...), then pick ingredients to best acheive those effects. Also, look at clone recipes of commercial examples of what you are trying to go for. You can 'steal' just the hop regimen, malt profile, or figure out which yeast to use. Use a brewing calculator to dial in ABV's and IBU's. Good luck!

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