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Old 04-17-2013, 01:50 AM   #1
Germ
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Default How do I choose my Ingredients?

So... I have brewed numerous kits now and it all has basically been pretty straight forward. I have made minor adjustments to time and adding flavoring (coffee, vinalla bean, rum etc...) but I am still dependent on utilizing kits. I am asking for any advice or sources out there for information on building my own beer. I would like to learn how to build a beer to include selecting my own malts, hops, yeast, etc... There are a lot of reciepies out there that I could follow but I am more interested in learning how to create my own. Any advice?

Thanks!



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Old 04-17-2013, 01:52 AM   #2
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Start here:

http://www.amazon.com/Designing-Great-Beers-Ultimate-Brewing/dp/0937381500

Edit: Warning. This is not an easy book. Don't expect a recipe book. This book is how to design advanced beers, not how to make basic styles.



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Old 04-17-2013, 02:02 AM   #3
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Will this book give me information on the different types of malts, yeast etc...? I want to learn how the different ingredients affect each other. Like what types of yeast create good stouts and what malts and hops should be used in conjunction with. I don't really want anything that is going to make a recipe for me. I just want the info that will help me make one myself.

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Old 04-17-2013, 02:11 AM   #4
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There are websites that have malt, hop and yeast profiles. Check the recipe forum for the links or just do a google search.

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Old 04-17-2013, 02:20 AM   #5
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+1 on designing great beers

It is very detailed and definitely doesn't build recipes for you.

What it does do it goes over the common ingredients used in past BJCP competitions that have done well, which is very helpful

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Old 04-17-2013, 02:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amazon.com Review
Part 1 of Designing Great Beers is a complete book in itself, focused solely on home-brewing ingredients and techniques (including three superb chapters on hops alone). Ray Daniels proves himself the "techie" type, infusing his introductory chapters with as much brewing math as brewing lore. Yet, Daniels never hops off the deep end of beer geekdom. Instead, he complements this emphasis on data with the creative use of graphics; where one could get bogged down in the stats, there is usually a clear visual depiction to instantly summarize their meaning.

This focus on facts continues into part 2 of Daniels's guide, where it backs an admirably pragmatic take on beer styles and their importance in home-brewing. Daniels devotes a chapter to each of 14 major style categories, detailing historical origins and modern brewing techniques. He lays a contemporary groundwork by compiling and analyzing the recipes of the National Homebrew Competition's most successful beers. The assumption is that beers deemed representative of particular beer styles in modern competitions serve as ideal models for recipe creation. Among the information provided for each style is a chart showing the percentage of brewers using each type of grain and in what proportions the grains were added. Similar data are supplied for hop varieties, yeast strains, and water treatment. This reverse engineering of award-winning beers naturally benefits experienced brewers seeking to wow judges at the next competition. Yet, even brewers taking their first shy steps into creating their own recipes have much to gain from this kind of practical analysis. Daniels provides the basic tools a brewer of any level can use to formulate recipes with confidence and creativity. --Todd Gehman
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Old 04-17-2013, 02:33 AM   #7
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I started by looking at clone recipes of commercial beers I liked, then taking a little of this, a little of that. Do a lot of reading and research. Get extreme brewing by Sam Calagione if you like using different ingredients and such, I loved it.

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Old 04-17-2013, 03:58 AM   #8
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I know you dont want a website to make a recipe for you but, I used brewmasterswarehouse.com. It has style guidelines to follow, tons of options, and plenty of other peoples recipes on there to look at. I am currently using that one and just bought my own recipe from them. I even took it to my LHBS and they all said the ingredients would make a really good IPA (as long as I dont mess it up).

You might want to at least give it a quick look.

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Old 04-17-2013, 10:39 AM   #9
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My 2 cents is to start with a proven recipe. Look at the grains and hops it has, the amounts and the percentages of the total, the timing of the hop additions, and the yeast used. Brew the recipe as it is written so you know what the taste should be. Now brew it again but change just one thing, be it the amount of Crystal, the variety of the hop, or the yeast and try a side by side sample of the two beers when they are mature. Now you have an idea of what that change does. Do it again with a different item changed. It's a slow process but you don't get terrible beer from that like you might if you start from scratch and add way too much of one item without knowing what it will do to your beer. Making an award winning beer is an art.

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Old 04-17-2013, 11:04 AM   #10
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First, +1 to all the great things people have said above.

Second, the best thing for me was buying brewing software (I use Beersmith). The single biggest key to designing a recipe is keeping it in balance for the style. Beersmith has most major ingredients included, and has slider bars that indicate if your color, gravity, alcohol level, and bitterness are aligned for a given style.

Third, don't sweat the big stuff, and by that I mean brands of grains and extracts, especially if you buy from a reputable online retailer. If you're not cloning, the differences between US 2-row brands is minor compared to other parts of your process.

Fourth, do sweat the small stuff. Take it easy with crystal malts and specialty grains. Use some of the recipe threads here with large followings as a rule of thumb. Dark/black malt also packs a wallop, especially in light beers.

Fifth, follow guidelines on the temps you ferment at wrt specific yeasts, and use yeasts specific to a style.

Finally, feel confident experimenting. I've made a lot of good beers by reading descriptions of grains and hops on Northern Brewer, saying "I bet those go good together" and buying them.

If you have any questions about a recipe you've concocted, you can always post it in the recipe forum. People are always glad to help with a few tweaks.



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