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Old 02-04-2011, 04:44 PM   #1
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Default Making Your Own Recipes

I've got my first two batches under my belt (one extract, one all-grain) and I'm interested in the art of making your own recipes. To me, that's probably one of the most interesting parts of brewing. What I'd like to get a better understanding of is what different types of malts/grains/hops contribute to the beer. For instance, is there some kind of guide that tells you what Maris Otter tastes like vs. Cara-Pils? I just don't have a grasp of what your dominant grains should be vs ones that add subtle flavors etc.

Any idea where I should begin?

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Old 02-04-2011, 04:56 PM   #2
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You can check the malting companies webpages, like

http://www.brewingwithbriess.com/Products/Default.htm

or

http://www.weyermann.de/eng/produkte_neu.asp?go=brauerei&umenue=yes&idmenue=37 &sprache=2

They have some description for each malt and what flavors they impart to the beer.

I agree, building your recipe is one of the fun parts of brewing.
There isn't much secrets though, specially when you are trying to brew to style. You can make few changes to fit your taste but the final numbers (OG,FG,IBU,SRM) should stay within the given range.
Other than that, basic things like:
-Base malt to give you the sugars to build your ABV%
-Toasted malts to give you color & taste
-Crystal malts to give you flavor and residual sweetness
-Carapills to give you head retention
-Vienna and other specitaly malts for flavor and fermentable sugars
-Lactose for creamy finish
-Adjunts for crispness, like rice flakes or thickness like oat flakes.

Hope this helps a bit

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Old 02-04-2011, 05:08 PM   #3
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Try reading Brewing Great Beers by Ray Daniels. It has a wealth of information.

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Old 02-04-2011, 05:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nilo View Post
You can check the malting companies webpages, like

http://www.brewingwithbriess.com/Products/Default.htm

or

http://www.weyermann.de/eng/produkte_neu.asp?go=brauerei&umenue=yes&idmenue=37 &sprache=2

They have some description for each malt and what flavors they impart to the beer.

I agree, building your recipe is one of the fun parts of brewing.
There isn't much secrets though, specially when you are trying to brew to style. You can make few changes to fit your taste but the final numbers (OG,FG,IBU,SRM) should stay within the given range.
Other than that, basic things like:
-Base malt to give you the sugars to build your ABV%
-Toasted malts to give you color & taste
-Crystal malts to give you flavor and residual sweetness
-Carapills to give you head retention
-Vienna and other specitaly malts for flavor and fermentable sugars
-Lactose for creamy finish
-Adjunts for crispness, like rice flakes or thickness like oat flakes.

Hope this helps a bit
Very helpful - thanks for the info!
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Old 02-04-2011, 05:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason_Merritt View Post
Try reading Brewing Great Beers by Ray Daniels. It has a wealth of information.
I would also recommend this book. It should provide most of the info you are looking for..
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Old 02-04-2011, 05:54 PM   #6
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+1 for Ray Daniels book
I think the title is actually Designing Great Beers.

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Old 02-04-2011, 05:59 PM   #7
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I actually just jumped into without doing a whole lot of reading. I found the easiest route to be scouring these forums and just checking out what people have done to create beers of certain styles, and then experimenting from that jumping-off point. I always make it a point to taste every grain that goes into my beers as well - it gives you a good idea of the sort of flavor to expect from a grain.

Just experiment with it! The base grains are pretty standard - 2-Row, 6-Row (sometimes), Maris Otter, then your Wheats and other more "specialty" bases. Try a SMaSH beer (single malt, single hop) to really get a good idea of the sort of flavors you can work with and expect from base grains, and build from there.

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Old 02-04-2011, 06:06 PM   #8
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Designing is correct. My bad!

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Old 02-04-2011, 07:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by modernlifeisANDY View Post
Try a SMaSH beer (single malt, single hop) to really get a good idea of the sort of flavors you can work with and expect from base grains, and build from there.
This is sage advice.
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Old 02-04-2011, 07:00 PM   #10
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The two books I have found most helpful for recipe building are Brewing Classic Styles and Designing Great Beers.

Brewing Classic styles:
http://www.amazon.com/Brewing-Classic-Styles-Winning-Recipes/dp/0937381926

Designing Great Beers:
http://www.amazon.com/Designing-Great-Beers-Ultimate-Brewing/dp/0937381500/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1296849534&sr=1-1

Brewing Classic Styles is a simpler book, but it goes into the characteristics of most of the big styles, tells you what ingredients cause those characteristics and gives you sample recipes with suggestions for how to get desired flavor effects.

Designing Great Beers is a lot more in depth and scientific, and to me I consider it more of an advanced manual, but a wealth of information as well.

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