Reverse Engineer Recipe
I've seen people on here somehow use Brewsmith (or some other software, I have Brewsmith) to reverse engineer a recipe. For example, I'm trying to figure out how to make a clone of Boulder's Cold Hop from this information form their site:
Grains: Maris Otter Pale Malt, Honey Malt, 10-15 Crystal Malt
Kettle Hops: Willamette, Czech Saaz, Hallertau, & Hercules
Dry Hop: Nelson Sauvin from NZ
Any advice? I'd like to know HOW to figure it out, not just what the recipe would be, please.
Well, the first thing to do is to determine your OG. That should be 15.5 brix, which would be 1.063.
So, figure mo malt as your basemalt, and set up your efficiency.
Since it also uses honey malt, and honey malt is really only good in small doses, don't use more than a pound of that.
The crystal 10L-15L doesn't say what percentage, so you'll have to guesstimate. Is the beer very sweet? Then you could think it may be up to 15-20% of the grainbill. If not, then it may be 5-15%. Play with the numbers in beersmith, so that you get an OG of 1.063, with those malts in those percentages.
(I've never heard of that beer, so I can't tell you what I think!).
You could also email the brewery, and they'll often tell you the percentages.
As for hopping, they don't specify which hops are when, so you'll have to guess. I've never heard of hercules hops, but I'd assume that the Willamette would be for bittering, and the others for aroma/flavor. So, use that knowledge to get you to 45 IBUs.
Dryhop is self-explanatory.
Since the OG is 1.063, and the ABV is 6.8%, that means the FG is 1.010-1.011. So, you'll need a yeast that will give you 81% attenuation. Is there a yeasty flavor, or fruity flavor? That will also help you determine which yeast to use.
Again, the breweries are generally very helpful in making a clone recipe, and they may give you more specific advice, including the hops schedule and yeast strain.
The biggest thing to remember here is that you're going to do this by trial and error. Using software such as Brewsmith will only allow you to get a beer "similar" based on numbers. Tasting your batch will allow you to "tweak" the recipe. Like Yoop said, the Crystal will probably need to be changed a little, based on the results of your first try.
Cloning beers isn't impossible, but it does take time. If this is one of your first brews, you may want to stick to proven recipes for a while until you get the whole "brewing process" down. If you are not up to par on a stage of brewing such as sanitization, fermentation temps, pitching rates, etc. you might as well get those down pat before moving onto trying to formulate a clone recipe.
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