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Old 01-31-2011, 07:58 PM   #1
jetmac's Avatar
Aug 2010
Mcdonough, Ga
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There are thousands of recipes to be found in print and on the web. How does one learn to create a recipe? Formal school, informal school, books, video, online? Anything specific?
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Old 01-31-2011, 08:00 PM   #2
I'm no atheist scientist, but...
Oct 2009
Thiensville, Wisconsin
Posts: 8,308
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trial and error.

brewing software helps.

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Old 01-31-2011, 08:19 PM   #3
BellAub's Avatar
Nov 2010
Ridgecrest, Ca
Posts: 68

What I'm doing is incremental stages. I started out with kits. Now I am buying kits and add what I think might be good in them, as well as reading, and learning about the different effects that all the ingredients you want to use will have on your beer. Eventually I will start trying different thing with all the left over grains and ingredients that I have from all the experiments with kits.
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Old 01-31-2011, 08:36 PM   #4
Hex's Avatar
Oct 2009
Granite Bay, CA
Posts: 952
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Read books (Designing Great Beers), brew, ask lots of questions (Club, HBT, and/or LHBS), and take good notes.

You should develop your pallet as well. Trying as many different beers from around the world.

I'm making only SMaSH Marris Otter/EKG, and Castle Pilsen/Saaz, until I learn them and my system.

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Old 01-31-2011, 08:38 PM   #5
Jan 2009
Posts: 1,556
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It's easy. Try this:

Look over these charts (and other you may find): (hops and yeast are on left nav bar)

Look over style guidelines:

Look around at other recipes to see what people are doing - however, just because people are doing it a certain way doesn't mean it's good. Do what you think may be good.

Also, I highly recommend brewing software. I like BeerSmith personally. It also has good info in it, and makes it much easier to make a recipe. Just clicking buttons to change amounts and adding things, the estimated gravity, abv, ibu, all change. It also tells you percentages for the grain bill. Very helpful.

This way has served me very well. The only recipe that hasn't been my own was my first brew ever - only because I wanted something that was proven incase I screwed anything up. Good luck.

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Old 01-31-2011, 08:43 PM   #6
AnOldUR's Avatar
Mar 2007
, New Jersey
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Originally Posted by jetmac View Post
How does one learn to create a recipe?
For me, brewing a bunch of SMaSH (single malt and single hop) beers to learn what the different ingredients contributed and then adding speciality grains into the mix.

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Old 01-31-2011, 10:59 PM   #7
Jul 2009
Posts: 155
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I like using beersmith. I took a blonde ale from Radical Brewing and put that in beersmith. I then changed the recipe to an American Pale Ale and made everything but the colour fit the new style.

For that particular brew I also mixed it up a bit. German style beer, with American level hops, so naturally I used German hops!

Even small things such as changing hops is a good place to start, but at the end of the day the worst that can happen is the beer won't be great (I've yet to have a homebrew that taste awful, even kits that are mostly sugar).

Ask yourself this question though: You make beer and strangers on the internet make beer (that you have never tasted), who do you trust.
*** EvilTOJ_ changed topic to <koomber> Bodka. Mae from 100% geniuine dylexic potatos

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Old 01-31-2011, 11:49 PM   #8
Nov 2009
Northfield, Minnesota
Posts: 162
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Originally Posted by Hex
Read books (Designing Great Beers).
I'd also recommend this book. It does a good job of explaining what ingredients provide what characteristics and what is often found in certain styles.

Choose a style and make one then tweak from there.
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:58 PM   #9
rexbanner's Avatar
Nov 2008
Posts: 1,382
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I don't understand the point of SMaSH. It's pretty easy to figure out what base malts and munich or vienna are, as well as differences between hops.

Just read a lot of recipes, read descriptions of malts and adjuncts, and brew lots of beer.
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Old 02-01-2011, 12:11 AM   #10
Jan 2011
Chicago, IL
Posts: 195
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Originally Posted by AnOldUR
For me, brewing a bunch of SMaSH (single malt and single hop) beers to learn what the different ingredients contributed and then adding speciality grains into the mix.
Agreed. Its the same as composing a Sonata or other classical piece. First you create your bass line (base malts... Get it?) Then you add your tenor section (specialty grains), alto (hops), and soprano (yeast) until you're a drunk Chopin.

Gotta learn the basics before you can create a masterpiece. Sure you could read about brewing (in fact I encourage it), but it's no excuse for experiencing a fermented base malt firsthand.

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