Build your own recipe vs pre-built recipe kit

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RyPA

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I am prepping to brew a coconut stout/porter and had an ingredient list pieced together that comes to around $50. I then found this pre-built kit for half the price. Do you guys see any downsides to buying a pre-built kit?

Is it that the grains are sitting in a box on a shelf for X days/months versus build your own being more fresh?

I pieced together this recipe for ~$52

Then I found this for $22

Thanks
 

KDogg

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I just put together a recipe myself based on some general known ingredients of an existing favorite beer of mine and found a close recipe for the same style, adjusted and brewed it. It was fun and something new for me and my buddy. There's different satisfaction you get vs. repeating what you know hundreds before you have tried. Experience everything in brewing and enjoy the moment (and hopefully end product)!
 
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RyPA

RyPA

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I just put together a recipe myself based on some general known ingredients of an existing favorite beer of mine and found a close recipe for the same style, adjusted and brewed it. It was fun and something new for me and my buddy. There's different satisfaction you get vs. repeating what you know hundreds before you have tried. Experience everything in brewing and enjoy the moment (and hopefully end product)!
I'm really just looking for a nice base for adding coconut, I don't really mind it being a porter or stout. I'm not sure that I have a sophisticated enough palate to acknowledge the subtle differences between 2 dark beers like these. I obviously just want it enjoyable.
 
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Wow, thanks for pointing that out bobby, I've looked at that recipe many times and never noticed the 11 gallons. Can I just cut it in half for 5?
 

Bobby_M

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Yeah that's pretty much it. The one thing that always needs to be adjusted on any recipe is to scale the hop addition based on the actual alpha acid content of the ones you are buying.

Hops:
1.5 oz US Magnum 14.7AA at 60 min. You'd cut that in half to .75 ounces, but here's how you'd scale it.

original alpha 14.7 x .75 ounces = 11 bittering units divided by (actual AA of the hops you get (say 12.5% as an example) = .88 ounces.

I'd still use a full pack of the Omega OYL-004 or a US-05 if you prefer dry yeast.
 
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RyPA

RyPA

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Awesome, thanks!

What are your thoughts on that stout recipe vs. pre-built porter? Aside from the price difference.
 

CascadesBrewer

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What are your thoughts on that stout recipe vs. pre-built porter? Aside from the price difference.
I have purchased kits from More Beer in the past, and they have solid recipes based on quality ingredients. They have a reputation for very coarse grain crush though. Note that the recipe base price does not include yeast. Black Butte Porter is a very good beer, so if their recipe is close, it should make a nice beer.

They both look like nice beers. If you are new to creating recipes, starting with quality kits is a great way to get your feet wet. You can then evaluate the beer and make tweaks going forward. A few of my core recipes started as kit recipes that have evolved.

I see you posted about the Sierra Nevada Stout. Bummer that they stopped brewing that beer as it was a very good Stout.
 
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RyPA

RyPA

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I have purchased kits from More Beer in the past, and they have solid recipes based on quality ingredients. They have a reputation for very coarse grain crush though. Note that the recipe base price does not include yeast. Black Butte Porter is a very good beer, so if their recipe is close, it should make a nice beer.

They both look like nice beers. If you are new to creating recipes, starting with quality kits is a great way to get your feet wet. You can then evaluate the beer and make tweaks going forward. A few of my core recipes started as kit recipes that have evolved.

I see you posted about the Sierra Nevada Stout. Bummer that they stopped brewing that beer as it was a very good Stout.
Thank you for the feedback. Being a big Sierra Nevada fan I think I'm going to go with that kit.

I need to figure out water chemistry for this one. Or is it not as much of a concern for darker beers?
 
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RyPA

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That depends a lot on what you are starting with. Distilled, RO or Spring water? Your own tap water?
Easiest/preference is tap, but willing to go spring or distilled.

For my latest recipe kit, that I bought an extract version of by accident, I used distilled, it's going into the keg this weekend and I'm interested to see if I can taste a difference from the AG IPA keg that kicked tonight which I used tap for.

I assume distilled is easiest, as you know it has nothing in it so you have a clean slate?
 
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RyPA

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I decided to go with this kit for my coconut stout, I thought the chocolate would be a good combo with the coconut. AHS Chocolate Stout (13E) - ALL GRAIN Homebrew Ingredient Kit . I ordered it along with the cereal killer grain mill.

Can anyone help me out with the ideal water to use? I will not brew for 1-2 weeks so I have time to buy salts etc. as needed. I can use tap, spring, or distilled, whatever is easiest I am good with.
 

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I've been building my own recipes since batch #3 and have had solid results. I don't go for clone brews/recipes as a rule. The closest I come is looking at examples of styles I've not brewed before to see what [generally] is used and then make up my own version.

I get more satisfaction out of developing my own recipe and having people enjoy it. I have several recipes that are in the 'brew often' list. These are recipes that when people find out I have it on tap, and/or in cans, they want it. I have a new recipe on deck for Sunday, and then another the following Sunday since I'm almost out of cans of that one.

I'm also buying the base malt by the sack again. Plus the other malts I use in either five or ten pound increments. That way I don't need to get those grains as often. It also gives me more flexibility as to what I'll be brewing on any given day. Having a barley crusher/malt mill makes that even easier. ;)
 
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RyPA

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I think I'll eventually buy 2-row or something in bulk. I brew roughly once a month so that I have beer wrapping up in the fermenter as a keg is seeing it's last few beer glasses under the tap.

I've always been an IPA person but I think I'm getting bored of it, I'm excited to finally brew something different with my next chocolate coconut stout batch, and hopefully enjoy it. I need to do more research into what grains lead to what taste attributes, and the same for hops and yeast. I'm still a newb.
 

franknbeans

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I'm with you on needing to learn the taste attributes of grain and hops as well. The sucky part is the closest brew shop with enough variety is over an hour and a half away. Closer ones just have minimal stuff on hand, and crappy stock of liquid yeast that is probably past it's prime.
 
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