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Creating extract kits?

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I have a lot of small batch experiments I'd like to work on and am not ready to go all grain just yet. I would like to make up my own extract recipes. Is this something that software like BeerSmith would help me figure out? I'd like to be able to create kits, so to speak, where I have more control over variables such as basic style, volume made, the ABV and not be restricted by kits offered by retailers. I feel like the answer is probably totally obvious and staring me in the face and I'm just missing it.

Dale
 

davidabcd

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You could use the recipes from Northern Brewer's and Brewer's Best as a guide, for example. With the recipes listed and their clone recipes of well-known beers, that will point you in the general direction possibly.
There is software, as you mention, and it tells you if you're in the parameters of a certain style by what you build but you have to build it maybe with no fore-knowledge. I would do this step later on.
But having a visual look at the kit's ingredients (from major suppliers), you can compare one recipe to the next, one style to a different style, since it lists the ingredients of what goes into a beer to make it the style it's advertised under.
 

Joshuah57

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In my experience in working with Beersmith, it works great with either all grain or extract recipes. If you ever go to all grain, it can even help you convert your extract recipes.
 

Immocles

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Yep, when I started making my own recipes, I began with extract and beersmith was a great help. Not sure how well I would have done without it, to be honest.
 

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Brew Your Own has a lot of good info on styles. Google search BYO + the style and you’ll have a good starting place for creating your own recipes.
 

Kent88

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Just search for extract recipes and play around with those for a while until you get comfortable with what different ingredients contribute to your beer. The book Brewing Classic Styles has plenty of extract recipes to check out.

Recipes with adjuncts, like oatmeal stout, require a mini-mash, so you'll want to save those for later.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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I would like to make up my own extract recipes
Basic information on recipe design doesn't change much over the decades, so Chapter 20 of the on-line 1st edition (1999) of How To Brew is worth a read.
To help get your creative juices flowing, here is a rough approximation of the recipes for the common ale styles:
  • Pale Ale - base malt plus a half pound of caramel malt,
  • Amber Ale - pale ale plus a half pound of dark caramel malt,
  • Brown Ale - pale ale plus a half pound of chocolate malt
  • Porter - amber ale plus a half pound of chocolate malt,
  • Stout - porter plus a half pound of roast barley.
Randy Mosher (Mastering Homebrew, ...) also has some ideas at his site
The starter recipe is called the Amazing Shape-Shifting Recipe, and the new homebrewer can create more than 100 different beers by making alternate choices of malts, hops and yeast within the safe guidelines of the recipe.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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I have a lot of small batch experiments I'd like to work on
Are you willing to say more about the experiments you want to work on?

For example, if you are interested in more detailed information on specific styles, there's a series of articles at Craft Beer & Brewing titled "Make Your Best <style>". Last I knew, they were still free (where BYO articles often require a subscription).
 

AZCoolerBrewer

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Brewing software will work fine with extract ingredients. I use Brewersfriend but I’m sure Beer Smith has the same options, just choose the extract ingredient.
 
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Dale Owen
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Are you willing to say more about the experiments you want to work on?
Mostly I've been testing yeasts I've harvetsed. I've used a Belgian blonde 5 gallon extract kit. It seems pretty straight forward and is a good base to stick with to focus more on the character of the yeast. Sometimes I might have 2 or 3 yeast strains I want to mess with, and it can get complicated having to figure out how to divide the wort. I figure making my own recipes would be helpful. Also, I figure that it might be easier to learn about how base malts and other grains change the character of a beer. It might be an intermediary step before going all-grain.
 
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Dale Owen
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How to learn more about recipe building is a topic today over in /r/homebrewing that may be of interest.
OK. Mind blown. That helps me realize that, at present I probably just want to break out from the available kits dictating what I brew and the volume of my extract brewing when I'm trying out variable yeasts. I think I'm looking for somthing along the SMASH model, only changing out hops for yeast. But, understanding base and specialty malts is next. Looks like I really need to step up my game. I've got a lot of brewing to do!

That said, thanks!
 
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