Creating my First Recipe - care to help?

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ViperMan

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(I'm on my third attempt to write this post before submitting...)

Okay, I have basically 6 hours to invent a beer recipe. Either that or I just have to pick up another kit.

I'm just about to open a Honey Brown that was a partial mash kit. I liked the partial mash process. Challenging but still doable with my novice set of brewing equipment (basically a big pot, a big bucket, and bags/strainers/etc.)

I want to do a medium-dark honey ale with a hint of citrus. I'm also not a huge hop fan.

So first I'm going to toss up what I "know" I want... (Note the quotes, please...) Then I'll post what I've come up with so far, and you guys can comment/tweak/critique as you wish. Feel free to recommend changes, but keep in mind two things: I want to keep it simple, and it has to be stuff that the common home-brewing supply store should have in stock.

I "know" I want about 15-20 IBU's
I "know" I want a OG of about 1.060 - I want this to have a little kick. So I want about 300 "points" for a 5 gallon batch.
I "know" I want to use some honey, some honey malt, and some orange zest.

Here's what I have so far:

Partial Steeping Grains:
I have no idea, but I probably want about 4 pounds. Any idea how many "points" this will give me?...
Edit:
I'm thinking one pound of a chocolate grain and 3.5 pounds of Crystal 60L. This should yield approx. 24 points per pound, or 108 points.

.5 lb of Honey Malt (checked - store has it) - should be good for 12 points.
**Note** This now totals me up to 5 lbs of grain. Might be a tad much - see first reply.

Extracts:
.5 lb chocolate malt - I want some of that roasty flavor. Should give another 20 points
3.3 lbs Amber LME - will see what the shop has, because this is easy to change on the spot - should yield ~150 points Make that 119
**Note** Due to only being able to get 3.3 lb cans from the local store, I added .5 lb of Crystal 60, above.

Extras:
Going to add 1-2 pounds of pure honey at flame-out. No idea how many points this is worth...
Edit: One pound of honey is worth ~35 points, so if I'm sticking with a 1.06, I should only use one pound.
Also going to add zest of probably 3 oranges directly into the primary - might even wait until initial fermentation is finished.

Hops:
.5 oz Amarillo for 60 mins (should yield 14.5 IBU.s)
.5 oz Willamette for 15 mins (should yield 3.9 IBU's)

Yeast:
I wanted a Wyeast Packet, but it appears my local store doesn't sell this. If that's the case, I'm going to go with a White Labs 051 California V ale for it's "fruitiness"

I'll steep the grains, bring to boil, add extracts and Cascade, add Willamette at 45 minutes, flame out, add honey, go to primary, add zest ~3-5 days later, leave on primary a total of three weeks, then bottle with priming sugar (probably cane sugar as corn sugar is too plain, IMO)

SO!!! Thoughts...? (Been doing this for all of three months - be gentle.) :)
 

skeezerpleezer

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So 5.5 lbs of specialty malt and 3.3 lbs. of amber extract? That is WAY too much specialty grain. I wouldn't go over 1-2 lbs max. Keep in mind that amber extract has caramel in it also.

I would recommend getting a program like beersmith to help formulate recipes. I am not home or I would throw this one in for you.
 
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ViperMan

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I started with the ingredients of the last kit I used from HomeBrewers: Flagstaff Honey Brown Partial mash Beer Kit

http://www.homebrewers.com/product/PM1008/Flagstaff-Honey-Brown-Partial-Mash-Beer-Kit.html

It includes 4 lbs of "cracked grain" (but doesn't tell you what)
4 lbs of light liquid malt extract (maybe I should use light instead of amber)
1 lb of light DME
1 lb of honey

My OG on that kit was 1.052'ish, so I'm aiming for a little higher than that.

5.5 might be too much, but I feel that 1-2 wouldn't be enough.

(I'm not home either, or I'd download something like beersmith)
 

Bob

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First, let me recommend you use a recipe calculator. There's a confusing array of software available, free and not free, online or download. Pick one like BeerTools and use it to figure your numbers.

Partial Steeping Grains:
I have no idea, but I probably want about 4 pounds. Any idea how many "points" this will give me?...
Edit:
I'm thinking one pound of a chocolate grain and 3 pounds of Caramel or Crystal 60. This should yield approx. 24 poinst per pound, or 96 points.
WAAAAAAY too much specialty grain. If you're going to conduct a partial mash, you need pale malt.

Honey and Chocolate malts can go in the partial mash. A half-pound of Honey malt will give enough flavor.*

4 lbs Amber LME - will see what the shop has, because this is easy to change on the spot - should yield ~150 points Make that 119
Another Edit - I can only get increments of 3.3 lbs from my local supply store. So I'll compensate with additional specialty grain - probably .5 lb
Don't use LME if you can help it. Get light DME - it's easier to measure and pound for pound gives more "extract points" than LME. Get light so you can use specialty grains to dial in the color and flavor.**

Also going to add zest of probably 3 oranges directly into the primary - might even wait until initial fermentation is finished.
Sounds yummy! :)

I'll steep the grains, bring to boil, add extracts and Cascade, add Willamette at 45 minutes, flame out, add honey, go to primary, add zest ~3-5 days later, leave on primary a total of three weeks, then bottle with priming sugar (probably cane sugar as corn sugar is too plain, IMO)
I'd add the zest at flameout and keep it out of the fermenter; YMMV.

Cane sugar vs. corn sugar will have no real effect on flavor, not even if you use Demerara or Turbinado cane sugar. You're just not adding enough. Molasses, now...that's different, but beyond the scope of this discussion. ;)

What you're describing above is not a partial mash; it's a large steep. Basically that's the same thing, though.

If I were you, I'd find a highly-regarded "extract with specialty grains" Brown Ale recipe in the HBT database. Then I'd add a half-pound of Honey Malt to the steep. Then I'd add the citrus zest at flameout. That's enough tweak to make it yours while also providing a very good chance of success.

Good luck! :mug:

Bob

* in fact, I'd go so far as to delete the honey entirely and just go with the Honey malt. Adding actual honey will probably net you very little honey flavor unless you add so much that you'd negatively impact body and mouthfeel.

** Amber and Dark extracts are made with specialty grains. When you gain more experience you'll learn when to use them. For now use Light extracts and gain full control over flavor and color with specialty grains in your steep/partial mash.
 
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ViperMan

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What's the difference between "Pale" and "Light"?

My local brewing supply has Light, Golden Light, Amber, Dark, etc... I don't see the word "Pale" anywhere...

And I'm still puzzled as to why this amount of grain is too much when my last store-bought kit had a whopping 4 pound bag of grains... Tastes great, too (just needs to condition a bit longer...)

I'm not arguing you guys, but I've got conflicting knowledge here! :)

**EDIT** Okay wait I'm confused - above, Bob said "If you're going to conduct Partial Mash, you need Pale Malt." I thought this mean "Pale Malt Extract", which I couldn't find.

Is there a specific "Specialty" grain?? I guess I'm confused now as to whether there is a difference between specialty grain and "mashing" grain... I got the impression that it's all the same - it's just what you DO with it...

I'll continue Googling...
 

Bob

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What's the difference between "Pale" and "Light"?

My local brewing supply has Light, Golden Light, Amber, Dark, etc... I don't see the word "Pale" anywhere...
"Pale" in the context in which I used the term refers to pale malt grains. I use "light" when referring to extract.

Really, "pale" is just a term. "Light" is a pale extract.

Pale malt is the backbone of any beer. In extracts, pale malt is either mashed alone - in the case of Light and Pils extracts - or with other grains - in the case of Amber and Dark.

Briess's Golden Light is an excellent extract. It is predominantly pale malt mashed with a bit of CaraPils for body and foam enhancement.

And I'm still puzzled as to why this amount of grain is too much when my last store-bought kit had a whopping 4 pound bag of grains... Tastes great, too (just needs to condition a bit longer...)
Not knowing the contents of that bag, I can't comment.

**EDIT** Okay wait I'm confused - above, Bob said "If you're going to conduct Partial Mash, you need Pale Malt." I thought this mean "Pale Malt Extract", which I couldn't find.
No, I meant "pale malt". Let me see if I can't be more clear.

All mashes use some sort of pale malt as the bulk of the grist. Think of pale malt as a chicken breast:

1. There is a confusing array of pale malts available - Pale Ale malt, Pilsner malt, Maris Otter, Golden Promise, etc. Each are slightly different, just as there are different kinds of chicken, depending on whether it's free-range, agro-business raised, hippie organic, etc. But the differences are minor in terms of flavor.
2. If you cook a chicken breast by itself, it'll taste pretty bland, comparatively speaking. If you add some Caribbean jerk, it's suddenly different. If you add Cajun spices, it's different yet again. If you marinade it in tikka sauce then bake it in a tandoor, it's different yet again. Think of your "specialty grains" as the spices for the chicken breast.

Is there a specific "Specialty" grain?? I guess I'm confused now as to whether there is a difference between specialty grain and "mashing" grain... I got the impression that it's all the same - it's just what you DO with it...
Brewers refer to grains that aren't pale malt as "specialty grains". Each is designed to provide a specific effect, whether color, flavor, whatever. Some specialty grains can be steeped, some must be mashed.

There is a difference between "steeping" and "mashing". Steeping is cracking the grains and soaking them in hot liquor for a time; neither the amount of water nor the temperature need be controlled beyond a certain point. Mashing is steeping, but with control: The brewer controls both the temperature of the steep and the amount of liquor* involved per unit of grain measurement.

Most new brewers use the "extract and steep" method, where specialty grains are cracked and steeped in an amount of liquor too great for mashing. The grains are then removed, extract dissolved into that liquor, and boiling commenced. That's what I think you're doing.

I heartily recommend you dig into some basic brewing books, like Palmer's excellent How To Brew. The online version is available free, and suitable for your circumstance, though the print version has been updated.

Cheers!

Bob

* Brewers don't use 'water' except for cleaning. Water which will end up in the beer is 'liquor'. We have jargon, like any other pursuit; embrace it! ;)
 
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ViperMan

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(I'm going to keep talking to myself because I can!!!)

Okay - trial version of BeerSmith downloaded...

I'm trying to replicate something on the range of an American Brown Ale (at least I'm guessing)

Ingredients:

5 lb Light Dry Extract (going to look at a Briess Golden Light)
1 lb Crystal Malt 60L
1 lb Choclate Malt
.5 lb Honey Malt

I'll actually Mash/Sparger the grain (I know I said steep earlier, but that's not what I meant!)

.5 Amarillo Gold for 60 minutes
.5 Williamette for 15 minutes

1 lb Citrus Honey at Flame-Out,
Orange Zest at some point...

Pitch Yeast - WhiteLabs California Ale V

BeerSmith tells me approximate OG - 1.063 = perfect
Estimated color 33.3 - not exactly sure what that means
IBU's 14.6 - this is lower than I'm estimating. Might bump up to .75 oz of the Amarillo.
 
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ViperMan

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Hey Bob - thanks for the replies. If I understand better now, Crystal 60L is NOT a pale malt - it's a specialty grain. So now I kinda understand why 3.5 pounds of it might be too much - might over-power anything else I put into the brew.

Now I just need to know how to tell the difference between a "pale malt" grain and a "specialty" grain - I'm hoping that labels on the bag at the store will help with most of that! That also makes me think that mostly what was in that 4lb bag from the previous kit was probably SOME specialty grain, as well as simple pale malt grain. Maybe...?

And yes - I'm going to "extract and steep" - basically doing what you think I'm doing. :)

Lastly, I have "How to Brew" in print, and have been browsing the online version all day! I just don't have the book here at the office.

Thanks a bunch.
 

JLem

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(I'm going to keep talking to myself because I can!!!)

Okay - trial version of BeerSmith downloaded...

I'm trying to replicate something on the range of an American Brown Ale (at least I'm guessing)

Ingredients:

5 lb Light Dry Extract (going to look at a Briess Golden Light)
1 lb Crystal Malt 60L
1 lb Choclate Malt
.5 lb Honey Malt

I'll actually Mash/Sparger the grain (I know I said steep earlier, but that's not what I meant!)

.5 Amarillo Gold for 60 minutes
.5 Williamette for 15 minutes

1 lb Citrus Honey at Flame-Out,
Orange Zest at some point...

Pitch Yeast - WhiteLabs California Ale V

BeerSmith tells me approximate OG - 1.063 = perfect
Estimated color 33.3 - not exactly sure what that means
IBU's 14.6 - this is lower than I'm estimating. Might bump up to .75 oz of the Amarillo.
If you are going to mash you need some base malt in there otherwise you might as well just steep the specialty grains. Also, along those lines, I think the honey malt has to be mashed, but not 100% sure about that.

Personally, I think that is too much crystal + honey malt - together they make up 20% of you grist. This is a personal taste thing, but for me even 10% of these grains is too much. Also not sure if you will taste the honey or orange zest - the roastiness from the chocolate malt will overwhelm those flavors. And for an American Brown Ale, I think you have too much in there. This will be more Porter-like.

BTW 33 SRM is a dark dark brown - basically black - in color

 
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ViperMan

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Okay, here's another go at it...

Ingredients:

Extract:
5 lb Light Dry Extract (going to look at a Briess Golden Light)

Grain
.5 lb Crystal Malt 60L
.5-1 lb Pale Malt 2-Row
.25-.3 lb Choclate Malt
.5 lb Honey Malt

Hops:
.5 Amarillo Gold for 60 minutes
.5 Williamette for 15 minutes

1 lb Citrus Honey at Flame-Out,
Orange Zest at some point...

Yeast - WhiteLabs California Ale V
 

JLem

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Okay, here's another go at it...

Ingredients:

Extract:
5 lb Light Dry Extract (going to look at a Briess Golden Light)

Grain
.5 lb Crystal Malt 60L
.5-1 lb Pale Malt 2-Row
.25-.3 lb Choclate Malt
.5 lb Honey Malt

Hops:
.5 Amarillo Gold for 60 minutes
.5 Williamette for 15 minutes

1 lb Citrus Honey at Flame-Out,
Orange Zest at some point...

Yeast - WhiteLabs California Ale V
This looks pretty good to me. You might go as high as 0.5 lbs on the chocolate. Be aware though that there are different colors of chocolate malt - the default in BeerSmith might not be what you can get, so I would adjust accordingly.
 
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For 5-gallons

Amount Item Type % or IBU

5 lbs 8.0 oz Amber Dry Extract (12.5 SRM) Dry Extract 73.33 %
12.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 10.00 %
4.0 oz Chocolate Malt (450.0 SRM) Grain 3.33 %
1.00 oz Fuggles [4.50 %] (60 min) Hops 16.0 IBU
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (15 min) Hops 8.8 IBU
1 lbs Honey (1.0 SRM) Sugar 13.33 %
1 Pkgs Nottingham (Danstar #-) Yeast-Ale



Beer Profile

Est Original Gravity: 1.060 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.014 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.98 %
Bitterness: 24.8 IBU
Est Color: 20.5 SRM Color:


Boil the honey @ 15 minutes and remove any floating protein.

M_C
 
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ViperMan

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I got all my ingredients... ...except the Crystal 60L... I opened a bag of 90L and sniffed it, really liked it, MEANT to get a bag of 60L TOO, but somehow only the 90 got into the cart. I'll have to try and make the hour-drive for a $2 bag of grain here in the next two days.

I actually did manage to get whole-leaf hops! My brewing supply didn't have them listed on their online products page, so I was quite pleased. And I got my liquid yeast - now I need to make sure I know how to make a good starter. "How to Brew", here I come.

Thanks for all the help, folks.
 

JLem

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I got all my ingredients... ...except the Crystal 60L... I opened a bag of 90L and sniffed it, really liked it, MEANT to get a bag of 60L TOO, but somehow only the 90 got into the cart. I'll have to try and make the hour-drive for a $2 bag of grain here in the next two days.

I actually did manage to get whole-leaf hops! My brewing supply didn't have them listed on their online products page, so I was quite pleased. And I got my liquid yeast - now I need to make sure I know how to make a good starter. "How to Brew", here I come.

Thanks for all the help, folks.
Why not just use the 90L instead and save yourself the trip?
 
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ViperMan

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My only thought being that if the 90L is a bit more "roasty" then the 60, it might start to be too much with the chocolate malt in there. In fact, I'm almost thinking of dropping down to a 20L...

**EDIT** Hey can someone answer a quick question? If my yeast needs a starter using a half pound (or 2 cups - whatever the instructions say) of DME, is that in ADDITION to however-many pounds go into the wort? So in otherwords, if I bought ONLY five pounds of DME for my wort, I would still need an additional half-pound for my starter...

Am I right?...
 

JLem

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My only thought being that if the 90L is a bit more "roasty" then the 60, it might start to be too much with the chocolate malt in there. In fact, I'm almost thinking of dropping down to a 20L...

**EDIT** Hey can someone answer a quick question? If my yeast needs a starter using a half pound (or 2 cups - whatever the instructions say) of DME, is that in ADDITION to however-many pounds go into the wort? So in otherwords, if I bought ONLY five pounds of DME for my wort, I would still need an additional half-pound for my starter...

Am I right?...
You will not mistake 90L crystal for 450L chocolate malt. I would hesitate to use the word "roasty" to characterize any crystal malt. The darker the crystal malt the more toffee-like. For this beer I do not think you would even really notice much difference between the 60 and the 90. The 20L will give less caramel flavor and more sweetness.

And yes you are correct about the starter
 
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ViperMan

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JLem said:
And yes you are correct about the starter
Weeeeell then I'm gonna be heading back to the brew-supply store anyways... :) But I understand your comments and kinda figured as much. Thank You.
 
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ViperMan

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Thought I'd throw an update out - I brewed this recipe last weekend. Was embarassed to have a boil-over just after adding the DME. That kinda sucked. But after 3 days I added the orange peel from two oranges, and the aroma coming from the airlock is awesome. I also took my first hydrometer reading last night, and it's fermenting very well, and even the satellite fermenter - without orange peel - has this amazing, sweet-roasted smell to it. It's also looking crystal clear, probably thanks to the whole-leaf hops instead of pellets.

I'm really excited to drink this beer!!!
 

JLem

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Thought I'd throw an update out - I brewed this recipe last weekend. Was embarassed to have a boil-over just after adding the DME. That kinda sucked. But after 3 days I added the orange peel from two oranges, and the aroma coming from the airlock is awesome. I also took my first hydrometer reading last night, and it's fermenting very well, and even the satellite fermenter - without orange peel - has this amazing, sweet-roasted smell to it. It's also looking crystal clear, probably thanks to the whole-leaf hops instead of pellets.

I'm really excited to drink this beer!!!
Glad to hear it progressing nicely. Let us know how it ends up. :mug:
 
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