Curious on recipe formulation.

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Hophead138

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Up until now ive only followed recipes. I have done a number of extract brews and partial mashes. Im looking to get started with all grain at this point. While looking at the recipes i was curious as to how they come up with the grain bills. I have a decent understanding on pitching rates and hop utilization, etc. But as of right now i have no clue as to how to figure out what grains to use or how much to use to hit a target OG. Any help?
 

Maxkling

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You always start with your base malts, 2 or 6 row malts.

Now you choose the base malts depending on style.

Pale ales or Ipas you would use a 2 row pale malt. A pilsner lager you would use pilsner malt. So you choose your style and adjust the amount of malts to hit your gravity. Now you need to ask yourself what youd like the taste to become. Your Crystal malts add to sweetness and color as well as other flavors. Use the wiki to choose what you'd like https://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Crystal_malt. Now you adjust for color and the max in batch as a guide line. Usually with pales I like to keep my crystal around 5 to 10 %, and a batch that I might mash with a lower temp add carapils and keep it around 5 to 10%.

Really you need to look into all the malts and see what the flavors they offer at what % in a batch. It comes with experience. Doing 2.5G SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop) brew will not only introduce you to all grain but teach you about hop flavors and malt flavors.

Read, research, and taste. The only way to learn.

Here are the main grains youll prolly use:
The crystal as posted above.
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Vienna_malt
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Munich_malt
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/CaraPils
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Biscuit_Malt
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Carafa
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Pale_malt
 

wncbrewer

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I recommend picking up a copy of "Brewing Classic Styles" by ray daniels. This text gives a detailed history of most beer styles and has a lot of guidance in terms of brewing practices that are style specific. For each style, it gives tables that show which ingredients, and how often they are used in brews that advanced to the second round of the national homebrew contest. I have found it to be very helpful in developing my own recipes.
 

tonyolympia

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wncbrewer said:
I recommend picking up a copy of "Brewing Classic Styles" by ray daniels. This text gives a detailed history of most beer styles and has a lot of guidance in terms of brewing practices that are style specific. For each style, it gives tables that show which ingredients, and how often they are used in brews that advanced to the second round of the national homebrew contest. I have found it to be very helpful in developing my own recipes.
wncbrewer means "Designing Great Beers," by Daniels.
 

wncbrewer

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tonyolympia said:
wncbrewer means "Designing Great Beers," by Daniels.
Thank you, that is exactly what I meant. It has been a long day and I need a homebrew
 
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Hophead138

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thanks everyone ill have to check that book out. but my biggest question is how do i know what tthe gravity of my wort will be based on my grain bill. For example i know that DME will yeild a gravity of 1.080 per pound per gallon. so i can use that ratio to determine how to hit a target OG when brewing from extract. Is there a similar ratio when brewing with all grain.
 

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thanks everyone ill have to check that book out. but my biggest question is how do i know what tthe gravity of my wort will be based on my grain bill. For example i know that DME will yeild a gravity of 1.080 per pound per gallon. so i can use that ratio to determine how to hit a target OG when brewing from extract. Is there a similar ratio when brewing with all grain.
Yes. But until you know your own efficiency, you'll have to guestimate for the first batch (and probably the second).

I get a steady 72% efficiency. But others get 65%, while others get 85%. You can make your first recipe at 68% to guestimate it, and adjust the next batches.
 
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Hophead138

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or rather 40 points pre pound per gallon.
1.080 would be the gravity i usually get from a 5 gallon batch when i use about 6lbs or so of DME. I usually do a 3 and a half gallon boil.
 

billy915

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What helped me the most was getting beersmith. It gives the max percentage amount of a particular grain you want in a batch. Then you just follow those guidelines (if you want). I'd like to explain efficiency but its probably better if you just do a search on this website.
 

barleyhole

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Efficiency just means how much of the available sugars, most of them fermentable, made it out of your grain and into the boil kettle from mash and mash out. Usually there are a lot of factors that play into your mash efficiency on your system, including mash temp, duration, grain crush, water volume, pH, and sparge/mash out process. It may take a couple of all-grains to figure out your system, so it's good to estimate you'll get 68% efficiency when calculating your grain bill.

+1 on Ray Daniels' book. I use nothing but that. Not only does he do a great job describing ingredients and styles, but also provides simple equations and properties of malts and hops to create your own recipes. Beersmith would certainly help to not have to calculate everything out by hand though (which is easy btw).
 
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I find it helpful to look at recipes online. See what is common to most recipes. See what is different and what people comment about it. Figure out which elements you want in your beer and what recipes you can use for a model. Adjust from there. The style guidelines are also helpful in identifying parameters and common ingredients. Beersmith has these loaded in the styles but if you're using something else the style guidelines can be found online. Designing Great Beers is a good text.

One problem you might run into early on using the ranges set out in the style guidelines and the range approach in Designing Great Beers is sometimes you can have your ingredients all fall into the style guidelines but the way you fit everything resulted in a beer that wasn't what it should be. For example, one of my very early recipes was supposed to be a red ale. It fit right in the ranges in Beersmith. However, it was not a red ale. It was very clearly a brown ale, almost a porter. It was delicious but not what I had expected.

You don't have to reinvent the wheel. You can start with a well regarded recipe and just change one or two elements and continue to adjust from there. Most beers are not incredibly complex -- or at least do not have to be -- but small changes can be easily noticed, especially when you change prominent ingredients. A pale ale is very simple but you can make endless combinations of hops and add them in different amounts at different times to produce completely different beers.
 
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Hophead138 said:
thanks everyone ill have to check that book out. but my biggest question is how do i know what the gravity of my wort will be based on my grain bill.
+ 1 on the "Designing Great Beers" book suggestion; the author does a great job explaining this topic in a way that really helps you see what's going on under the hood in a beer calculator like beersmith.
 
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Hophead138

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alright that sounds good. So im going to be doing a partial mash this sunday. Is there any way to sorta get a feel for the efficiency of the grains ill be using in that recipe. i know it wont be as in depth as if i was doing an all grain batch but maybe something i can look for or pay attention to that might help to get my feet wet?

Im making an American Pilsner btw.
 
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