Making your own recipes

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dennyluan

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This is a noob question, but what's to stop someone from just mixing a bunch of malt and hops and seeing what happens? I know putting together recipes is down to an art form and science, but what if, say, i had some leftover malt. Could I just boil it with some other stuff, throw in some hops, and see what happens?
 

Schnitzengiggle

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Of course you can, the only one stopping you, could be you:)

IMO recipes are great when shooting for certain styles/colors/flavors/aromas, obviously there are some items that may not taste great when mixed together, however, I'm sure that many a great beers have been made through total experimentation, if not slapping together what you have at hand. Take good notes because what you may end up with could be an awesome brew. Throw caution to the wind and giver a go. Why the heck not? May even learn something new, who knows.
 
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dennyluan

dennyluan

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Hmm, alright. I have a bunch of LME left over, and some hops. I'll throw something together and see what happens.
 

JLem

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Hmm, alright. I have a bunch of LME left over, and some hops. I'll throw something together and see what happens.
I recommend downloading BeerSmith (or other software) from their website. You can try it free for a while and play around with crafting your own recipes. I eventually spent the $20 for it since I found it so helpful.
 

SumnerH

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Or use the free:
The Beer Recipator - Home

Pick how big an OG you want, then think about what's a good balance of IBUs and try to get somewhere in that realm. It can be handy to flip through some of the style guidelines so you can say, "hey, I'd like something that's about as big and hoppy as X, but with malts more like Y and hops flavors more like Z".
 

GilaMinumBeer

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The real art of brewing is in understanding the character of each an every ingredient. Using them enough to commit their profile to memory and then blending those flavors into something cohesive and palateable. From there it's more of a technical balance of manipulating the finish.

Until then, it's nothing more than mixing stuff together to learn what works and what does not.

It's a blast.
 

humann_brewing

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Sure go for it but watch your portions. Someone suggested beersmith and I will second that. I know you an extract, but if you throw in specialty grains, just remember that a little goes a long way.

Just like in cooking the recipe may call for a cup of sugar, but it wouldn't call for a cup of salt in the same recipe.
 

Figbash

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That's what brewing is all about. Just be sure to keep accurate records so you can learn from your mistakes (and successes).

Tom
 

luckylogger6

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Being a new brewer but an avid shooter I look at it like this. Just throwing some malt extract and hops together would be like closing your eyes and pulling the trigger hopping to hit the target. Fortunately in brewing the target is not one particular thing but rather a range of drinkable or better brew. With proper notes you could taste your brew and keep adjusting it until you reach the perfect brew. This is similar to what I’m currently doing but I started with a well-recommended recipe. Or in the shooting world, at least I was pointing the right direction.
 

HSM

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This is a noob question, but what's to stop someone from just mixing a bunch of malt and hops and seeing what happens? I know putting together recipes is down to an art form and science, but what if, say, i had some leftover malt. Could I just boil it with some other stuff, throw in some hops, and see what happens?
Can you look in your kitchen and throw together a fine meal without seeking out a recipe book?

If so, make up your own.

If you can't boil water and add an egg without consulting a book, then making up hombrew recipies on the fly may not be for you.

Think about marinara, a simple sauce. If your tounge and brain work together you can with your hands combine ingredients and make the sauce. It's really the same with beer.

Once you understand how your grains taste, what flavors your yeast will impart, what the hops will add, you have your sauce *BEER*.
 

Malticulous

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It's about knowing what you want and how to get it. Without some failures you will never find out how to do it. The best thing about brewing is even your failures are still beer.
 
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dennyluan

dennyluan

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But aren't there just some general no-no's that just don't work, no matter what? Sure, adding chocolate to marinara might be good to somebody, but I don't want to be doing that. Like for example, what generally goes well with a weizen malt? Or a light malt?
 

McGarnigle

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But aren't there just some general no-no's that just don't work, no matter what? Sure, adding chocolate to marinara might be good to somebody, but I don't want to be doing that. Like for example, what generally goes well with a weizen malt? Or a light malt?
This is why I think a newbie creating his own recipes should mostly just take other people's recipes and make slight modifications. It's all well and good to talk about trial and error, but do you want to get stuck with two cases of dreck?

I liked to (and still like) take a few proven recipes and mix and match.
 

Schnitzengiggle

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I'm still new to this and I look at a bunch of recipes, research the flavor profiles of each grain and put together what I think would be good to me. Slight adjustment here small addition there...oh, these hops would be interesting here...this yeast might make it interesting...I'll add a bit more of this grain there...I like peanut butter, what the heck... pickin up what I'm puttin down? Don't get me wrong I want others who drink my beer to like it too, but I really am the one stuck with it so their opinions are taken with a copious measure of skeptecism. That would be a great name for a beer or brewery for that matter :D
 

Malticulous

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I think formulating a recipe is the best part of this hobby. I doubt I'll ever again brew something that is not my own. For others that may not be the best path.
 

JLem

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I think formulating a recipe is the best part of this hobby. I doubt I'll ever again brew something that is not my own. For others that may not be the best path.
I agree. And there is so much info available here and elsewhere on the web, that as long as you do some homework, you can put together a really nice, "hand-crafted" beer. Just spend some time combing through other recipes and grain/hop/yeast profiles. For example, for the past few days I've been researching how to add chocolate to a brew - I must have read a 100 different posts and articles. In the end, I had a better understanding of what kind of things worked and what kind of things don't work. I still had to make some decisions - what to use, when to use it, how much to use - which will make this particular brew my own.
 

GuitarBob

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Hey wasn't the first dry stout created when Arthur Guinness didn't want to pay the tax on malt, and so bought some barley and roasted it himself? So if Arth was able to make a great beer with some barley he had laying around maybe you can too.

It should also be noted that he was trying to duplicate the porters that were popular around London so he was still following a recipe, even if he didn't have the same ingredients.

The whole story might be a myth cooked up by Guinness to sell more beer, but it's still a cool story.
 
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