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Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2008
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Hey all,

So I, and im guessing most of you, am what you would call impatient. Luckily it has not hurt my beer yet as I have been surprisingly patient about fermenting and aging. Hopefully these skills get better. I have been brewing for about a month now, only doing a couple of kits. I am very anxious to make one of my next batches a Witbier, or a BierMuchers Centennial Blonde, or possibly an Edworts Haus Pale. However, looking at the recipes is like looking at a foreign language! I really want to be able to go to my local brewhouse and pick up the ingredients and what not but I have no idea what to look for. I am considering reading the Palmer book (this is where the impatient part of me comes through) to find out about these recipes so that one day I can brew these beers and my own. Obviously reading the book wont hurt, but will it answer my questions and get me to the point where I can maybe start thinking about my own recipes????? Or maybe is it easier for you folks to sort of break it down for me to learn about it?

Thanks for any help!
Honestly, i'd read Palmer's book. start with the online version if you haven't already:

The printed book does indeed explain the different types of base malt, specialty malts, and hop varieties, as well as how different yeast strains affect beer.

its a well written book that does get in depth but does not feel like you're reading a text book.

here's a good, simplified link, about various grains:

now, if you're only doign extract brews, there's less to learn, since you're not messing with base malts, only specialty grains for steeping to achieve some flavor and color.
For every batch I have done thus far (about 2 years and 12 batches) I have just researched recipes online. Typically on sites such as this where I can get a feel for if the brewer had an idea of what he was doing and read the description of how the beer turned out. Then either brew it as is or make slight modifications depending on the characteristic I want to bring out in the brew. There are a lot of places online to read about flavors grains will give as well as yeast and hops. Just experiment but careful not to get to crazy with any one ingredient.
After reading how to brew pick up Brewing Classic Styles by Jamil Z (I have no idea how to spell his last name). It has great extract recipes for every style of beer and gives some hints on how to scale recipes and make great extract beers.

As for picking up the ingredients for a popular recipe like Biermunchers Centennial Blonde, you should be able to find all the ingredients listed at your HBS. Make sure you use the Extract plus grains recipe unless you can do all-grain. Make sure you get the grains crushed at the HBS. Then follow the directions found in HowToBrew.

I understand it's like looking at a foreign language. But, once you learn that language, it come so easy. What you can do is the reading that was suggested, as well as post the recipe you have in mind. One of us would be happy to "translate" for you in a step by step way.

One thing that might really help is to download a free trial of Beersmith. Then, you enter the ingredients and a few options like the size of your brewpot, and it gives you out a step by step "brewsheet" to follow. Plus, lots of us have Beersmith and we can post the BSM file and you can just open it on your own computer.