Want to try creating a recipe...

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GeorgiaTiger

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Where do I even start? Ive never brewed anything other than extract, but I'm about to b just a little bored with that and want to branch out to All Grain and creating my own recipe. I have no clue where to start though. My extracts are pretty good, but I know I can do better. Where do I start with my own recipes? I use Brewers Friend, but would have no clue on grain bills, etc or even what types of grains. I may be putting the cart before the horse, but I really want to try. Any help??
 

trav77

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My recommendation is to grab a copy of Brewing Classic Styles if you don't already have one. It's a great starting point for tried and true recipes. I'd take it in 2 steps - brew some recipes as-is until while you get your AG system and process dialed in, then move on to designing your own by tweaking things here or there.
 

Cavpilot2000

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I completely agree. Any book with decent recipes will do, even something like Clone Brews. But you should look at the recipes and clones of established beers that you know, so you can get a feel for what types of malt does what, flavor-wise. Then brew a couple of them to get the hang of the all-grain process (and bear in mind that no two brewers have exactly the same processes or equipment, so you have to see how YOUR system works out).

If you try to make your own recipe on your first batch, you will likely stress yourself out and it won't be enjoyable, and your end product may not be as good as you had hoped, which will make it even less enjoyable.

So do yourself a favor and pick a clone recipe or two and brew them before trying your hand at making your own recipe.
 

tgolanos

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I've said before and I'll say again - brewing is like cooking:

Extract is like store-bought, ready made meals. All the work is done for you, you just have to cook it. All-grain is cooking from scratch, which takes practice. Lots of practice.

As others have said, start with a good recipe book. Like following recipes from a cookbook, they will give you the necessary ingredients and guide you properly in the processes. The more you make the same recipe, the better you'll get at it and you'll eventually feel confident in changing the recipe - an ingredient here and there (maybe you use different hops, maybe a different yeast). You'll also start learning how to put together your own recipes since you'll know what the bare minimum requirements for X style are.

If you can't find a good beer recipe book, look at the recipes here. I brew a lot of lagers, pilsners and hefeweizens but use recipes here whenever I want to try a new style, especially for things like hops or specialty grains.

Final advice would be to have fun and don't overthink anything too much.
 

whovous

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1) Decide what kind of beer you like:
2) Brew it.
3) Keep the Recipe Simple. Make sure you know what you are doing before you decide to get clever by "improving" on a classic recipe.
 

beergolf

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Do like I do when cooking. If you are looking to make a dish. Look up a lot of recipes for that dish and notice the similarities. Then come up with a version that you think will work. Experience helps, you know what each grain and hop will add to the recipe. My first brew was a kit, my second brew was a recipe from th database, my third brew was a recipe I made up. But I did a ton of research looking at similar recipes. Don't try crazy recipes at first and just learn what works.

Look at the recipe database here. https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forumdisplay.php?f=54. there are a lot of good recipes there to look at and give you an idea of where to go.
 

jmark

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Another +1 on Brewing Classic Styles. Also look at Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels; an absolutely awesome book that has, in addition to a wealth of other knowledge, lots of information about what types of grains have been used in NHC winning recipes for different styles. Together these two books can really help you understand how to build a recipe for a given style.

IMO, brewing to style is a great way to learn what grains work together well. Once you get a feel for that, and believe me that may take many, many, MANY batches (!), you can start to understand how to put a recipe together that suits your goals, rather than just a specific style.
 

Kent88

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I haven't made any "complex" recipes. If I did, I think I'd go along these lines:

  • Keep it simple. All I've heard about all-grain recipes implies that simple grain bills are better.
  • Start with a style I like, preferably one that friends and family like as well because I am going to be making a lot of it. Research it, look for what ingredients and methods are common to the style.
  • Brew a couple of SMaSH beers using base malt(s) common for that style, maybe switch up some hops and yeasts as I go. After a while try Single Malt Dual Hop, or Dual Malt Single Hop.
  • Find some very different recipes for that style and brew them. See what tastes good.
  • Take good notes

Reading Brewing Classic Styles is a good suggestion, he has recipes for each style, descriptions of how to brew them, how to tweak them for mini-mash or all-grain systems.

I don't bother making my own recipes, I figure that a ton of people out there have already found the good ones, why not just follow the recipe and if I like it I'll stick to it. Leave the hard work to the people who know what they're doing.
 
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1. Step one is to read J.P's 'How to Brew'. Then read it again, and study it. Papa Pappazian's books would be good too. You need to be comfortable with the concepts first.
2. Step two, is to pick a beer that you particularly like, and do some research on it- check the brewery's website, check this and other forums for hints.
3. Step three is get a copy of "Brewing Classic Styles'. It really is helpful on seeing what ingredients are common.
4. Step 4 is to start using an online recipe creator. I use and like Brewtoad, but there are many others. Take a look at them and pick one that you like. Plug in your style, your ingredients and play around with the amounts.
Good luck! Designing your own recipe takes your habit, I mean hobby, to a whole other level. You can do it! :mug:
 

MrBJones

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I've said before and I'll say again - brewing is like cooking:

Extract is like store-bought, ready made meals. All the work is done for you, you just have to cook it. All-grain is cooking from scratch...
Sure, if you're talking about pre-hopped extract kits where all you need to do is boil with water....then it's like a ready-made meal. But a recipe that calls for extract, grains, and hops — that's the equivalent of "real" cooking.

Of course all-grain is more involved; it's the equivalent of making flour from wheat, before baking the bread. More satisfying in my opinion (pride of accomplishment, as well better results). But extract brewing isn't the TV dinner of home brewing.
 

PurpleJeepXJ

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GA tiger. Where are you at in GA? I know there are many all grain brewers in and around the state who would be willing to help with a first all grain brew.
 

IslandLizard

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Books?
There are literally thousands of recipes here on HBT, sorted to their style (sort of). Take a look at those that interest you, and of course, the feedback.

There are other great online recipe resources such as Brewer's Friend, BrewToad, BYO, AHA, etc. Mind you, I've found the quality of recipes to vary widely, so one needs to use some judgment, which in turn does requires knowledge.

+1 to BCS and Designing Great Beers!
John Palmer's How to Brew is great as a resource and for a thorough understanding of the brewing process, how everything fits together. The recipes are basic and solid, though somewhat dated.

Sorry, I cannot vow for "Clone Brews." Although a nice read and a great stimulus for inspiration, the recipes themselves are not that good. There's not enough detail, the approach is like painting by numbers or cooking 1-2-3. But they could be a base to build upon, a reference into cloning, if that's your thing.

Then there's the Brewing Network...
 

catdaddy66

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I would recommend that you read. A lot.

There are pages and pages on HBT dedicated to ingredients that will help you know and understand all of the grains, hops and yeast available to you. As mentioned before, read all the books you can get ahold of, and scour the recipes to get an idea of how they are crafted.

It takes awhile to get it organized in your head but the repetition will help it stick in your noggin. Oh, and don't be afraid of the simple math that comes with recipe developing. My brother was a big baby about it initially but now is on board.
 

krebs119

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Sure, if you're talking about pre-hopped extract kits where all you need to do is boil with water....then it's like a ready-made meal. But a recipe that calls for extract, grains, and hops — that's the equivalent of "real" cooking.

Of course all-grain is more involved; it's the equivalent of making flour from wheat, before baking the bread. More satisfying in my opinion (pride of accomplishment, as well better results). But extract brewing isn't the TV dinner of home brewing.
I always compare it to pizza....

I can go to the store and buy a $5 frozen pizza, throw it in the oven and be done == Bud light == not very good, easily found, cheap

I can get a pizza from a pizzaria for $15 == Sierra Nevada == fairly easy to find, good quality, more expensive

I can buy dough, cheese, canned sauce, pepperoni etc and make my own pizza == extract == probably a cost savings over the pizzaria, results may vary depending on your skill level, quality should be pretty good if you follow directions

I can MAKE dough, shred cheese, make sauce, etc == all grain/recipe creation == likely a cost savings over everything but the frozen pizza, I should know a bit about what I'm doing, and the quality should be great as I'm making EXACTLY what I want.
 
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GeorgiaTiger

GeorgiaTiger

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Hey GATiger - I'm close by too... I'm off of Jamerson Rd.
Not far at all! Im closer to Woodstock than Marietta. Im off of Canton Road about 200 yards from Marietta Fish Market.

Who wants to help me with my All Grain hymen? Im itching to try it!
 

PADave

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I'd start right here in the recipe section. Read books. Try some simple brews, see what grains do what. After about 20 to 30 brews things will start to make sense.
 

brewcat

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You could always start by designing an extract recipe. That's what I started doing and grew from there. You have a lot of choices with extract (steeping grains, hops, yeast and type of extract).

Starting all-grain, I'd suggest doing a recipe from HBT for the first couple batches. Get the process down and get a good idea of your efficiency (helps when designing a recipe).

Recipe design can be easy as SMaSH. One base malt, one type of hop. Then some sort of yeast.

My recipe design starts with looking at recipes in the style. I then might read about a grain, hop or yeast. Then I'll put a rough draft into brewing software. Once I'm happy with how it looks, I'll brew it. Then when tasting, take notes and make adjustments to the recipe as needed.
 

schatzke

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What kind of beer do you want to brew? Pick a style and check the recipe section here, lots of good stuff there I usually look at several recipes in a style then "make it my own" with minor tweaks especially in the hops/yeast category
 

indymedic

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+1 Designing great beer. I read that and still use it for a reference. I created my first few beers using all the formulas which I enjoyed. I wanted to really know how everything worked and went together. Now I use beersmith which is awesome. My best advice is to keep it simple at first and taste all your ingredients.
 
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