How do you make a beer recipe?

Bryon just posted a request at his blog.
Beersmith downloaded, now what?
I'll try to summarize his post. Bryon is interested in brewing a beer for July 4th using Beersmith and hasn't created his own recipes before. I would imagine there's a bunch of people out there with questions about how to get started with brewing software and recipe generation. It wasn't too long ago I was in this same situation. So, I proceeded to just throw down my basic process in a comment to his post. Then I realized that I never shared this here in this space. So here it is in its unedited glory.


The beers I've had the most success with (when serving to people who are not craft beer drinkers) are beers that contain wheat. So liquid wheat extract is a good start. I don't have my recipes handy right now, but, I've used English Ale Yeasts and Kolsch yeasts with success in my "gateway" beers. Hops wise I'd say just keep the bittering down and small amounts for flavor and aroma. You aren't looking to assault somebody's palatte. Shoot for low IBU, wheat, with the English Ale yeast from white labs and you can turn it around pretty quick. 10 days with a keg. Add two weeks for bottles.

As far as BeerSmith goes. I usually just do this...

new recipe
add LME x lbs
add steeping grains (.5 lb to start)
add yeast
bittering hops 60 min boil
add flavoring hops 15-30 min boil
add aroma
hops 0-5 min boil

At that point you can look at the estimates at the bottom. (of the BeerSmith recipe screen)

estmated abv

Just add more LME to increase abv (or less to lower) and add more hops (or less) to 60 min boil for IBUs. Compare your IBUs to other similar recipes on byo's recipator.

Brad Smith the developer is a nice guy too. He might just give you some tips if you email him :-)

If I remember I could send you my recipe for a wheat beer that BMC drinkers suck down every Thanksgiving :-)
So, there you have it. I'm interested to hear if others use a similar process.


AndyPants said...

I'm new to the formulating recipes thing as well and you pretty much described what me and my buddies end up doing.
-Pick a style
-Get some basic info on common ingredients
-Run it in BeerSmith or what ever beer calculator you have
-See if its attributes are within the style min. and max.

Obviously, style guidelines need only be adhered to when competing but it gives you a good place to aim for when building your own recipe.

Adam said...

Thanks AndyPants. I wonder how many people out there do something different? If you don't have software, I guess you'd have to estimate the malt somehow.