Beer recipes

For your first batch, we highly recommend that you rely on a ready-made mix to figure out the basic principles of all-grain beer brewing
They come with grain, hops and yeast in the exact amounts, as well as instructions tailored and proofed for a specific recipe

Beer making mix

After your first brew, you will likely want ride more freely and get rid of the training wheels
Creating your own recipes and gathering the ingredients yourself is actually much easier than it seems and improvising beer recipes is where the fun part really starts, so let’s have a look

If you are feeling lazy, we have a ready-to-brew 1-gallon beer recipe at the bottom of the page

Finding and reading beer recipes

Note: if you use the metric system and make a 5 liters batch based on a 1 US gallon recipe, don’t forget to multiply every amount by 1.32
That includes mash water, sparge water (generally 5L), fermentables, hops, yeast and priming sugar

Of all the many excellent websites offering thousands of beer recipes online, brewtoad.com is certainly the most achieved and convenient for beginners as most recipes include features such as comments, brew logs, ratings and the possibility to display all-grain recipes only, that make the site stand above the crowd

Let’s have a look at this example for a Belgian strong ale and see how to use it (click on image to enlarge)

Small batch beer recipe

Malt

The first section “Fermentables” shows the proportions of each malt, also called “grain bill”
Depending on recipes complexity, you will typically find three different malts here, if not more
Most grain bills include a large majority of Pilsen malt, used as a base malt in most beer recipes for its desirable light color, rounded taste and malty flavor, as well as high enzyme concentration allowing large parts of adjunct malts to be converted into simpler sugars

The main parameter you want to focus on when it comes to malt is color, which can be tricky as three different color units coexist
If the supplier you buy malt from does not use the same color codes as the recipe you are following, you can use this color converter

For a typical gallon batch, you will aim for about 2.5lb of fermentables (1.5 kg for 5 liters)

Selecting and ordering beer ingredients is more fun than it seems and it’s a great way to discover more advanced parameters such as malt color, hops alpha acid percentage, yeast attenuation and so forth

Most of all, when you start creating recipes and ordering the ingredients yourself, you benefit from malt that was crushed a day or two before which is much fresher than in ready kits where it has been sitting in the box for weeks, if not months

Hops

The information you want to focus on here is the boiling time or just “time”
Some very aromatic hops are only added towards the end the boil
Therefore, the times you read represent the number of minutes hops must boil in the wort for, for example 60 minutes means hops will be added at boil start and, on the other hand, 15 minutes means those very aromatic hops will be added 15 minutes before the end of the boil

Yeast

Yeasts have a significant influence on the taste of your beer, so, make sure you select a strain that matches the beer style you intend to brew

“Attenuation” roughly means the capacity of the yeast to convert sugars into alcohol. You don’t need to worry about this as you will stick to the recipe anyway, won’t you?

As you will notice, most beer recipes available online are for 5 gallons
If you are looking for 1 gallon recipes, the Beer Making Book by the Brooklyn Brew Shop includes 52 recipes tailored for small all-grain batches with step-by-step instructions that can’t be beat for the beginner
Always with the same super cool state of mind that inspires the whole project created by these guys

If you want to convert 5 gallon recipes to 1 gallon, that’s as easy as dividing everything by 5, but it gets tricky when, on top of that, you have to convert to metric. Our Units page should help you with that

Brewing procedure

Depending on the recipe you choose, you may find some relatively complex “mash steps” like this

Mash steps

You can easily ignore those and just mash for 60 minutes at 152°F (67°C), this is called “single infusion” and it won’t make much difference in the taste of your beer

Priming sugar

Your best bet when it comes to adding sugar to your beer for bottle carbonation is honey (you can also use sugar, no problem)

Make sure you dissolve honey in hot water, which makes the task much easier

The required amount of priming sugar depends on the type of beer you brew and you should not follow the Brooklyn Brew Kit instructions (3 tablespoons), because that’s generally too much and you might end up with bottles sprouting out like champagne
You can calculate this depending on the size of your batch, fermenting temperature and other factors with this priming sugar calculator

Hints on buying ingredients

Malt

When you buy malt for your beer recipes, make sure it’s crushed if you don’t want to mill it yourself
Crushed malt will keep its full flavor for at least 3 days, if not several weeks, so don’t believe the hype about crushing it on brew day

Buying malt consists in:

  • Choosing the type of malt (Pilsner, Munich, Wheat,…)
  • Selecting the correct color (use this color converter if you need)
  • Choosing whether to purchase a 50lb (25 kg) pack or smaller ones. In gallon/5-liter brewing, we use about 2.5lb (1.5 kg) fermentables per batch, so go for smaller packs, unless you get seriously hooked and want to start your own brewery
  • Opting for crushed or uncrushed malt if you have your own mill. Crushing is a lot of additional work and a lot of mess and it won’t significantly improve the taste of your beer. Plus, you are never sure if you crush it right, so better skip it

If a malt is not available where you shop for ingredients, you can look for a substitute here

Finally, you will find organic equivalents, at least for the most common malts, which won’t add more than a dollar or two to your brew, so go for it if you can

Hops

Hops come in different forms (cones, pellets, plugs)
Pellets are the most popular as they are easy to divide in smaller bunches if you need to add them at different boil times

If you buy hops from your local brew shop, make sure the refrigerator does not smell like hops when you open it, which would be the clue to improperly sealed packages

Before composing a beer recipe, make sure to ask your supplier to confirm the alpha acid percentages displayed on the website as they can significantly vary from one harvest to the other

Yeast

The biggest pitfall when buying yeast is to get old yeasts that stayed in the pack for too long and won’t be able to ensure a proper and strong fermentation
Check expiration dates carefully and keep a backup pack you can pitch in case fermentation did not start after 48 hours

Yeasts come in two forms, liquid and dry
As a gallon homebrewer, you will likely stick to dry yeasts, which are more convenient both to use and store
If you don’t use a pack of yeasts right away, keep it in the refrigerator, they will last longer

Depending on yeast attenuation, you will use between 2 and 5g of dry yeast per 1-gallon / 5 litres batch
This is how the calculation goes:
Most dry yeast packs come in 11.5g, so for example if a lager yeast says on the pack “for 10 to 15 liters”, let’s say that’s an average of 12.5 liters, all you have to do is (11.5g / 12.5L) * 3.8L = 3.5g dry yeast for a 1 gallon batch (or 4.6g for 5 liters)
Or, if an Abbey yeast pack says “for 20 to 30 liters”, that’s an average of 25 liters, so we have (11.5g / 25L) * 3.8L = 1.8g yeast for 1 gallon (or 2.3g for 5 liters)

You do not need to rehydrate yeasts before pitching them, that’s another old school myth; modern dry yeasts will start your fermentation without any problem if they are not too old, if you stored them properly (= in a fridge) and, most of all, if you oxygenated your wort well enough by shaking it for 5 minutes
Fermentation should start within 24h, but you shouldn’t worry before 48

As you will quickly realize, getting the exact same ingredients as described in a recipe, with the same malt colors, hops alpha acid percentages and yeast type, is nearly impossible
Just try to stick to the recipe as much as you can, butalso feel free to improvise, that’s part of the fun

Other stuff

The beauty of all-grain brewing is that it allows to improvise any recipe with limitless creativity regarding the ingredients you put in your beer
Some ingredients have proved great for generations such as coriander seeds or lime peel, but feel free to experiment with more exotic things like dried fruits for example

Another thing: a good habit is to consider sanitizer, priming sugar and caps as “ingredients”, this way you won’t forget to order them

Creating your own small batch beer recipes

Creating you own recipes from scratch is actually easier than you’d think

Most beer recipes include two malts (sometimes three, sometimes more), two hops (a bittering one and an aromatic one, sometimes more) and a yeast

Most recipes include 80% of a light and highly enzymatic malt, typically Pilsen, plus 20% of a more colored malt

Hops generally register either as bittering ones that will stay in your wort for most of the boil and more aromatic ones added 20, 15 or 5 minutes before the end of the boil

Finally, yeasts are imposed by the style of beer you want to brew: lager, ale and so on

Most of the challenge consists in creating a beer that is coherent in terms of color, bitterness, alcohol volume and other parameters
Luckily, there are fantastic tools out there to help you design great tasting beers
One of them, which may well be the best available, is Brewtoad
The beauty of this tool is that all parameters (color, bitterness, abv,…) are updated on-the-fly as you change anything

Create small batch beer recipes

This makes your task of creating beer recipes much easier

Say you want to clone a beer that has a color of 7.3 SRM, a bitterness of 32 IBU and 5.3% alcohol
All you need to do is to enter the ingredients and adjust their amounts and properties until your recipe matches the beer you want to reproduce

In the end, you just need to shop for the ingredients, ideally online so you can adjust your recipe in Brewtoad according to the properties of the ingredients available at your supplier

Don’t forget to start by setting the size of your batch, this way every ingredient will be required according to the size of the batch

As a rule of thumb, stick to proven beer styles and recipes
I experimented a bit too wildly at first and ended up with really funky beers

You will find more about Creating a beer recipe from scratch in my blog

1-gallon Beer Recipe – American Pale Ale with Citra hops

(multiply everything by 1.32 to brew 5 liters instead of 1 gallon, more info about conversions here)

This recipe will give you 1 gallon of excellent American Pale Ale with citrus flavors thanks to the fantastic Citra hop

It’s a style that is less over-the-top that an IPA, but still plentiful of distinctive hoppy flavors; kind of the perfect balance actually

Shopping list

Malt
2.35lb (1.065kg) Pilsner (color 2°L, EBC 4)
3.6oz (103g) Munich Malt (color 8°L, EBC 20)
1.6oz (45g) Carapils (color 2°L EBC 4)
1.6oz (45g) Caramel/Crystal Malt (color 45°L, EBC 120)
1.6oz (45g) Melanoidin Malt (color 15.3°L, EBC 40)

If you don’t feel like buying 5 different grains, just go with 2.35lb (1.065kg) of Pilsner + 8.4oz (238g) of Munich Malt (color 8°L EBC 20)

If you are into organic brewing, Melanoidin is nearly impossible to find, so, feel free to substitute it with either Munich 8°L (EBC 20) if you want a lighter beer, or Caramel/Crystal/Munich 45°L (EBC 120) for a darker one

Hops
1.75oz (49g) Citra pellets

Yeast
1 pack S-04 dry yeast (avoid US-05 for this beer)

Misc.
Caps, 15 bottles, sanitizer

Buy grain already crushed, or mill yourself fine enough, so that all grains are broken, but not too fine to the point that you end up with flour

Heat 3.44qt (3.25L) of water to 160°F (71°C), then pour the grain and mash at 152°F (67°C) for an hour (more about mashing)
After 1 hour, heat to 170°F (77°C) and keep it there for 5 minutes (mash-out)

In a separate pot, heat 0.9 Gal (3.5L) of water to 170°F (77°C) and sparge as per these instructions

Right after sparging, add 0.15oz (4g) Citra hops, this is called “First Wort Hop”

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a rolling boil and let boil for 60 minutes with no lid

15 minutes before end of boil, add 0.25oz (7g) Citra hops
Do the same 10, 5 and 1 minute before end of boil

At the end of the boil, cool wort as fast as possible down to yeast pitching temperature 70°F (21°C)

Sanitize your fermenter by shaking sanitizer in it, transfer the wort to it, pitch 1/4 pack of Safale S-04 dry yeast (= 3 grams) without bothering about rehydrating the yeast, shake well for 5 minutes for oxygenation, place a sanitized stopper and blow-off tube and let ferment for 8 days at 66°F (19°C) in a dark place

After 8 days, carefully remove the stopper and add another 0.6oz (17g) of Citra hops (this is called Dry hopping and it adds a lot of hoppy flavor to your beer), close the fermenter back again and let ferment for 6 more days

Bottle beer with minimal oxygenation

You will need 1oz (28g) of honey for priming (more info about refermenting beer in bottles)

Let condition in bottles for 2 weeks (preferably 3)

Refrigerate upright overnight (or for 30 minutes in a deep freezer)

Serve in a pint in one quiet go, leaving the yeast in the bottle

Discard the yeast and rinse the bottle

Enjoy!

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Brewer

Brewer

Passionate about beer brewing, I try a new recipe every other week and share my experiences in the blog section with my faithful readers
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5 thoughts on “Beer recipes”

  1. “If you want to convert 5 gallon recipes to 1 gallon, that’s as easy as dividing everything by 5, but it gets tricky when, on top of that, you have to convert to metric. Our Units page should help you with that”

    In regards to this, what about the amount of mash and boil times? Do these numbers change? I am assuming not, but want to be certain. I have listed an example below:

    https://www.brewtoad.com/recipes/andes-mint-chocolate-stout-2

    So I’d take everything under each section (Fermentables, Hops, Yeasts, and Extras) and divide them by 5, correct? What about how long you mash in for? The recipe on that link doesn’t even seem to give a time for that. Do I just do 60 minutes like in my Brooklyn Brew Shop Kit? Also, does the boil time for the wort remain 60 minutes as show in this recipe?

    Sorry for all the questions. I’ve only done the one Brew Kit so far, and while I’ll definitely do some more of their kits first I think (to learn the ins and outs more) I’d like to get a handle on converting recipes from 5 gallon to 1 gallon as I go along.

    Thanks!

    1. You got it alright Kenneth

      Mash and boil times don’t vary with the size of the batch

      Just note that your recipe says “Batch size” 5.5 Gal
      That’s what goes in the bucket (and not the bottles). As your 1 Gal jug may not be able to hold more than 1 Gal, divide every ingredient by 5.5 instead of 5
      Generally speaking, when you read a “5 Gal” recipe, that means 5 Gal in the bottles, which means 6.5 Gal pre-boil, 6 Gal in the kettle after boil and chill, 5.5 Gal in the fermenter (called “Batch size”) and, ultimately, 5 Gal in the bottles

      However long you may brew for, you will hardly need other mash and boil times than 60′
      There’s very little to no benefit to making those longer; I’m actually experimenting with 50′ mashes right now, because it gave me such good results

  2. I did this recipe 1 month ago, my first 1gallon batch, and was worried about the amount of hop… Now after drink it I must say, IT’S AMAZING!!!… great recipe, and citra gives a lot of flavor without turning it too bitter…
    Thanks!!!

  3. New to brewing my own beer and am going to be starting with the one gallon method. Quick question for you. I live in Fla. and am wondering about the need to store my beer at 66 degrees per your video. What if interior temperature of my apartment is only 75 degrees or in that range. Will this have an adverse affect on the fermenting beer?
    Thanks.

    1. Fermenting above 72°F (22°C) is certainly not a good idea, even though you can go up to 74°F (23°C) and still end up with a decent beer.
      I personally try to ferment most of my beers at 65°F (18°C), which is a key parameter for the quality of the finished beer.
      I wouldn’t sweat it too much (pun not intended) if your beer ferments at 75°F (24°C), but I would go for a yeast strain that is comfortable at slightly higher temperatures. US-05 will tolerate a fermentation at up to 77°F (25°C) and it’s a great yeast.

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