Balanced Recipe Formulation

Many, perhaps most, homebrewers begin brewing by following existing homebrew recipes. Most homebrew shops have a notebook full of beer recipes or a shelf full of kit beers. Likewise, thousands of homebrew recipes can be found in homebrew books, magazines and internet forums. Recipes may also be obtained from fellow homebrewers. Even though homebrew recipes abound, many homebrewers eventually want to start formulating their own recipes.

The advantage of writing your own recipes is that a well-thought out recipe will incorporate the ingredients available to you, the techniques you are familiar with and the quirks of your homebrewery to come up with a beer that is “all you.” The only real disadvantage to formulating your own recipes is that it takes time. Of course, if saving time were a homebrewer’s primary concern, we’d just buy our beer instead of brewing it. To me, formulating a homebrew recipe is almost as fun as brewing. (Of course, drinking homebrew beats both of them.)

As the previous paragraph hints at, I’ll take the wide view of recipe formulation. This will include not only coming up with an ingredient list — although this is the main focus of the article — but options you have with regards to the techniques you use. I also view brewing and tasting the beer, applying what you’ve learned and rebrewing the tweaked beer as a part of recipe formulation. It may seem intimidating at first, but that soon passes.


Inspiration for a homebrew recipe can come from many sources. Many homebrewers want to be able to emulate a commercial beer they enjoy. A beginning homebrewer might, for example, like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and want to brew a beer that tastes like that. Others may want to formulate a type or style of beer. Perhaps the new brewer not only enjoys Sierra Nevada, but also Full Sail Pale Ale, Red Seal Ale and Red Tail Ale and wants to make a beer reminiscent of these beers in general, but not a copy of any one specifically.

Brewers interested in homebrew contests may wish to brew a beer “to style,” as defined by Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP), the group that sets the rules adopted by most homebrew contests. (In that case, our hypothetical new brewer will discover that the beers above are categorized in two different subcategories.) And finally, a brewer may simply have a vision of a beer he (or she) would like to brew. The vision may be of a beer that is a modification of an existing beer or style, or it may be different than any existing beer. Many homebrewers have one or more “house brews” — beers that they brew solely because they like how the beers taste. They may or may not bear any resemblance to any commercial beer or fall within any style guidelines.

For example, I’ve brewed a beer I call my copper ale four times. It’s just an average-strength ale made with two base malts and two specialty malts. The beer is moderately malty, slightly biscuit-like and with just enough darkly-roasted malt to turn it copper colored and lend a very mild roast character. I hop it moderately and ferment it with American ale yeast. I didn’t model this beer on any commercial beer, nor does fit into any BJCP category — it’s just a combination of malt, hops water and yeast that I happen to like.

In this article, I’ll use my copper ale recipe as an example of how to put together a recipe. (In doing so, I’m not saying that this is the best beer recipe of all time or that I’m the best beer recipe formulator. It isn’t and I’m not. But, I do recall the beer turning out well and many people enjoying it. Also, it illustrates many of the points I would like to make.) Recipe formulation does take some knowledge and experience, but it’s not “brain surgery.” And, although getting a recipe to taste exactly as you want it may take some time, coming up with a truly horrible recipe is actually fairly difficult.

If you are a beginning brewer, hopefully this article will bring you to the point that you feel comfortable formulating a recipe of your own and brewing it. If you are an experienced brewer, but you have always used existing recipes, your experience will be a big plus.

Knowledge and Experience

Being able to formulate a beer recipe takes knowledge and experience. If you are trying to formulate a recipe for a popular style of beer, there will be plenty of existing homebrew recipes that you can consult. (Why not use other people’s experience, when possible?) Reviewing existing recipes is a quick path to formulating your first recipe.

It is fairly easy to compile a “consensus” recipe — one in which the homebrewer selects the most common ingredients found in representative recipes and uses an average or median amount of each. You can then brew the beer and use your tasting notes as the jumping off point to making the beer your own.

If you have an idea for a unique beer, you will need to know a little more about the ingredients homebrewers use in order to get to your first draft of your recipe. The good news is, all you need to do to start gaining this knowledge is to jump in and start formulating, brewing and tweaking your own recipes. The beer perfectly suited to your taste buds may be only a couple brew sessions away.

What You Need

The only tools you need to formulate a recipe are a pencil and a piece of paper. However, the process can be made a whole lot easier if you use commercial brewing software or a homemade brewing spreadsheet. Software packages allow you to input your ingredients (and some details about your brewing system) and will calculate all the relevant numbers for you. For example, if you enter an ingredient list, your extract efficiency and hop utilization rate, the program will calculate the original gravity (in specific gravity or °Plato), final gravity, bitterness (in IBUs) color (in SRM or EBC) and alcohol content (usually in percent alcohol by volume (ABV)). These software packages calculate a lot of other things, too.

Likewise, it is not hard to develop your own spreadsheet to do the calculations that are important to you.

One thing homebrewers should understand about these tools is that they provide estimates of how your beer may turn out, not guaranteed forecasts or actual measured results. The program may predict that your original gravity (OG) will be, say, 1.048, but the actual OG you achieve depends on a lot of variables, including your extract efficiency for that brew session, the actual extract potential of your malt (which may differ from the presets in the program), that you hit your target volumes and other factors.

As homebrewers, we can measure specific gravity easily with a hydrometer. However, measuring other beer characteristics, such as bitterness (in IBUs) or alcohol content (in percent ABV) require equipment that most of us don’t have access to. Just keep in mind that adding a certain amount of hops with 60 minutes in the boil remaining does not guarantee your beer will have any specific IBU value. Likewise, a gravity drop of a certain number of “gravity points” does not guarantee a specific alcohol content. These are both just calculations and, like the calculations for original gravity, many variables will determine how close your actual beer matches the estimates.

Another thing to note is that every homebrew calculator returns slightly different results for the same recipe. In fact, in most programs, you can switch among different ways different parameters are calculated. So, the same program can yield many different sets of results from the same recipe. This has caused many homebrewers to ask, “What settings should I use to get the right results?”

In fact, there are no right or wrong results among these different estimates, at least not universally. The numbers are just estimates. How close they come to the reality of your beer depends on your equipment, technique and ingredients.

In the case of original gravity, you can see how close the estimate was to your actual original gravity. Using this information, you can adjust the extract efficiency used by the calculator so that it matches for that brew session. And — if you brew repeatably — your measured extract efficiency can be used as a fairly accurate predictor of your original gravity for future brews.

For variables you can’t measure, like IBUs, it’s best to simply pick one calculator (or method of calculation) and stick with it. Your program and spreadsheet may predict that your beer will have, say, 35 IBUs. After brewing the beer, however, you can’t measure bitterness directly (unless you have access to a machine called a spectrophotometer), to know if that estimate was accurate. However, you can know from experience how bitter 35 IBU beers were when estimated by your preferred method of calculation and brewed on your system.

Many homebrew programs offer free trial downloads. If you are shopping around, you might as well try out several. If you are an experienced homebrewer, type in a few of your favorite recipes and select among the various calculation methods until you find one that spits out numbers that seem representative of your actual beers.

If you are a new brewer, just pick a program that seems like it will suit your needs. Then, use that program (and the same settings) consistently every time you formulate a recipe. If you take good tasting notes to compare the numbers to, you will soon have a good feel for what those numbers mean.

Once you’ve got your program fired up, a good place to start when compiling your recipe list is with your base malt.

Base malts

For all-grain brewers, most of a recipe’s grain bill will consist of the base malt. Base malts supply most of the extract (fermentable carbohydrates) and most or all of the enzymes required to degrade the starches in the grain bill. Some beers are brewed using only base malt. It is possible, for example, to brew an Octoberfest from only Vienna malt. Most recipes however, contain one or more base malts and one or more specialty malts or adjuncts.

There are a variety of types of base malts. The most commonly used base malts by homebrewers are those made from 2-row barley, such as 2-row pale malt, 2-row brewers malt and Pilsner malt. These are the most lightly-kilned base malts, usually between 1.5 and 2 °L. There are also base malts that are more darkly kilned, such as pale ale malts (~3 °L), Vienna malts (4–6 °L) and light Munich malts (8–10 °L). Darker base malts impart a more malty flavor to beer, but also exhibit less diastatic power (the ability to convert starches), although any base malt should be able to convert all its own starches. The lightest base malts can convert all their own starches, plus some from other sources. Base malts may also be made from 6-row barley, wheat, rye and other grains.

In addition to the degree of kilning they receive, base malts may be malted in different countries, or from different strains of malting barley (or wheat or other grains) within a country. Maris Otter, for example, is a variety of malting barley popular among English maltsters. Likewise, Golden Promise is a Scottish barley variety.

Different base malts do taste different, even if they are labeled similarly. Although two bags of malt may both be labeled as “2-row pale ale malt,” they may be malted in different countries, by different maltsters, from different varieties of barley — and taste tests have shown that these differences are detectable by beer drinkers.

Choosing Base Malts

Geography is often a good indication of what base malt may be right for a beer. If you are planning to brew an English-style ale, for example, an English base malt will likely be a good choice. However, this “rule” can be and is routinely broken by brewers, often with good results. It just depends on the beer. Beyond geography, you just need to have some experience brewing with different base malts, or tasting beers made from different base malts.

For my copper ale, I wanted a beer that showed a little more malt than a typical brewpub ale. So, I went with a mix of mostly domestic 2-row pale malt — used by a lot of brewpubs — and a smaller amount of Munich malt, for a little bit of a malty edge. The first three times I brewed the beer, I used a light Munich malt, kilned to around 8 °L. The last time, for a bit more Munich malt character, I used a dark Munich malt, with a color around 20 °L.

The technique you use for mashing the base malt depends on a lot of variables — the style of beer, whether you’re using adjuncts, etc. One important fact, however, is that all modern base malts can be mashed with a single infusion mash. The one exception is undermodified malt, which needs to be step or decoction mashed. When selecting a mash program for your recipe, ask yourself if a mash more complex than a single infusion is really going to add anything to your beer.

Malt extracts

If you are an extract brewer, malt extract will form the backbone of your beers. Just as different base malts differ, so do different malt extracts, as they will be made from different base malts. In addition, amber or dark malt extracts will be made from mixtures of base malts and (usually unspecified) specialty grains. Some extra-light malt extracts may be a mixture of a base barley malt and adjunct. The approach most “modern” extract homebrewers take is to use a light or pale malt extract — one made from a single base malt — and add other grains to their recipe by steeping them or by performing a partial mash. When choosing a malt extract for a base, the geography “rule” works well, but — as with base malts — can sometimes be broken.

Specialty malts

There are numerous kinds of specialty malts available to the homebrewer. These specialty malts are combined with the base malt (or malt extract) chosen by the brewer to alter the flavor and color of the beer. Popular specialty malts include crystal and caramel malts, biscuit malts, melanoidin malts and darkly roasted malts — including coffee malts, chocolate malts and black roasted malts.

Most specialty malts are made from barley malt, but some wheat malts and rye malts are available. For example, there are chocolate wheat and chocolate rye malts. There are also dark roasted grains made from unmalted barley.

Crystal malt is a popular specialty malt, providing the amber hue, caramel flavor and extra body to many English-style ales. Crystal malt comes in various colors, from 10 °L up to around 150 °L. The different colors of crystal malt also have different flavors. Sometimes a new brewer will ask if he can, for example, substitute half a pound of crystal malt (60 °L) for a pound of crystal malt (30 °L) in a recipe. If he made that substitution, the color of the beer would remain the same, but the flavor would change. Light crystal malts have a light caramel flavor while more darkly colored grains have a more caramelized character and some hints of roast. Using more than one color of crystal malt can add a nice layer of subtle complexity to a beer.

Darkly roasted grains, such as chocolate malt, roasted barley, roasted malt and black (or black patent) malt are all fairly common in dark beer recipes. When you add dark grains to a recipe, you may also need to add some carbonates to your water, to balance the acidity they bring. (Conversely, in a very light beer, you will probably want to minimize the level of carbonates in your water.)

When selecting dark malts, keep in mind that sometimes the descriptions of these malts don’t quite do them justice. Some brewers, for example, will hear that black patent malt tastes “burnt” or “acrid” and avoid it, seeking to find a “smoother” dark grain. Black patent is highly roasted, but describing it as simply “burnt” is missing some of the subtleties of the malt. Keep in mind that descriptions of ingredients don’t always capture what the ingredient is all about.

In addition, sometimes an ingredient with an aggressive edge to it can keep a beer from being too boring. Black patent works nicely in robust porter recipes to keep the beer from being too rounded and wimpy. In a smooth malty beer, however, it would be out of place.

Typically, all-grain brewers mash their specialty grains (along with their base malt) and extract brewers steep them. All-grain brewers should be aware that they also have the option of steeping their specialty malts and adding them to their wort during the boil. In some cases, this may yield a slightly different flavor compared to mashing. One practice some homebrewers use is cold steeping. In cold steeping, specialty grains — often dark roasted malts — are steeped in cool water, often overnight, then added to the wort. The theory is that this makes the grain character “more rounded.” (On the other hand, cold steeping may simply extract less flavor from the grain.) Finally, another unusual specialty grain technique is to wait and stir the specialty grains — often dark grains — into the top of the mash near the end of the rest. The way you use your specialty grains can affect the flavor they impart to your beer.

When brewing an established beer style, you can review existing recipes to get an idea of what specialty grains are appropriate for that style, and how much of each of them to add. When brewing a unique beer, you just need to know your ingredients. For my copper ale recipe, I chose Victory malt and chocolate malt. Victory malt is Briess’ version of biscuit malt. It adds a little bit of “English” biscuit flavor. When I first brewed the copper ale, I had no real idea how much to add, so I just took a guess. After the first brewing, I scaled back on this malt a bit.

I chose the chocolate malt mostly for the color it lends to my beer, but the small amount in my recipe also adds just a hint of roast.


Adjuncts such as corn, rice or sugar are used in some beers. Adjuncts add extract (fermentables) to the wort, but relatively little flavor. They dry out a beer and decrease the body. If you like your beers on the dry side, adding some adjunct will do this for you. If you like full-bodied beers, avoid adding adjunct.

Some adjuncts require special techniques to use. Corn grits or rice require a cereal mash, for example. Other adjuncts can just be stirred into the mash or kettle. Knowing how to use different forms of adjunct can lead you to experiment with unusual ingredients. For example, I’ve made several beers using potatoes and sweet potatoes as adjunct.

For my copper ale, I wanted a moderate-bodied ale. To get there, I didn’t use any adjunct in the recipe and used my technique (low mashing temperature) to get the amount of body I was looking for.

The amount of body you end up with in your beer depends both on the ingredients and your techniques. Sometimes, the two can be at cross purposes. You may, for example, wish to brew a beer with a decent amount of crystal malt flavor, but with a dry finish. In this case, you would either have to adjust your mash schedule to favor fermentability or add a little adjunct to the recipe (or both).

If I were to make a “summer” version of the copper ale, I could scale back on the Munich, Victory and chocolate malts slightly, and add some flaked maize to the recipe (about 10–20%).

Complexity vs. Simplicity

Once you’ve decided on which base grains (or malt extracts), specialty grains and adjuncts will be in your ingredient list, it’s a good time to pause and think about complexity and simplicity in the recipe. A common rookie mistake in formulating a beer recipe is to throw every grain imaginable into a recipe.

Complexity in a beer can be great if it’s done well. If all the flavors and aromas of a complex brew work together to produce a unified and harmonious drinking experience, the beer “works.” On the other hand, a beer with too many “random” ingredients can easily end up being a muddled mess.

On the other other hand, a relatively simple beer — one that mainly relies on the interplay of only a couple ingredients — can also be great. (And, when you think of it, how many all-time classic beers are formulated along very simple lines? Most of them, by my reckoning.) However, there’s also a fine line between an elegantly simple beer and one that is just boring.

One way to think about complexity and simplicity is to mentally take or add ingredients from your list and think about what that would do for your beer. If you have a long list of malts, pick one malt and think about what would happen if you got rid of it. Did the beer get better of worse? See how many ingredients you can get rid of and still be in the ballpark of what you were shooting for.

If you’ve formulated a simple beer, try the opposite. Think about what malts are commonly added to a similar beer and see if there is something you could add to improve the beer. See how many ingredients you can load the beer up with before you stray from your goal.

If you go through a recipe mentally taking away and adding malts, you should be able to hit a nice balance between complexity and simplicity. Of course, the other ingredients in your beer will also play a role.

Another potential rookie mistake in recipe formulation is to search for a unique or unusual ingredient to set your beer apart. If you are trying to brew a known style of beer and are looking for an unusual ingredient to make it stand out in a crowd, be aware that this approach usually backfires. Most established beer styles taste good because their flavors work well together. A new ingredient is more likely to clash than to blend with the original set of ingredients.

This is not to say that this approach never works — see this issue’s “Tips from the Pros” column for how a couple breweries spiced up their pale ales with a hint of rye — just that you should think hard before trying this. In my opinion, when brewing an established beer style, brewing the beer well will set it apart in a much more positive way than tacking on a “random” ingredient.

One final point to consider is the use of wheat malt or CaraPils® malt in a recipe. Some brewers add one or both of these to every recipe they brew as a matter of course. A small amount of wheat malt is supposed to make for better foam and a small amount of CaraPils® is added to boost the body.

If you brew your beer correctly, you shouldn’t need to add wheat to help out your head. Likewise, in an all-malt beer, you should be able to adjust your mash schedule to hit the proper amount of body. (On the other hand, if you need to offset some loss of body in a beer that contains adjuncts, then by all means add some CaraPils®.)

Adding wheat or CaraPils® dilutes the “primary” flavors in your recipe and adds a small amount of wheat or CaraPils® flavor — which may or may not be appropriate, depending on the beer. Don’t use these malts as a crutch. If you are having trouble with foam or body in your beer, fix the problem by addressing the flaws in your technique.

Once your malt bill is set, it’s time to think about hops.


In one respect, choosing which hops to use in a recipe is a lot simpler than choosing your grain bill. The overall amount of variation in flavor in hops is much less than in grains. (The difference between Saaz hops and Amarillo hops, for example, is less than the difference between Pilsner malt and black patent.)

On the other hand, hops are used in a wider variety of ways. Hops can be added before the boil (first wort hopping), at the beginning of the boil (for bittering), near the middle (for flavor) or near the end (for aroma). They can also be added after the boil (in the whirlpool), via a hopjack, in the fermenter or keg (dry hopping) or immediately before the tap, as in an “organoleptic hops transducer.”

When choosing hop varieties for established beer styles, review existing recipes and remember that, in general, classic beer styles are hopped with varieties from their country of origin. (In other words, English beer uses English hops. German beers use German hops and so on.) When selecting a hop variety for my copper ale, I picked Northern Brewer because I like their slightly minty character.

When discussing the interplay of hops and malt in a beer, the word that gets used most often is “balance.” In brewing, balance does not necessarily mean that the malt and hop character are equally prominent. Beer can be weighted towards malt or hops and still said to be balanced. A balanced beer is one that either has enough malt to complement the hops or enough hops to complement the malt or somewhere in between. For my copper ale, I wanted the malt and hops to contribute roughly equally to the character of beer, so I shot for an IBU level that — for me — was fairly moderate.

Balance can also apply to every element of the beer. The malt, hops, overall flavor intensity, body, sweetness, carbonation and other characters should all complement each other. Getting into balance for most recipes will involve using existing recipes (or your own knowledge of the ingredients) to get fairly close to your target on the first brewing. Then, your tasting notes will be used to tweak the beer closer to the target — hopefully into the “bullseye.”

One final note on choosing hops: one measure of a hop’s character is its cohumulone content. Cohumulone is one of the three forms of alpha acids found in hops. Hops with  high percentage of cohumulone are often said to yield a “harsh” bitterness, compared to low cohumulone varieties. As with the case of very dark, “burnt” malts, the word “harsh” does not really do justice to high cohumulone hops. Hops with lots of cohumulone do have a biting, aggressive bitterness, but this isn’t always a bad thing. In big, aggressively-hopped beers, a little cohumulone bite can keep the beer from being “flabby.” In a beer where the hop character should be mellow or “rounded,” avoiding high cohumulone hops makes sense.

Spices and Fruits

When winter rolls around, many homebrewers think about brewing a spiced beer. One common problem with spiced homebrews is too many spices in the mix. When making a spiced beer, you don’t need to empty the spice cabinet into your kettle. A single spice beer — made from fresh, beer-friendly spice — is much better than a spiced beer with a crowd of clashing spices. If you want to make a multi-spiced beer, a good place to look for established spice blends is a cookbook. Of course, it also pays to think about what flavors your beer has — biscuit? caramel? chocolate? roast? — and match the spice (or spice blend) to it. When spring rolls around, and the keg of winter warmer kicks, many homebrewers think about brewing a fruit beer. When it comes to fruit beers, however, many homebrewers seem stuck in the single fruit mode. Although a single fruit beer can be great, consider that many berries blend together well and there are plenty of established fruit combinations (many of which can be found in mead recipes) that work well together. As with spices, getting the fruit to work with some character in the beer is what you want.


Last, but certainly not least, comes your choice of yeast. All the ingredients so far have been chosen to make your wort. The addition of yeast will make the beer. As with the malt and hops, existing recipes — or your own knowledge of different strains — can lead you to your initial yeast choice. After your intial brewing, you will need to decide whether to stay with your initial strain, or switch to a new one. Keep in mind that you can ferment with more than one yeast strain, although the results can be unpredictable.

Once you’ve settled on an ingredient list, enter the ingredients into your recipe calculator. I like to type in my expected amounts of specialty grains first, then bring the beer up to my target OG with base malt or extract. Likewise, I’ll enter late-boil hop additions first, then bring the beer up to my target IBU value with bittering hops. Once all the ingredients are input,  a quick check of all the calculated statistics will tell you if you’re on the right track. (For contest beers, compare your beer to the BJCP style guidelines.)

Most importantly, you can’t tweak your beer until you brew it — so fire up those burners and get your own personal recipe brewed!


Copper Ale

(5 gallons/19 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.048  FG = 1.010
IBU = 30  SRM = 13  ABV = 4.9%

8.75 lb. (4.0 kg) domestic 2-row pale malt
12.75 oz. (0.36 kg) Munich malt
6.33 oz. (0.18 kg) Victory malt
1.5 oz. (43 g) chocolate malt
1 tsp. Irish moss
8 AAU Northern Brewer hops (0.89 oz./25 g of 9% alpha acids)
Wyeast 1056 (American Ale) or White Labs WLP001 (California Ale) yeast (2 qt./~2 L yeast starter)
1 cup corn sugar (for priming)

Step by Step
Use water with carbonates under 50 ppm and calcium around 50 ppm. Heat 12.5 quarts (12 L) of water to 163 °F (73 °C) and mash grains at 152 °F (67 °C) for 60 minutes. Stir in boiling water to mash out to 168 °F (76 °C). Recirculate wort until clear. Run off wort and begin sparging. Keep sparge water heated to the point that the grain bed temperature remains around 168 °F (76 °C). Collect 6 gallons (23 L) of wort. Bring wort to a boil. Once hot break forms, add hops and boil for 60 minutes. Add Irish moss with 15 minutes left in boil. Cool wort to 68 °F (20 °C), aerate and pitch yeast. Ferment at 68 °F (20 °C).

Copper Ale

(5 gallons/19 L, partial mash)
OG = 1.048  FG = 1.010
IBU = 30  SRM = 13  ABV = 4.9%

2 lb. 11.33 oz. (1.2 kg) pale malt
12.75 oz. (0.36 kg) Munich malt
6.33 oz. (0.18 kg) Victory malt
1.5 oz. (43 g) chocolate malt
9.0 oz. (0.26 kg) light dried malt extract
3 lb. 10 oz. (1.6 kg) light liquid malt extract
1 tsp. Irish moss
8 AAU Northern Brewer hops (0.89 oz./25 g of 9% alpha acids)
Wyeast 1056 (American Ale) or White Labs WLP001 (California Ale) yeast (2 qt./~2 L yeast starter)
1 cup corn sugar (for priming)

Step by Step
Heat 5.5 qts. (5.2 L) of water to 163 °F (73 °C) and pour it into a 2-gallon (7.6-L) beverage cooler. Add crushed grains to a large steeping bag and slowly submerge in cooler. Open bag and stir grains with a large spoon. Note the level of water in the cooler after the grains are added. Let partial mash rest, starting at 152 °F (67 °C), for 45 minutes.

While mash is resting, bring 0.75 gallons (2.8 L) of water to a boil in your brewpot. Also, bring 5.5 qts. (5.2 L) of water to 180 °F (82 °C) in another pot. Open spigot on cooler and collect first wort. Add it to the boiling water in your brewpot. Begin heating this wort to a boil. Add 180 °F (82 °C) water to cooler until liquid level is the same as before. Stir grains and let sit for 5 minutes, then collect second wort and add it to your brewpot.

Add dried malt extract and bring wort to a boil. Add hops and boil for 60 minutes. Stir in liquid malt extract and Irish moss for final 15 minutes of the boil. Cool wort and transfer to fermenter. Add water to fermenter to make 5 gallons (19 L). Aerate, pitch yeast and let ferment at 68 °F (20 °C).

Copper Ale

(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)
OG = 1.048  FG = 1.010
IBU = 30  SRM = 13  ABV = 4.9%

11.33 oz. (0.32 kg) domestic 2-row pale malt
12.75 oz. (0.36 kg) Munich malt
6.33 oz. (0.18 kg) Victory malt
1.5 oz. (43 g) chocolate malt
1 lb. 14 oz. (0.85 kg) light dried malt extract
3.3 lbs. (1.5 kg) light liquid malt extract
1 tsp. Irish moss
8 AAU Northern Brewer hops (0.89 oz./25 g of 9% alpha acids)
Wyeast 1056 (American Ale) or White Labs WLP001 (California Ale) yeast (2 qt./~2 L yeast starter)
1 cup corn sugar (for priming)

Step by Step
In a large kitchen pot, heat 3.0 qts. (2.8 L) of water to 163 °F (73 °C). Add crushed grains to a large steeping bag and steep them in this pot, at 152 °F (67 °C), for 45 minutes. While grains are steeping, heat 1.5 gallons (5.7 L) of water to a boil in your brewpot. Also, heat 1.5 qts. (1.4 L) of water to 170 °F (77 °C) in another kitchen pot. After steep, place a colander over your brewpot and lift grain bag into it. Pour the “grain tea” from the steeped grains through the bag (to strain out any floating bits), then rinse the bag with 1.5 qts. (1.4 L) of 170 °F (77 °C) water. Add dried malt extract to liquid mixture and bring to a boil. Add hops and boil your wort for 60 minutes. Stir in Irish moss for final 15 minutes of the boil. Stir in liquid malt extract at end of boil and let wort sit — with the lid on your brewpot — for 15 minutes before cooling. Cool wort and transfer to fermenter. Add water to fermenter to make 5 gallons (19 L). Aerate, pitch yeast and let ferment at 68 °F (20 °C).

Issue: March-April 2007