Suggestions for a first homebrew recipe?

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atomeyes
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Suggestions for a first homebrew recipe?

Postby atomeyes » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:34 pm

I'm going to be cooking up my first batch o' homebrew in a few weeks. Looking for a relatively easy recipe (preferably a stout).

any suggestions would be appreciated. thanks!
icemachine
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Postby icemachine » Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:24 am

Are you looking to start from extract, extract + Steeped grains, mini-mash or all grain? If you are going all grain are you using a 3 vessel system or Brew in a Bag?
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atomeyes
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Postby atomeyes » Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:09 am

icemachine wrote:Are you looking to start from extract, extract + Steeped grains, mini-mash or all grain? If you are going all grain are you using a 3 vessel system or Brew in a Bag?


All grain 3 vessel system - hence the 2 week start date. we've getting the parts together slowly.
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markaberrant
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Postby markaberrant » Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:26 am

Go for a simple dry stout:

7 lbs 2-row
2 lbs flaked barley
1 lb roasted barley

12-15 HBU for bittering at 60 minutes (ex. 2oz of 6-8% AA hops, or 1oz of 12-14% AA hops)

Mash at 152F for 60 minutes
Pitch any american or english yeast (I prefer US-05)

Don't even necessarily need the flaked barley, could just go with 9lbs 2-row. Could also replace 1lb of 2-row with 1lb of crystal/carmel malt (just about any colour would do, though med crystal around 40-60L would be most common).
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zachariaIPA
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Postby zachariaIPA » Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:35 am

A half pound of chocolate malt never hurt nobody neither.
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markaberrant
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Postby markaberrant » Tue Nov 22, 2011 11:49 am

zachariaIPA wrote:A half pound of chocolate malt never hurt nobody neither.


Sure, you can throw all sorts of stuff into the mix. Not saying that your suggestion is bad, but I would like to use this as an example of where it can lead to, as it can lead to a common mistake for a lot of homebrewers (myself included), which actually holds you back from making great beer (again, myself included).

I completely dumbed down all of my recipes a couple years ago, and instead focused on rock solid processes... that is where the quality comes in. When I serve some of my "standards" to experienced beer drinkers/certified judges, even as part of a commercial tasting, and everyone is blown away (even more so when I show them the recipe), I know I am doing something right.

I still experiment with a new recipe or style now and again, and more often than not, this is when I produce a beer with less than desired results. It takes repitition to make really good beer, so keep it as simple as you can, the less variables, the better.

Just last week, a fellow homebrewer was yakking to me how his "secret ingredient" is adding 2oz of special B to all his recipes. Yeah, like that is going to make any kind of difference whatsoever. My "secret wepon" is properly managing fermentation... probably not as sexy as throwing in 14 different malts and hops into a single beer, but I know which approach will likely produce the best results.

I guess my point is don't get hung up on recipe formulation. It is an easy trap because it allows you to be creative, conjuring ideas in your head of what a dash of this and a dash of that will contribute, but I think you will find that the results never quite measure up. One of my friend's has actually become a very good brewer, but almost all of his recipes are terrible - he'll make a DIPA, but use something ridiculous like Pacific Gem, ferment with a belgian yeast, and add chamomile and lemon peels to the boil... it tastes just like it sounds... an absolute trainwreck. Or he made a raspberry wheat, and added 20lbs of raspberries to a 5 gallon batch (he thought more would be better). Luckily, he went to Belgium and Germany in Sept, and the light finally went off in his head that simple, well made beer is much better than hodge podge well made beer.
Last edited by markaberrant on Tue Nov 22, 2011 11:59 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Derek
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Postby Derek » Tue Nov 22, 2011 11:56 am

markaberrant wrote:Mash at 152F for 60 minutes


That's a good target, but don't stress over it. A newbie on a new system is bound to have some variability. If you loose some temperature, just give it some more time to convert (maybe 75 minutes for 145F).

Also, I'd shoot for a mash thickness of 1.25 qts per pound. Then if you do need to add some more hot water (or cool if you somehow overshoot), it won't get too thin. If the grain is within a couple degrees of 68F, calculations say your strike temperature should be 168F (which is a nice rule of thumb).

I preheat my MLT with hot tap water, but my temperature still comes up short (more-so for the smaller brews in my large cooler).

When I had my 5 Gallon igloo MLT, I was extremely consistent (always 10-11lbs of grain, top up with water, no thought required). That was a great way to start.

There's more variables with my bigger tun, but there's more fun too (I built it to make a 9.5% stout). The last few batches I've mashed at 145-150, then double batch sparged with a mash-out around 155-160. I'm calling this my efficiency sparge... as I get over 85% with the smaller brews.
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Postby icemachine » Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:21 pm

I'd follow Mark's suggestion to keep it simple, especially to start. Its easiest when you've got a minimum number of factors to go wrong, and trust me, things will go wrong. Keep the best data you can for temperature and gravities, but don't sweat it too much if you're off by a degree or three. You'll still end up with beer.

You may not be able to relax, but try not to worry too much and have a brew or two. It's a hobby, not work!
"Everything ... is happening" - Bob Cole
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Bonesey
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Postby Bonesey » Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:51 pm

This recipe is tough to beat. This was deemed cloned by the CYBI crew. Info from the horses mouth in notes. Still pretty simple recipe IMO.

http://destroy.net/brewing/CYBI/CYBI-Ro ... Stout.html
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