Developing your own homebrew recipes can be an extremely rewarding process. Tasting a beer that you concepulised and produced is the ultimate buzz for a homebrewer.
However, if you’re not confident with your ability to formulate a solid recipe, please do not stress out!
It’s far more important to focus your attention on sanitation & fermentation before you start to get caught up with the ins and outs of recipe development.
As the great John Palmer states…
“The good fermentation of a bad recipe is going to make a better beer than a bad fermentation of a good recipe”
All that said though, if you are ready to dive into the art of building your very own unique recipes, below we have outlined 3 simple steps to set you on your way.
STEP 1: GET FAMILAR WITH EXISTING RECIPES
If recipe development is a foreign field for you right now, the best way to start is by scanning the vast range of resources on hand for existing recipes. Homebrew books, forums, Facebook, or just by simply googling ‘homebrew recipes’ is a great place to start.
I suggest to select one style you’re looking to brew and review multiple interpretations of that particular style. By doing this you are going to notice similarities between recipes that will help you identify key components which define that particular style.
Important aspects to take note of are the types of specialty grains used, the % of the grain bill that each malt contributes, overall statistics such as Original Gravity, IBU and Colour and also any specific brewing techniques that are being used.
Once you think you have a sound idea of what is required of a particular style, you‘re now ready to put your own unique spin on that recipe.
STEP 2: GAIN ACCESS TO A RECIPE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
This step is an absolute must for recipe development!
Well no that’s a lie. You can manually calculate your recipe using a variety of different equations. But as someone who has personally gone down this path (briefly I might add), it is far better to access some type of brewing software and save yourself a lot heartache and frustration.
A few suggested programs:
From this point you will be able to start to build your own unique recipes by adding in specific ingredients, keeping a close eye on the style guidelines to ensure your recipe fits within these guidelines.
Brewing software can be a little overwhelming at the beginning with a range of settings and equipment profiles that need to be locked in specific to your brewing equipment. If you find yourself getting frustrated, I suggest you go onto YouTube and find tutorials specific to the software you are using. It helps a lot and saves you the time and frustration of trying to figure it out yourself.
STEP 3: RECORD DETAILED NOTES
Although the recipe programs available are extremely detailed, they are still just a guideline for your recipe. The real test of a solid recipe is in the final product. If your recipe is not quiet what you expected after tasting, you want to be able to identify where in your process/recipe things may have gone astray.
By taking detailed notes throughout your brew day and fermentation period, it allows you to identify particular aspects that may have been the cause of your recipe being slightly off. From this point you are able to go back to your recipe and make changes accordingly.
ONE MORE IMPORTANT TIP…
When making recipes adjustments, be sure to only make one change at a time! If you make too many changes it is going to make it extremely difficult to identify which change is impacting your recipe.