AHA Beer Recipe + BeerSmith Presentation
AHA Beer Recipe + BeerSmith Presentation
Beer Recipe Design
Brad Smith, PhD
A spectrum of choices…
Deliberate - Mechanical
Come up with an idea
Research the target style and beer
Brew, Judge, and Iterate
◦ Determine target color, gravity, bitterness
Hop varieties and schedule
◦ Mash schedule, fermentation, hop techniques, more…
I want to brew a….
Robust Porter (Category 12B) for Competition
Clone of Bass Ale
Something with Smoked Oats
Gluten Free Imperial Stout
Jalapeño flavored Atomic Hop Bomb
“I don’t know where I’m going, but I am on my way.”
What are you trying to accomplish?
◦ Style, Clone, Unique beer?
What does each ingredient contribute?
◦ Can I do it with fewer ingredients?
◦ Is the beer balanced?
How do the techniques contribute?
◦ Do they support overall goal?
What’s Unique about my beer?
◦ Read Radical Brewing
Start with the BJCP style guide (BJCP.org)
Research Online (styles and recipes)
First Hand Research
◦ Provides target OG, color, bitterness, some ingredients and
◦ Designing Great Beers, Brewing Classic Styles, recipe and
style specific books
◦ Google search, BeerSmithRecipes.com, discussion forums,
blogs, style specific articles
◦ Sample commercial and home brewed beer!
What ingredients define the style?
What alternatives might I consider?
How does each contribute to my goal?
◦ A Wit requires unmalted wheat
◦ Weizen banana/clove flavors come from yeast
◦ Dry Irish Stout needs roast barley
◦ Vary the yeast, grains, hops used
◦ What about something really new (aka Radical Brewing)
◦ Can I simplify (SMaSH style) rather than dumping everything
but the kitchen sink in?
◦ What can I get rid of?
Use Software or a spreadsheet
◦ Match your equipment
Compare these to your target style
I like to work in percentages
◦ Base grains first (80% typical)
◦ “Key” specialty grains next (5-10%)
◦ Remaining grains (body, ABV, etc) (5-10%)
Select grains that match your target
◦ Ex: Maris Otter for flavorful English Ale
Understand what each brings to the table
◦ SMaSH brewing (and variants) a great way to
understand what each grain does
◦ Tend to use a single addition, long boil to achieve my
target bitterness (IBU) level
◦ I use Bitterness Ratio (IBU:GU ratio) for balance
◦ Most of the aromatic “hop oils” will boil off within a few
◦ I’ve moved towards very late or steeped/whirlpool hops
to maximize aroma and hop oil flavor
◦ Shorter contact times (24-72 hours)
Select yeast for effect
A Starter is Important for Liquid Yeast
Fermentation Temperature Matters!
◦ “Styles” for yeast provide a good starting point
◦ Go “off style” to achieve a specific effect such as a dry
finish, low attenuation, or complexity added by esters
◦ A typical liquid pack is 100 Bil cells when produced and
degrades about 20%/month
◦ Ideal pitch rate for 5 gal, 1.048 ale: 164 Bil cells
◦ Lagers ideal pitch rate is double that of ale
Know your local water source!
Consider the Mash pH when designing beer
◦ What is your Residual Alkalinity (How to Brew)?
◦ Is your water deficient minerals or is it too hard?
◦ Dark grains lower pH – less of a worry
◦ Light beers - need buffer or acid to lower pH
◦ pH buffers or acids – to manage mash pH
◦ Overall water profile considerations
Should I target a particular profile for this beer?
Do I need to start with bottled water then add minerals?
Pick mash temp as needed for beer body:
A Single Infusion Mash - 98% of the time!
Prevent Stuck Sparges
◦ Light body – 148 F
◦ Medium body – 152 F
◦ Full body – 156 F
◦ Add melanoidin malt to simulate decoction
◦ Use flaked or torrified grains when you need to work with
unmalted barley/wheats/oats (no cereal rest)
◦ Saves an hour due to short sparge and cleanup
◦ Use rice hulls for wheats, oats, etc…
Late Extract Additions
Segregate Dark Grains into Tea
Add Honey/Fruit (some sugars) after boil
or in secondary
◦ Reduces scorching, increases hop utilization
◦ Steep dark/harsh grains separate from mash
◦ Reduces perceived bitterness/harshness
◦ Fragile fruit/honey aromas boil off
◦ Risk of infection relatively low after primary
First Wort Hopping
Late Hop Additions
Steep/Whirlpool/Hop Back Additions
Dry Hopping – use pellets just before bottling
◦ Add hops to pot during sparge (smooth flavor)
◦ Don’t bother!
◦ Very late may be best!
◦ Great for preserving volatile hop oils
◦ Adds small amount of bitterness
◦ Trend to shorter contact times – usually 1-3 days
◦ Recent research indicates 24 hours may be enough
Pitch two different yeasts
◦ Either together, or separated in time
Add Lacto or Brett in Secondary
◦ Sour beers only
Diaceytl Rest - Lagers
◦ Raise temp by a few degrees for a day in secondary
◦ Crash beer to near freezing in secondary
◦ Lager or Ale – may require more yeast for bottling
Is Clarity Important?
Ways to improve clarity
Watch protein content of grains
Cool wort quickly – Chiller
Use Irish Moss/Whirlfloc at end of boil
Choose yeast with high flocculation
Add a fining agent:
Isinglass, Chillguard, Gelatin, Polyclar
◦ Cold store beer after carbonation
Must be able to Judge your beer!
Evaluate external appearance first
Capture aroma up front – right after its poured
Evaluate color, clarity, head retention
Taste the beer- overall impression first
Finish, malt, hops, aroma
◦ Overall Impression
The BJCP score sheet is a great guide
Beer Judges are some of the best brewers!
◦ Provides 17 taste terms (grassy, phenolic, astringent, etc…) used for
Dimethyl Sulfide (DMS)/Cabbage/Eggs
◦ Use starter, diacetyl rest for lagers
◦ Oversparging, sparging too hot, excess tannins
◦ Chlorine in water, bacteria, oversparging
◦ Bacteria, high moisture malt, covering during boil or
◦ Sanitation, Bacteria, excessive acid
Pro brewers perfect their beer
Seriously evaluate the flaws in your beer
Brew it Again!
◦ Many homebrewers never brew the same twice!
Adjust grain percentages?
Change hop schedule or varieties?
Fix or try new techniques?
Correct specific flaws?
Start with a clear artistic vision
Do your homework (research!)
Create a list of potential ingredients’
Run the numbers
Consider which techniques are best
◦ Simplify whenever possible – more is not better!
◦ Grain bill first
◦ Then hops, yeast, misc items
◦ Mash, Boil, Fermentation and Aging techniques
◦ Body, Clarity, Eliminating flaws
Judge your beer after brewing
Correct flaws and iterate!
Beer Brewing Software
Brad Smith, PhD
◦ Build a recipe by picking ingredients from a set of several hundred
preloaded hops, grains, yeasts, etc…
◦ Calculates OG, Color, etc… in real time so you can focus on designing the
◦ Print Step-by-step instructions for your recipe
◦ Scale a recipe, adjust bitterness, adjust color, convert from all grain to
extract, change to your equipment
◦ Organize recipes in folders, share them in several formats, record data as
iPhone, iPad, and Android
Mash, Fermentation Profiles
Current design is compared against the style guide as you
build the recipe
◦ OG, Bitterness, Color and ABV displayed
◦ Lets you focus on the design of the beer itself
Screen clipping taken: 5/16/2013, 3:59 PM
◦ Step by step
instructions for any
Brew Day Timer
◦ Mash and boil timers
in desktop and
Web – Share/Search
Desktop – Cloud Folder
Mobile – Cloud Folder
Brewday Timer (Mash and Boil)
Local (offline) recipe editing
Cloud folder recipe editing
Equipment, Mash, Fermentation and
Carbonation profiles editable
◦ BJCP Style Guide
◦ Tools: Hydrometer, Infusion, Attenuation,
Mash Adjust, Refractometer, Carbonation
◦ Unit Converters
BJCP.org – BJCP style guide
Designing Great Beers - Daniels
Radical Brewing – Randy Mosher
How to Brew – John Palmer
Brewing Classic Styles – Zainasheff and Palmer
Brew Like a Monk – Stan Hieronymous
India Pale Ale – Mitch Steele
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