How to Make a Recipe

Welcome back to another day in Hop, Brew, and Blog!  Today, we are going to be talking about making a recipe.  I will be giving tips on how to make a recipe from scratch or even just using another recipe as a base. Let’s dive in. 

Since I started brewing, I have made about a half dozen recipes and have successfully made half of them and two that will need adjustments. I have made my IPB Session IPA with Tangerine, Short and Stout Breakfast Tea Stout, and The Dude Coffee Ale successfully, but, I had issues with my All Damn Day Cucumber Kolsch, and Irish Complexion Red Cream Hybrid Ale. I have also just brewed my first New England IPA called the Hazy Triforce NEIPA that turned out to be a great success. Of these six, I used other recipes as a base for four of them and then the other two are completely made from scratch. Now I am not going to give away my recipes here (maybe in a different blog…just means you need to keep reading!) but I will go into making something new or just adding more to an established recipe from somewhere else. 

The first will be adding to a recipe. You may notice as you get into recipe-making, when it comes to interesting combinations of ingredients… chances are, someone has already done it. There are so many breweries and homebrewers out there now, it is like you are Butters in Southpark trying to come up with a plan and your sidekick just keeps saying, “Simpsons did it!”  But it is easier to tweak a recipe than tweak an evil plan. The easiest way to adjust is to change your hops. A lot can happen with changing the hops or changing your hop schedule. With IPAs especially you can take a double IPA and change the hops around to make it more like an easy-drinking session IPA. You can also adjust your malts and grains and even change the yeast you use, but these can have a huge effect on your beer as they are the base of all your beers. Use caution, but try something new in a smaller batch. 

The next easy way to change is the dreaded (to some) fifth ingredient. Doesn’t matter if you are doing a stout or lager, you can add something in the secondary rack to change the flavor. Look at Bud Light…you now have lime and orange. You can do the same to a recipe. Have a porter you like that has chocolate in it already? Try adding coconut or coffee. Have a lager you love? Try lemongrass or cucumber to give a more refreshing taste (my opinion). 

The next thing is to be bold and do something completely from scratch. Again the  “Simpsons did it” mentality is here too but you can always find something no one has tried. Like I said, I managed to make two that I did not see any record on the internet (the internet is always right, right?) but so far, only one has worked. The easiest way is to see what is out there for a style and try to find a different route. The other is to experiment. Using small batches, try and combine different beers. Think anyone has done an IPA lager? (IPL? Might be done but you never know). The best thing to do is to think outside the box and try it out. You never know what something will be like unless you try it. If it fails, make adjustments. 

Now, if this isn’t something you want to try, there is nothing wrong with that. I know homebrewers that simply stick with kits or clones because they know what they like and stick with it. That is the brewing world, you make what you want to drink and that’s it. 

I hope you enjoyed the read. When I first started brewing, I did a lot of kits and clones and then I made my first adjustment to a kit for an IPA and I came up with the IPB…my very first creation. I didn’t do much, just added to the secondary of a session IPA, but I love it and try to make it every year. Make sure to leave comments below and voice your thoughts. Cheers!

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