Back to Shopping at

Basic but good recipes

I’ve been enjoying the expertise here and have come away with a ton of ideas and specifics of what to brew. One thing i haven’t seen much conversation around (though i’m sure it exists) are basic/ simple recipes that turn out tasty beer!

For instance, a proprietor of a homebrew shop near me in Philly one scrawled a handwritten recipe for a simple pale ale. Two malts and one hop addition @60 minutes. One of the most satisfying brews i’ve done, an easy drinking fresh tasting treat!

Wish i had saved the recipe…

I also tend to enjoy the basic beers i brew from the leftovers of my yeast starters!!

Anyway, any simple recipes you guys have brewed that turn into standby favorites?


All grain or extract? A couple of us around here love bitters. A grain bill of Maris Otter, maybe a little Golden Promise, a bunch of EKG or Bramling Cross, some English yeast, and its (imperial) pint crushing time.


Two malts and a 60 minute hop addition only? Sounds like Hefeweizen time!

Our host’s Dead Ringer recipe is just 2-row, a bit of caramel malt and Centennial, and it has a very high Yum-to-complexity ratio. Some of the Belgian recipes are incredibly simple too; Pilsner, sugar, hops. Like most kinds of recipes, elaborate doesn’t necessarily equate to better.

There was a trend a while ago that seems to have quieted down about SMASH beer recipes. Single Malt And Single Hop. Can’t get simpler than that. I find SMASH is a great way to learn the difference between hops, but may be simplifying too far. When searching online I generally tend to favor the brews with less complicated grain bills and hop schedules.

95% 2 row (or Pilsner), 5% Vienna, bitter to 20-25ibu, use 1056 for neutral character or a Belgian yeast for more character. Although basic beers can be difficult to brew as there’s no masking mistakes, they can be easy as you want them to be.

The concept of “brewing on the ones” in Experimental Homebrewing may be an useful guideline for defining ‘simple’ or ‘basic’ recipes. The idea is to limit the recipe to one of each item in a couple of different categories.

The Bell’s Two Hearted clone recipe, using crystal malts, Bell's Two Hearted Ale Clone - Beer Recipe - American Homebrewers Association is interesting. There’s also a version of this recipe in Zymurgy that uses a mashed speciality malt rather than crystal. Still “brewing on the ones” - but some different flavors.

I have a personalized Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone recipe (started with the one at BYO) that is simple, but probably not “basic” enough as it uses three hops.

Since we’re on recipe design, perhaps Mosher’s idea of recipe blocks in Mastering Homebrew may be useful in defining ‘simple’. If I need a couple of malts to get the flavor I’m looking for, is that still a ‘simple’ recipe?

So I had a few minutes to kill and decided to page through the clone recipe section of BYO’s Big Book of Homebrewing looking for brewing-on-the-ones style recipes. With some slightly loose criteria, there were 16 recipes across a half dozen styles. I ended up with five that met the more precise criteria - and still had some some fun adjunct ingredients or some interesting results from simple ingredients.

  • Anchor Steam Beer
  • Anchor Liberty Ale - a SMaSH Pale Ale
  • Brookly Brewery Local 2 (dark abbey ale style) - dark candy sugar and wildflower honey
  • Dogfish Head Midas Touch - honey and grape concentrate
  • Traquair House Ale - “deep reddish, full-bodied and richly flavored” using just 2-row and roasted barley.

I haven’t brewed these (yet), didn’t check to see if the brewer had been bought, nor did I check to see if BYO makes these available online. But five different recipes for $10 (eBook) looks like a pretty good deal to me - and the rest of the book is free :slight_smile: .

Great stuff guys! Absolutely getting a bitter on my list ASAP because you guys made it sound so tasty in this thread and others!

I brew all grain. i’ve never done a smash but there are some interesting recipes out there for sure. Planning to brew a lemon shandy at the end of this month. Just 2-row and wheat if i recall correctly. Should be straightforward enough!

this sounds delicious.

Back to Shopping at