Best resource for grain and malt characteristics

I am getting ready to jump into all grain from extract. I want to develop my own recepies but am feeling a bit overwhelmed of all the specialty grains and malt options. What is a good resource that will describe all the benefits and requirements for each as well as what style of beer would typically use each particular specialty grains or malt. Thank you in advance

I swear kids these days…do they NOT teach google in school anymore?

JK sorta :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Lol. That’s been my problem. I’ve done so many searches over the last couple weeks on this and that and examining recepies that I felt like I was accumulating a bunch of bits and pieces, and opinions. I do enjoy good reference book to have as a one stop shop :wink:

yea i hear ya. Can’t think of a book with that info off the top of my head. How to brew may have something but if it does it’s probably dated.

The two links are pretty good sources that I’ve used. I think there’s something on the beermsith site as well as the info in the software itself. Lots of great info there.

Yes! I am already poking around on those links and they are very good. Thank you much. So where do you start when you begin your recepies. For me I feel like I am thinking of the experience that I want to have rather than style ie. Mouth feel , how the taste lasts after swallowed, the color etc.

A couple more that may help.


I think I would start with Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels. This is as important as what grains are what.

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I start with clone recipes of beers I like, then tweak them into beers I love. You may think of it it as stealing, but I’m a Software Engineer by trade, and in my work we call it “reuse”

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This is what I do for the most part too. I do tend to brew by style not because it’s necessarily important to me or because I plan to compete but because it helps keep the recipe on track. If you just start tossing things in because they sound good you could ultimately wind up with a mess.

Have you seen Randy Mosher’s book Mastering Homebrew? (If you have an amazon account, preview the paperback version - skip directly to chapters 7 & 8). His approach to recipe design may fit what you are looking for.

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That is how I do most all my beers. Follow the clone recipe to see how I like it then change it to the way I want. Some are simple enough that after a while you can make it up on the fly. It’s not often I can say “that one sucked”.

I hear you regarding style, but for me the style guidelines are an invaluable step in the process, especially if I don’t have a reliable recipe for the beer I’m referencing.

I’m not sure if this will help. Brewers Friend has a free recipe calculator. You choose the style and then start adding the ingredients you may use. As you go the calculator will indicate if you are within style guidelines for SRM. IBU, ABV, and other.

You can build the perfect to style beer and then change or add ingredients to suit your own taste. You can use the Brewers Friend index of recipes for a starting point. You can also use the recipes of NB’s all grain kits you’ve purchased before to tweak with the recipe builder.

I’ve also been known to go completely off the range. Example: I started with grainbill of NB’s Dead Ringer (3 gal) but swapped out the hops. .5 oz Magnum for 60, and 1.5 oz Saaz for 10 minutes. I have no idea what I made; it’s absolutely NOT an IPA, but I really enjoy it. Czec Pale Ale maybe?

Point being, while sticking to style is great, there’s still something to be said for going out of bounds occasionally. At least when you’re brewing for yourself; I doubt my Saaz beer would do well in competition.

I’ve been thinking of this lately too as I’m starting to look towards going all-grain. I’ve managed to make several recipes on my own with little outside input, but going all-grain gives me more flexibility on the amounts of different grains and how many I can use in a recipe. Before, I was limited by how much I could comfortably BIAB in my 5-gallon kettle on the stove. Now I’m looking to run a mash tun into a 15 gallon kettle, so I can pretty much build any recipe I want now. I just need a primer on grains and how much to use.

Imy gonna give this a go!. Would you prefer the paid version of this over beersmith?

I used the free version of Brewer’s Friend and a free brewing app on my phone for quite some time. My brother bought me BeerSmith 2, but I’ve found it to be a bit more complicated to use than the free Brewer’s Friend. Of course, BeerSmith will do things that Brewer’s Friend will not, so it’s a more advanced program, thus the increased complication. I would say to work with a free program a bit and see if you want to spend the money on something more advanced.

I think the biggest hurdle would be if you’re trying to convert extract or partial mash recipes to all grain, trying to find out how to mimic some of the malt extracts can be difficult.

Great info and advice. Later year was my first year of brewing (extract). I did some experimenting and had some fun. This year my goal is to find four solid beers to brew consistently well as I plan to have a 4 keg system at this time next year. 2 being staple beers, seasonal and one for fun. I do have an end goal in mind as well. :wink:

Look for Randy Mosher’s new book, “Mastering Homebrew”.
I bought one of the first copies last year. and it really helped me get through a BJCP Judging class. Great graphics, easy to understand explanations, definitions, glossary… It’s like an encyclopedia for homebrewers.,Covers all the current grains and adjuncts, all the hops varieties, most major styles, yeasts… literally everything you want to know. Get this book.

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