I seem to be having some trouble wrapping my head around getting a grain bill together. If I’m starting a grain bill from scratch, apparently I need to determine my target gravity, then build the grain bill from there from calculating gravity points for each malt… but how do I determine my gravity before I’ve even begun? I know I’m missing an important step, I’m just not sure what it is…
Any help would be great…!
Check out the BJCP style guidelines
, it gives the OG range for all styles.
Thanks for the replies…! I’ve been brewing AG with recipes for awhile,and I’m trying to do mock calculations with the recipes (because I know all the quantities).
I’ve checked out the Beersmith calculator, for sure, I just like to know how the calculations work first before relying solely on the calculators, instead of just plugging numbers in and getting a magical number back.
I found the gravities chart for all beer styles though, which is super handy…!
[quote=“kcbeersnob”]I highly recommend:
- Brew using established recipes (e.g., Brewing Classic Styles
) for a while, so you can master the brewing process and get to know how different ingredients work.
- Use brewing software, such as Beersmith, to build your recipes. That makes the various calculations much easier and allows you to focus on things like aroma, flavor, body, fermentability, bitterness, etc.[/quote]
Also, if you have a favorite commercial/craft beer, Google for a clone recipe. Once you make some other’s recipes, you can sart to riff on them. “I like ‘Bob’s Belgian,’ but I’m gonna cut out the coriander and add more sugar,” that sort of thing. Then go crazy and reinvent recipies to your taste. I like to be informed by, but not limited to, BJCB guidelines for my personal brews.
I’m an Engineer by trade, good engineers consider starting from a blank page to be a rookie mistake. Understand what has been done before, what worked, what fell short, then branch-off from there.
Get “designing great beers”. It’s an amazing book that will help you to understand Gravity units and designing a grain bill. Lots more good info too.
All malt has a potential of extraction, standard 2 row base malt is around 1.036 which means 1# in 1 gallon of water would give you an OG of 1.036 at 100% efficiency. Since we don’t get 100% efficiency you need to multiply your efficiency % by the last 2 numbers, so if you get 75% efficiency your OG would be 1.027 with 1#/gallon. It’s just a matter of scaling it to your batch size from there.
In addition to the great advice already offered, I would suggest that it’s also critical that you take the time to learn what you’re adding to your grain bill and why.
I accomplished this by devoting myself to a long series of ordinary bitters during which I systematically learned the various caramel malts and how they played with each other. Next, I moved on to introducing character malts like biscuit, victory, etc. It took a few years, but at the end of the process I knew why I was including a malt in a bill. Better still, this knowledge allowed me to dial recipes in very quickly because it was easy to identify exactly what was in need of adjustment.
I still use this process whenever I decide to try out a new malt. In fact, a couple weeks ago I put together a review of carabrown which came about from my interest in learning exactly what this malt contributed to a grain bill. Granted, that batch was a bit gung-ho, but it gives you an idea of how the process works.
All great advice. I (+1) on clones. Gets you in the ballpark and you can learn quite a bit.
When making scratch recipes I always refer to this STYLE GUIDELINES chart.
for all the critical data to help zero in on my formulation of the correct recipe per style.
Hope this is useful for you.