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Progressing from all extract kits to....... Partial, full grain.....own recipe?

I have our ( my son and I) 3rd batch of beer in the fermentor now. Starting to think about the future. Do you guys craft your own recipes now or use other proven recipes …? It is fun to think of doing a brew from scratch but I am also afraid of putting all the effort and time into a batch that turns out not so good. The extract kits are great, but I guess after doing three of them I am looking to deepen the experience a bit. I think the UPS guy believes I am opening a brewery in my house by now.

Thank you for any insight and advise.


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I love all grain, creating my own. But there’s a process…

I never come up with something out of nowhere. I usually look at established recipes… either all grain kits from NB, published award winning recipes from magazines, or the breakdown of common ones laid out in “Designing Great Beers.”

Then, I go to a brewing calculator, and apply what I gathered from all that research. Start getting down to targets…

That being said, you get some stuff down. Like a pale ale grain bill. I’m happy with mine, so make it regularly. I might tweak the hops now and again, but mostly keep the rest the same.

My one piece of advice is to not get too complicated. Anything you add needs to fulfill a purpose. Adding a hop because you have extra in your freezer is not a good reason. Adding gypsum because some other guy does it is not a good reason.

This forum is a great place to bounce ideas around… we can all help you edit it down.


Ubes has the essential right there. If you want to dabble a bit, I would look to the complete joy of home brewing for many intermediate recipes and technics. Just one of many places to look at to step up to the next level… Sneezles61

Take a look at some of the BIAB kits here. If you already have equipment for 5 extract batches, getting started may be as simple as adding … wait for it :slight_smile: … a bag.


As a new guy also, I did a kit and then looked at how the kit was designed, did some reading (Palmer), thought about what I liked and designed a simple DIPA extract recipe for my second batch. I have a guy that is a pro available for the “aw c’mon” test of my ideas so that helps. The guys on here are great for that too. Have done a couple of all grains, a bunch of extracts. I’m doing an extract session beer at this moment based off my DIPA. Have fun, before you go too crazy, ask on here or ask someone you know that makes great beer if your beer recipe ideas are along the right lines. Pretty soon some things start to make sense and it just keeps getting better from there.The bottom line is to RDWHAHB! Enjoy man!

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Thank you for all the advice! I have some studying to do…



Take Ubers advice keep it simple. Jump right into all grain if that is your goal. You will learn more about brewing doing all grain than vice versa. Once you know how to make wort you will understand extract better.

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+1 to the BIAB advice.

I love 3 of Northern’s BIAB kits, Dead Ringer, Kolsch, and De Belge. I wish Northern made more of their AG kits available in the 3-gallon BIAB format.

I submit you can’t make your own recipes without understanding the ingredients. And further, the best way to learn ingredients is to taste other people’s recipes.

Personally, I’ve come to prefer the 3-gallon batch size, and very often use Beer
Smith to scale recipies I find online.

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How does de belge taste?

I think we will try an all grain kit to start. Just realized my little 5 gallon wort boiler will be too small. Any suggestions for what size I should get? I will prob not exceed 6 gal batch size.

Thank you


I have an 8 1/2 and its iffy for a full boil. If I were to do it over again I’d get a 10. For BIAB probably bigger, 15 or 16?

Thanks that is great advice, I will start with a 10 gal.

De belge isn’t as hoppy as they claim. More old-world hoppy than west-coast hoppy. (That’s a good thing to me) How it comes out is up to the yeast management. With really good temp control, it is actually a little boring. Good beer, just nothing special. If you let the temps run a bit higher, so the yeasties get their Belgian on, then you get that clove-coriander-hop flavor interplay.

I notice our host has switched to bundling Omega yeasts instead of Wyeast or White Labs. I’m not sure I completely agree with Omega British Ale as a replacement for WY 3942. But it could work, it just wouldn’t be the same though. I’m going to try a batch with T-58. But maybe ordering a Belgian strain a la carte is the way to go.

Besides the bigger pot, you may need more firepower to boil 6-10 gallons of wort, so consider an outdoor propane turkey frier if you don’t have one.

That’s a big part of my reason for 3-gallon all grain. It’s still doable indoors with my 5-gallon pot. No weather concerns.

I started with a turkey fryer with a 7.5 gallon aluminum pot. It did the job for a few years, but was always just too close to boiling over, and just hot enough to get a boil on in the winter. I upgraded to a 10 gallon pot and a stronger burner, and now wish I had gone with this setup from the beginning.

Just saying, you could get away cheap here, but it’s also not a bad idea to buy what you think you’ll end up with, instead of what you’ll replace in a year or two.

I would still suggest a 5 gallon kit, but cut it in half, and order another packet of different yeast. Yes, a 10 gallon pot if you want to do 5 gallons is the answer. Get a good burner too, don’t skimp their. Sneezles61

Yes after spending about 3 hours on the electric stove burner making my heffe last month, I bought the dark star burner and had my Belgian tripel wort at a rolling boil in about 15 min. So much faster to regain the boil after dumping in 6 lb of liquid malt extract as well. Hopefully the dark star will be ok for a full 5 gal ( or maybe 6 gal) boil.

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