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Recipes on the internet

We were discussing water in another post so I wanted to add to the discussion. When I try a recipe from someone. I disregard the water calcs because they are different for everyone. Also water salt additions because unless it’s for RO water and you use RO water it’s going to be different. I also play with the grain amount I’ll keep the %s they same but increase or decrease the amounts to reach the OG they say. Extract recipes are a bit different I guess. Anyone have any other tips?

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I look at the specialty grains… The base malt is more or less the vehicle for ABV… If there isn’t much specialty malt… Then picking a good base is of more attention…
Water… I’ve got great well water… But it not soft… Isn’t real hard either… My thought on water right now is for sugar conversion… I adjust pH… Maybe in the dead cold of winter switch to 2.5 gallon batches and RO with adjustments would be fun to tinker with…
The yeast and hops are also a flavor factor… That’s for more experimenting too! I doubt you could run out of comparison Xbeerments…

I guess it would be helpful if they give their mash pH. And yeast pitch rate so you could know if you need to stress the yeast or not. Of course fermentation temperature.

Not very often do I make water adjustments. Everyone has their opinions on the subject, but my opinion is why even mess with it. How many breweries won gold and best of show with no water adjustments and make fantastic beer. We have beers thats won gold metal and no water adjustments at the Brewery. Now if i was wanting to clone a recipe at home. I would adjust my water to the same profile of where it is brewed so i could get as close to a clone as possible

I approach it the same…I will review multiple recipes of a beer I’m interested in brewing and come up with my own take…but I use my own water calcs. I rarely use more than CaCl and Gypsum, recently resumed using epsom salts, and of course I adjust for mash ph of around 5.2-5.4…more recently 5.2 is my goal…gives a livelier flavor IMO. I know some breweries that don’t do water treatments and beer is fine, others a bit dull and lifeless, boring.

So you don’t do any correction for pH?
Just in my non fancy world I’ve found my gravity ends a bit lower… I do get better head retention and some clearer brews… So finding these for myself, informs me its a process I will continue to use…
The other corrections has eluded me so far…

Why magnesium chloride?

Nope i adjust nothing in my water. We have a filter system but it only takes out the chlorine. Other than that its just Evansville city water. I do add Irish Moss last 15 minutes of my boil. I never have have a problem with my beers not being clear. I wouldnt assume that adjusting your water and you beers finishing low than normal to be the only reason your final gravity was or is lower had you not adjusted your water. Not wanting to break into science mode but there is other factors that could also contribute to that also.


Our source water here is relatively low in Mg. Epsom salts(magnesium sulfate) supplies Magnesium, which is needed in small amounts for Mashing and it lowers pH a bit also. That said it is widely believed that malt “supplies all of the magnesium and calcium that you need for a healthy fermentation”. We add calcium for other reasons…good discussion for water heads here:

I’ve seen magnesium chloride as a water treatment option also, but I have no experience with it.

I probably don’t need it but I have enough epsom salts on hand for several generations of brewers lol

Oh right magnesium sulfate. I would have picked that up when doing calcs using the calculator.

Didn’t mean this to be another discussion on water. Wanted to discuss what people look at in recipes. I’m always reading recipes weather I plan on brewing them or not mostly for ideas.

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Tendencies for certain malts…Its interesting that some recipe authors always use something for head retention eg carafoam, and some never do…I generally don’t… but I will use crystal malts at times for complexity, toffee notes, color etc.

I like to do a deep dive into the history of the beer when planning a new brew, and certain sources, BYO, others, do a good job getting you fired up for the project.


Sorry i might of got the water discussion started. Back to the subject. When i look at recipes online i never give a thought to their water additions. Due to you don’t know their water profile and i don’t do additions. I general look over the recipe calculate it up. Then recalulate to my systems efficiency and make hops and malt adjustment

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I also wasn’t going to water… and only water… Yet, it is part of some of the recipes… That can be talked about forever…
So take that Zwickelbier… I thought Surley’s offering is a good beer… That’s when I started looking in deeper to it… In fact, that’s my next series I’ll tinker with… So looking at an “idea” of the malts and knowing the ABV… that’s were my rabbit hole starts… I’ll bet there are many variations as there are Brewers… but having a platform to start with “IF” you are trying to hone in on a brew you’ve thought worthy of brewing… The Internet will help… I’ve not had a Zwickelbier from Germany… So does this matter? Depends…

Damian mentioned the first thing I focus on and that’s the efficiency level the recipe is written for. I’ll adjust that first for my system efficiency and since I use Beersmith for recipe formulation it adjusts the malt and hops amounts for me. I usually round out those adjustments and fine tune the recipe. I don’t even look at any water adjustments if they’re included and always adjust pH and water profile for style based upon my preference and water profile.

In rare cases I may adjust the grainbill, target OG/ABV. For example if it’s wildly out of style ABV wise or if I want to turn the flavor/hops profile of a IIPA into a more sessionable IPA.


Well I adjust the grains. And adjust the boil hops according to the ibu . The whirlpool and dry hops I just go with it.

Most recipes online I use as a guide but do like to brew it exactly if it looks reasonable. Like kits I think you should follow the recipe to the letter first time out. Our water is great for brewing so I don’t tinker with it much.

I have seen recipes that I thought holy cow you shouldn’t add that much “whatever”.


Me get sometimes ideas. Reading recipy online. One thing i use it brewdog. Catalogue


I am really afraid to play with such stuff because you can really mess it up. Some months ago I have found a great source with different information from keto recipes to beer recipes. I have read a lot about the standards for water quality and the importance to play with calc. Did you test your water? Do you know the level of calc? Maybe you fit in the norms and do not even have to make an additional effort. Search for the normal parameters online and see if your water source is fine or not. When you read online materials, be sure that the source is reliable, case everyone can write a post without even being a specialist omg… so firstly see if the webpage has a bit of authority and then start experimenting with water, grains or whatever

I disagree, no pain no gain. Sure you can make a dumper but its the best way to learn. Its only a batch of beer. If your nervous make a 1 gallon batch.

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