Well, it really has been quite a while since I’ve written about my experiences with home brewing.
To start, I want to thank all of the people at the Winnipeg Brew Bombers, especially my friend Jeremy, for all of their guidance, knowledge, and help. If it wasn’t for these folks I would not be improving at all in brewing beer.
I’ve brewed three new beers since the last time I posted and I wanted to give out the recipes and also talk a bit about some of what I’ve learned since the last time I brewed.
First, the beers. I’ve brewed a Pumpkin Spice Latte Stout (Milk Stout with coffee, spices and pumpkin), a Margarita Gose (A salty-sour beer with lime juice) and a Russian Imperial Stout (Based of the Brew Dogs DIY recipes). If you want, the Brew Dogs have handed out all of their recipes and you can get them all right here.
The first thing I’ve learned is how awesome Beer Smith is. Beer Smith is a home brewing program that provides you with a full range of grains, hops, yeasts, adjuncts, and other miscellaneous ingredients. Using this program, you can select a specific style of beer and construct the recipe
What’s fantastic about it is that it will give you a whole range of information about the style of beer. When you are brewing a style of beer using the BJCP rules there is a certain range for things like ABV (Alcohol Content), IBUs (International Bitterness Unit), SRM (A measurement of colour) and it even gives you an expected Original Gravity.
This is all really useful if you are thinking you might want to submit a beer you brew to a home brewing competition. Most of these competitions judge beers using the BJCP style guide, so if you “fall into the green” you are meeting those style guidelines at least for those aspects.
You’ll also see in that picture some more information about the mash, carbonation and fermentation measures. You can adjust these based on what type of brewing method you’ll use (Right now it is set for Brew in a Bag, Full Body but you can choose from any number of options). You can even design a recipe using extract if you aren’t quite ready for all-grain brewing.
Beer Smith also provides you with a Cloud Recipe search where you can see other recipes created by other brewers and use them for inspiration. It also allows you to choose what type of equipment you are using to brew. You can either choose from a list of equipment options, or create your own.
Probably one of the best things that can be done in Beer Smith is scale the recipe. I, for example, brew 2.5 gallon batches while many people tend to do 5-10 gallon batches. Using Beer Smith, you can take one of those larger recipes and scale it to your specific equipment. It will scale all the ingredients including grain, hops, adjuncts, etc.… to be exactly what you need to brew that recipe yourself.
I’ve used Beer Smith for my last three beer recipes and I’ve had a great deal of success with it. On brew day you can print out the “brew steps” page that will provide you with all the information you need to brew your beer. I’m posting the brew steps for all my recipes so you can take a look at them and brew them if you want.
Beer Smith isn’t free. It does offer a 21-day free trial, and after that I’d say it is well worth the money. If you are interested in it, you can find it here.
There are a number of other Home Brew apps but I don’t have any experience with them. If you use a different one that you like better, keep using it. If it works for you, and you’re getting good beer, keep doing it and let me know about it in the comments!