Obviously the style of beer, type of grain (barley, wheat, etc) and depth of roast would make a difference.

But in general what would be the typical ranges be?

So for example:

  • For a Dark Stout: A kg of grain plus X litres of water gives one litre of wort
  • For a Pale Ale: B kg of grain plus Y litres of water gives one litre of wort

If you give imperial measurements (lbs Gal) I can covert them no problem.

(Bonus points: And when and why would you deviate from that?)

  • FYI I would make a batch larger than one litre. I just would like to know for one litre, so it is easy to scale up to your brewing vessel size. Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 6:41
  • It's a simple question. He wants a nice beer base that is not watery and not too strong in flavour. % does not matter yet. He can easly use brewing sugar from there to up the % and even toast the grains to change his recipe all in the future. He just wants good advice not "it depends on this and that." Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 20:50
  • Will probably give 10 lb. of grain and 5 gal. of water a try. Thanks for the help!! Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 22:22

4 Answers 4


It will vary, but to give you a benchmark, you can use this Brewer's Friend Calculator to play with the variables of amount of grain, gravity and volume of beer.

For example, if I plug in 100 liters as the volume, 1.050 as the measured gravity (this isn't really important - it just calculates pre-boil efficiency), and choose 25kg of American Pilsner malt, it tells me that this corresponds to 65% efficiency, which is typical for some systems.

So in round figures, 25kg for 100 liters - that's 0.25kg malt per liter.

Just to check if it's in the ballpark, I compare it to my recent brews, I use typically use 8kg for 40 liters of 1.050 SG (ca. 4.3%) beer, which is 0.2kg malt per liter.

This week, I'm going to brew a 14% Imperial Stout, with 25kg of grain for 40l of beer, so that's 0.625kg malt per liter.

The biggest contributors to how much malt you need is the desired starting gravity and brewhouse efficiency. Using different grains don't make a huge amount of difference - those grains with low yields are typically only a small part of the grain bill.

You ask when you'd deviate from this. The amount of grain per volume of beer depends upon many factors:

  • brewhouse efficiency (which covers all the losses from the minute you acquire the grain until it's in the bottle.)
  • desired abv of the brew (higher abv requires more grain)

This glosses over many details, but that's the essence of it - the brewhouse efficiency determines how well you used the grain, so lower efficiency requires more grain, and with a higher starting gravity, you of course need more grain for the given batch size.

I see from your profile you're a developer - I feel you might be trying to be too systematic about this. To know how much grain you need, it's best to follow an existing recipe, one where the mash efficiency is around 70%. That will give both the quantity of grain and the recipe yield.

  • This is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 0:31

Your question is like saying "how long is a piece of string?". But here's one way to look at it....on average, at 100 % efficiency, a lb. of base grain in a gal. of water will give you 36 gravity points, or an OG of 1.036. Assuming 75% efficiency, about average for most brewers, you'd get 25 ppg (points/pound/gal.) or an OG of 1.025 for one gallon. So, there is no real standard. You use as much grain as you need to get the OG you want. For instance, assuming 75% efficiency, you'd use 2 lb. of grain per gallon of water for a gallon of 1.050 beer. If you wanted 5 gallons of beer, you'd multiply that by 5 and use 10 lb. of grain and 5 gal. of water. Of course, this doesn't account for grain absorption or wort boil off,

  • I think 2lb per gallon, or 0.23 kg / l is a good estimate, and ties in with my 1.045-50 brews, assuming 80% brewhouse efficiency.
    – mdma
    Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 23:29

well it depends on the style, so I might make a whole grain ale that is very pale and assuming a good conversion ratio and easy math figure of 1lb per gallon. liter is about 1/4 gallon, so 1/4 pound. round up a little and call that 125g.

of course working with such a small amount you will likely get much worse conversion, and you could probably just double that amount, 250g pale malted barley.

  • Oh I would make make a bigger batch (about 8 - 10 litres), but knowing for one litre means it is easy to scale your batch size. Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 6:36
  • Also for one litre (or gallon) of water do you get more or less (or about the same) wort out? Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 6:39
  • I don't think there is a hard fast rule, but rinsing the grain after the starch rest is easier with more water... so you tend to get more efficient when the batch size goes up. Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 7:14
  • 2
    I'm not assuming sparging at all. There are just too many variables to give a concrete answer. The OP doesn't even give a gravity range that he's going for. That's why I asy it's like asking "how long is a piece of string?".
    – Denny Conn
    Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 20:16
  • 1
    Since the OP didn't give us a target, I provided general info that can be tailored to a specific situation.
    – Denny Conn
    Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 16:31

If using Liquid Malt Extract(I use Muntons, there are others available) a good starting point for making a great Home Brew is 1L of malt + 9 L of water = 10 L of wort. This is a GREAT start: it will be a well balanced body. Hops? That's your call. Hops makes your base beautiful.

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