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I'm brand new to brewing, but I've been wanting to do it for a while. I've seen some videos. Seems that, like cooking, recipes are key at the beginning until one gains enough experience to experiment.

Are there any beer recipe websites that cater to beginners?

I specifically want to avoid websites that sell pre-packaged recipes as part of their business. I'd prefer to order ingredients myself.

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I would laways suggest starting with a bit of reading around the subject first: http://www.howtobrew.com/ it will help you decide the direction you wish to go in.

There are a number of great sites out there:

Home brewers association has a set of basic recipes to get you going:

And a number of good, starter articles with recipes contained within:

  • Several resources, and organized, too. Thanks! – jvriesem May 20 '17 at 16:46
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Since the science and techniques of brewing is exactly the same for beginners as they are for somebody who has been brewing for years, are you asking for recipes for malt extract (known as extract brewing - viewed by some as easier) or whole grains (known as all-grain brewing - not any harder, just more time consuming and higher entry investment). Could you get a can of pre-hopped extract (in the US, this is generally Mr. Beer) and make beer? Sure. Would it be good and would you learn anything? No and probably not.

Here's what I would do... go to your friendly local brew shop to buy your equipment and pick up a kit. Why would I recommend a kit if you don't want a kit? Because they have a set of very clear, easy to follow instructions that even the best recipes online don't have and, in many cases, they are actually a little less expensive.

  • 1
    I agree completely with charliehorse. When I started I had the exact same thoughts as you. Despite this, I started with extract kits as I was persuaded and did a lot of side reading. 10 or so beers in I felt comfortable going to all grain which is what you want. Also, all grain, while cheaper in the long has higher capital costs. A good mash tun and sparse arm built on the cheap will still set you back $150 – mreff555 May 18 '17 at 10:25
  • $150? I don't think I spent more that than $100 but I batch sparged to being with. – CharlieHorse May 18 '17 at 14:42
  • You could save money if you don't use stainless. – mreff555 May 18 '17 at 16:07
  • I used a cooler for my mash tun and it works great. – CharlieHorse May 18 '17 at 17:48
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    +1 for kits from good homebrew suppliers. It may seem like "cutting corners" if you haven't tried it, but you'll soon realize it isn't. They involve exactly the same process and ingredients you'd be using otherwise, but the supplier has gone through the effort of making sure you have everything you need, plus useful instructions on how to do things right, and tried and tested recipes. I do disagree on "all grain isn't harder than extract", though. It's a bunch more steps, a lot more to learn/understand, and a lot more ways things can go wrong. New brewers should always try extract first, IMHO – Foogod May 19 '17 at 0:48
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How do you want to approach brewing? Will you brew all grain right from the beginning or start with extract?

Anyway, I really like http://byo.com/ style profiles, such as for example https://byo.com/grains/item/128-american-blonde-ale-style-profile They're a good way to learn about a style and also include recipes for it at the bottom.

  • That site is pretty busy (too much to look at on the front page!), but it does have some pretty good info! Plus, some of the recipes have a bit of commentary to help beginners learn along the way. – jvriesem May 20 '17 at 16:44
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I usually order ingredients and kits from Northern Brewer.com.

I know exactly what you're asking as I am new to brewing too. When I first started brewing about a year ago I was looking for exactly the same thing as you. What I found to be the case was exactly what CharlieHorse was saying. Why would I want to order my own ingredients when the science is exactly the same? I already knew what was happening scientifically. What I didn't know was how to actually brew beer.

Start with the kits. Use the included instructions. As you brew more and start to get a better "rhythm" on brew/packaging days, add a little more complexity to each brew, like adding another specialty grain or changing the hop bill/schedule or using a different yeast. Simply put, kits are the best way to start brewing, in my opinion. The included instructions allow you to focus on the brewing process and prevent dumb mistakes in the procedure that can ruin a batch of beer. On my third brew I became less dependent on the kit instructions (a good thing) and ended up pitching yeast to 190F wort (a bad thing)... those poor yeasties. Of course, I realized immediately what I had done, and the beer ended up fine after repitching later.

Get yourself a few extract kits. From what I understand, some veteran brewers still them occasionally due to time constraints and their simplicity.

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    I'm still mostly brewing using the kits available from one of the big online distributors, and agree with what everyone is saying. This is a good place to start. You can also use them as a basis for experimentation. I took the MidWestern "Classic ESB" and modified it - and keep modifying it to learn about ingredients. I've found a better yeast, and better hops (and worse hops!). Pretty much decided "Maris Otter" isn't worth it (as an extract anyway). The original wasn't bad, but now it is my recipe! I've also started on BYO recipes. I think the kit instructions are clearer for newbies. – winwaed May 19 '17 at 15:29
  • Great advice! I plan to do that for the first time or two (or three....). The reason I asked this is because I want to start thinking about what direction I want to go in for my first few brews after the kits. I figure looking at these recipes will help me imagine what kinds of variations to try, and inspire me. – jvriesem May 20 '17 at 16:42
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One of the most valuable books I have is Brewing Classic Styles. There's a recipe for 80 2008 BJCP styles, each with extract and all grain and an introduction by John Palmer that's a mini how-to by itself. It's a great starting point and probably the second or third book in most brewers' libraries (starting with How to Brew and Charlie Papazian's Complete Joy of Homebrewing

As Mr_road mentions, how to brew is a website, but otherwise these are books :-)

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Beercraftr has some excellent all-grain, one-gallon, minimal equipment recipes for beginners. The one-gallon batches have allowed me to quickly improve the quality of my craft, develop wild/interesting experiments and free-up fridge space. Who needs 40+ bottles of Lager that tastes "meh"?

The instructions and techniques on Beercraftr are concise, easy-to-follow and assume that you're using basic kitchen equipment. No kegging, no vorlaufing, etc.

Once you get comfortable with following the recipes, the blog has steps for adding fruits, spices, adjuncts and more.

I've slowly scaled-up to 1.5 gallon batches — yielding about 15 bottles. I use a two-gallon bucket with a valve to both ferment and bottle (shoes included for scale).

two gallon bottling bucket with measurements

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