This is my first time brewing my own beer. I plan on making a pale ale using 2x Coopers Light Malt Extract in 5 gallons of water. I've recently bought 100g of each of the following hops (and plan to use only say, 2 of them to learn the proper brewing process and of course, save money):

  • Magnum (11% AA)
  • Cascade (5.5% AA)
  • Simcoe (13% AA)
  • Chinook (13% AA)

For my first batch, I was thinking @60 - add 50g of Magnum (because it's high in Alpha Acids, so this will make the beer quite bitter) and @12 30g of Cascade (which will add a slight grapefruit-like aroma to the beer).

My questions are:

  1. What do you think about the amount of hops I'm using? I know it comes to personal taste, but I have absolutely no experience - so your own thoughts would be very valuable
  2. I haven't bought myself any specialty grains. Do you think this is a problem? At my local homebrewer store, I can buy crystal and weyermann caramel varieties; but I don't know if I should bother if it's not needed for my first brew. Again, your personal thoughts would be very valuable.

Thanks :)

2 Answers 2


Without knowing the AA of the hops, it's pretty much impossible to tell you how much to use. You can get by without the specialty malts, but steeping maybe 1/2 lb. of C60 will add a bit of depth and freshness to the beer.

EDIT: OK, I ran it through my brewing software. That's gonna make VERY bitter beer....you're at 1.042 OG and about 80 IBU! You either need a couple more cans of extract (which will make the beer stronger to balance the hops and make an IPA) or you need to cut the Magnum back to about 15 gr, which will give you about 32ish IBU.

  • I've edited my question to include the AA of the hops. Thanks.
    – sharkbites
    Commented Oct 2, 2017 at 5:02
  • Maybe I'll add Crystal or Vienna. Still tossing that up.
    – sharkbites
    Commented Oct 2, 2017 at 5:02
  • 1
    Crystal can be steeped, but Vienna will need to be mashed.
    – Denny Conn
    Commented Oct 2, 2017 at 15:35
  • Thanks. What software do you use?
    – sharkbites
    Commented Oct 2, 2017 at 21:13
  • I use Promash. It's old but it's great.
    – Denny Conn
    Commented Oct 3, 2017 at 15:38

seems like the IBU's will be high - this will make a bitter beer. Get some brewing software like beersmith (it's about $30) but will tell you what ranges of bitterness and alcohol you are going to fall under for specific styles you intend to brew. It's based on the principals of john palmers how to brew (which you could read instead but the latest version is 600 pages long and very technical)

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