I made a recipe for a Scotch Ale and was hoping for some feedback on the grain bill. The base malt is at 80.8% of the bill, so my specialty grains are under 20% but accumulate to 4lbs total. Is this too much to reasonably steep?

Maris Otter Extract: 9.75lbs : 80.8%

Crystal Light : 1lbs: 5.4%

Crystal 60L : 1lbs: 5.4%

Victory : 1lbs : 5.5%

Roasted Barley : 1lbs: 2.9%

Lots of online suppliers only offer 1lb min bags, and I don't brew too often. Not a great way to plan a recipe, so if anyone sees a big problem please say so and I'll adjust accordingly.


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    Note that 1lb of extract is not equal to 1 pound of grain in terms of sugar content (extract has more sugars- it's an extract). In that- your % of special malts is technically lower. So, percentage wise you're fine. That said, 2 pounds of crystal malt is a lot for my taste and may make the beer quite sweet. This will be more like the US take on Scotch Ale, maybe that's what you're going for though.
    – rob
    Commented Feb 17, 2021 at 21:11
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    There is an apparent discrepancy in your recipe. You say you plan to use 4 lbs grain, but the percentage on the roasted barley is only 2.9%. I was going to recommend using less roasted barley when I stumbled upon this lower percentage. I think you will have a better Scotch ale if you go with this lower percentage. In which case, you're not using 4 lbs grains but closer to 3.5 lbs. In fact with all the crystal in there, you'll have a dark beer without any roasted barley at all, you could eliminate it completely and have a great Scotch ale.
    – dmtaylor
    Commented Feb 18, 2021 at 10:47
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    I think the percentages are based on OG contribution, not actual volume, so that's why the barley is a lower percentage. With these comments I believe I'll lower the Crystal and barley grains. I found out my local supplier offers smaller bags. However I'm having g trouble finding Maris Otter Extract for a reasonable price, so I'll probably shelf this recipe for a bit. Thanks for the help! Commented Feb 18, 2021 at 22:15
  • Don't quit! Just use any golden extract you can find. Extract is going to be pretty malt forward normally. And the use of Victory malt IMO will get you most of the way towards not having the Maris Otter.
    – brewchez
    Commented Feb 22, 2021 at 23:26

1 Answer 1


I have planned many a recipe on what I can get and the bag or half bag sizes I can get it in. It is a totally valid way to plan your brewing and grain/hop/yeast purchases.

~20% speciality malt in a grain bill is absolutely fine.

Good luck!

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