THE RECIPES

​These are beers that I have been brewing for many years.  There are ales & lagers here and every one of these recipes has been brewed multiple times & tweaked.  They are all easily modified to fit your personal preferences. I happen to like my beers at a "medium" gravity so I don't really make 8-10% beers.  You will see A LOT of recipes here that come in around 5% so if you like the look of a recipe but want it smaller or larger, simply adjust for your own tastes.  I happen to like lagers so you will see a lot of that as well but there are plenty of ales here too.  You may also notice that there are no stouts, porters, IPAs, hefeweizens or Belgians on this page.  These are styles that I either do not care for or else I prefer to drink them when I'm out as opposed to having five gallons of it at home.  To be honest, there are no "gimmicky" beers here at all... no pastry stouts, no sours, no bourbon barrel beers or anything involving fruits, mushrooms, etc.  There are plenty of those recipes elsewhere.  
Main Street American Lager
Ever since I started brewing, I wanted to have a refreshing pale lager for warmer months or for people who like this style.  I did not set out to make Corona or Bud Light.  I wanted the beer to be smooth & balanced but I wanted it to have character too.  Using high-quality malts, fresh hops and a great lager yeast can go a long way.  This is a beer I have made many times and it's often on tap here.  I only call this beer "American" because it falls neatly into the American Lager style (around 5%, lower on the hop scale, the use of corn, etc) but there are actually far more European ingredients in this beer than American including Magnum and Hallertau hops, German grain and German yeast.  You can make a style like this and still have a nice, delicious and well-made lager without it tasting like Busch Light.  This is a tricky style to make consistently well so pay attention to your water composition and your pH.  For 5 gallons w/30 minute boil time:
- 6 lbs Pilsner malt
- 2 lbs Vienna malt
- 1 lb flaked corn
- 4 ounces each of CaraHell and CaraFoam
- 18 IBUs of Magnum pellets for 30 minutes
- 1 ounce of Hallertau pellets for 5 minutes
- This beer can be made with any lager yeast but my personal    favorites are Wyeast 2124 or Omega Bayern yeast.
Details

OG: 1.051, FG: 1.012, IBUs: 24, SRM: 3.5, ABV: 5%

Bierhalle Vienna Lager

A good Vienna Lager is one of my favorite beer styles.  It's rich, malty, satisfying, balanced and delicious.  It goes great with food and you may be surprised how many light lager drinkers will try it and enjoy it.  It seems to me that something in the "amber lager" zip code is almost always going to get my attention.  This recipe started as Jamil's Vienna Lager recipe and has been slightly tweaked and brewed many, many times.  Occasionally I'll see a Vienna Lager offered at a brewpub and it might be slightly hoppier than I have seen and the colors seem to range from medium-amber to a darker amber.  I have slightly changed the color on this beer by simply changing the amount of Carafa III in the recipe.  For 5 gallons w/30 minute boil:
- 4.5 lbs Vienna Malt
- 3.0 lbs Dark Munich (8-10 L°)
- 2.5 lbs Pilsner Malt
- 2 ounces Carafa III
- 20 IBUs of Magnum pellets for 30 minutes
- 1.25 ounces Hallertau pellets for 10 minutes
- Choose your yeast.  This beer comes out excellent with 2124,      Omega Bayern and 2308.
To adjust the color on this beer, using just a half-ounce of Carafa III will make a more amber-colored beer.  An ounce is what I typically use for a bit more color and anywhere from 1.5 to 2.0 ounces will create a darker color.
Details

 

OG: 1.053, FG: 1.013, IBU: 28, SRM: 10, ABV: 5.24%
 

Munich Helles


This is another favorite style of mine.  I have been to Austria and Munich and sampled some great helles beers.   A helles is a malty, gold lager that should have good depth but should be simple and straightforward with a dry finish.  It's been said that brewing a helles is a very difficult task for a homebrewer because it's a balancing act of simple execution that should result in a full, round beer with a crisp finish. For 5 gallons w/30 minute boil:

- 6 pounds Pilsner malt

- 2.25 pounds Vienna malt

- 8 ounces Dark Munich (8-10 L°)

- 8 ounces CaraHell

- 1 ounce Hallertau pellets added as a FWH (add to the first runnings)

- 1.25 ounces Hallertau pellets for 30 minutes

- Yeast can be 2124, 2308, Omega Bayern.

Some calculators will show zero IBUs for FWH additions so this recipe may only show 15-16 IBUs.  I consider it to be closer to 23-24.

Details

OG:  1.049, FG: 1.012, IBU: 23, SRM: 4.4, ABV: 4.8%

Oktoberfest Lager
Oktoberfest can be a difficult style to pin down these days.  The beer most commonly served at the biggest party in the world is often described as an Export Helles but there is also a darker and maltier style of beer that has been referred to as Oktoberfest Lager for many years.  Try to confuse people by using the term "Festbier" and see what happens.  Here, I have a very simple recipe that had been described to be by a German brewer.  German brewers prefer to keep their recipes simple.  Some of the processes may not be simple but their recipes often are kept very minimal and that's the case here.  Nothing unnecessary is added to the recipe.  Two grains.  One hop added at the start of the boil and that's all.  I have played with the percentages a little bit and some of the lower-O2 procedures I have in place have lightened the color of many of my beers and this is one of them.  Feel free to play with the recipe and see how you like it.  I have used 65/35 Pils/Munich 2 but with the lower-O2 steps in place the color was quite pale.  Simply use more malt for a stronger, more authentic version.  Even though the color of this beer is on the pale side, the resulting beer is fantastic.  After drinking the latest version of this beer I have concluded that I can't make any changes to it... it's just that good.  For 5 gallons w/30 minute boil:
- 6.25 pounds pilsner malt
- 3.5 pounds Dark Munich (8-10 L°)
- 27 IBUs of Magnum pellets for 30 minutes
- Omega Bayern Lager yeast (2124 and 2308 also work well)

Details
OG: 1.052, FG: 1.013, IBU: 25-28, SRM: 8, ABV: 5%

Munich Dunkel
One more German style... Munich Dunkel.  Dunkel is German for "dark" but don't be afraid of the dark.  This style can be very refreshing and delicious.  At some point I realized that my Vienna was starting to get a little too similar to my Dunkel so I lightened the color and slightly increased the hops on the Vienna but with the more pale color the Vienna now began to look like the Oktoberfest.  Well this dunkel should be the darkest of those three and the maltiest as well.  Just enough hop character to balance things out and I also notice that keeping my sulfate and my chloride equal on this style helps to make the finish slightly crisp so that it's not overly malty.  There is a lot of Dark Munich in this recipe and the extra sulfate is there to help the hops balance it all out.  For 5 gallons w/30 minute boil:
- 6 pounds Dark Munich (8-10 L°)
- 3.25 pounds Pilsner Malt
- 3 ounces Carafa III
- 19-20 IBUs Magnum pellets for 30 minutes
- 1 ounce Hallertau pellets for 15 minutes
- 2308, 2124, Omega Bayern lager yeast
Details
OG: 1.052, FG: 1.014, IBU: 26, SRM: 16, ABV: 5%

American Pale Ale
This is a wide-open style here and I'm not going to list all of the various pale ales that I might make.  I tend to make two different types of American Pale Ales... one with cleaner and more traditional hops like Crystal, Glacier, maybe Styrian Goldings, Mt. Hood, Liberty, Santiam, Ultra, Vanguard or Sterling and any combination of those.  It's basically a standard pale ale without the fruitiness of some of the new hops.  If I want something with a new-hop twist then I might use Amarillo, Citra, Galaxy, Loral, Ella, Lemon Drop or El Dorado.  Cascade may end up in either one since it's still such a classic APA hop and has a bit of citrus but still has some dank character as well.  On the grist, I will use a combination of Pale Ale malt and wheat with enough CaraVienne, CaraRuby or CaraMunich to get a bit of color and character.  The picture on the left is one of the lighter-colored pale ales I have made.  Some may be a bit darker than that and it all depends on my mood since there is no right or wrong here.  If there is more crystal malt in the grist or more pale ale malt (less wheat) then I might increase the hops a bit.  If I go 50/50 pale ale malt and wheat and use less crystal malt the hops may be more restrained to keep the beer in balance.  The below is an example... for 5 gallons w/30 minute boil:
- 4.5 pounds Pale Ale Malt (I use Rahr often)
- 4.5 pounds wheat (white or red)
- 8 ounces CaraVienne, CaraRuby or CaraMunich II
- 20 IBUs of a clean bittering hop like Horizon or Nugget for      30 minutes
- 1 ounce Crystal pellets for 10 minutes
- 1 ounce Glacier pellets for 7 minutes
- 1 ounce Crystal pellets for 4 minutes
- 1 ounce Glacier pellets for 1 minute
- 1056, WL001, 1028 or any of the great English ale strains
There are so many options on the hop additions and timing... more hops at flameout, into the whirlpool or a dry hop.  I make so many different pale ale recipes my tap handle design (left) just says "Seasonal Pale Ale".
Details
OG: 1.052, FG: 1.014, IBU: 40, SRM: 7, ABV: 5%

English Ale:  ESB

Using authentic pale ale malt from the UK along with British Crystal (I happen to like Thomas Fawcett), some torrified wheat, UK hops and English ale yeast, you can create some delicious English Pale Ales, English Summer Ales, bitters, EBS, Brown ales and more.  The English ale yeast strains like 1098, 1099, 1028, 1469 and 1968 lend great character to the beer and usually floc out to leave you with fantastic, clear ale.  This is a recipe I have made many times.  Feel free to experiment with the hops... East Kent Goldings and Styrian Goldings are often used here.  This is a style where I might try to boost the sulfate in my water to get that crisp, minerally character in the beer.  For 5 gallons w/30 minute boil:

- 8 lbs UK pale malt

- 8 ounces Thomas Fawcett British Dark Crystal #2

- 4 ounces Torrified Wheat

- 20-22 IBUs of Nugget pellets for 30 minutes

- 1 ounce East Kent or Styrian Goldings for 15 minutes

- 1 ounce East Kent or Styrian Goldings for 2 minutes

- Wyeast 1028, 1098, 1099, 1469 or 1968 ale yeast.  There are a number of other great yeast strains to try including 1728 and 1318.

Details
OG: 1.048, FG: 1.012, IBU: 36, SRM: 9, ABV: 4.5%

Memory Lapse Pale Ale

Years ago I put the recipe together for Memory Lapse Pale Ale.  It's probably not a pale ale at all.  Somewhere I heard the term "American Pub Ale" or simply "American Ale" and that's probably a much better description for this beer.  The beer was maltier, darker and less-hoppy in the early days and eventually it was made slightly more pale and a little hoppier.  It's easy to make either one and I'll show the changes below based on what you want to do.  The picture in the upper-left is older, bottom-right is newer. 

- 7.25 lbs pale ale malt or plain brewer's two-row malt

- 1 pound of C60 for the old recipe, 10 oz for the new one

- 12 ounces Wheat

- 24-25 IBUs of Mt. Hood pellets for 30 minutes (old)

- 28-30 IBUs of Mt. Hood pellets for 30 minutes (new)

- Wyeast 1056 or White Labs 001 or Omega West Coast.

This is a very straightforward and balanced ale regardless of which one you make.  Over the years I have gotten a lot of good comments about this beer, mainly from everyday beer drinkers but from beer enthusiasts and brewers too.  It's simple and refreshing.  It's not meant to WOW anyone.  It's for everyday drinking and it goes great with a wide variety of food.  This beer is on tap often here.

Details
OG: 1.050, FG: 1.012, IBU: 24-30, SRM: 8-10, ABV: 4.8%

Flat Earth Dark & Hoppy Wheat Beer

I was out one night and tried Two Brother's NITE CAT, a dark hoppy wheat beer.  Of course the fine people at Two Brothers had some information on their site about the beer and with typical homebrewer confidence I set out to try to make something in the same spirit.  This is delicious beer that comes very close to what I had that first time. 

 

- 5 pounds red or white wheat

- 4.75 pounds Pale Ale malt

- 4 ounces C80

- 2 ounces Midnight Wheat

- 20 IBUs of Magnum, Horizon, Nugget or other clean hop for    30 minutes 

- 1 ounce Citra pellets for 10 minutes

- 1 ounce Citra pellets for 2 minutes

- Wyeast 1056 or White Labs 001 or Omega West Coast.

Details
OG: 1.057, FG: 1.013, IBU: 42, SRM: 12, ABV: 5.5%

Home Run Red Lager (or Ale)

I've been making this beer for a long time.  When I used to make it as an extract beer, the amber extract had enough red in it that I didn't really need to worry about the color.  When I went to all-grain, I whiffed a few times trying to get the color just right.  It seemed like many people tried using dark grains like roasted barley or mignight wheat to get the red.  I agree that something dark is necessary because crystal malts seem like they will get you AMBER but you need something else that's dark to get you to red.  What I'm listing here is the latest recipe based on grains that are now available.  The malts I have found to contain the most RED are Special B, Thomas Fawcett Dark Crystal #2 and CaraAroma.  CaraRed and RedX may help.  RedX could work but I find CaraRed to be too pale... around a 20L° color.  In the past a good 6-8 ounces of Special B plus 6-8 ounces of C120 would get you a very red beer.  I actually made my red lager on the day I typed these very words and I got some very red wort today.  Behold... for 5 gallons w/30 minute boil:

 

- 6 pounds pilsner malt

- 2.5 pounds Vienna malt

- 6 ounces Belgian Special B

- 6 ounces CaraAroma

- ½ oz German Carafa III

- 18 IBUs of Magnum for 30 minutes 

- 1 ounce Hallertau pellets for 5 minutes

- 1 ounce Hallertau pellets for 2 minutes

- 1 ounce Hallertau pellets at flameout

- This recipe could use just about any good lager yeast.  2308, 2278, 2124, Omega Bayern, etc.

Details
OG: 1.052, FG: 1.012, IBU: 28, SRM: 15, ABV: 5.0%

Biergarten Pilsner

For a great Pilsner beer, use great pilsner malt like Weyermann Barke Pils.  If you haven't tried it, you owe it to yourself to check it out and also do a little homework on the background of Barke Pilsner malt.  It was grown years ago and eventually overlooked because it did not have the high yield that other barleys had.  But it's character was enough to make sure that farmers still grow it.  Apparently farmers tell Weyermann that as long as they will malt it, they will grow it.  Weyermann has told the farmers that as long as they grow it, they will malt it.  This malt makes a delicious helles as well but try it in your next pilsner.  I have made this recipe many times with various malts and tweaks but it's usually in the same zip code.

 

- 8 pounds pilsner malt

- 1.25 pounds Vienna malt

- 4 ounces CaraHell or Swaen Gold Hell

- 4 ounces CaraPils

- 20 IBUs of Magnum for 30 minutes 

- 1 ounce Hallertau pellets for 5 minutes

- 1 ounce Hallertau pellets for 2 minutes

- 1 ounce Hallertau pellets for 1 minute

- Wyeast 2124, Omega Bayern or White Labs 830 lager yeast.

Details
OG: 1.052, FG: 1.012, IBU: 27, SRM: 3.5, ABV: 5.0%

Cobblestone Kolsch

Kolsch is a pale-colored ale that originated and is very popular in the German city of Cologne, along the Rhine river.  It's an ale that is often cold-conditioned like a lager.  The beer is typically served in a tall, slender glass that is .20 liters.  Apparently the server carries the tray (shown on the label) and you don't order... they just keep them coming and mark how many you've had on a coaster or other piece of paper.  With the glass being so small, it makes sense that you might have a few.  Kolsch should have a dry, crisp character and it should also be made with a yeast that is specific to kolsch production... Wyeast 2565 is the one I have the most experience with but there is also White Labs 029 and also 036.  This yeast has the ability to ferment relatively cold for an ale yeast (58° on the low end) and it will lend a sort of fruity, acidic and wine-like character to the finished beer.  For those who don't like the sound of that, these are not IN-YOUR-FACE flavors... they're more subtle than that and the cooler the beer is fermented, the less of that character will be in the final beer.  Kolsch is a style that some US craft breweries have embraced as a way to introduce a refreshing, gold beer into their lineup without going through the work of producing a lager.  A kolsch might look like a pilsner to some people but if they hear the word "kolsch", they may not know what they're getting.  As a result of that, many breweries just called it a "blonde ale" or a "golden ale" and Goose Island just goes with "Summertime Ale" and then describe it as a "kolsch-style ale" in smaller print.  It seems to be a wide-open style if you look at various recipes but my gut tells me that the dedicated kolsch brewers of Cologne don't see it that way.  Pilsner malt makes up the majority of the grist.  Wheat is present in small percentages but not always.  You may see Vienna and/or CaraHell, CaraPils or CaraFoam.  There is also something called Cologne Malt... more on that below.  ABVs for Kolsch can vary from about 4.5% to 6% but they tend to be on the low-to-medium end of that.  The hops are often German Spalt but you will see Mt. Hood, Styrian Goldings, Northern Brewer, Perle and almost any clean, herbal hop.  You will also see recipes where there is only one hop addition and others with a bittering addition and then one more addition anywhere from 20 minutes to flameout.  I happen to like the later addition to enhance the crispness of the beer.  There is a local brewery here in Chicago that makes a kolsch (and calls it that) and they use Nugget and Santiam hops.  Probably not authentic but a delicious beer nonetheless.  If you keep the grist simple and try to stay in the lines when it comes to hops and then choose 2565 or one of the other yeast strains, you will probably make a very nice kolsch.  Kolsch yeasts are notoriously low-floccing so they should attenuate very nicely (great for a beer that should finish crisp and dry) but they may also end up cloudy.  Cold conditioning and/or fining will help.  A kolsch should be served brilliantly clear so... I hope you accept that challenge.  Here's a recipe I have made numerous times and I'm a fan... 5 gallons w/30 minute boil.

 

- 7 pounds pilsner malt

- 1 pound Vienna malt

- 8 ounces wheat

- 4 ounces CaraPils

- 18 IBUs of Spalt pellets for 30 minutes 

1 ounce Spalt pellets for 1 minute

- Wyeast 2565 Kolsch yeast

The picture to the left looks a little cloudy.  The beer was actually quite clear but condensation got in the way.  The beer was not at its best when I took that shot but eventually cleared nicely.  One issue I have with Kolsch is that I like to reuse yeast and I can't really find another use for the 2565.  If I do make a kolsch I often end up making TWO batches and I might play with the grist or hops.  There is a malt called COLOGNE MALT that is supposed to be an authentic ingredient.  I made back-to-back recipes and in the picture on the left, it was pilsner malt as the base and the glass on the right used Cologne malt and it's quite a bit darker.

Details
OG: 1.047, FG: 1.012, IBU: 20, SRM: 3, ABV: 4.5%

Mexican Beer Recipes

I have been to Mexico a few times and I have a fondness for some of their beers.  My ancestry is Austrian and on May 29, 1864, Austrian Maximilian I arrived in Veracruz as Mexico's new emperor.  Without getting into his cold reception, let's just say that Maximilian brought some of his brewers with him.  At the time, Pilsner and Vienna Lager were quite popular in Europe and the brewers that were in Mexico wasted no time in setting up some brewing infrastructure.  They made standard pilsners with a relative high hopping rate as they would have been made in Europe.  But it turned out that hops clashed with some of the spicy cuisine of Mexico, especially chiles.  The Vienna Lager (smoother and darker) turned out to be a great complement to the foods of Mexico and the local people began to embrace it.  The warm, tropical weather of the region inspired the brewers to make the beer at a lower gravity to make it more refreshing in the heat.  They also continued to brew the pilsner but at a lower hopping rate and also at a lower gravity as they did with the Vienna Lager.  As for Maximilian, he was captured and sentenced to death on May 16, 1867 but the history of Mexican beer was established.  The locals developed a taste for these beers and they became very popular.  Eventually in Europe, Vienna Lager fell out of favor until it was rarely seen.  But you can still find versions of it in Mexico that have been brewed there for 150+ years!  Eventually the brewers of Mexico introduced corn into the recipes because it was cheap and locally available and it would also help to lighten the body.  Some brewers say that corn will lend a certain sweetness to a beer which would also help moderate the heat of chiles in food.  

I first fell in love with Victoria Lager in Mexico at a small thatch-roofed cantina on the beach in Acapulco in 2002.  It had been brewed in Mexico since 1865 but wasn't available in the US until 2010.  There are other Mexican examples of Vienna lager in Dos Equis Ambar, Bohemia Oscura, Negra Modelo and also Indio and Leon which I believe are not sold in the US.  A beer like Shiner Bock might also fall into this category of a light-bodied dark lager that is malty and delicious.  It seems like most countries out there will brew a pale lager but if you ever find yourself wondering how Mexico got all of these dark lagers now you know.  It's no accident... Austrian brewers made these beers in Mexico many years ago and the style became a favorite.  Now, on with some recipes!

Cabana Lager
The first pale lager recipe I put together was Cabana Lager.  I wanted something that had a Mexican character and I wanted it to be pale but I didn't want it to be Corona... I wanted it to have character.  Eventually I took this recipe to use as my "American Lager" which is at the top of this page.  The only difference here is that you absolutely must use the Mexican Lager yeast 940 from White Labs.  For anyone who enjoys Modelo's beers, you will immediately recognize its character and it absolutely makes the beers in this section.
- 6 lbs Pilsner malt
- 2 lbs Vienna malt
- 1 lb flaked corn
- 4 ounces each of CaraHell and CaraFoam
- 18 IBUs of Magnum pellets for 30 minutes
- 1 ounce of Hallertau pellets for 5 minutes
- White Labs 940 Mexican Lager yeast.
Details

OG: 1.051, FG: 1.012, IBUs: 24, SRM: 3.5, ABV: 5%

Hacienda Lager
This is my version of Victoria Lager.  I have made this recipe dozens of times and tweaked it here and there.  It's the beer I fell in love with on my 10th anniversary back in Acapulco.  I have seen Modelo refer to this beer as a "Vienna-tipo beer" and also a "Vienna-Pilsner" beer.  It's a bit more pale than something like a Negro Modelo and it's lower in gravity at only 4%.  This latest iteration seems to be about as close as I can get.  I still make it around 4.5% but feel free to adjust the recipe to your preferences.  Use the 940 yeast to get that Victoria character.
- 5 lbs Pilsner malt
- 3.5 lbs Vienna malt
- 1 lb German Dark Munich (8-10L°)
- 1 lb flaked corn
- ½ oz German Carafa III
- 18 IBUs of Magnum pellets for 30 minutes
- 1 ounce of Hallertau pellets for 10 minutes
- White Labs 940 Mexican Lager yeast.
Details

OG: 1.045, FG: 1.012, IBUs: 24, SRM: 8, ABV: 4.4%

Bordertown Dark Lager
Here's my answer to Negra Modelo.  A dark and smooth lager that will go very nicely with many foods including anything spicy.  Again, the 940 yeast is important to get that great character.  This is probably one of the closest interpretations of a true Vienna Lager found in Mexico although the body is a bit on the light side.  I'm not necessarily saying that this *is* Negra Modelo because I can't know that.  Anytime I try to duplicate something I assume I will be able to get close and make something that's in the spirit of the original beer.  When I want to have a keg of pseudo-Negra Modelo on tap, this is what I make.  For 5 gallons w/30 minute boil:  
- 5.5 lbs Pilsner malt
- 3 lbs Vienna malt
- 1 lb flaked corn
- 6 ounces Belgian CaraMunich II 
- 2 oz German Carafa III
- 18 IBUs of Magnum pellets for 30 minutes
- 1 ounce of Hallertau pellets for 15 minutes
- White Labs 940 Mexican Lager yeast.
Details

OG: 1.050, FG: 1.013, IBUs: 26, SRM: 14, ABV: 4.8%

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