Recipe Formulation Links

On August 28, 2013, in Homebrewing, Recipes, by Mark Ranes

BarleyAndWineListed below are some links mentioned during the session Stephen and I gave at Barley & Wine, on August 28, on recipe formulation. I’ve broken them up into five main areas, hops, malt, yeast and recipe aggregation sites and other resources.  This is by no means a comprehensive list, but should serve as a starting point for your recipe formulation adventures .





BYO’s Hop Chart

Hop Union’s Aroma Wheel

Hop Union’s Hop List

USA Hops Variety Manual



BYO’s Grain and Adjunct Chart

BeerTools Base Malts and Speciality Grains

Beersmith’s Grain, Sugar and Extract List

Old Republic Brewing’s Malt and Grain Guide



BYO’s Yeast Chart

White Labs Yeast List

Wyeast Yeast List

Mr. Malty’s Yeast Comparison Chart


Recipe Collections

 Lazy Brewer’s Recipes

BeerTools Recipes

BeerSmith Recipes and More

Brewtoad Recipes


Other Resources

Brewer’s Friend Recipe Calculator

Brewgr Recipe Calculator

BeerTools Pro Software

Beersmith Software

Designing Great Beers – Book

Brewing Classic Styles – Book



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Dust Bowl Beer Dinner

On March 14, 2012, in Brew Pubs, Craft Beer, Family and Friends, Food, General, by Mark Ranes
Caesar Salad paired with Son of Wrath IIPA

Caesar Salad paired with Son of Wrath IIPA

I had the privilege of attending Dust Bowl Brewing’s first beer dinner Monday evening, where they paired five courses of food with beers brewed by Don Oliver, Dust Bowl’s head brewer.  It was also a privilege to share the evening with our good friends, the Josts and the Verscheldens:) We decided to meet at the Josts and take a fifteen minute stroll to Dust Bowl’s Taproom, to avoid any possible issues with driving and multiple ales.  We arrived at 6:30 and were greeted by Don and co-owner Brett Honoré at the door.  I loved that Brett mentioned my recent homebrewer profile in the Turlock Journal, that ran alongside a great article about Don and Steve at Barley & Wine, our local homebrew supply store.

We ordered up a starter ale for the evening and I got my favorite, Don’s Red IPA.  Sadly, this ale will probably be going away soon as it relies heavily on Galaxy hops that are just not available in the quantities Don needs to brew this beer (or the Galaxy Pale Ale as well).  Get it while it lasts!

Wild Mushroom Soup paired with Buckwheat Ale

Wild Mushroom Soup paired with Buckwheat Ale

Don was the Master of Ceremony for the evening’s event, and before every course, Dust Bowl’s chef, Abel Larios, came out of the kitchen and described the food we’d be seeing shortly.  That was followed up by Don describing the beer, and the nuances of how the beer and food flavors would either complement (sweet to sweet) or contrast with (bitter to sweet or salty) each other.  He announced the first course, a Caesar Salad, paired with his Son of Wrath Double IPA.  The saltiness of the anchovies in the salad paired beautifully with the aggressiveness of the hops in IIPA.  This pairing was a hit!

The second course was an amazing wild mushroom cream soup – chock full of chunks of mushrooms, paired with Don’s Buckwheat Ale.  When I broke the skin (cream soups do this:) an aromatic burst of mushroom assaulted my nose, and a taste followed, by the Buckwheat Ale, proved to be a truly wonderful experience.  I’ve always like the Buckwheat Ale, as it is one of the signature ales that Dust Bowl puts out there.  I’m hoping to see this in bottles for retail sales some day!

Crab Cake paired with Red IPA

Crab Cake paired with Red IPA

The third course was an amazing, piping hot crab cake, smothered in Hollandaise sauce, with perfectly cooked asparagus arranged on top.  This was paired with my favorite, the Red IPA!  I mentioned to the ale server that the Red IPA was my favorite of the Dust Bowl brews, and he returned with an additional Red IPA after serving all of the other guests.  A very nice touch indeed!  The crab cake was perfectly cooked, and the Red IPA was a great paring to go with the flavors the course offered.

The fourth course was the main dish, an amazing filet mignon, covered in an mushroom sauce made with Don’s Stock Ale.  This was paired with a Scotch Ale that complemented the steak well.  The filet was cooked rare, to perfection, and the sauce made for an culinary orgasmic experience when paired with the Scotch Ale.  I savored this course and lingered over each bite.  I take great pride in my ability to cook beef at home, and rarely order red meat when I dine out, but this was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had in a restaurant.

Filet Mignon paired with Scotch Ale

Filet Mignon paired with Scotch Ale

We had yet to see a previously unreleased Dust Bowl ale, hinted at by Don in the weeks leading up to the dinner, so I figured we’d see it in the dessert course.  Sure enough, Don announced that we’d soon be enjoying a new beer to Dust Bowl’s line-up, a Russian Imperial Stout, paired with a raspberry drizzled chocolate lava cake.  The RIS was nice and dry, and paired beautifully with the sweetness of the chocolate cake.  It was a perfect final course to an amazing dinner!

Overall, for a first attempt, these folks hit a home run!  Don’s beers are a given, but the food we were served was amazing.  Cold dishes were cold, as they should be, and all four cooked courses arrived at the table at the appropriate temperature.  That’s no small task considering they were serving sixty plus diners.  Most amazingly, Abel’s filets were spot on!  I could tell there was much thought put into the beer and food pairings, and the result was exceptional.  Portion sizes on both the ales and food were perfect.  I left the taproom pleasantly full, not feeling bloated by a overdoing it on either.  The service by the Dust Bowl staff was top notch.  All of the servers worked the entire room, always there when you needed them, without being pesky:)

Raspberry Drizzled Lava Cake paired with Russian Imperial Stout

Raspberry Drizzled Lava Cake paired with Russian Imperial Stout

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Dust Bowl.  It doesn’t hurt that I met Don through our love of homebrewing, and he has a following of us that realize he’s living the dream many of us homebrewers have.  These folks brew great ales, and have brought some much needed life to Turlock’s downtown.  They are exactly the kind of business we need to revitalize our beautiful historic downtown area.  I’m looking forward to more of Dust Bowl’s special events, if this is any indication of what is to come.

Here’s a photo gallery of the evening’s fun!  Warning – lots of toasts!

Well done, Dust Bowl, well done:)

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My NHC Support Group, Steve, Me and Stephen!

My NHC Support Group, Steve, Me and Stephen!

Day three, the last day of NHC, has been amazing.  I attended four sessions led by brewing legends and another about homebrew club management and organization.  Today I attended the following breakout sessions:

Homebrew Club Organization Panel moderated by Drew Beechum

High Gravity Brewing with Patrick Rue of The Bruery

Recipe Building and Competition Tips with Gordon Strong

Collaboration Beers with Greg Koch of Stone Brewing

Workshop on American Hops with Matt Brynildson of Firestone Walker Brewing

The homebrew club panel was informative.  We’re looking for this kind of info as our club, The Central Valley Brewers Guild, grows.  Steve and I attended and we pulled a few good nuggets out of the session.  There was talk of having a pre-NHC workshop for homebrew club leaders at next years NHC in Seattle.  I’m definitely up for that:)

Greg Koch of Stone Brewing with his eyes covered!

Greg Koch of Stone Brewing with his eyes covered!

Simply put, Greg Koch, of Stone Brewing, is an manic, crazy genius!  He body surfed our session and I’m proud to say that at one point I supported his left buttock as he passed over head.  It was a lively session with much info and frivolity.  My first NHC quote of the day came from the session.  During the Q&A session, someone asked if there was a chance of Double Bastard becoming a year-round Stone offering, rather than becoming available at the beginning of the holiday season in early November.  Greg quickly replied that it is offered at the “Beginning of Double Bastard season.” A great off the cuff line:)

The best session of the day was led by Matt Brynildson.  He is so much the “every man” brewer and relates incredibly well to the homebrewing community.  His session on American hops was full of useful information and statistics on American hops and their use in brewing craft and homebrewed beers.  He also offered up the best ale selection of any session I attended at NHC this year, and German style hefeweizen, Hemp Ale, Union Jack and Double Jack.  Thankfully I had saved my daily alcohol allotment for this session:)

Matt Brynildson of Firestone Walker Brewing

Matt Brynildson of Firestone Walker Brewing

The second quote of the day came from this session during the pouring of Matt’s ales.  One of the NHC pouring volunteers, with (good) attitude, said to us, “I’ve got a lot of beer back there. You guys have got to hurry the hell up!” in our sampling drinking:)

We’re off to the Grand Banquet and Awards Ceremony in a bit.  Hopefully my barleywine and vanilla porter will bring home the gold!  Cross your fingers for me!

Me, Matt, and Stephen - taken by Dr. Tommy's son!

Me, Matt, and Stephen - taken by Dr. Tommy's son!

Cheers to Matt!  Thanks for the awesome ales!

Cheers to Matt! Thanks for the awesome ales!

The volunteers make this conference as good as it is!  Thanks!

The volunteers make this conference as good as it is! Thanks!

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Cookie Dough Brown Ale In Glass

On April 26, 2011, in Homebrew Gadgets, Homebrewing, Recipes, by Mark Ranes
Cookie Dough Brown Ale Tap Handle

Cookie Dough Brown Ale Tap Handle

I now have ten gallons of Cookie Dough Brown Ale sitting in a couple carboys.  I’d love to take credit for the inspiration for this wonderful ale, but that goes to my brew buddy, Stephen.  The idea came to him one day when he was sitting around (probably with an ale in his hand:) thinking about how to take his Brew Barn Brown Ale to the next level, and the idea of adding dark brown sugar and raisins to the batch came to him, to give it a deeper, cookie-like quality.  He brews the ale as an imperial, but I scale it back a bit in the OG to make it a bit more of a session ale.  This is the third time I’ve brewed this ale and it just seems to get better with every batch.  The one I have on tap right now is easily in the top five best ales I’ve ever brewed.

This beer was also my inaugural run using my new Therminator plate chiller, and I was on edge throughout most of the brew session, knowing that a big change was coming to my process at the end of the day.  On top of the chilling process change, I haven’t brewed for at least three months, so overall, the brew day was just a bit out of the ordinary.  I chased my mash temps, and I forgot to add the Whirlfloc tablets at the end of the boil. In the end, I made beer:)

Here’s the recipe for Cookie Dough Brown Ale:

Cookie Dough Brown Ale
10-C American Brown Ale
Author: Mark Ranes
Date: 04/25/11

Size: 10.08 gal
Efficiency: 69.06%
Attenuation: 79.0%
Calories: 212.53 kcal per 12.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.064 (1.045 – 1.060)
Terminal Gravity: 1.013 (1.010 – 1.016)
Color: 24.6 (18.0 – 35.0)
Alcohol: 6.66% (4.3% – 6.2%)
Bitterness: 37.9 (20.0 – 40.0)

12.0 lb Golden Promise Malt
8.0 lb Pale Ale Malt
2.0 lb Brown
1.0 lb Cara-Pils® Malt
1.0 lb Chocolate Malt
1.0 lb Crystal 120
1.5 oz Northern Brewer (8.0%) – added during boil, boiled 60.0 min
1.5 oz Centennial (10.0%) – added during boil, boiled 20.0 min
2.0 tsp Wyeast Nutrient  – added during boil, boiled 15.0 min
2.0 ea Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 15.0 min
1.0 lb Dark Brown Sugar – added during boil, boiled 10.0 min
12.0 oz Raisins – added during boil, boiled 10.0 min
2.0 oz Centennial (10.0%) – added during boil, boiled 0.0 min
2.0 oz Northern Brewer (8.0%) – added during boil, boiled 0.0 min
2000 mL White Labs WLP001 California Ale
2.0 oz Cascade (5.5%) – added dry to secondary fermenter
2.0 oz Northern Brewer (8.0%) – added dry to secondary fermenter

Therminator Set Up

Therminator Set Up

Overall, the chilling process with the Therminator went well.  Man, that plate chiller can drop the wort temperature fast!  I was a bit out of sorts with my anal retentive need to super clean the plate chiller though.  I had lots of problems with the March pump cavitating, while trying to repeatedly forward and reverse flush the Therminator.  And the hop bit just seemed to never stop coming out of the chiller.  Steve uses a sump pump for cleaning the chiller, and I got one for these from Mrs. Lazy Brewer for Christmas, but it was the one part of the system I didn’t take the time to flesh out all of the fittings for, so it wasn’t ready.  It will be the next time I brew:)

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