I have been asked in the past how I was able to formulate a recipe for homebrewing beer. Well, I guess it’s like formulating a recipe for anything. You have to take a keen interest in what you want to make
Learn more about beer.
Sounds simple, but there’s a lot to learn about beer. I certainly didn’t know how it was made or what things in beer made it taste the way it does. Learning more about the history of beer, the ingredients, and the process of brewing will help you create recipes.
Learn as much as you can about beer styles.
There are many different styles of beer. Thankfully, there are many sources of information available about the styles of beer. Read as much as you can about beer styles and you will find ones that interest you. From there, you can pinpoint which ones you would like to make on your own.
Brew a recipe or two (or 10).
Find a recipe for the style that you want to brew. BYO magazine provides many recipes. Brew-monkey.com and tastybrew.com have recipes too. Once you find one that you like, brew it up!
Have a taste test/comparison
Taste the beer you made and compare it to commercial versions of the same style. If you have a brew dude comrade, brew two different recipes of the same style and compare the homebrewed beer. Take notes. What do you like? What don’t you like? The answers to these questions should be used to adjust your recipe.
Create your own recipe
Once you have experience brewing the beer style, you will have the know-how and confidence to change, remove, or add ingredients or change the procedure of the brew like hops boil times or fermentation stages.
Software like BeerTools can help you to get your ingredient amounts in the right sizes to achieve your taste goals.
Experiment. Write things down. Get other people’s opinions. Soon you have a number of original recipes for traditional beer styles and styles of your very own.