Homebrewing is a great community and one way we share ideas is through recipes. For this post, we thought it would be good to discuss expressing recipes in a way that helps another brewer translate your formulation as closely as possible to what you brewed on your system. Let’s learn about how to present homebrew beer recipe grain bill amounts as percentages of the entire bill rather than measured weights, along with what may be some hang ups brewers have with recipe creation software.

How To Work With Percentages To Define Your Recipe’s Grain Bill

When I started out as a homebrewer, I was content to find recipes that were formulated for 5 gallon batches with some understanding of mashing efficiency being a factor. I never paid it too much attention since I was able to hit original gravity numbers as presented in the recipe. As time has gone on, that way of creating and following recipes doesn’t seem like the best way. Maybe the hobby has gotten more sophisticated, or maybe I have, but either way, I’d like to use this method of recipe formulation more often.
One reason for expressing grain bills in recipe as percentages is the ability to scale the batch size to whatever volume you are looking to brew. It comes in handy with scaling down craft beer recipes to your own homebrew amounts.

To start formulating your recipes, you need to know your mash efficiency. If you don’t know that, start with 75% efficiency as Mike uses in the video. You can use this percentage to plug into homebrewing software to calculate the amount of grains you need to use to get to the starting gravity of the beer you are trying to brew. If you have done some research on styles, you know that certain beers should have starting gravities in a certain range. With your mash efficiency, you can calculate the amount of grain you need to hit your starting gravity. With the amount of grain, you can use that to calculate the percentages of different types of grains to brew your beer.

Know The Math – Brew Better

With these percentages, you can then multiply these numbers to figure out how much (in weight) the grains you
need. In general, it’s good to know how to calculate these numbers on paper. Don’t get too dependent on brewing software. Remember that your reality may not match up with what the software is doing. Make sure you can work the number in case you need to tweak the recipe.

Brew On!

If you want, you can learn more about working with PPG and Specific Gravity here.