Thursday, May 31, 2012

Base Malts Used in "Brewing Classic Styles"

At some point, I decided to build a series of spreadsheets where I could enter my current grain/hops/yeast inventory and the document would output which recipes in Jamil's "Brewing Classic Styles" (BCS) book that I could brew. It is a fun little tool and is useful for assessing the 'what to brew?' question if I wake up one morning with an itch to get something in a fermentor.  BCS is a marvelous resource for learning unfamiliar styles or to be used as a "style-barometer'.  If you do not have a copy of BCS, please don't ask me for the spreadsheet.  Go buy the book - its the best book in both Tom and my collections.

To make the recipe/inventory spreadsheet work, I loaded in all the ingredients for each BCS recipe to act as a look-up table.  In doing so, I kept finding myself look at which ingredients were used most often throughout the 80+ recipes in the book.  As I started analyzing them, I noticed that the use of certain malts or hops was more predominate than others.  By examining this, I was able to uncover several holes in my personal inventory where I did not have some of these popular ingredients.  Eventually, I found the information useful/interesting enough that the light bulb went off to share some of this information on the blog.   

If a brewer were to brew all 80+ recipes in BCS, it would take 1,197 lbs of grains and sugars, 207 ounces (~13 lbs) of hops, and 88 vials of yeast.  With regards to base malt, the chart below illustrates which types of base malt are used in highest quantity.  After putting this bar chart together, I almost immediately made a note to pick up some Maris Otter malt as my inventory is currently void of English Pale Malt

In addition to the above chart, several other charts were generated for other BCS Ingredient.  The links for each chart will be updated as they are published.
This project is a bit open-ended, so please let me know what you think or if there are other ways in which this data can be useful to fellow homebrewers.



"The best way to die is to sit under a tree, eat lots of bologna and salami, drink a case of beer, then blow up."

-Art Donovan


  1. This is very interesting. I've brewed about a quarter of my way through my Classic Styles book. I love it. I tend now to use it more as a reference on percentages of hops or grains in recipe formulation than as a recipe book. I'd love to check out your spreadsheet. That's a great idea! I typically spend a lot of time prepping my recipes and ingredients, but there have been a few times where I just brewed something up last minute. Thanks! @goodbeernut

  2. Scott,

    Thanks so much for the compliment and the feedback. It sounds like you and I have very similar habits about planning for brew sessions. Shoot me an email [jeff (at) lugwrenchbrewing (dot) com] and we can chat more about the spreadsheet.




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