In land of the blind the one eyed man is king… In home brewing, those who have that little bit of extra knowledge will always create better brews while the rest rack their brains trying to figure out why their brew has that off-flavor they detest and can’t rid themselves of…

There’s an old adage spread across the home brewing industry that says “If you brew beer right, you get beer… if you screw it up, you get beer…”

That’s the good thing about brewing beer, but why not brew a better one?


I think I’m quitting watching TV so I can spend more time brewing! Thank you for putting together this blog, it has been extremely helpful.

I am going to brew a kit I bought, but I have a question about the recipe. The recipe is a generic recipe they use for all their kits and it says to do only a 30 minute boil, but from what I’ve read here a 60 minute boil is what I should do?

What are the pro’s and con’s of either?

Here’s what’s on my recipe:

70g Roast Barley
200g Light Crystal Malt
200g British Pale Malt
3Kg Light LME
42g East Kent Golding Hops
34g East Kent Golding Finishing Hops
Nottingham Dried Yeast

Also, I want to brew 19 liters instead of the 23 liters the recipe calls for.


Nottingham, UK


Never say never, or always, huh?

See, there is a rule of thumb that bittering hops are added at 60 minutes, flavoring hops at 15 and finishing or aroma hops at <5 minutes.

However, there are many beer styles that don’t use flavoring or finishing hops. I for example have a batch of German Wheat fermenting, and ready to be racked tomorrow. I only added one ounce of hops for “bittering” and no finishing or flavoring hops. I put quotation marks around “bittering” because I used Hallertau hops which is a low alpha acid hop and it doesn’t really bitter.

My point is, wheat beer is not supposed to be bittered and it’s not supposed to have aroma, so the whole rule of boiling for 60, 15, 5 doesn’t apply.

Similarly, other recipes will only have you boil hops for no more than 30 minutes if they don’t want the beer to be too bitter.

Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t boil for 60 minutes and add the hops 30 minutes before the boil ends.

The benefit?

The longer you boil the greater the chances that you coagulate all the proteins from the malt which will make your beer clear and take off DMS flavor.

Then again, some beer styles actually want a low DMS flavor, so a shorter boiling time is given…

Now, about making this a smaller batch… If you reduce the amount of water used, you’ll need to reduce the amount of ingredients proportionally.

If you don’t, your beer will be denser and it will change the overall flavor of the beer. You can get esters and fruity flavors because of it. Also, a denser boil will not allow you to extract as much bitterness out of the hops which will make your beer taste maltier than it was originally intended.

My recommendation is to brew the beer according to the recipe, until you gain enough experience to know what you are brewing and what you can change to make it taste better.

Looking at your recipe it looks like you are brewing an Irish Red Ale, which has a moderate caramel malt flavor and tofee-like quality which comes from the crystal malt. It has a medium-low hop bitterness and no flavor hops… that’s why you are only boiling hops for 30 minutes and 5 minutes…

Also, Irish Red Ales have an initial sweetness and a roasted dryness in the finish which comes from the Roast Barley… and keep in mind that this type of barley will add some bitterness… or at least make it appear so? If you boil for 60 minutes, your beer may turn out too bitter not only for the style, but for your taste so be careful when changing hop addition times and always know why you are doing so…

That’s more or less what you are shooting for and assuming that it is an Irish Red Ale style beer that you are brewing, then your Original Gravity should be between 1.044 and 1.060.

With that being said, rules are meant to be broken and it sounds like you’ll be brewing a tasty beer if you stick to the recipe…

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