Recipe Tips: Summertime Brews!

Recipe Tips: Summertime brews

May 2015, Jason Butler

With the 4th of July only 8 weeks away it’s time to start making your summertime brews. Living in Colorado most people spend plenty of time outdoors. Hiking, cycling, mowing the lawn or just grilling with the neighbors can leave you wanting a refreshing beer to counter the heat. Here are a few tips on how to build a recipe that will keep you going during the hot months ahead. Summertime

Low alcohol. While it’s nice to have a 10% ABV beer in December, your winter warmer isn’t welcome in July. A beer that is 4%-5% ABV can be light and refreshing. It also lets you have a few without having regrets the next day. Target an original gravity around 1.045.

Finish dry. Removing more of the sugars from the finished beer will keep it from being sweet and filling, instead leaving you with a thirst quenching finish that draws you back for another drink. Here are a few tips to help leave your beer with a dry finish:

  • Limit the use of crystal/caramel malts to 4% of the total grist (no more than 6 oz. in a 5 gallon batch). During the roasting process for crystal malts many of the sugars caramelize and become unfermentable, which is why they add body and sweetness to the finished beer.
  • Selecting a yeast with higher attenuation (75% or higher) will eat a larger percentage of the fermentable sugars.
  • Use a highly fermentable sugar like dextrose (corn-sugar) as part of the recipe (try 8 oz. in a 5 gallon batch).
  • For the all-grain brewers, mashing at 148-150 degrees and focusing on the top end of the optimal temperature range for the beta-amylase enzyme will produce a more fermentable sugar profile.

Balance. With less sweetness in a beer you need to keep the IBU’s in check or you’ll end up with a session IPA. Use the ratio of Bittering Units (IBU’s or BU’s) to Gravity Units (GU’s).  This will help keep the beer within style guidelines. GU’s are based on the original gravity of the beer, so a beer with an original gravity of 1.054 has 54 GU’s.

  • German Wheat .20 (10 BU’s and 49 GU’s)             (10/49=.20)
  • American Wheat .45 (22 BU’s and 48 GU’s)            (22/48=.45)
  • American Pale Ale .75 (39 BU’s and 52 GU’s)             (39/52=.75)
  • American IPA 0 (65 BU’s and 65 GU’s)             (65/65=1.0)

Mix it up. Changing the yeast and hop selections can provide variety and keep your beers interesting throughout the season. Try a saison yeast with a spicy hop, an American yeast with a citrusy hop or a Belgian yeast with a fruity hop. If you still want more variety try fruit additions or extracts to add another layer of complexity.


Tropical Wheat

All-Grain, 5.5 gallons into the fermenterWheat

OG:        1.046     FG:         1.010

ABV:      4.6%       IBU:       23

SRM:     5



4 lbs. Pilsner

4 lbs. Wheat

4 oz. Acidulated Malt

4 oz. Flaked Oats

4 oz. CaraRed or Crystal 20L

8 oz. Rice Hulls


1 oz. Palisade (5 minutes)

1 oz. Amarillo (5 minutes)

1 oz. Galaxy (5 minutes)

1 oz. Amarillo (Dry-hop)

1 oz. Galaxy (Dry-hop)




Wyeast 1450 – Denny’s Favorite 50 or Danstar Nottingham


Directions – Mash at 150 degrees with 3.25 gallons of water for 60 minutes. Sparge and collect 8 gallons of wort. Boil for 90 minutes adding hops at designated times. Cool wort, aerate and pitch yeast. After 2 weeks add dry hops to fermenter and wait 1 additional week. Bottle or keg.

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