The Blog for Women Who Brew Beer

Basic Ale Recipe

This is the generic recipe for making a delicious ale.  You can try different specially grains, malt extracts, hops, and yeasts to suit your own taste.  This recipe is for a three gallon batch.  Multiply by 5/3 for a five gallon batch.

  • Specialty Malts:  Use 1 to 1.5 lbs of malted barley.  Lighter barleys make lighter ales.
  • 3 to 4 lbs Dry Malt Extract (DME).  I usually use 3 pound for a lighter bodied beer.  Use Pilsen or Light DME.
  • Hops: Use 0.5 to 1 oz. hops @ 60 minutes and 0.5 to 0.75 oz. hops @ 5 minutes. For a flavor not too strong and bitter (i.e. not an IPA), I like Fuggle and Hallertaur hops.
  • Yeast: White Labs Yeast Cream Ale Blend, California Ale, and Kolsch are my favorites.

Soak the specialty malts in a mesh bag in the water for at least 40 minutes, not letting the temperature raise above 160 degrees F.  Pull out the mesh bag and give the barley remains to the chickens or compost them.   Add the DME one cup at a time and stir, letting it fully dissolve before adding the next cup.   Bring the wort to a boil being very careful to avoid spill-over.  Keep a cup of cold water next to the pot that you can dump in if it starts to boil over.  This works better than turning off the stove.

Once a rolling boil is reached and the foam is down, add the 60 minute hops and look at the clock.  It should boil for 60 more minutes.  After 55 minutes, add the remaining hops.  Let boil 5 more minutes and then remove from stove.  Stick the pot in cold water and start the cooling process.   Once the wort is adequately cool, pour into the carboy, allowing for aeration with your pour.  Add the yeast.  Most yeast comes for 5 gallon batches but you can either add it all or add 3/5th of it.  I haven’t found any difference.  Put on the air lock, cover the carboy to keep out the light (I use an old cotton sweater), and put the carboy in a place where the temperature matches the yeast you are using.


9 Responses to “Basic Ale Recipe”

  1. atta said

    hello .

    may i know about DME what is that?also can u please send me the whole formula?


    have a nice day

    • Maggie said

      DME stands for Dry Malt Extract. You can also use liquid malt extract. This is barley malt in a purified form that you can use directly. If you make all-mash beer, you are using the barley grain itself and heating the brew in a particular manner to extract the malt. While lots of folks brew this way, it takes more time, more precision, and more equipment. I use the extract method along with some whole barley and the results are great.

      You can buy DME at any brew supply store.

      I hope that answers your question.

  2. Hi. Just wondering what specialty malts you prefer to use as I would like to try the recipe. thanks

    • Maggie said

      Hi Kelsie. I usually use crystal 10 or 20 or honey malt. If you have a brewing supply store near you, go and smell the specialty malts to see what you like. Have fun brewing!

  3. HI again! Do you add the Fuggle and boil for 60 mins then only boil the Hallertaur hops for 5 mins or vice versa?

  4. hello. Sorry I keep asking so many questions. Your recipe is is for 3 gallons but you say that you use a 2 gallon pot. It is that 3 gallons are produced? And how much water do I actually start with at the beginning? thanks again.

    • Maggie said

      Hi Kelsie. You can start with two gallons of water or less. This will boil down somewhat. After pouring the wort into the carboy, you add cool water to the carboy to get the full three gallons of water. Adding the cool water also helps the cooling process before adding the yeast. You might want to put three gallons in your carboy in advance to mark the water level so that you know how much cool water to add. I use tap water because our tap water is quite good. If you aren’t sure of the quality of your tap water, you might want to boil it first and then let it cool before adding it to the wort.

  5. p.s. My pot will only hold 3 gallons maximum.

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