Designing Beer with John Palmer – BeerSmith Podcast #188

John Palmer, the author of the book How to Brew joins me this week to discuss beer recipe design

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Topics in This Week’s Episode (51:14)

  • Today my guest is John Palmer. John is the author of the top selling home brew book in the world How to Brew as well as Water and Brewing Classic Styles (Amazon affiliate links for books). He has an extensive web site on brewing at
  • John tells us his starting point when he is designing a new beer recipe.
  • He shares how to determine the right mix of grains for a recipe and also how to avoid overdoing it with specialty grains.
  • We talk about some of the flavor characteristics of different grains.
  • John explains the harsh zone malts and why they must be used sparingly.
  • We talk about malt balance and how you achieve a beer that is greater than the sum of its parts.
  • John discusses the bitterness ratio and why it is important to achieve the right hop-malt balance for a given style.
  • We also talk about why every beer should not be brewed as an IPA.
  • John shares his thoughts on a variety of hop groups and the types of flavors those groups share.
  • We discuss the extensive use of whirlpool and dry hopping in beer to preserve hop aroma and also how this can affect the balance of the finished beer.
  • John tells us about some considerations that come into play when working with water including overall mineral content, mash pH and the sulfite/chloride ratio.
  • John shares thoughts on yeast and how to choose the appropriate yeast for a given style.
  • We briefly discuss carbonation and packaging, and John provides his closing thoughts.
  • We also talk briefly about the upcoming BYO bootcamp in Asheville NC where John and I will both be presenting all day seminars. There are still a few slots left if you would like to attend in March.


Thanks to John Palmer for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!
iTunes Announcements: I launched a new video channel for the BeerSmith podcast on iTunes, so subscribe now! At the moment it will only feature the new widescreen episodes (#75 and up). Older episodes are available on my revamped Youtube channel. Also all of my audio episodes are on iTunes now – so grab the older episodes if you missed any.

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