Session Beer Recipes A-G

                                                                             by Mike Retzlaff

These recipes are for 5 gallon batches and are based on 75% brewhouse efficiency.  Scale up or down depending on your system.  Add kettle finings and do all the normal things required to brew a batch of beer.  Don’t forget to acidify your sparge water!  (See Astringency in Techniques)

Shady Deal Schwarzbier    

  • German Pilsner malt                                  6#  4 oz.
  • German Dark Munich                                       12 oz.
  • Aromatic malt (or Munich 20)                         2 oz.
  • Briess Midnight Wheat (550 oL)                       6 oz.
  • Sterling hops    ~6% aa  (60 min.)                    1 oz.
  • Sterling hops    ~6% aa  (10 min.)                    1 oz.
  • W-34/70, or Wyeast #2124

Mash/grist ratio  1.2 : 1    (9 qts.)

Mash temp.  142 oF – 30 min. / 152 oF – 60 min.

90 min. boil

OG  1.040    (4.44% abv)    FG   1.006    

IBU  ~30     Color 20 oSRM     CO2  2.4 – 2.6 volumes

Hoožžter Fest

  • US 2 Row barley malt                          2#
  • US Vienna                                           3#  11 oz.
  • US Munich 10                                     1#
  • CaraMunich I                                                6 oz.
  • Dark Wheat (Weyermann)                            3 oz.
  • Special Roast (Briess)                                   3 oz.
  • Chocolate Rye                                              1 oz.
  • Tradition hops    ~4.3% aa  ( FWH)               1 oz.
  • Tradition hops    ~4.3% aa  (20 min.)            1 oz.
  • W-34/70 or Wyeast #2633

Mash/grist ratio   1.2 : 1    (9 qts.)

Mash temp.  142 oF – 30 min. / 154 oF – 60 min.

90 min. boil

OG  1.040    (4.3% abv)    FG   1.007    

IBU  ~28     Color 8.3 oSRM     CO2  2.4 – 2.6 volumes

Trappist Single

  • German or Belgian Pilsner                     6#  12 oz.
  • Sterling hops   ~6.1% aa  (60 min.)                   1 oz.
  • Sterling hops   ~6.1% aa  (15 min.)                 0.5 oz.
  • Sterling hops   ~6.1% aa (5 min.)                    0.5 oz.
  • WLP530 or Wyeast #3787

Mash/grist ratio  1.18 : 1    (8 qts.)

Mash temp.  153 oF – 60 min.

60 min. boil

OG  1.038    (4.3% abv)    FG   1.005    

IBU  ~32     Color 2.5 oSRM     CO2  2.6 – 2.9 volumes

Pale Mild

  • Briess Ashburne Mild             6#
  • Black Patent Malt                       2 oz.
  • Lyle’s Golden Syrup    8 oL      11 oz.
  • Glacier hops       ~5% aa             1 oz.  60 min.
  • Goldings hops    ~5% aa             1 oz.  30 min.
  • S-04, Wyeast #1028

Mash/grist ratio  1.18 : 1   (7.25 qts.)

Mash temp.  153 oF – 60 min.

60 min. boil

OG  1.037    (3.8% abv)    FG   1.008

IBU  ~34     Color  11.5 oSRM     CO2  1.4 – 2.0 volumes

DL Crystal Bitter

  • Maris Otter Pale Malt               4#  8 oz.
  • Carastan Crystal Malt   35 oL        8 oz.
  • Pale Wheat Malt                            4 oz.
  • Lyle’s Golden Syrup    8 oL           4 oz.
  • Glacier hops        ~5% aa              1 oz.      60 min.
  • Goldings hops     ~5% aa                 0.5 oz.   30 min.
  • Goldings hops     ~5% aa                 0.5 oz.     5 min.
  • Bullion hops                                     0.5 oz.  dry hop
  • Wyeast #1968 or WLP002

Mash/grist ratio  1.19 : 1   (6.25qts.)

Mash temp.  152 oF – 75 min.

90 min. boil

OG  1.035    (3.5% abv)    FG   1.008

IBU  ~30     Color  5.4 oSRM     CO2  1.4 – 2.0 volumes

None of these recipes are “bumped-up” Small beers.  

There is a balance in these recipes which really pleases me.  Try them out as written first.  Afterward, swap out the malt, hops, and yeast as you see fit. 

I find that the liquid yeasts don’t outperform the W-34/70 dry yeast in most lager applications . . . your mileage may vary.  Both lager recipes list a step mash.  Start the mash in your kettle at the lower end.  After the rest, stir the mash while slowly heating to the saccharification temp.  You can then transfer it to your mash tun to continue the conversion.

World Market (among other retailers) sells Lyle’s Golden syrup in squeeze bottles and the recipes reflect the weight of the syrup.  You really can’t substitute brown sugar or pancake syrup for it.  Greg H. has a fine article on inverting sugar.(Brewing Sugars III)  It is worth exploring and will broaden your perspective.

None of these recipes are complicated or tricky so relax and have some fun with them. 


*nota bene Ref. (Session Beers in Styles) & (Brewing Small & Session Beers in Techniques)

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