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10 Award-Winning Homebrew Recipes

10 Award-Winning Homebrew Recipes

Every new homebrewer dreams of creating the world’s next great beer. But before you craft a Pliny-level Double IPA on your own, you’re probably going to want to try your hand at some recipes. Here are 10 award-winners that go down easy.

Kraken Stout

Stout • Original Gravity: 1.061 • Final Gravity: 1.014 • ABV: 6.2% • IBUs: 48

It wasn’t an American Homebrewers Association medal, but James Kunz did get his stout on tap at three pubs in Denver after winning a local tournament with this clever brew. Not only is it delicious; it’s easy to brew. Instead of barrel-aging—something you probably don’t want to mess with early on in your brewing career—the recipe calls for you to soak the grains in Kraken Black Spiced Rum to impart those same boozy flavors. It’s smart, simple and mighty tasty. Recipe

Brisket in a Bottle

Rauchbier • Original Gravity: 1.056 • Final Gravity: 1.015 • ABV: 5.4% • IBUs: N/A

If you don’t like smoked beers, a beer named ‘Brisket in a Bottle’ is probably not going to be your cup of tea. If you’re a Rauchbier fan, however, this is the homebrew for you. An winner from 2009, it still works and still pairs perfectly with something off the grill. A Brisket in a Bottle and a brisket on a plate sounds pretty damn ideal. Recipe

Lion’s Share

Strong Ale • Original Gravity: 1.090 • Final Gravity: 1.026 • ABV: 8.6% • IBUs: 80

From Maltose Falcons, the legendary homebrew club with a Firestone Walker beer named after them, comes this multiple award-winning Strong Ale. Brewed first in 2012, it’s taken home its fair share of ribbons and high scores. Simcoe and Amarillo are the hops used, and Denny’s Favorite 50 (Wyeast 1450) gets the call in this 8.6% ABV brew. Not overly sweet but full-bodied and hoppy. Recipe

The Bearded Lady

Blackberry Stout • Original Gravity: 1.062 • Final Gravity: 1.017 • ABV: 6.5% • IBUs: 30

Taking home gold in the All American Homebrew Competition last year, The Bearded Lady offers a unique challenge to new brewers: fruit. Fear not, as long as you sanitize and keep things in order, adding some puree to your secondary isn’t all that tough. Plus, showing off a well-made Blackberry Stout will impress even the biggest beer nerd. Recipe

Mow the Damn Lawn

Lite American Lager • Original Gravity: 1.048 • Final Gravity: 1.008 • ABV: 5.3% • IBUs: N/A

Ah, the lawnmower beer. A crisp and refreshing beverage to cool down as you work under the rays of the sun. It’s the time for that American Lager. Instead of turning to one of the usual suspects—Bud, Miller, etc.—why not brew up your own? The process for a lager is different—fermentation is at colder temperatures and is a bit longer—but brewing a wonderfully crisp beer right now will put one in your hand right when yard work season begins. Recipe


American IPA • Original Gravity: 1.065 • Final Gravity: 1.014 • ABV: 6.7% • IBUs: 120

The IPA has been adopted as the craft beer of the United States. If you want to craft something hoppy and wonderful, try this winner from the 2010 National Homebrewers Conference. Hop-Fu is a beautifully hoppy (120 IBUs) American IPA that calls for a plethora of hops: Chinook, Warrior, CTZ, Simcoe, Amarillo, Citra, and Centennial. Just order a ton of pellets and get to work. Recipe

A Festbier for the Rest of Us

Märzen • Original Gravity: 1.056 • Final Gravity: 1.014 • ABV: 5.51% • IBUs: 24.6

It’s Seinfeld meets Oktoberfest. Märzens are such easy-drinkers that you shouldn’t have to wait until the twilight of the year to drink them. The malty brew works regardless of season. This recipe beat out over 150 others in the European Amber Lager category to snag top honors a couple of years back at the National Homebrewers Conference. Prost! Recipe

Opening Day Pale Ale

Pale Ale • Original Gravity: 1.060 • Final Gravity: 1.013 • ABV: 6% • IBUs: 53.3

Opening Day might bring to mind overpriced macrobrews, but to the homebrewer who enjoys America’s pastime, there’s a tastier way to celebrate. This Pale Ale packs a juicy citrus profile thanks to the use of Centennial and Simcoe hops. Plus, at 6% ABV, you can drink a few and still be alive to see the closer come in. Recipe

Brett Strawberry Farmhouse

Farmhouse Ale • Original Gravity: 1.055 • Final Gravity: 1.000 • ABV: 7.2% • IBUs: 19

This probably shouldn’t be the first beer you brew, but when you’re ready for a slightly more challenging project, and you’re a fan of the funk, we haven’t had many better than this winner from last year. It requires Shuksan strawberries—yes, strawberry varieties, like apple varieties, matter—coriander, orange peel, and Brettanomyces yeast. Pull it off and you’ll be left with a beer filled with farmhouse and fruity notes that can rival any limited fruit release from New Glarus. Recipe

Cheap Leather Jacket Barley Wine

American Barley Wine • Original Gravity: 1.112 • Final Gravity: 1.022 • ABV: 11.8% • IBUs: N/A

Brewing high alcohol beers is a challenge for the novice homebrewer, but if you want something that doesn’t hover in the 4% ABV category, this is a stellar recipe to try your hand at. How does it crank up the alcohol? How about a 4+ hour boil. In American Barley Wine fashion, it even gets balanced out with some nice hop notes. A tip of the hat to Alex Buerckholtz who won medals for this beer back in 2008. Recipe

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