I was at Maryland Homebrew a couple months ago and asked Chris there if she had ever just cobbled together a homebrew recipe from leftover ingredients. She referred to this as “trashcan beer,” the idea being that you just throw a bunch of stuff together and see what comes out. Of course, she said. She is always helpful and full of good ideas, and suggested that I make a list of the ingredients I plan to use, and offered to look at it and make suggestions. The best tip she gave is to keep good records. You never know when you might accidentally create the next great beer you will want to replicate.
When I got home I plugged in my ingredients into Beer Smith to see what style I might be able to build. The ingredients are all good and the only thing I need to buy is yeast. This is what I have on hand:
9.4 oz Corn, Flaked
8.0 oz Oats, Flaked
6.4 oz Pale Malt (6 Row)
2 lbs 5.0 oz Light Dry Extract
13.6 oz Corn Sugar (Dextrose)
0.25 oz Cascade [5.50 %] – Boil 60 min
0.50 oz Hallertauer [4.80 %] – Boil 10 min
1.0 pkg Nottingham Yeast
I will mash the corn, oats, and malt in two quarts of water at about 150 degrees for an hour, then sparge with four gallons of water at 168 degrees. Something like that. I suspect I can tweak all this to make it a bit more efficient than the 65% Beer Smith is predicting.
The software estimated that this would produce three gallons of beer with about 6.6% alcohol and 16.3 IBU. That is about my speed on both counts. All the variables fit with this being a Belgian pale ale. Works for me. Not bad for throwing a bunch of leftovers together.
Have you ever done this? How did it come out?