That low rumble you heard last week was the sound of homebrewers nationwide taking a break from gazing lovingly at their gurgling carboys to cheer. The reason for their ovation? The American Homebrewers Association unveiled its inaugural 50-State Commercial Beer Clone Recipes Guide, a collection of recipes that enable homebrewers to perfectly replicate (or at least get pretty damn close to) popular beers from existing breweries across the nation.
“For homebrewers, brewing is a means of artistic expression, so they like to create their own recipes, but we also see a lot of attempts to recreate commercial beers,” says Steve Parr, the AHA’s assistant director. “Clone recipes have always been really popular. With this list, they can take these existing recipes and either copy them exactly, or maybe improve upon them by adding their own special twists.”
The AHA compiled the list, which features recipes scaled down to five- or 10-gallon batches, after reaching out to breweries nationwide. Highlights include classic, well-regarded brews like Russian River Pliny the Elder, Alaskan Smoked Porter, Three Floyds Alpha King, Bell’s Two Hearted, and even Moonlight Meadery’s award-winning melomel, Desire.
You might think that many breweries would be reticent to share the secrets of their most sought-after beers, but AHA web editor Duncan Bryant, who compiled the list, says most of the breweries he contacted were more than willing to make their recipes available. “Many of these brewers started as homebrewers, so I think they have a special place in their hearts for the guys who are still making beer at home,” he says.
Indeed they do; while some of the brewers on the AHA’s list are making their recipes available for the first time, others have been sharing them for years.
- MadTree Brewing Co. in Cincinnati, Ohio, has downloadable recipes for all of its year-round beers posted on its website. The brewery even has a dedicated email address—firstname.lastname@example.org—for homebrewers in need of assistance.
- Portland, Oregon’s Gigantic Brewing Co. maintains recipes for most of its beers here. They’re the exact recipes for the production beers, but they’re only scaled down to one barrel (31 gallons), so homebrewers with a smaller setup will need to do a little math.
- After AB-Inbev’s acquisition of homebrew equipment supplier Northern Brewer in 2016, Minneapolis’ Indeed Brewing Co. pulled the clone recipe kits for Day Tripper pale ale and Midnight Ryder black IPA it had made available through the company and decided to post the recipes right on its website. The recipes are scaled to five gallons and are tweaked for all-grain or extract brewing setups.
- Boulevard Brewing Co. in Kansas City, Missouri, will share its recipes with anyone who emails in asking for one. Recipes aren’t scaled down to a particular batch size, but rather break the ingredients down into percentages: 77% pale malt, 13% Munich malt, 4$ Caramel 50, etc. You can contact them here.
- Beloved Austin farmhouse brewery Jester King shares recipes for Black Metal, Commercial Suicide and Wytchmaker here, and recipes for Le Petit Prince, Boxer’s Revenge, Ol’ Oi, RU55, Das Uberkind and the Provenance Series here. As with Boulevard, the ingredients are presented as percentages of the total—and you may have to do a little legwork securing some funky bacteria for fermentation.
- Deschutes Brewing Co. has made “blueprints” of its beers available for homebrewers since 2011. These aren’t true recipes; they include a full ingredients list and provide information like boil time, fermentation temperature and original gravity, but omit the info you’d need to recreate the beer perfectly. The brewer instead poses the recipes as a challenge to skilled homebrewers: Here are the nuts and bolts of our beers; can you turn them into a working machine?
- Ballast Point Brewing Co. first came to life in the back of San Diego’s Home Brew Mart in 1996; in homage to its homebrewing roots, the brewery debuted its Homework Series in 2015. Each beer in the series comes packaged with the exact recipe used to brew it, and they’re all also available online.