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General Category => Beer Recipes => Topic started by: ccfoo242 on February 28, 2012, 05:25:56 PM

Title: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: ccfoo242 on February 28, 2012, 05:25:56 PM
At what point can someone legitimately say a recipe is theirs, or uniquely theirs?
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: BrewArk on February 28, 2012, 05:29:12 PM
At what point can someone legitimately say a recipe is theirs, or uniquely theirs?
When you use only materials that nobody else has ever used. ;)
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: bluesman on February 28, 2012, 05:44:52 PM
This is an ongoing discussion, but I think a recipe is one thing and the brewing/fermentation process is another. It's the recipe and the process that makes "the beer". So a recipe is only part of the picture.

As far as "the recipe" goes , for example, Pliny the Elder is a recipe that can be found on the internet. If I were to brew that beer, I would credit Vinnie C. as the creator of the recipe but I would take ownership of "the beer" a clone of Pliny the Elder developed by Russian River.
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: tschmidlin on February 28, 2012, 05:46:29 PM
I think it's up to you to decide.  I made a clone of a beer a while back that combined two different published clone recipes of the same beer - I would call that my recipe.  Other times I'll come up with a recipe on my own that ends up remarkably similar to someone else's published recipe, but that's still my recipe.  Other times I'll start from a published recipe and diverge after a few times brewing it.  That is my recipe too, but I don't hesitate to tell people the history of the recipe if they are interested ("my recipe is based on one from my LHBS, but I did this and this").

Still, it's a lot easier to say "my Pliny recipe" than to say "it's a Pliny the Elder clone that is kind of a mish-mash of Vinnie's homebrew PtE recipe and McDole's recipe for Pliny's Hammer with a tweak to the gravity and some rearranging of the malt and hops based on what I had and could find.  Oh, and I used palm sugar instead of table sugar, just for fun."
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: Jimmy K on February 28, 2012, 06:24:48 PM
I think all that matters is that you are comfortable with whatever you're calling it, since recipes are only a starting point and brewing technique is responsible for most of the quality in a beer. I think of it like music - rock and pop musicians look down on cover bands, but classical musicians have been playing other people's music for centuries.
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: ccfoo242 on February 28, 2012, 06:40:12 PM
I don't think I should mess with existing recipes until I understand my process better and can reproduce the same batch. I just wasn't sure how protective people were of their "creations."
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: tschmidlin on February 28, 2012, 06:42:44 PM
It's easy to stick to a recipe if you're buying kits since it all comes as one package, but if you are trying to put together the ingredients to brew a published recipe you might need to make some substitutions.  Feel free to ask for advice.
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: Joe Sr. on February 28, 2012, 06:43:59 PM
Honestly, the times I've stuck to a recipe are very few.  Maybe the first time I brew it, and then it starts to evolve and follows what Tom said and becomes my recipe for that beer.

Even with recipes I've created from scratch, which would be mine, and brewed for years, they're always getting tweaked either for available ingredients or to tweak the flavor or whatever.

All of our recipes are pretty much derivative anyway. 
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: weithman5 on February 28, 2012, 06:59:14 PM
I don't think I should mess with existing recipes until I understand my process better and can reproduce the same batch. I just wasn't sure how protective people were of their "creations."

if they are protective of their creations they wouldn't share it.  i create recipes for the taste i am trying to hit.   i often look at published recipes of the style and see how much they vary from one to the next.  and as Tom said, a lot depends on what is available. My Heilge Nacht was supposed to be a bock type beer.  I didn't have as much as I wanted and ended up dumping my grain stores in to it.  oat meal, rye, pilsner, some vienna, munich then homegrown hops.  people post recipes because they want comments, and we like to share our hobby a lot.
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: snowtiger87 on February 28, 2012, 07:13:52 PM
I think most recipes I find are too complicated (grain-bill wise). I find myself questioning the need for some grain additions so I usually simplify them. For instance, I say "It can't be a German beer if you use over 3 different grains".
Title: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: denny on February 28, 2012, 07:27:48 PM
I don't think I should mess with existing recipes until I understand my process better and can reproduce the same batch. I just wasn't sure how protective people were of their "creations."

A lot of people brew quite a few of my recipes.  I always ask that people brew it exactly as written the first time.  That way, you have a baseline if you want to make changes in the future.


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Title: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: denny on February 28, 2012, 07:29:31 PM
I think most recipes I find are too complicated (grain-bill wise). I find myself questioning the need for some grain additions so I usually simplify them. For instance, I say "It can't be a German beer if you use over 3 different grains".

No offense, but who are you to decide?  There's nothing wrong with simple recipes, and there's nothing wrong with complicated recipes, as long as you have a reason for every ingredient being there in either type.


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Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: tschmidlin on February 28, 2012, 07:53:22 PM
I think most recipes I find are too complicated (grain-bill wise). I find myself questioning the need for some grain additions so I usually simplify them. For instance, I say "It can't be a German beer if you use over 3 different grains".
I'm a little different.  If it tastes like a German beer to me, then it is one.  I usually don't know the recipes anyway.  If the brewer wants to call it something else, that's fine too.
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: corkybstewart on February 28, 2012, 08:07:19 PM
I've made all my recipes from scratch since around 1998, so I consider them mine.  when I started creating recipes I might read 15 or more published recipes to get a feel for what others have done, but when it came time to actually write my recipe all books, magazines, websites, forums etc are closed and I come up with the recipe.  Then to make it even more mine I do an inventory or ingredients on hand and adapt my new recipe to what I actually have around, thus there is one more layer or separation between me and published recipes.
A few years ago a bunch of us over at realbeer.com came up with a recipe(actually one for AG and one for extract) and had Austin Homebrew put together kits with the ingredients for the ESB we all decided on.  Then everybody brewed it and we sent a couple of bottles of our beer to 3 other participants.  The differences were really outstanding so it was very obvious that recipe and even ingredients play a small part in brewing a beer.
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: weithman5 on February 28, 2012, 08:17:37 PM
I think most recipes I find are too complicated (grain-bill wise). I find myself questioning the need for some grain additions so I usually simplify them. For instance, I say "It can't be a German beer if you use over 3 different grains".

No offense, but who are you to decide?  There's nothing wrong with simple recipes, and there's nothing wrong with complicated recipes, as long as you have a reason for every ingredient being there in either type.


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i agree, i usually brew mostly german beers, and most of the main styles in the BJCP will really need a simple grain bill, but take a look at germanbeerinstitute.com and you can see the complexity of the possibilities and a varied grain bill may be in order to hit the taste you want.  (emphasis on what YOU want)
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: firedog23 on February 28, 2012, 08:43:02 PM
That I am the one who has to clean all of my equipment to include stubborn, stuck on krausen out of my carboys. Until someone else wants to clean for me, then they are mine.

 That and I am having fun making up my own for the time being. ;D
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: majorvices on February 28, 2012, 09:33:32 PM
All the recipes I brew now are mine. aside from a handful of Charlie P. recipes I brewed years ago the only clones I have brewed in the last several years have been "the" dry stout recipe (the well known Guinness clone)  and a Pliny the elder kit I ordered from B3 around 7 years ago basically because it was easier and cheaper to get that quantity of hops. and I just wanted to try Pliny but couldn't get out to California.  ;)

If you sit down and have an idea of what beer you want to brew and you design the recipe - even if you look at several other recipes to see what other people are doing - then it is yours. You can certainly get ideas from other people, but if you brew Denny's BVIP and increase the munich malt or raise the bittering units slightly then it is still denny's recipe.
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on February 28, 2012, 09:43:00 PM
I've made all my recipes from scratch since around 1998, so I consider them mine.  when I started creating recipes I might read 15 or more published recipes to get a feel for what others have done, but when it came time to actually write my recipe all books, magazines, websites, forums etc are closed and I come up with the recipe.  Then to make it even more mine I do an inventory or ingredients on hand and adapt my new recipe to what I actually have around, thus there is one more layer or separation between me and published recipes.
A few years ago a bunch of us over at realbeer.com came up with a recipe(actually one for AG and one for extract) and had Austin Homebrew put together kits with the ingredients for the ESB we all decided on.  Then everybody brewed it and we sent a couple of bottles of our beer to 3 other participants.  The differences were really outstanding so it was very obvious that recipe and even ingredients play a small part in brewing a beer.
This is a good club activity.  Our club has done this a few times.  Recipes are 10% of what makes a beer in the end, in my book.

 Equipement and the procedures one uses with the equipement are much bigger parts of the equation.  Ingedients are also a big part.  How fresh are the ingredients?  If the recipe says Maris Otter, which malster selected will have a big influence on the beer.
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: tschmidlin on February 28, 2012, 10:04:30 PM
"the" dry stout recipe (the well known Guinness clone)
Where is that published?  I'd like to look at it.  Does it go by another name?
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: weithman5 on February 28, 2012, 10:08:48 PM

This is a good club activity.  Our club has done this a few times.  Recipes are 10% of what makes a beer in the end, in my book.

 Equipement and the procedures one uses with the equipement are much bigger parts of the equation.  Ingedients are also a big part.  How fresh are the ingredients?  If the recipe says Maris Otter, which malster selected will have a big influence on the beer.

+1.  I think it was Denny that recently said he had judged a contest that had 3 different entries of one of his recipes and all three were different and not like his when he brews it. (sorry Denny if I am attributing this incorrectly to you)
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: bluesman on February 29, 2012, 12:19:24 AM
By and large, most of the recipes I use are created by me. I usually have an idea or flavor profile that I'm targeting, and the recipe is born. It may or may not closely resemble some other recipe out there in the great wide world of beer recipes, but I call it mine. Recipes aren't copyrighted as far as I know so feel free to call it your own.  :)
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: snowtiger87 on February 29, 2012, 07:24:14 PM
"No offense, but who are you to decide?  There's nothing wrong with simple recipes, and there's nothing wrong with complicated recipes, as long as you have a reason for every ingredient being there in either type."

None taken. I decide when its my beer - or rather the beer that I am going to brew. That is what makes it "my recipe". I too have some recipes with complicated grain bills. However, my style of brewing is to lean to the simpler side, at least in recipe formulatoin.

Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: bo on March 01, 2012, 05:48:35 PM
If you follow the recipe perfectly, then it's not yours, but if you change grain/hop proportions, mashing temps, yeast, etc. IMO it's yours.
Title: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: denny on March 01, 2012, 06:11:09 PM

This is a good club activity.  Our club has done this a few times.  Recipes are 10% of what makes a beer in the end, in my book.

 Equipement and the procedures one uses with the equipement are much bigger parts of the equation.  Ingedients are also a big part.  How fresh are the ingredients?  If the recipe says Maris Otter, which malster selected will have a big influence on the beer.

+1.  I think it was Denny that recently said he had judged a contest that had 3 different entries of one of his recipes and all three were different and not like his when he brews it. (sorry Denny if I am attributing this incorrectly to you)

You're darn close.  It was at NHC in Orlando.  I was presented with at least 6 versions of my Rye IPA recipe to taste.  None of them tasted like the other, and none of them tasted like mine.


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Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: deepsouth on March 01, 2012, 06:34:16 PM
i think if you brew the beer, it's yours, whether you copied a recipe or not.  i'm not sure it's possible to brew an exact clone of any given recipe given the factors of different water, malts from different makers, etc....

that said, i'd still call it a clone when asked, but knowing that it's not the same as the beer i was attempting to reproduce.
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: Slowbrew on March 01, 2012, 08:41:10 PM
I don't think I've ever made a recipe that was exactly what was written down.  I always change something if only hopping rates.  Things like the recipe calling for .5oz. of this hop at 5.4%  and I have that hop at 5.7% but I don't bother to adjust the amount.  The beer I made is mine. 

I regularly make recipes that still have the original name from the recipe I started with, but the original creator wouldn't recognize what I made as their beer.

If I make it, it's mine and one of a kind.   ;D

Paul
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: tubercle on March 01, 2012, 10:40:29 PM
I don't use a recipe as such; more of guide lines. I know what goes in a cream ale, stout, etc...but have never made the same twice. A little more or less of this or that, different hops and hop schedule. Usually FWH but the "15" may turn into "25" if I decide to boil down a little further. Toast my own specialty grains.

You get the idea. Everything I make is mine.
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: tschmidlin on March 02, 2012, 06:31:02 AM
There's no doubt that if you make it, it's yours.  To me, that's not the same as whether the recipe is yours or not.
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: bluesman on March 02, 2012, 12:55:37 PM
Possession is nine-tenths of the law.  ;D :-* ;)
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: repo on March 02, 2012, 01:20:04 PM
It's your recipe when you create it. Otherwise it's your version based on someone else's recipe. If you are unsure whether its yours or not, then it is not yours. The end product is always uniquely yours.(unless you did a group brew)
Title: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: cheshirecat on March 02, 2012, 01:38:06 PM
I've used JZ's recipes from Brewing Classic Styles quite a bit. As a newer brewer the book has been very helpful over the last year or so. At first I would look stuff up on the internet but realized that only god knows how good that beer would turn out. Like others said after brewing it once I start making changes to suit my tastes. I think at that point it becomes mine.  It's been a great learning experience... brewed his Cal Common and discovered that I am not a big fan for Northern Brewer hops :).

I also have brewed a couple of Denny's recipes (thanks Denny!!) which have found very little to change because they come out so damn good.


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Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: weithman5 on March 02, 2012, 07:00:18 PM


I also have brewed a couple of Denny's recipes (thanks Denny!!) which have found very little to change because they come out so damn good.




brown noser. ;D
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: dean on March 03, 2012, 02:04:32 AM
Just my opinion when you use your water its your brew.  Brew it anywhere else and it won't taste exactly the same.
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: bo on March 03, 2012, 02:34:31 AM
Just my opinion when you use your water its your brew.  Brew it anywhere else and it won't taste exactly the same.

Excellent point!
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: Joe Sr. on March 03, 2012, 03:09:43 AM
Just my opinion when you use your water its your brew.  Brew it anywhere else and it won't taste exactly the same.

Excellent point!

Except that the OP was not about results, but about recipe.

Certainly when you brew it, its your beer.

But if you brewed Denny's BVIP or Papazian's Goat Scrotum Porter, the recipe was theirs and the beer is yours.

If you looked at their recipes, among others, and crafted one of your own, or adjusted their recipe to your tastes/ingredients/equipment then it might just be yours.

So when does the recipe become yours, is the question I believe was asked.

It's more than just brewing it, but there's also a continuum from theirs to yours.  Unless you crafted the recipe on your own.
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: bo on March 03, 2012, 03:41:48 AM
Just my opinion when you use your water its your brew.  Brew it anywhere else and it won't taste exactly the same.

Excellent point!

Except that the OP was not about results, but about recipe.

Certainly when you brew it, its your beer.

But if you brewed Denny's BVIP or Papazian's Goat Scrotum Porter, the recipe was theirs and the beer is yours.

If you looked at their recipes, among others, and crafted one of your own, or adjusted their recipe to your tastes/ingredients/equipment then it might just be yours.

So when does the recipe become yours, is the question I believe was asked.

It's more than just brewing it, but there's also a continuum from theirs to yours.  Unless you crafted the recipe on your own.

I'd bet that most new recipes are inspired by one or more previous recipes, be it yours or by others. How far back do you give credit?
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: ccfoo242 on March 03, 2012, 04:13:39 AM
I wonder if this is why breweries like Dogfish Head always do such odd, yet excellent, beers. We can tweak the classics or invent new ones... Either way we get to enjoy our nectar of the Gods!  8)
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: Joe Sr. on March 03, 2012, 03:14:47 PM
I'd bet that most new recipes are inspired by one or more previous recipes, be it yours or by others. How far back do you give credit?

Absolutely. That's pretty much my earlier point that all recipes are pretty much derivative.

If you're making a beer to style, there's really only so much variation in the recipe.  Even if you start from scratch, you're working within guidelines.

Who created the first Pilsner?  I have no idea.

I think if you adapt a recipe, you ought to give credit but if you create it on your own it's yours.

But it's likely the ingredient list will be not too different from a whole bunch of other recipes.
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on March 08, 2012, 03:55:55 AM
I'd bet that most new recipes are inspired by one or more previous recipes, be it yours or by others. How far back do you give credit?

Who created the first Pilsner?  I have no idea.


Credit is given to Josef Groll at the Pilsner Urquell brewery, known in that time as the Burgers' Brewery.  He was a German working in Bohemia.
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: ccfoo242 on March 08, 2012, 04:25:26 AM
Credit is given to Josef Groll at the Pilsner Urquell brewery, known in that time as the Burgers' Brewery.  He was a German working in Bohemia.

From wikipedia: Josef Groll died on 22 October 1887, aged 74. He died at the regulars' table of the public house Wolferstetter Keller in Vilshofen, drinking beer.

What an AWESOME way to die!
Title: Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
Post by: Jimmy K on March 08, 2012, 01:24:49 PM
I'd bet that most new recipes are inspired by one or more previous recipes, be it yours or by others. How far back do you give credit?

Exactly, how else would we have styles?