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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: lupy on February 15, 2010, 09:50:03 pm

Title: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: lupy on February 15, 2010, 09:50:03 pm
Too many variables for a simple answer?  I don't know.
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: redbeerman on February 16, 2010, 05:21:29 am
Easiest APA, American IPA - throw more hops in!  Water chemistry more easilty dealt with especially around 11-12 SRM.

Most difficult - Light lager - Helles - can't hide anything in there.  Faults stick out like a sore thumb.
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: roffenburger on February 16, 2010, 09:34:31 am
I feel that dark beers-porter, stout-tend to mask off flavors, so to me the dark beers are easy. The APA's and IPA aren't bad either.
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: mikeypedersen on February 16, 2010, 09:48:25 am
Easiest APA, American IPA - throw more hops in!

I'll second that emotion.  Hops will mask a lot of off-flavors as long as there are enough of 'em!  :D

I would think that any of the lighter lagers would be difficult, although I haven't brewed many of them.  I would also think that an Eisbock would have to be up there, since the freezing process will magnify any problems with the beer.
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: denny on February 16, 2010, 10:00:29 am
Most difficult - Light lager - Helles - can't hide anything in there.  Faults stick out like a sore thumb.

Agreed.
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: bluesman on February 16, 2010, 02:28:02 pm
Most difficult - Light lager - Helles - can't hide anything in there.  Faults stick out like a sore thumb.

Agreed.

+1

Making good Lagers is harder than making good ales.
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: speed on February 16, 2010, 04:33:23 pm
evidently i have the midas touch, i've never had a bad lager, but our water is perfect for this style of beer and my fermentations have almost always started within 12 hours
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: crabber on February 16, 2010, 06:03:45 pm
Most difficult - Light lager - Helles - can't hide anything in there.  Faults stick out like a sore thumb.

Agreed.

+1

Making good Lagers is harder than making good ales.
+1
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: sienabrewer on March 02, 2010, 04:20:38 pm
I only brew ales, so from my perspective a cream ale is the hardest.  The easiest I think is an amber.  My reasing is that, while I agree a porter or stout can mask off flavors, darker beers can easily be overdone with too much acrid bitterness.  Use a couple to many ounces of RB or BP and you have made one undrinkable beer.  An amber on the other hand can take a healthy dose of hops or caramel malts and still be pleasant, while masking off flavors. 
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: brewmasternpb on October 21, 2013, 10:52:41 pm
When this topic comes up, why does no one mention Geuze as the hardest to brew? You essentially would have to have a fantastic sour program to come close to this style... And 3 years is the minimum time!
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: erockrph on October 22, 2013, 06:44:54 am
When this topic comes up, why does no one mention Geuze as the hardest to brew? You essentially would have to have a fantastic sour program to come close to this style... And 3 years is the minimum time!

Probably because so few brewers have actually made a Gueuze that no one even thinks of it.

I agree that APA/IPA is probably the easiest style to make a good example of, but I don't necessarily agree that dark styles like porter or stout are just as easy. It may be easier to make a decent porter because the dark grains do mask fermentation flaws to some extent, but a good one is a bit more elusive. Getting the right balance where you get a roast this isn't too soft, but also isn't acrid can be a challenge. I find that water chemistry is just as important with dark beers as it is with really pale ones.
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: AmandaK on October 22, 2013, 07:39:45 am
I make gueuze. It's not that hard. Brew, transfer for aging, make sure airlock is full, wait, repeat, repeat, blend, bottle.

Light lagers are inherently hard.

But am I the only one who thinks that APA/IPA is actually hard? In my area, it seems like if you can brew a passable IPA or APA, you'll be a shoo in for a gold medal. Almost makes me want to brew one!
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: reverseapachemaster on October 22, 2013, 08:32:32 am
Bigger and bolder the flavors in the style the easier it is to hide minor errors. Highly hopped beers also inherently avoid infections, which makes them almost impossible to screw up without trying.

Gueuze is not hard, especially with the sour blends you can buy from WY/WL/ECY. Time is doing all your hard work. All you're really doing is making a simple wheat beer and letting it sit. There's definitely a different skill when you're talking about blending but blending is only challenging if you are trying to build a particular flavor profile. If you're just blending the beers you have then there's no skill involved. You're just racking beers together. However, if you are trying to put together a particular flavor profile then it can be quite challenging, especially when you have a small number of beers available to blend.
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: brewmasternpb on October 22, 2013, 08:33:39 am
I guess it's sort of like doing a home improvement job:  If you have the right tools, you can brew anything.  If I had precision temperature control, I could brew lagers, I wasn't able to brew a good dark beer until I figured my brewing water out... and Geuze requires an incredible amount of time and knowledge.
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: james on October 22, 2013, 10:00:18 am
I'd say Pumpkin and spice beers are the most difficult to get right.  Most of the time they are awful and over spiced
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: factory on October 22, 2013, 10:09:01 am
I'd say Pumpkin and spice beers are the most difficult to get right.  Most of the time they are awful and over spiced
+1 to spiced beers in general.  But Pumpkin is hard.
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: Joe Sr. on October 22, 2013, 10:56:51 am
Personally, I struggle to make a nice simple Belgian blonde. 

I've generally been pleased with the lagers I've brewed but I don't try too often.  Especially not light lagers, as they're just not my thing.

But I simply can't get to a Belgian blonde that I really enjoy.  My last attempt was the best so far, but they're falling short of what I want.  These are not infected nor do they have off flavors but they're just not what they should be, if you follow what I'm saying.  They're lacking.  Perhaps I am like Sisyphus as I shall keep trying.

Easiest?  I think saisons are pretty easy.  As long as you don't use 3724.
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: beersk on October 22, 2013, 12:11:49 pm
Light lager is difficult. I've yet to brew a good helles, but I think my fault was using Rahr pils. Yuck. Using Best Malz now. IPA is easy to make, but getting the flavor I want is a bit more difficult.
I'm also trying to get a good oatmeal stout going too, but I'm having some trouble getting the right amount of roast flavor. It's coming up too chocolately, which isn't working for me.
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: AmandaK on October 22, 2013, 12:24:34 pm
Personally, I struggle to make a nice simple Belgian blonde. 

But I simply can't get to a Belgian blonde that I really enjoy.  My last attempt was the best so far, but they're falling short of what I want.  These are not infected nor do they have off flavors but they're just not what they should be, if you follow what I'm saying.  They're lacking.  Perhaps I am like Sisyphus as I shall keep trying.

Same here!! I thought I was the only one!

Easiest?  I think saisons are pretty easy.  As long as you don't use 3724.

I find WLP565 much easier to use than WY3724 with approximately the same flavor profile.
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: Joe Sr. on October 22, 2013, 12:55:57 pm

Same here!! I thought I was the only one!


If you hit upon the magic formula, please let me know.  Good to know I'm not the only one, too.

As for saisons, I've been happy enough with 3711.  Never have used a White Labs vial.  Someday, perhaps.
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: udubdawg on October 22, 2013, 01:00:35 pm
based on successes/attempts, for me it is Southern English Brown. 0/4.  Low OG, low alcohol, fairly high FG and sweetness?  Haven't come close without getting out of style size-wise. 
I suspect stabilizing and back-sweetening is the way to go.  No thanks; doesn't seem like my style anyway so no attempt #5.

otherwise, yeah, lagers.  Especially non-hop-forward ones.  I've fooled a few judges with a mediocre overhopped German Pils, but otherwise there's few places to hide.


Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: bigchicken on October 22, 2013, 05:33:09 pm


But am I the only one who thinks that APA/IPA is actually hard? In my area, it seems like if you can brew a passable IPA or APA, you'll be a shoo in for a gold medal. Almost makes me want to brew one!

I've had this too. I can make a good Blonde, but add some hops and I don't know what happens. I've only made one good IPA to date and it was an extract batch.
I also have a rough time with Browns and Dunkleweizen. Always watery or over powering.
Easiest beers to me have been Old Ale (won a gold on an only 3 month old version- first comp ever entered) and Stouts.

I should note I don't lager or do sours. Nor do I pay attention to water chemistry. I knew I'd be moving so never dialed in on the water. I figure that lesson will be coming soon.
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: HoosierBrew on October 22, 2013, 05:57:47 pm
I think that Kolsch is a fairly easy style to brew, but is tricky to get really right.  Obviously paler,milder beers often leave much less to hide behind, but I definitely don't think porter or stouts are easy to brew WELL either. While the roasty flavors can mask flaws, it is also easy to make something muddy or just plain ordinary.
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: dannyjed on October 22, 2013, 06:05:08 pm
Most difficult - German and Czech Pils
Easiest - Anything in the Specialty beer Category ;)
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: thebigbaker on October 22, 2013, 06:39:22 pm
+1 to Saisons.  I've used 3711 for about 5 different Saisons (including one Saison de Noel) and Belle Saison Yeast for two and they've all turned out great. 

I've done several different stouts and they seem fairly easy to produce a great beer.  I've only used 1056 and US-05 for the stouts.

My APAs and IPAs always are big crowd pleasers and as w/ my stouts I use 1056 and US-05.

On the other hand, for some reason my Porters just haven't come out like I want (1056 and US-05 for these too).  Not horrible, but not very good either...actually the worst Porters I've ever tasted!  I've only tried one Belgian Blonde and was not happy w/ that either but may give it another try for Spring. 

Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: erockrph on October 22, 2013, 09:49:57 pm
+1 about everything 3711 touches turns to gold. Every time I try something new with that yeast it is just incredible. Just cracked the first bottle of a Hibiscus Saison I brewed with it and I'm already kicking myself for only making 1 gallon of it.
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: gmac on October 22, 2013, 10:47:17 pm
+1 about everything 3711 touches turns to gold.
+2. I can make 10 gals of wort and split it between 3711 and any lager yeast you care to mention, with good temp control and an ample starter and the saison will be amazing and the lager will suck.

Pilseners and lagers are the hard ones for me. Getting the crispness just eludes me.
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: AmandaK on October 23, 2013, 06:02:47 am
+1 about everything 3711 touches turns to gold.
+2. I can make 10 gals of wort and split it between 3711 and any lager yeast you care to mention, with good temp control and an ample starter and the saison will be amazing and the lager will suck.

Pilseners and lagers are the hard ones for me. Getting the crispness just eludes me.

+3 to 3711.

Our club group's friendship brew this fall was a saison that started life at 1.103. 8 days later, it was at 1.009 with no hint of fusels. Ridiculous. For the record, I'm terrified of this beer. It's too good for that high of ABV.
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: HoosierBrew on October 23, 2013, 07:01:45 am
Big +1 to Saisons being among the easiest.  Obviously some are better than others, but 3711 is excellent and easy to use, and even 3724 (which I like even better) has gotten easier now that we know the right temp profile. Saisons rock.
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: Joe Sr. on October 23, 2013, 08:38:21 am
For the record, I'm terrified of this beer. It's too good for that high of ABV.

Package it carefully.  Send it to me.  I will dispose of it.
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: AmandaK on October 23, 2013, 11:20:22 am
For the record, I'm terrified of this beer. It's too good for that high of ABV.

Package it carefully.  Send it to me.  I will dispose of it.

Ha. Nice try! It's for our club's semi-annual 'friendship brew' and we will be serving it, along with 6 other "imperialized" beers, at our Holiday party. I'm gonna need a cab and lots of water.
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: guido on October 23, 2013, 12:20:55 pm
I'd say Pumpkin and spice beers are the most difficult to get right.  Most of the time they are awful and over spiced
+1 to spiced beers in general.  But Pumpkin is hard.
Gee...I find that most Pumpkin beers are awful because of lame-ass spicing.  Everyone's afraid to give it flavor.
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: The Professor on October 23, 2013, 04:40:53 pm
I'd say Pumpkin and spice beers are the most difficult to get right.  Most of the time they are awful and over spiced
+1 to spiced beers in general.  But Pumpkin is hard.
Gee...I find that most Pumpkin beers are awful because of lame-ass spicing.  Everyone's afraid to give it flavor.

LOL!
I hate most of them because they're over-spiced.
Different strokes!   ;D
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: HoosierBrew on October 23, 2013, 04:51:11 pm
I'd say Pumpkin and spice beers are the most difficult to get right.  Most of the time they are awful and over spiced
+1 to spiced beers in general.  But Pumpkin is hard.
Gee...I find that most Pumpkin beers are awful because of lame-ass spicing.  Everyone's afraid to give it flavor.

LOL!
I hate most of them because they're over-spiced.
Different strokes!   ;D
+1 !  I quit brewing them because I got sick of the spice. To each his own  :)
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: Joe Sr. on October 23, 2013, 08:20:06 pm
Me too. Quit them until my wife told me she wanted a pumpkin ale.

I will be tapping it this weekend, if not enjoying it.
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: guido on October 23, 2013, 10:42:17 pm
I'd say Pumpkin and spice beers are the most difficult to get right.  Most of the time they are awful and over spiced
+1 to spiced beers in general.  But Pumpkin is hard.
Gee...I find that most Pumpkin beers are awful because of lame-ass spicing.  Everyone's afraid to give it flavor.

LOL!
I hate most of them because they're over-spiced.
Different strokes!   ;D

Different strokes indeed.  Well said.   ;D
Title: Re: Most difficult / easiest styles to get right?
Post by: tomsawyer on October 24, 2013, 08:58:40 am
I spent a fair amount of time trying to brew a really good dubbel, and got tired of drinking the style before I acheived my desired result.

I think British bitters are a nice easy style to brew, yeast is fast and drops like a rock, British malts have great flavor and you can use more or less hops and its always tasty.