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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: Greg A. on November 08, 2012, 05:30:02 PM

Title: Need to overcome irrational fear of kit beer
Post by: Greg A. on November 08, 2012, 05:30:02 PM
So I have brewed 10 batches so far.  First was extract, the other 9 were all grain.  All of them were recipes I found online or in Brewing Classic Styles and then just ordered the ingredients. 

I have ordered ingredients a few times from Northern Brewer and started looking at their all grain kits (my first extract kit was from NB).  They seem very appealing.  Some get good reviews and the price is right.  It also allows me to stop worrying about the recipe so much and just get to brewing and nail down those processes.

But...I still have an irrational fear that this might be cheating.  Anyone else feel that way?  Has anyone brewed kit beer and found it worthy of submitting to a competition?
Title: Re: Need to overcome irrational fear of kit beer
Post by: bonjour on November 08, 2012, 05:36:27 PM
You are fine. 
Many kits/extract recipes win awards.  It's really more the brewer than the recipe.

See ya in Philly
Title: Re: Need to overcome irrational fear of kit beer
Post by: morticaixavier on November 08, 2012, 05:36:42 PM
I don't think it's cheeting at all. recipe formulation is only one small part of brewing. your processes are far more important in the final result.

Check out morebeer as well, they have some really nice looking brewmaster series kits that they have worked on with the brewers (Vinnie from Russian River, JZ from heretic, The Bruery, etc.)
Title: Re: Need to overcome irrational fear of kit beer
Post by: weithman5 on November 08, 2012, 05:44:54 PM
not only that but you can get the kit and even modify them easier if you want
Title: Re: Need to overcome irrational fear of kit beer
Post by: davidgzach on November 08, 2012, 05:45:53 PM
Have you purchased brewing software?  How about reading Designing Great Beers?  There is nothing wrong with kit brewing at all.  But if you feel like you are cheating, then learn how to create your own recipes and read up on the styles.  I've found it to be the most fun part of the hobby and now have over 100 different recipes in my rolodex.  Maybe try one kit from each style you like and then learn how you can tweak it to your taste.

Dave
Title: Re: Need to overcome irrational fear of kit beer
Post by: Greg A. on November 08, 2012, 05:57:43 PM
Have you purchased brewing software?  How about reading Designing Great Beers?  There is nothing wrong with kit brewing at all.  But if you feel like you are cheating, then learn how to create your own recipes and read up on the styles.  I've found it to be the most fun part of the hobby and now have over 100 different recipes in my rolodex.  Maybe try one kit from each style you like and then learn how you can tweak it to your taste.

Dave

I own Brewsmith (and have used it for each of the batches previously).  I also own and have read a majority of How to Brew, Designing Great Beers, and Radical Brewing.

Brewing the kits and getting a sense of how they taste and altering the kits in the future seems like a decent way of learning.  I just feel that what I've been brewing is just not that great and I want to be better.  I guess by purchasing a kit, I at least know that the people at NB know it to be a good kit and anything that happens after that point is all on me.
Title: Re: Need to overcome irrational fear of kit beer
Post by: davidgzach on November 08, 2012, 06:01:53 PM
Keep reading, and keep brewing!   ;)

There could be a multitude of reasons why you may not be getting the results you are looking for.  There are a lot of great brewers on this forum who have taught me a lot.  Keep involved and ask questions.  You'll get there!

Dave
Title: Re: Need to overcome irrational fear of kit beer
Post by: thebigbaker on November 08, 2012, 06:11:28 PM
Keep reading, and keep brewing!   ;)

There could be a multitude of reasons why you may not be getting the results you are looking for.  There are a lot of great brewers on this forum who have taught me a lot.  Keep involved and ask questions.  You'll get there!

Dave

+100!  I've learned so much since I started brewing last year and most of that is attributed to all the awesome help and information from this board.

I've used NB and Morebeer kits before, although I just look at their recipes and get the ingredients from my LHBS.  I usually will make small changes but occasionally will brew them exactly as they have them.  Like Mort mentioned, the process is far more important for the final result.
Title: Re: Need to overcome irrational fear of kit beer
Post by: Jimmy K on November 08, 2012, 06:46:16 PM
I'd say that there is little difference between ordering ingredients based on a recipe from a book or website and ordering a kit. Either way you are using someone else's recipe.
 
I'd also say that people give way too much credit to recipes. Most of the quality of good beer comes from the process, not the recipe. So don't worry, it's not cheating. Those northern brewer kits do seem well priced too.
Title: Re: Need to overcome irrational fear of kit beer
Post by: bunderbunder on November 08, 2012, 07:42:14 PM
I don't feel like there's much difference between buying a kit and following a recipe, as long as the ingredients are the same.

Last time I went to Northern Brewer's brick and mortar store I got stuff to make one of their kit beers and one beer from a recent issue of Zymurgy.  They only have pre-assembled versions of their extract kits sitting in boxes on the shelves, for grain you have to measure out and crush it yourself. So only real difference between the recipe and the NB "kit" was where the ingredients list came from:  One was written on a sheet of paper I brought from home, and the other I found in a 3-ring binder in the grain room. 
Title: Re: Need to overcome irrational fear of kit beer
Post by: euge on November 08, 2012, 08:22:15 PM
What's wrong with cheating? 8)
Title: Re: Need to overcome irrational fear of kit beer
Post by: davidgzach on November 08, 2012, 08:57:06 PM
What's wrong with cheating? 8)

LOL +1
Title: Re: Need to overcome irrational fear of kit beer
Post by: Slowbrew on November 08, 2012, 10:00:22 PM
What's wrong with cheating? 8)

LOL +1

In IT we call it reusing code.  It may or may not have been your code to start with but who cares.   ;D

No need to sweat the recipe while you're still learning to cook.

Paul
Title: Re: Need to overcome irrational fear of kit beer
Post by: theoman on November 09, 2012, 09:27:18 AM
Coming up with recipes is my favorite part of brewing, but I usually start with a reference recipe or software-based guidelines and tweak to my tastes. Using kits is fine, but you might not be getting the best idea of what the ingredients are doing. At least be sure to taste the grains. You probably know more than you think you know. Use a kit or a recipe and try some minor changes to get some personal characteristics. Don't be shy. After 9 AG batches, your process should be good enough to start having fun with the recipes. It doesn't mean you can't tweak your process along the way.
Title: Re: Need to overcome irrational fear of kit beer
Post by: tomsawyer on November 09, 2012, 04:41:17 PM
The NB kits I've used have been excellent, I'd hesitate to tweak them since they really seem to have found a sweet spot for the given recipe.

That said, I usually make my own recipes.  NB lists theirs and I use that along with BCS and then go from there.  I find thats a great way to get an idea of what a modern recipe should have.
Title: Re: Need to overcome irrational fear of kit beer
Post by: erockrph on November 09, 2012, 05:10:37 PM
If I'm brewing a style that I'm not too familiar with, I'll either get a kit from one of the big online brew shops or follow a recipe from BCS. You need to start from somewhere before you start designing your own recipe. A kit is simply following someone else's recipe - they just happened to put all the ingredients together for you.

One of the best beers I've brewed to date was AHS's dunkelweizen kit. The next time I brew that style I will most likely just buy the kit again (or use the exact same recipe) - even though I generally design my own recipes.
Title: Re: Need to overcome irrational fear of kit beer
Post by: pointyskull on November 10, 2012, 01:46:22 PM
No fear to be had with kits.  I love NB extract kits, and I am constantly impressed by the quality of the finished product....
Title: Re: Need to overcome irrational fear of kit beer
Post by: gymrat on November 11, 2012, 03:53:26 PM
I see no difference between following a recipe in a book and using a recipe in a kit. Other than the kit eliminates me doing the measuring. Both NB and Midwest Supplies have superb kits.
Title: Re: Need to overcome irrational fear of kit beer
Post by: madscientist on November 11, 2012, 05:27:13 PM
Personally for me, it's about the control I have over my recipe.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with Kits, and as many have said, many retailers sell quality ones.  I personally like the feeling of picking my own hops, talking with this forum and homebrew shop what hops go well, what grains are good for the recipe, and then building that recipe in Beersmith.  Then, if the first version of the recipe is meh, I can always tweak and adjust things. 
Title: Re: Need to overcome irrational fear of kit beer
Post by: alcaponejunior on November 12, 2012, 11:53:17 PM
But...I still have an irrational fear that this might be cheating.  Anyone else feel that way?  Has anyone brewed kit beer and found it worthy of submitting to a competition?

Definitely NOT cheating.  Personally, I don't care where I got the recipe, I care how good the beer came out.  Extract or AG, mine or yours, just make good beer so I can drink it.

One of my extract recipes happens to be my best batch so far.  I adapted a recipe from who knows where and adjusted it a little for what I had available.  But if they made it in a kit, I'd buy it.  And it might win competitions, who knows.  I haven't competed yet, so I can't really comment.  But I know what I like and what compares to good commercial brews, and once again, if they made that beer in a kit, I'd buy it.
Title: Re: Need to overcome irrational fear of kit beer
Post by: micsager on November 13, 2012, 04:14:19 PM
What's wrong with cheating? 8)

LOL +1

In IT we call it reusing code.  It may or may not have been your code to start with but who cares.   ;D

No need to sweat the recipe while you're still learning to cook.

Paul

I had a boss that recomended CASE

Copy And Steal Everything.
Title: Re: Need to overcome irrational fear of kit beer
Post by: euge on November 13, 2012, 05:06:23 PM
What's wrong with cheating? 8)

LOL +1

In IT we call it reusing code.  It may or may not have been your code to start with but who cares.   ;D

No need to sweat the recipe while you're still learning to cook.

Paul

I had a boss that recomended CASE

Copy And Steal Everything.

The most sincerest form of flattery...
Title: Re: Need to overcome irrational fear of kit beer
Post by: AmandaK on November 15, 2012, 03:49:39 PM
My boyfriend is just starting out brewing (as in buying his equipment tomorrow), and since he has been brewing with me using all-grain methods while making/tweaking my own recipes, he had a negative idea of extract.

He was under the impression that extract made sub-par beers, that you couldn't make what you really wanted and that extract kits were definitely not his cup of tea. That was, until I showed him that every recipe in BCS is extract/specialty grains. And then he found that NB has Maris Otter and Rye extracts, and that they were fresh! Needless to say, he's ready to start brewing - and brewing a kit at that!

Point is, it's not where the recipe came from or whether the ingredients were put in a box for you. It's about the process you use, the freshness of the ingredients and the care you take in fermenting you beer that really matter.