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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: beersk on July 15, 2010, 11:02:45 am

Title: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: beersk on July 15, 2010, 11:02:45 am
What do you typically brew?  I started out doing kits, then started doing my own recipes.  But sometimes I feel like brewing kits just for the hell of it; for something different than I'd normally brew.  Lately I've been running out of ideas or desires to brew my own recipes because basically all I know how to create recipes for are IPAs, pale ales, amber ales and stouts...I get a little bored with stuff like that all the time.

Cheers,

Jesse
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: dbeechum on July 15, 2010, 11:05:50 am
I'm a full blown recipe creator (big surprise). In a lot of ways, for me that's the biggest pants kicker I get from homebrewing is the thought experiments on what to create.

I'm not even sure I can remember the last time I did a kit!
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: richardt on July 15, 2010, 11:23:18 am
I started out like most--a Mr. Beer Kit.  Then box kits (extract/partial grain).  Now, All-Grain.

I'm like Drew--I really like knowing why I use each ingredient in the recipe. 
I also find the process fascinating--especially how so many people brew in so many different ways and still make great beer.

Yes, I daresay that brewing can be a cerebral and creative process--if you want it to be. 
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: weithman5 on July 15, 2010, 11:37:05 am
I spend more time thinking up recipes than I do actually getting around to brewing.  I have been planning a rhubarb and rye concoction ever since I had a rhubarb/strawberry jam peanut butter sandwhich on rye bread.  If I could actually find some time to try it I could move on to other things.  Like Drew, I think designing the beers is fun. I try not to get hung up on a style. Just what I think will taste good and refreshing.  of course go look at extreme brewing and radical brewing, or the homebrewer's garden for some unique stuff to try.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: beerocd on July 15, 2010, 11:47:52 am
I wing it at least half the time. Spot a recipe - missing ingredients - make some subs... it's beer.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: hopaddicted on July 15, 2010, 12:01:16 pm
I've never used a kit. Started brewing extract/specialty grains copying recipes. Now all grain and all original recipes for the most part. I reference other recipes for some inspiration and general aiming in the right direction (if I don't know the style very well), but I try to put my own stamp on them.

I've found experimentation a great way to understand the ingredients that I am using and it really makes it rewarding when you knock one out of the park and the recipe is all yours.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: micsager on July 15, 2010, 12:04:46 pm
Generally, the first time a brew a beer, I will brew the style form JZ's book.  then, I start "tweaking."
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: vista on July 15, 2010, 12:06:51 pm
if i'm brewing a style for the first time i'll either follow a book or buy a kit...NB kits have treated me well in this respect.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: blatz on July 15, 2010, 12:28:12 pm
the last time I brewed a kit was the first time  I brewed at all.

almost all the recipes I brew with regularity are my own evolutions, though I do use JZ's Amber and most recently, majorvice's helles, as 'house recipes'

if I am looking to create something new such as last year when I started on the "Dunkel Project" I'll consult JZ's BCS or online, but I tend not to like a lot of the recipes in the BCS, so it may only be to see what level of Carafa Special he used or something like that to get a ballpark and go from there.

honing in recipes is part of the fun for me, but not as much as the taste testing.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: bluesman on July 15, 2010, 12:41:53 pm
the last time I brewed a kit was the first time  I brewed...

+1

Developing recipes and honing the brewing process is what it's all about for me. 

It's the freedom of experimentation that keeps me inspired.

Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: SwashBuckling Drunk on July 15, 2010, 12:44:00 pm
So where are all the people that brew Denny's RPA?
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: blatz on July 15, 2010, 12:46:39 pm
So where are all the people that brew Denny's RPA?

haven't brewed that in at least 3 years  ;)

but I might brew it again this fall.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: Slowbrew on July 15, 2010, 12:50:47 pm
I have my copy of Denny's RIPA on tap right now.

I've 3 maybe 4 extract kits many moons ago.  I've used many recipes from other people, both extract and all grain.  Like others I generally start with a published recipe to establish what a new brew should taste/look like and then they start morphing.

I have recipes I make now that are still named the same but haven't been the original brew in 6 years.  I keep telling myself I need to change the names.

Mix it up and have some fun.

Paul
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: beersk on July 15, 2010, 12:58:55 pm
I think what I really need to do is brew more and drink more  ;D

Great to see your responses, guys.

Cheers
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: lazydog79 on July 15, 2010, 01:18:11 pm
Generally, the first time a brew a beer, I will brew the style form JZ's book.  then, I start "tweaking."

+1 on that!  I usually use a recipe - either from "Classic Styles," BYO, or one my my clone books, and then go from there.  I find that JZ's recipes usually give me a good foundation to work with.  I will be guaranteed to make something at least drinkable the first time out with a recipe, which is not the case if I do one from complete scratch.

I never used to be a big kit user, but have recently started playing with them - NB makes some fine kits!  If it's a style I don't brew a lot or am unsure of, I might hit a kit.  Example - a couple buddies helped me roof the garage last year.  They both like Wits, but I'm not a big fan.  So, I bought NB's to brew them for a thank you.  Gave them most of it and saved a 12'er for myself.  I've also found kits to be a little more "economical" in that I'm not left with a lot of odds and ends of specialty grains and hops laying around - you get what you need.  I might be doing a few more of them in the future.  However, I do like adjusting a recipe to my specific tastes - that's why I brew!   ;D
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: majorvices on July 15, 2010, 01:23:19 pm
I brew my own recipes exclusively now and, especially now, I am basically only brewing about 4 recipes over and over and over again - mixing in a few seasonals as they come along.

I have brewed other's recipes in the past but I have only ever bought two kits - the one that came with my first brew kit and the B3 "Pliny the Elder" kit about 5 years ago.

When I first started brewing I used to tweak the Papazian recipes in his two original books. But I have always been the kind of brewer who takes a recipe and "makes it his own". Those Papazian book (TCJ and HBC) were great inspiration design books, though.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: babalu87 on July 15, 2010, 01:30:12 pm
I brew my own recipes exclusively now and, especially now, I am basically only brewing about 4 recipes over and over and over again - mixing in a few seasonals as they come along.

I have brewed other's recipes in the past but I have only ever bought two kits - the one that came with my first brew kit and the B3 "Pliny the Elder" kit about 5 years ago.

When I first started brewing I used to tweak the Papazian recipes in his two original books. But I have always been the kind of brewer who takes a recipe and "makes it his own". Those Papazian book (TCJ and HBC) were great inspiration design books, though.

Toad Spit Stout!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm pretty much down to my own recipes as well. A tweak here a tweak there and almost any recipe could be your own. Like bread :D
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: vista on July 15, 2010, 01:37:00 pm

Toad Spit Stout!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm pretty much down to my own recipes as well. A tweak here a tweak there and almost any recipe could be your own. Like bread :D

ya, i agree with that...it's hard for me to take a recipe verbatim that i find online and not do something differently. at the same time, the recipes i've followed and the kits i've bought and stuck with, for the most part, have all treated me well.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: blatz on July 15, 2010, 01:39:49 pm
I've also found kits to be a little more "economical" in that I'm not left with a lot of odds and ends of specialty grains and hops laying around - you get what you need. 

yeah - I can see that.  Guess it depends how you buy/stock your stuff.  

I keep my brew supply areas like I keep my kitchen pantry - stocked with all my essentials - always having Pils/Pale/Munich/Vienna base malts, Med and Light Crystal, Victory, and a few others.  Simcoe/Columbus/Centennial/Amarillo//Magnum/Tett/Hallertau in the freezer and at minimum US-05 and 830 in the fridge.  

With that 'pantry' always being restocked, I can pretty much brew any of my house recipes at the drop of a dime, and in turn I build all my recipes around what I like to stock.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: dak0415 on July 15, 2010, 01:40:55 pm
Started 7/11/2006.  My first 9 batches were extract.  11/4/2006 I "sponsored" an all grain brew demo at my LHBS and never went back to extract.  I've never bought a kit.  I've looked to other's recipes for inspiration, or to figure out why my beer didn't taste like I thought it would, but never copied one.  This weekend will mark my 95th and 96th batches.  Looking forward to the century mark in September.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: hopaddicted on July 15, 2010, 02:09:29 pm
Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher is a great source for base recipes. They get you in the ballpark without the frills.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: beersk on July 15, 2010, 02:48:29 pm
Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher is a great source for base recipes. They get you in the ballpark without the frills.
I've been meaning to pick this book up.  There's some great ideas in this thread...thanks guys.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: theDarkSide on July 15, 2010, 02:52:46 pm
Mix it up.  Not much of a recipe creator...don't know enough yet.  Do a lot of Jamil recipes from Brewing Classic Styles and clones from Can You Brew it.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: pweis909 on July 15, 2010, 03:29:46 pm
I make my own but pay attention to how others have constructed good recipes, e.g., Brewing Classic Styles.  Even when I am being strongly influenced by another's recipe, I invariably make hop or grain switches due to availability, impulse, and/or sheer laziness. 
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: dr.g on July 15, 2010, 03:40:04 pm
I'm just starting to look to other recipes, online and in books, for inspirations. I just started brewing about a month ago and am totally hooked. I am still extract brewing, havent bought the equipment yet for all grain. Hopefully soon though.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: novabrew on July 15, 2010, 05:03:59 pm
I mix it up.  I do mostly recipes I've found here or others that I've tweaked somewhat.  But I still do kits occasionally, just being lazy.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: hopaddicted on July 15, 2010, 07:13:25 pm
Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher is a great source for base recipes. They get you in the ballpark without the frills.
I've been meaning to pick this book up.  There's some great ideas in this thread...thanks guys.

Definitely pick it up. In addition to tons of recipes (to include obscure and "extinct" styles), he also explains beer history and good explanation of styles and methods of brewing different brews. Great read! John Palmer's How to Brew may be the definitive how-to book, but IMO Radical Brewing is the #2 must have.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: troy@uk on July 15, 2010, 09:26:09 pm
I don't like to brew another's recipe verbatum, but don't know enough to stray too far either.  I like to read the Classic Beer Style Book for the particular style (currently it is Porter), and then read the section in the Brewing Classic Styles, and finally I go searching through Zymergy and BYO back issues for a recipie to tweak with my new found knowledge on a particular style.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: Podo on July 15, 2010, 09:53:12 pm
the first few years I brewed it was kits exclusively.  Nowadays, I mix it up and brew recipes that are real popular on the forums (Denny's RIPA and BVIP, some others), ones that I make up myself.  I use Jamil's book when I want to try a category I've never done before, just to get a good baseline.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: mnstorm99 on July 16, 2010, 04:52:05 am
I'm no chemist, and I only have the basic knowledge I need to make beer.  I got into this hobby to create recipes, same reason I love to cook.  I started creating my own recipes about 5 batches in, with a few misses along the way I believe I really know now how to build a recipe from scratch and the ingredients I am working with.  I say "keep it simple", as big complicated recipes don't usually translate into a complex beer, but simple well calculated recipe formulation always works well.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: Hokerer on July 16, 2010, 08:14:29 am
the last time I brewed a kit was the first time  I brewed at all.

Same here.  After that first batch, it was "roll your own" from there on out.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: micsager on July 16, 2010, 08:21:34 am
Generally, the first time a brew a beer, I will brew the style form JZ's book.  then, I start "tweaking."

+1 on that!  I usually use a recipe - either from "Classic Styles," BYO, or one my my clone books, and then go from there.  I find that JZ's recipes usually give me a good foundation to work with.  I will be guaranteed to make something at least drinkable the first time out with a recipe, which is not the case if I do one from complete scratch.

I never used to be a big kit user, but have recently started playing with them - NB makes some fine kits!  If it's a style I don't brew a lot or am unsure of, I might hit a kit.  Example - a couple buddies helped me roof the garage last year.  They both like Wits, but I'm not a big fan.  So, I bought NB's to brew them for a thank you.  Gave them most of it and saved a 12'er for myself.  I've also found kits to be a little more "economical" in that I'm not left with a lot of odds and ends of specialty grains and hops laying around - you get what you need.  I might be doing a few more of them in the future.  However, I do like adjusting a recipe to my specific tastes - that's why I brew!   ;D

Here's an online store:

http://www.brewmasterswarehouse.com/brew-builder

That will allow you to create your own "kit." 
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: beersk on July 16, 2010, 10:09:49 am
I'm surprised no one has voted for "clones". 
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: beerhaus on July 16, 2010, 01:52:14 pm
As a rookie - I use kits but this last batch I took the recipe from the first kit and played with the hops variety and yeast strain. It's in secondary now an all fuggles English Bitter with Wyeast "Whitbread Ale".

 
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: blatz on July 16, 2010, 02:07:57 pm
I'm surprised no one has voted for "clones". 

i'd think b/c that sort of overlaps the other categories - kits can be clones and recipes in books can be clones.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: The Professor on July 16, 2010, 04:04:02 pm
I brew my own recipes exclusively now and, especially now, I am basically only brewing about 4 recipes over and over and over again - <snip>
...Those Papazian book (TCJ and HBC) were great inspiration design books, though.

That's pretty much my story too...when I started brewing there really were no kits per se (in 1971 I bought my malt syrup...Blue Ribbon hopped... in an Iowa supermarket...right there on the shelf with baking goods) and flew from there  with the help of my biology major friend who insisted on overseeing the yeast health, as well as insisting on using 2 cans of extract for the batch. 
He was fairly prescient, I guess...the common wisdom at the time was to use nearly 50% table sugar). 
I'm guessing that if it weren't for that surprisingly decent first batch, I would have lost interest and moved on.

For years after that  it was combinations of different malt syrups (as I discovered them...John Bull, Edme,  and especially M&F "Old Ale") and hop additions, then finally all grain.  Charlie's book set me on the right path as far as the grain handling goes and after doing it for so many years, I pretty much know what to expect, even given the margin of error from swapping grain brands and sources.

Right now there are probably 5 or 6 beers  all formulas of my own making, that I make on a regular basis and and which are pretty consistent from batch to batch with  excellent repeatability.
.
As a side note (and I know it goes against the common wisdom of the boards) , I've found that freely substituting malts and in most cases, even hop varieties for the beers I make seems to make little difference in the end results if the right adjustments are made. 
That said, I do have my favorites among the hop varieties though (they are mostly old time, traditional varieties like CLuster, Bullion, and Brewer's Gold) and try to keep enough on hand at all times and sub out only when I need .  But I don't fret about substitutions...with very few subtle exceptions it almost always makes the same recognizable beers.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on July 16, 2010, 05:49:13 pm
My first brew was a kit recipe.  My second and third brews were recipes from other brewers.  The vast majority of the 80+ batches that have followed have been my own creations.  I used to consult Ray Daniels' "Designing Great Beers" pretty frequently when approaching new styles.  Now I have a pretty regular rotation of well-tested/tweaked recipes.  Occasionally, I'll brew a style I've never brewed before and I generally look to a few different sources for recipes (mostly forum members' creations).  But what I end up brewing is usually pretty much my own.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: BrewingRover on July 16, 2010, 08:32:47 pm
I started with kits like most people. Now I mostly make my own recipes. I like to take a commercial beer as an inspiration, research it, and try to approximate it. I think this is different than cloning, as I don't necessarily want to recreate the beer exactly, just capture the flavors that interested me.. My favorite beers to brew this way are things I can't get locally, like some beers I had in the Lake District in England or American beers that  I can get while traveling but not at home.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: a10t2 on July 16, 2010, 08:43:49 pm
I've actually never brewed a kit - I was fortunate in that my first two batches, I was assisting a (more) experienced brewer. The only beer I've ever "borrowed" directly from someone else's recipe is Denny's BVIP, and even that I think I made some minor tweaks. For me, the recipe design is one of the most fun parts.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: boulderbrewer on July 16, 2010, 11:15:11 pm
I don't care where the recipe comes from, when I get good results.

You should have a NO PANTS! option in your poll.

I'm surprised and dissappointed that this has not come up before page 3
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: joeysmokedporter on July 17, 2010, 05:48:09 am
when brewing a particular style, will consult with several recipes from various books, including Brewing Classic Styles and the Szamatulski clone books, then will decide on a combination of ingredients that is most interesting to me.

At this point in my brewing, I'm focused more on process and less on recipe.  Things like keeping temperatures consistent and controlled, good fermentation, etc.  This may differ for others, but for me, my beer results are driven about 70% by process and 30% by recipe (assuming high quality ingredients in all cases).  After brewing the many batches it will take me to approach the experience of many others, I expect this ratio to shift more toward recipe.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: corkybstewart on July 17, 2010, 09:49:05 am
Being completely unable to actually follow a recipe I have only brewed my own recipes for the past 15 years.  I did kits for a year but I still added stuff not included with the kits.  Recipe development is probably 50% of my enjoyment.  When I first started creating recipes I would read a lot of other people's recipes looking for common elements but then I'd write my own.
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: beersk on July 17, 2010, 09:59:02 am
I don't care where the recipe comes from, when I get good results.

You should have a NO PANTS! option in your poll.

I'm surprised and dissappointed that this has not come up before page 3

You should know how I feel about the "no pants" saying...for me, it means to brew when you're hammered not the "fly by the seat of your pants" kinda brewing. 
I figured most people don't just throw stuff together at the last minute.  If someone is going to do that with remaining ingredients that they have they're still going to come up with a recipe for it. 
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: bonjour on July 17, 2010, 10:26:05 am
My first recipe was a Mr. Beer Ofest (sort of)  I got CP's book and the middle pages listed how much malt to use for 5 gallons of beer as being 5-7pounds.  Mr. Beer said 1.121 lbs for 2.5 gallons (approx) and I was trying to figure out how under 2.5lbs (Mr. Beer wouldn't mislead me now, would they?) was close to the same as 5-7lbs in 5 gallons.

I ended up adding a couple pounds of DME to the Mr. Beer kit.  2nd brew was two of the remaining cans of extract and some dme to make something that would pass for an amber.

I upgraded to 5 gall for a couple of recipes (from a book, extract plus grain)  and then moved to AG.  I still have the Mr. Beer can of wheat extract from 10 years ago,  can't seem to part with it.

Fred
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: lazydog79 on July 17, 2010, 02:12:24 pm
Here's an online store:

http://www.brewmasterswarehouse.com/brew-builder

That will allow you to create your own "kit." 

Very cool!  Thanks!  ;D
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: majorvices on July 17, 2010, 04:24:23 pm
I don't care where the recipe comes from, when I get good results.

You should have a NO PANTS! option in your poll.

I'm surprised and dissappointed that this has not come up before page 3

You should know how I feel about the "no pants" saying...for me, it means to brew when you're hammered not the "fly by the seat of your pants" kinda brewing. 
I figured most people don't just throw stuff together at the last minute.  If someone is going to do that with remaining ingredients that they have they're still going to come up with a recipe for it. 

Methinks you don't understand. "No Pants" is a required option in any homebrew poll. We will let it slide this time but if you don't put a "no pants" option in your poll next time the poll will not be considered valid.  ;)
Title: Re: Your own recipes, kits or other's recipes?
Post by: beersk on July 17, 2010, 04:51:44 pm
I don't care where the recipe comes from, when I get good results.

You should have a NO PANTS! option in your poll.

I'm surprised and dissappointed that this has not come up before page 3

You should know how I feel about the "no pants" saying...for me, it means to brew when you're hammered not the "fly by the seat of your pants" kinda brewing. 
I figured most people don't just throw stuff together at the last minute.  If someone is going to do that with remaining ingredients that they have they're still going to come up with a recipe for it. 

Methinks you don't understand. "No Pants" is a required option in any homebrew poll. We will let it slide this time but if you don't put a "no pants" option in your poll next time the poll will not be considered valid.  ;)

Yeah I know, but I tend to go against the norm in most cases.  :)