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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: tomsawyer on June 15, 2011, 01:51:50 PM

Title: Recipe-wise, Ever Fail To Perfect A Style?
Post by: tomsawyer on June 15, 2011, 01:51:50 PM
I posted a thread about recipe development that has some interesting insights into the ways people come up with original recipes.  I did it because, while I've been successful at times, there have been a few styles that I've never been able to brew to my satisfaction.  Belgian dubbel and Dusseldorf alt are two examples of styles I've brewed multiple times and have yet to be really content with the outcome.  I've even worn myself out drinking the mediocre attempts and have had to give up brewing them for awhile.  Its frustrating not to be able to brew something that does justice to a style.  I'm not talking about brewing a beer that rivals a Westmalle or Zum Uerige, but it should have some of the essence of the style.

So this thread is about those styles that have eluded you so far.  I know that we are often our own worst critics, but we're often the most knowledgable set of lips to slurp down the products and we want to brew to our own satisfaction first and foremost.

Anybody else got a testimonial?
Title: Re: Recipe-wise, Ever Fail To Perfect A Style?
Post by: tygo on June 15, 2011, 02:19:57 PM
ESB.  I just can't seem to land it.  What I make is good, and I enjoy drinking it, but it just isn't quite there yet.  I'll be brewing the sixth iteration of the current version in a couple weeks with some tweeks to the hopping schedule and keeping my fingers crossed.
Title: Re: Recipe-wise, Ever Fail To Perfect A Style?
Post by: denny on June 15, 2011, 02:24:11 PM
I've made some pretty good dunkels, but I've never made one that I fell really nails the style.
Title: Re: Recipe-wise, Ever Fail To Perfect A Style?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 15, 2011, 02:29:30 PM
Never nailed the Zum Uerige alt.  Denny posted some info that got it close, should try again.
Title: Re: Recipe-wise, Ever Fail To Perfect A Style?
Post by: stlaleman on June 15, 2011, 02:33:16 PM
Irish red is the one style I cannot capture.
Title: Re: Recipe-wise, Ever Fail To Perfect A Style?
Post by: dannyjed on June 15, 2011, 02:37:41 PM
It took me awhile to brew a good Belgian.  I've learned that I prefer them in the lower end of the fermenting temp range.
Title: Re: Recipe-wise, Ever Fail To Perfect A Style?
Post by: tomsawyer on June 15, 2011, 04:41:03 PM
Irish red is the one style I cannot capture.

Do you use tap water?  I've gone to RO to try and enhance my malty flavors.  I haven't made a decent Irish red either, or really any malt-forward beer other than a best bitter.  I'm hoping the water change helps my alt, my dubbel and anything with a malt-forward flavor profile.
Title: Re: Recipe-wise, Ever Fail To Perfect A Style?
Post by: udubdawg on June 15, 2011, 05:07:49 PM
Southern English Brown, though with the lack of examples to compare to, I'm kind of flying blind.
Going to try again in a few weeks.  I don't think I'll ever really love this style; I just can't live with the current failures.   ;D

cheers--
--Michael
Title: Re: Recipe-wise, Ever Fail To Perfect A Style?
Post by: tomsawyer on June 15, 2011, 05:38:30 PM
Southern English Brown, though with the lack of examples to compare to, I'm kind of flying blind.
Going to try again in a few weeks.  I don't think I'll ever really love this style; I just can't live with the current failures.   ;D

cheers--
--Michael

No kidding, it becomes a quest after awhile.  I brew stuff I know I'm not going to drink, just to see if I'll have success.
Title: Re: Recipe-wise, Ever Fail To Perfect A Style?
Post by: morticaixavier on June 15, 2011, 05:58:58 PM
I don't think I have ever mastered a recipe. I might be close on my cali common but I still have tweaks I would like to try. Still need more feedback from a wider audience though.
Title: Re: Recipe-wise, Ever Fail To Perfect A Style?
Post by: beerstache on June 15, 2011, 09:51:07 PM
I concur with Denny, I just cannot nail down that maltiness and mouthfeel of a good German Dunkel!  Next batch I will try decoction and more melanoidin malt.
Title: Re: Recipe-wise, Ever Fail To Perfect A Style?
Post by: majorvices on June 15, 2011, 10:57:42 PM
I haven't really mastered sour beers. I'd really like to get into blending and brewing sours some day. The few times I have attempted it they have turned out pretty nasty.
Title: Re: Recipe-wise, Ever Fail To Perfect A Style?
Post by: denny on June 15, 2011, 11:03:11 PM
I concur with Denny, I just cannot nail down that maltiness and mouthfeel of a good German Dunkel!  Next batch I will try decoction and more melanoidin malt.

Ya know, I'd almost suggest you skip the melanoidin.  While there is a wonderful maltiness to dunkels, there is no sweetness in the best examples I've tried.  Melanoidin might add too much sweetness.  OTOH, I could be completely wrong!
Title: Re: Recipe-wise, Ever Fail To Perfect A Style?
Post by: tomsawyer on June 15, 2011, 11:28:05 PM
I haven't really mastered sour beers. I'd really like to get into blending and brewing sours some day. The few times I have attempted it they have turned out pretty nasty.

Thats something that is more art than science.  That and the patience to let something sit for a year+.  I've actually had decent luck so far.
Title: Re: Recipe-wise, Ever Fail To Perfect A Style?
Post by: dbeechum on June 16, 2011, 12:22:29 AM
For me it's always been the astonishingly easy porter. Don't know why. I just have to borrow friends recipes for the style.
Title: Re: Recipe-wise, Ever Fail To Perfect A Style?
Post by: Will's Swill on June 19, 2011, 01:52:17 AM
Freaking light lagers.  Either they come out lighter than Bud, or with an off flavor.  Drinking one now as I write this wondering what I need to do to dial it in.  I'm thinking the yeast...
Title: Re: Recipe-wise, Ever Fail To Perfect A Style?
Post by: Tristan on June 19, 2011, 01:58:13 PM
For me it's Dortmunder.  I understand it's going to take many many batches to get exactly what I want!

Will's, on the light lager, I would look at your water, pitching rate and fermentation temps a bit more closely.  When you have a beer that lightly flavored it becomes really difficult to make a perfect example!
Title: Re: Recipe-wise, Ever Fail To Perfect A Style?
Post by: Will's Swill on June 19, 2011, 02:13:24 PM
You're right on all three fronts.  My tap water recently nose-dived in pH, so I need to get a new analysis; I'm a chronic under-pitcher which I know is particularly frowned upon for lagers; and I struggle with finding the optimal fermentation temperature for my lagers, high 40's and my yeasties stall, low 50's and I don't get the flavor profile I want.  It still makes beer, but it's just not where I want it yet...
Title: Re: Recipe-wise, Ever Fail To Perfect A Style?
Post by: Tristan on June 19, 2011, 02:48:44 PM
I'd say for a really lite lager you may want to go out and buy all RO water and bring up the calcium to 50ppm with a 50/50 blend of calcium chloride and calcium sulfate.  You'll be in the range but you might want to even add a bit of acid, 1/2 tsp of Phosphoric (75%) to the HLT to get the mash temps right.  This makes such a huge difference!  

I'm with you on the fermentation temps!  I've tried to cheat by fermenting lagers in the low 50s and always regretted it!
Title: Re: Recipe-wise, Ever Fail To Perfect A Style?
Post by: violaleebrews on June 19, 2011, 06:51:54 PM
i find it funny that most people are having a difficult time nailing down some really technical brews and one of the more revered brewers is having troubles with a simple porter.  i think in that case it's just your own expectations and desired outcome.  i can't seem to get an IPA that i like.  i'm sipping a 'Hop Knot' right now thinking that i should just save my time and energy and help keep Four Peaks in b'ness.  but who am i kidding, it's way too fun to keep trying!

cheers!