Author Topic: What makes a recipe "yours"?  (Read 3823 times)

Offline ccfoo242

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What makes a recipe "yours"?
« on: February 28, 2012, 10:25:56 AM »
At what point can someone legitimately say a recipe is theirs, or uniquely theirs?

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Offline BrewArk

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Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2012, 10:29:12 AM »
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. ;)
« Last Edit: February 28, 2012, 10:31:30 AM by BrewArk »
Beer...Now there's a temporary solution!

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Offline bluesman

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Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2012, 10:44:52 AM »
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.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2012, 10:46:29 AM »
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."
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Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2012, 11:24:48 AM »
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.
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Offline ccfoo242

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Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2012, 11:40:12 AM »
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."

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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2012, 11:42:44 AM »
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.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2012, 11:43:59 AM »
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. 
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Offline weithman5

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Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2012, 11:59:14 AM »
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.
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Offline snowtiger87

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Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2012, 12:13:52 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".
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Offline denny

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What makes a recipe "yours"?
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2012, 12:27:48 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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Offline denny

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What makes a recipe "yours"?
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2012, 12:29:31 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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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2012, 12:53:22 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.
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Offline corkybstewart

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Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2012, 01:07:19 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.
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Offline weithman5

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Re: What makes a recipe "yours"?
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2012, 01:17:37 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)
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