For April Fools Day (Sunday), I will brew my 58th iteration of my house favorite - Nearly Nirvana Pale Ale. This was the beer that really got me deep into the hobby. Some 15 years ago I was enjoying a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and I first asked myself how I might go about cloning it. After 9-10 trys, I had it pretty dialed in and I then thought, how can I make this "my beer"? What would I like to change? So I started changing one facet of my brewing process at a time. Doubled the Crystal, removed the Crystal. Substituted Munich, then tried Veinna, CaraPils, Cara Munich. Or used a different mash temp, added more base grains, used different yeasts, etc. I learned more by doing this than a lot of reading.
This weekend it will 20 pounds Marris Otter, a pound of Munich, Vienna, Wheat and Crystal 60o. Perle hops for bitterness and Cascade for flavor and aroma. Likely dry hop for a few days with something playful (Citra? Amarillo?). I'll split a 12 gallon batch and use WYeast 1056 in one, and the new White Labs San Diego yeast in another. I will keg up one for National Homebrew day and likely bottle up the rest for gifts and club meetings.