Author Topic: Simplifying Recipes  (Read 7091 times)

Offline garc_mall

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Re: Simplifying Recipes
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2012, 10:40:49 PM »
The thing I was hoping people would take away is at the end of the talk - the reverse Michelangelo principle.

Build your beers with the minimum of ingredients needed to get you there. Personally I think unless you're brewing a big stout you can probably brew a top notch and winning with 3 malts.

I still haven't cracked below 4 for a stout and one of my favorite crazy beers is the Gonzo that I mention in the talk. That thing comes close to being a Homebrewing Store and Pharmacy in one beer! :)

In other words, don't get hung up on the "one" thing. Hang onto the minimalist principle.

I thought we were supposed to take away "Wave your hands in the air like you don't care," but with a serious face. >:(
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Offline markaberrant

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Re: Simplifying Recipes
« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2012, 10:34:36 AM »
This is nothing new, it is very imaginative, creative and FUN to put together a dream beer in your head, combining all sorts of exotic malts, hops and adjuncts/spices.  Most brewers start out convinced they are going to create some new kind of ultimate/exotic beer because they are just that much smarter than every other homebrewer that has ever existed.  I’m not trying to drag Jamil and Ray Daniels names through the mud, but their popular recipe book indirectly encourages busy/muddled recipe formulation.

Once you get some experience and learn a thing or two, you realize that sort of thinking is utter nonsense and is not a path to consistently brewing excellent/outstanding beer.  My recipes are very basic, and I stick to very consistent brewing processes.  I certainly haven’t heard any feedback from anyone saying my beers are boring, usually quite the opposite.  I don’t compete as much as I used to, but my beers still do well in comps, and also hold up very well when I include them in commercial tasting events.

I haven’t brewed a lager in about 4 years, even though I love them.  I love english bitters too, but haven't attempted one in 5 years or more.  I’m primarily focused on American ales, and I make annual batches of Belgian tripel, dark strong and Flanders Red.  Maybe once I feel like I have mastered these styles I’ll be ready to try something else.  I use local 2-row as the base malt for all my beers, and US-05 for everything except the Belgians.  I always look to Orval as my ultimate inspriation – an incredible beer from a very basic recipe, been made that way for years, and they only produce one beer in large quantities.

Offline nateo

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Re: Simplifying Recipes
« Reply #17 on: July 16, 2012, 10:42:14 AM »
I’m not trying to drag Jamil and Ray Daniels names through the mud, but their popular recipe book indirectly encourages busy/muddled recipe formulation.

I can't comment on Jamil's book, but that message is the exact opposite of what I took away from Designing Great Beer.
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Simplifying Recipes
« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2012, 10:51:45 AM »
I think DGB might confuse people new to recipe formulation in that it lists a lot of potential ingredients for a given style.  Thats how I was using it initially.  Daniels isn't telling you to use them all though.

Most of the recipes in BCS don't seem overly complicated to me.  There is occasional use a little crystal where none is used in a traditional grist, but nothing too elaborate.
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Offline kramerog

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Re: Simplifying Recipes
« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2012, 10:58:05 AM »
Perhaps Mark was intending to refer to Randy Mosher instead of Ray Daniels.  Anyway, the first book I read that said to keep the recipe simple was Brew Like a Monk.
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Offline nateo

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Re: Simplifying Recipes
« Reply #20 on: July 16, 2012, 10:58:28 AM »
I think DGB might confuse people new to recipe formulation in that it lists a lot of potential ingredients for a given style.  Thats how I was using it initially.  Daniels isn't telling you to use them all though.

Yeah what I remember from that book is a lot of recipes that are "base+crystal" or "base+crystal+roasted" but I don't remember him advocating "base+crystal1+crystal2+roasted1+roasted2" which is the type of formula that gets people into trouble.
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Offline markaberrant

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Re: Simplifying Recipes
« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2012, 02:42:58 PM »
Perhaps Mark was intending to refer to Randy Mosher instead of Ray Daniels.  Anyway, the first book I read that said to keep the recipe simple was Brew Like a Monk.

Blah, I meant Jamil and John Palmer (co authors of Brewing Classic Styles).

But yeah, even if you take DGB at face value, you are gonna end up with some crazy/busy recipes.  And books like Radical Brewing, are well, Radical. 

Again, not knocking these authors or their books, and some of these recipes are just fine, but I feel the hobby as a whole does a poor job of explaining and teaching recipe formulation.

Offline euge

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Re: Simplifying Recipes
« Reply #22 on: July 18, 2012, 04:46:51 PM »
Yeah, that's the "Brown" syndrome I was talking about.

I heard a chef (Jamie Oliver) say "flavor confusion" when a student was adding too many different spices and condiments to a recipe. This was before I started brewing in earnest but I took it to heart. Never understood Emiril Lagasse throwing 20 freaking spices, condiments and ingredients at a dish. I'm sure it becomes a symphony but have my doubts. Is all that really necessary? I translated a certain minimalism into my cooking and into my beer recipes. They improved and have become more consistent.

So to avoid a blah, lackluster, unharmonious and confusing beer I have simplified my recipes. Basically there are two base recipes where I only vary the hops and yeast. One is straight base grain for a paler brew and the other includes a crystal malt and Munich for an amber type.

This way I can concentrate on quality and consistency malt-wise.

BTW DGB in my mind doesn't lend itself to complicated recipes. Daniels only lays out what the NHC winners had in their recipes and usually they are pretty basic.

So I have an affinity for Drew's presentation despite all the "arm waving". ;D
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Offline nateo

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Re: Simplifying Recipes
« Reply #23 on: July 19, 2012, 05:02:38 AM »
But yeah, even if you take DGB at face value, you are gonna end up with some crazy/busy recipes.

I'm gonna need specific examples of what you're talking about, because that's the completely opposite conclusion I drew from DGB.
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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Simplifying Recipes
« Reply #24 on: July 19, 2012, 06:36:11 AM »
I like what your saying about simplicity, but then I think of curry.
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Offline nateo

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Re: Simplifying Recipes
« Reply #25 on: July 19, 2012, 06:49:58 AM »
I like what your saying about simplicity, but then I think of curry.

I think the point is that the best curries layer aromatics with purpose, clarity, and balance, while the worst curries lack that finesse. On balance, I've had more bad curries than good, so I'd argue a similar problem exists in the curry world as well.
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Offline denny

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Re: Simplifying Recipes
« Reply #26 on: July 19, 2012, 08:17:03 AM »
I like what your saying about simplicity, but then I think of curry.

I agree.  Simple recipes are the best...except when they're not!  Use as many ingredients as you need to achieve what you have in mind, BUT be sure you have something in mind and you know how every ingredient will affect the end result.  Sometimes it will only take a couple ingredients to get you there, sometimes it might take a dozen.
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Offline 1vertical

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Re: Simplifying Recipes
« Reply #27 on: July 22, 2012, 03:24:19 PM »
Frustra fit per plura quod potest fieri per pauciora - Occam
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Offline tubercle

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Re: Simplifying Recipes
« Reply #28 on: July 22, 2012, 05:27:12 PM »
Frustra fit per plura quod potest fieri per pauciora - Occam
paddle faster, i think i hear banjos

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