Author Topic: How do YOU spitball new recipes? Name your process  (Read 962 times)

Offline duboman

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Re: How do YOU spitball new recipes? Name your process
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2014, 05:28:40 PM »

DGB and BJCP. And I almost always follow the same hop schedule regardless of style unless it requires no aroma. What helps is having an example. Preferably more than one. So drink up people.

+1 to DGB and BJCP Style Guidelines.  Designing Great Beers is a GREAT book with a great approach. You can create a recipe for a style and be able to see what ingredients (and % of each ingredient)  are common in that style. It really helped me get a handle on things across a big range of styles. Learning the attributes of each malt, hop, and yeast will help dial in a recipe, and I learned by changing only one ingredient or variable at a time. Take really clear,thorough, legible notes (including water chemistry)that you can reference. Be sure to add detailed tasting notes - I might not make a style that I brewed last year for another year or two, depending on the style. What was great, good, mediocre, or sh#$$y about it, and what would I change next time? Easiest to assess while you're drinking it than having to try to remember. Good luck.
+1 to this and I'll add that I also will try to sample a few of the beers recommended to style as a means of comparison and what I like or dislike and tweak from there.

It's a fun process To go through as well as brewing and tweaking to get just what you want.
Peace....Love......Beer......

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Offline fmader

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Re: How do YOU spitball new recipes? Name your process
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2014, 05:52:48 PM »
Creating recipes is one of my favorite parts of the entire brewing process. It puts your stamp on the product and makes it more genuine to me. As Mort said, I look at the commonalities in distinct styles and go from there to find my medium... This hold especially true for me with the malt bill. As far as calculating the malt bill, I reference chapter 5 of Daniels book. I go here for reference more than any other books I have. I suppose if you have software, you wouldn't need to, but I do mine on pen and paper. As far as hops go, I use my imagination. I have only rebrewed a few of my recipes with modifications. I'm not sure if this is best practice or not. But if I have spare time in the evening, I'll throw a new recipe together... So then I need to get them brewed ASAP!
Frank

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: How do YOU spitball new recipes? Name your process
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2014, 06:14:55 PM »
I have made made some following Gordon Strong's Zen approach in Brewing Better Beer. Flavor goal, ingredients to get to the goal, don't over think it (apologies to Gordon for understating the whole deal).

I made a rustic German lager that did not fit into the style guidelines. It turned out very tasty, and was like those around Bamberg when one orders a Lagerbier or Landbier.

I made an off the wall lager that was inspired by Bells Quianannon Falls lager. Got close, and it was well received by many at NHC in Philly on Club Night. This was winging it at its finest. The Bells folks liked it!
Jeff Rankert
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Offline erockrph

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Re: How do YOU spitball new recipes? Name your process
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2014, 07:07:01 PM »
The first time I brew a style, I generally brew one of the recipes in Brewing Classic Styles. It is one of the best references out there for brewers who are starting to dabble in the recipe design process.

Basically, the key to designing good recipes is to know your ingredients. It's hard to get from your initial idea to your endpoint if you don't know how to get there. The best place to start is by taking a known recipe and making small tweaks to start. Look at some recipes you like and try to understand what each ingredient is doing, then adjust by changing amounts or swapping out/adding/subtracting an ingredient.

Once you have built up a decent toolkit of ingredients you feel comfortable with, then you can start to get a bit more adventurous and start working from scratch. Don't be afraid to make mistakes or take chances - it's just beer. Don't be discouraged if a good percentage of your ideas don't work out as well as you had hoped. There is a reason why there are so many established styles - those styles/recipes have been proven to work well. There is definitely a lot of great beer to be made in between and outside the styles, but there's a lot more mediocre beer to be made out there as well.

Having said that, there are ways to approach beer outside of styles to increase your odds of brewing something tasty. Have a concrete goal for what you're shooting for. Make sure it makes sense within the framework of beer (i.e., pickle beer, garlic beer, carpaccio beer are all probably real bad ideas). Then approach it with restraint, and using what you know about similar styles to your target as a guide.

A quick example. While I've had my share of misses, I really nailed one beer dead on a while ago. I had tried Caliente hops for the first time and I got an awesome fresh red plum aroma. I decided to take a bunch of ingredients that produce varying degrees of plumminess and use them together. I used Unibroue yeast, D-180 Candi Syrup, Special B and Caliente hops. The resulting brew was kind of in between a Dubbel and an ESB, but the sum of the ingredients was so much more than that. Everything just meshed perfectly. If only all my other experiments worked out so well.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline sparkleberry

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Re: How do YOU spitball new recipes? Name your process
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2014, 08:54:53 PM »
i had a good brew day with a buddy today and the recipe i used was inspired by an arrogant bastard clone. i had so much fun brewing today i decided to to a 3.25 biab batch when i got home. it's going on the stove right now.

i knew i wanted to try another pale ale with mosaic. i had 2 row, wheat malt and caravienne on hand so i just threw some numbers together in beersmith and got started.

i do this a lot. i like using things i have on hand and seeing what i get on the back end. most of my recipes are made in this way, though i do use a basic framework of the styles i like to brew(ipa, pale, porter being the most common).

however, i have only brewed a hand full of beers more than a few times in the 4 years I've been brewing. i've never been concerned about absolute consistency. i just like brewing different things. i'm probably in a small number of brewers but that's how i like to brew.

cheers
cheers.

rpl
apertureales

Offline dannyjed

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Re: How do YOU spitball new recipes? Name your process
« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2014, 08:55:15 PM »
I like to look at brewing as an art form. Even scientists must look through the eyes of an artist in order to be innovative. I also believe that one must learn the fundamentals of particular styles before they are able to improvise with success. A musician, painter, sculptor, or etc. must have a foundation before new territories can be explored. I believe a brewer must learn the basis of a particular style like the others have said before they can tweak it successfully. You have to crawl before you can walk.
Dan Chisholm

Offline corkybstewart

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Re: How do YOU spitball new recipes? Name your process
« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2014, 09:43:56 PM »
My process is pretty simple.  First I drink a bunch of commercial examples of the beer style I'm wanting to brew.  Then I start looking at recipes online to see the common ingredients.  I enter my recipe into Beersmith and/or Promash to adjust the IBU's, OG, etc.  Finally I print the recipe, go out to my beer room and see what ingredients I actually have on hand and I substitute those into the recipe I created.  I also keep a brewer's log with what I actually brewed as opposed to what I planned to brew.
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico

Offline denny

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Re: How do YOU spitball new recipes? Name your process
« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2014, 09:22:01 AM »
Yeah... Forgot it was 2014 already...
[/quote

You and me both, buddy!
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: How do YOU spitball new recipes? Name your process
« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2014, 10:09:29 AM »
I start off thinking about how I would describe each of the key elements of the beer as a final product as if I were judging/reviewing/explaining the beer. Then I start working on how to get there. As others have said, understanding the ingredients is an important link between building the recipe that matches the description. I typically look at various brewing books and recipes online to see how other people got to beers with the same or similar descriptions. Clone recipes are the easiest to work off of IMO because I know exactly what the final product is like and I can get a sense of how the ingredients and combinations of ingredients produced particular qualities in the beer. With random homebrew recipes I'm relying on the description of the brewer with no idea how accurate the description is.

The less familiar I am with brewing a particular style the more closely I tend to rely on other recipes for a starting point and usually I start off with something very close to a clone recipe. Then I start thinking about what's different about my final destination and where I am and what changes to make. Plus, having a cloned batch of something I like avoids the problem of pumping out X number of gallons of something I don't want to drink.

The more familiar I am with a style then the less I rely on other recipes in fashioning my own. The only style where I feel I can sit down and just write recipes with little or no research is saison. I have a few basic recipe constructs I have in my head that I start with and adjust as needed. I'd like to have that kind of proficiency with other styles but I'm sure it will come in time.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing but I'm also a lawyer: The Kielich Law Firm

Offline davidgzach

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Re: How do YOU spitball new recipes? Name your process
« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2014, 03:48:00 PM »
Designing Great beers by Ray Daniels is a really good resource when you are trying to do a new style. It has some great charts on which malts are used at what rate by how many people. I refer to it a lot when I am attempting a new style.

+100
Dave Zach

Offline surfin_mikeg

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Re: How do YOU spitball new recipes? Name your process
« Reply #25 on: January 10, 2014, 10:23:02 PM »
My first kit was awful (a gift way back in the day), so I've been putting recipes together ever since.  I split it into two categories:  something to match a style (Doppelbock, Pilsner, Kolsch), or just trying to make an experimental yet very drinkable beer. 

What worked for me when starting was to take something like a Fat Tire clone and just trying different things.  I've also emailed most breweries in my area to ask how they put together specific brews (IPAs, ESBs) and for the most part they're extremely helpful.

IPAs are the test-bed.  As a guideline I limit to 4 or fewer malts and limit crystal malt usage to no more than 5%.  I go through phases, like weaning off of CaraPil and now using MO as a base malt and exploring how to get a maltier profile from that.

I rotate through various hops one by one to get a handle on each flavor and bitterness profile.  It takes time.  Each recipe is heavy on hop usage.  I've been working through the bolder hops like Chinook, Apollo, Nugget, then Cascade and Centennial, then Perle, Willamette, Opal, Saaz, and so on, but trying to keep each recipe simple so the flavor profile is obvious.

I think in terms of n-factorial experimental design, so consider all aspects of input and figure out how to sample along the way.  For example, splitting a batch of wort between 2 yeasts, bottling some when the yeast is finished, then dry-hopping the two batches 2 or 4 different ways, then bottling and kegging.  If I want to go one step further, say trying bourboned-oak or perhaps an infusion (as in garlic + lemongrass + ginger), I'll use flip-top bottles and try it on a small portion of the batch.

« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 09:52:46 AM by surfin_mikeg »

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: How do YOU spitball new recipes? Name your process
« Reply #26 on: January 10, 2014, 11:51:55 PM »
What helped me was Drew's talk on Brewing on the Ones. He didn't give a bunch of info on style compliance but good info on not adding too many different things.

One base malt, one flavor malt, one color malt, one bitter hop, one flavor hop, one aroma hop. And you don't really need as different one of each. Then pick a style compliant yeast and go for it.

Offline denny

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Re: How do YOU spitball new recipes? Name your process
« Reply #27 on: January 11, 2014, 10:40:35 AM »
Designing Great beers by Ray Daniels is a really good resource when you are trying to do a new style. It has some great charts on which malts are used at what rate by how many people. I refer to it a lot when I am attempting a new style.

+100

The problem is that the book is getting long in the tooth.  There are a lot of ingredients that are available now that weren't then, and using these newer ingredients might make a better beer.  As long as you're aware of that and know what to do about it, fine.  But that's one reason a newer version is under way, AFAIK.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: How do YOU spitball new recipes? Name your process
« Reply #28 on: January 11, 2014, 11:00:52 AM »
Designing Great beers by Ray Daniels is a really good resource when you are trying to do a new style. It has some great charts on which malts are used at what rate by how many people. I refer to it a lot when I am attempting a new style.

+100

The problem is that the book is getting long in the tooth.  There are a lot of ingredients that are available now that weren't then, and using these newer ingredients might make a better beer.  As long as you're aware of that and know what to do about it, fine.  But that's one reason a newer version is under way, AFAIK.

There are several styles not represented, that have become popular since the book was written. Belgians, wild and sour, many of the twists on IPAs, etc.

Looking forward to an update.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Online HoosierBrew

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Re: How do YOU spitball new recipes? Name your process
« Reply #29 on: January 11, 2014, 02:50:36 PM »
Designing Great beers by Ray Daniels is a really good resource when you are trying to do a new style. It has some great charts on which malts are used at what rate by how many people. I refer to it a lot when I am attempting a new style.

+100

The problem is that the book is getting long in the tooth.  There are a lot of ingredients that are available now that weren't then, and using these newer ingredients might make a better beer.  As long as you're aware of that and know what to do about it, fine.  But that's one reason a newer version is under way, AFAIK.

There are several styles not represented, that have become popular since the book was written. Belgians, wild and sour, many of the twists on IPAs, etc.

Looking forward to an update.

+1.  Ingredients and styles have evolved. I just really appreciated the format of the book - looking at commonalities between recipes , some of which were from breweries, as opposed to looking at some of the bogus old recipe books for similarities. Can't wait for the new one.
Jon H.