Author Topic: Finding my Style  (Read 1135 times)

Offline IMperry9

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Finding my Style
« on: October 20, 2015, 04:31:08 AM »
Hey everybody been along time since I have been on here, have been too busy with college to even think about brewing. But with the first semester being half way done I have had brewing on my mind. I want to brew as soon as possible but I am having trouble deciding what to brew. Here is what I have brewed in the past:
Blonde Ale
Brown Ales(2)
Red Ale
Stouts(2)
Rauchbier
Light American Lager
IPA
Wheat
and a sort of Belgian Wit.

Some have been kits but the majority have been recipes I have created or altered others recipes. They have all turned out ok but I haven't fallen in love with a specific style or recipe yet. So far the Blonde Ale and Brown Ales have been my favorites. I guess the main thing I am asking is how did everyone find that special recipe that you just want to brew over and over again? Also if you had to suggest one style or recipe that I must try what would it be? I would love to hear everyone's experiences and opinions and thanks again to everyone on here.
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Offline santoch

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Re: Finding my Style
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2015, 06:48:24 AM »
A good American Pale Ale is hard to beat as a "dial it in" beer.
Its easy to make a drinkable one but difficult to perfect.
They are very tasty and just about everybody likes them.

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Offline gspot

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Re: Finding my Style
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2015, 11:48:18 AM »
I'd venture to say that after 15 years, I still haven't found a recipe that I repeatedly brew to the exclusion of everything else. I've got 30 gals (3 batches) of pale right now each based loosely on the same recipe, but each one is modified slightly. The first came in under gravity so it's more sessionable. The second tried to "correct" that so is a little more flavorful and malty. The third is more of an IPA and has two pounds of turbinado sugar added as an experiment. Point is, I'm not sure I'd want 30 gals of the same thing out there. I'd prefer to keep trying new styles and tweaking my process; otherwise I think I'd stagnate and get complacent and maybe give it up. Won't happen though, because I plan on getting into Belgians soon. There are just too many unlimited possibilities for experimentation.

The one beer I come closest to always brewing the same and having on tap is a particular German alt recipe because there's just something about it that I really, really like. I think after you've brewed enough different recipes you'll find something you'd like to brew on a frequent basis. If you're bored with the recipes you've already brewed, maybe start going through the recipes available on the Aha site and randomly brewing  experimental batches. I'd also recommend the book Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher--plenty of ways to mix it up there. That and reading about Belgians is where I got the idea to add turbinado to my last beer, a practice that's fairly common in non-Reinheitsgebot brewing. Finally, beer is like women: I never met one I couldn't find at least one thing about them to like; sometimes it is only a single thing, but the more you drink, the more you like; and the more you drink the same thing, the more you crave variety. I've been married 22 years--at least I can still change up my beers. Brew on, grasshopper!
« Last Edit: October 20, 2015, 12:07:36 PM by gspot »

Offline goschman

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Re: Finding my Style
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2015, 01:36:33 PM »
I think you need to decide what your favorite styles in general are and start brewing those. I myself got a bit tired of the APA/IPA trend and started to really enjoy German styles which were more or less new to me. I have been brewing a little bit more in that direction which I have enjoyed. Most of my beers are starting to become German base beers with an American twist.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Finding my Style
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2015, 01:47:24 PM »
For me, it's all about experimenting and getting creative. Even when I really nail a recipe, I often don't rebrew it for a while. I go through a lot of phases, so even though my hoppy Belgian dark ale was one of my favorite beers ever, I haven't been on a Belgian kick in a while so I haven't rebrewed it.

I have a few basic recipes that get brewed more often, but those are typically styles I like but don't feel the need to get super creative with. My märzen and low-gravity porter get brewed pretty often with minor tweaks here and there. On the other hand, I brew Saison and IPA quite a bit, but I'm constantly using new fruit or hops each time.

When I'm planning my brewing, I like to use the same yeast in 2-3 successive batches. I tend to get in an English ale kick over the winter. This year I will be using WY1469 in some test batches, then repitching into an ESB, followed by a big porter or stout of some sort. I also try to make use of the big pitch I've grown up in successive batches by brewing a large, cellar-worthy batch as the final one in the succession.

TL;DR - Inspiration comes in many different forms. Whatever hits you, take it and run with it.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Finding my Style
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2015, 02:18:53 PM »
For me, it's all about experimenting and getting creative. Even when I really nail a recipe, I often don't rebrew it for a while.

Same here. I normally have a saison/other Belgian and APA/AIPA on tap, past that I rotate styles on the other taps.

EDIT - OP, don't feel limited on styles. Brew lots of them and in time you'll get an idea what you like brewing best.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2015, 02:44:45 PM by HoosierBrew »
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Finding my Style
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2015, 02:38:00 PM »
I'd say based on the variety that you have brewed that you enjoy bouncing from one style to another. You can keep doing this and just focus on improving your technique.
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Offline curtism1234

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Re: Finding my Style
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2015, 02:42:36 PM »
As some others stated, pick a style that would enjoy drinking because you're going to have 20-40+ beers to drink.

I'm just trying to find holes, something you have not made (or similar) before.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Finding my Style
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2015, 02:44:06 PM »
Although I pretty much never brew the same recipe exactly the same twice, I find myself going to British Ales again and again.
When I was twenty-one in 1989 I found myself being curious about those other beers I would occasionally see now that I wasn't drinking in someone's apartment or the woods. The first good beer that became "my beer" was Bass Ale. It actually tasted of malt and was noticeably bitter. I have not had a Bass in years but its what got me started on appreciating good beer. I like a good example of any style but there is nothing I enjoy more consistently than English Bitters, India Pale ales, brown ales, porters etc. I just love the maltiness with the firm but not overwhelming bitterness. And in the American Craft world of hoppy everything, they are what is different now.
There are two things I love about brewing these styles. One is that you don't see a lot (at least I don't) of good, local, fresh examples, so its really practical to brew them. The other thing about these styles is that they are not too difficult to brew well, but still provide unending tweakability and creativity. They are also among the most drinkable beers IMO.
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Offline toby

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Re: Finding my Style
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2015, 03:07:14 PM »
I guess the main thing I am asking is how did everyone find that special recipe that you just want to brew over and over again? Also if you had to suggest one style or recipe that I must try what would it be? I would love to hear everyone's experiences and opinions and thanks again to everyone on here.

The thing you really have to ask yourself is "what style do I like to drink that is difficult to find a good example of?"  I have a few recipes that I like to brew regularly, but not really any that I'd want to do all the time.  I brew my scotch once or twice a year.  That one started when McEwan's became harder to find in the mid 90s.  I have an IPA recipe that I've been tweaking for a few years experimenting with single-hop varieties.  Our state doesn't have a lot of West Coast-ish IPAs, though.  But that's me.  What do you like to drink?  That's where it would make the most sense to focus your energy.

Offline dilluh98

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Re: Finding my Style
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2015, 03:52:19 PM »

When I'm planning my brewing, I like to use the same yeast in 2-3 successive batches. I tend to get in an English ale kick over the winter. This year I will be using WY1469 in some test batches, then repitching into an ESB, followed by a big porter or stout of some sort. I also try to make use of the big pitch I've grown up in successive batches by brewing a large, cellar-worthy batch as the final one in the succession.

This. I've really started to enjoy the brewing process more lately when I focus on a strain of yeast and go through 3-5 generations with it, keeping really good notes on how it behaves along the way. It might not seem like it but it allows for a lot of creativity and experimentation based on how you play with the temperature profiles and/or over/underpitching. There is an element of restraint because you can't just brew any style you want with a given strain but I've found a little bit of boundary/restraint can be healthy for creativity. It's fun to start with something quite low alcohol and on that last big yeast cake from generation 4 or 5 you lay in for something cellar-able.

If you feel like that's too restrictive, get two strains and trade off. One is something highly versatile that'll make a lot of different styles and the other is something you're particularly interested in brewing a sub-set of styles with. For me lately it's been a combination of WLP001 and WLP007. This fall I'll probably switch over to WY1450 and something to make a lot of experimental saisons (WLP565 likely).

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Finding my Style
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2015, 04:02:20 PM »
I might be crazy, but... it's a goal of mine to eventually brew every style and see what I'm good at and what works with my water and my process.  I've already narrowed things down to my Top 15 that I like the best AND that score well in competitions -- these I consider to be my "flagships" that I will continue to brew occasionally forever.  Interesting coincidences out of my Top 15 beers I have ever made:

6 of 15 are very simple blonde color ales or lagers!  This seems to be too many to be just a coincidence.
5 of 15 are German styles.
4 of 15 are Belgians
3 of 15 have somewhat unusual ingredients (gruit herbs, jalapenos, smoked malt, etc.)
Only 2 of 15 are recipes from someone else with few or zero modifications, the other 13 are totally original.

What styles might be most worthy of checking out if you haven't considered them already?  My own humble opinions:

Gruit Ale
Helles
Altbier
Jalapeno Porter
Saison
Vienna
Barleywine
Dubbel
Doppelbock
Hefeweizen
Scotch Ale
ESB
Rye Anything (try using >40% rye malt in any style!)
Traditional Cider (no added sugars or spices)
Traditional Mead (no added sugars or spices)

As you can see, I'm a bit of a malthead (opposite of hophead).  I also tend to be more traditional and purist, excepting mainly the jalpeno porter.  The porter is great on its own, but the jalapeno just makes it go BOOM!  I like to split batches very often as well, and experiment with slightly different ingredients in each.  Try that, it's very educational.  Even something as simple as two or three different yeasts can be very eye-opening.

Cheers!!
Dave

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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Finding my Style
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2015, 06:42:42 PM »
I have a couple that I brew at least once, sometimes twice, a year.  But those are big beers I intend to age.

The rest of the time, I cycle through styles that I enjoy.  Sometimes I'm brewing Belgians.  Sometimes I'm brewing English ales.  Usually, there's a saison in there and come spring there's usually a hefe.

One-offs now and then.  But I prefer sticking with recipes I know. 
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Re: Finding my Style
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2015, 06:47:00 PM »
I'm personally a fan of the maltier British, Belgian and German styles.

I find that I don't want to brew IPAs. There are too many good commercial examples to warrant the costs of hops at this level. It's cheaper to buy it in my opinion.

For Pale beers it's Saison, Blondes and English Pale Ales.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Finding my Style
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2015, 07:13:49 PM »
I find that I don't want to brew IPAs. There are too many good commercial examples to warrant the costs of hops at this level. It's cheaper to buy it in my opinion.
If you're a hophead you will be hard-pressed to find a commercial beer that matches the hop character you can get from a super-fresh, massively-hopped, homebrewed IPA. I rarely buy commercial IPA's anymore because I can have mine fresher, and stuff in more hops than is affordable at the commercial scale.
Eric B.

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