Author Topic: Kitchen sink - is simple better  (Read 3003 times)

jaybeerman

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Kitchen sink - is simple better
« on: September 09, 2011, 02:49:10 PM »
There's a lot of discussion about simplifying grain bills nowadays, even in beers like RIS.  In general terms I agree that simple is better, but I just wanted to post a recent experience.  

Due to some personal circumstances that I won't get into right now, I haven't been able to brew for a very long time.  Around the beginning of June it was really killing me that I hadn't brewed in months.  So one day I dug through what I had on hand (which is a crap ton of stuff, mostly hops) and made up a kitchen sink brew (see recipe below).  I made up a recipe based on what would use up the most leftovers and it ended up being a stout.  After 15 days in the primary I crash chilled it to 35f.  The personal circumstances that I mentioned didn't allow me to get back to it until it had set for another 9 weeks.  That’s 11 weeks in the primary and a complete kitchen sink recipe - guess what, it's one hell of a stout and is drinking very well.  I'm not trying to pick a fight when I say that had I posted the following recipe here I no doubt would have been told to simplify the grain bill.  I guess I'm just saying that there's room for all kinds of recipes (and tastes), even a few complex ones.  Cheers, j

Leftovers Stout
7# Halcyon Pale
4.25# Rahr 2-Row
8 oz Wheat Malt
7 oz Oat Malt
12 oz English Brown
5 oz English Amber
6 oz Caramunich 120L
11 oz English Chocolate 355L(?)
3 oz English Roasted Barley
3 oz English Black Malt
1 oz Nugget @ 60 min
1 oz Mt Rainier @ 30 min
1 oz Mt Rainier @ 20 min
1 oz Mt Rainier @ 10 min
1 oz Mt Rainier @ 5 min
1 oz Mt Rainier @ 0 min
17 grams of SO4 dry yeast (rehydrated in 170 grams of water @ 65f)
« Last Edit: September 09, 2011, 03:42:37 PM by jaybeerman »

Offline denny

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Re: Kitchen sink - is simple better
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2011, 02:54:11 PM »
I guess I'm just saying that there's room for all kinds of recipes (and tastes), even a few complex ones.  Cheers, j

I agree completely.  Simpler isn't always better and complex isn't always better.  It's about doing whatever it takes to get the results you want.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Kitchen sink - is simple better
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2011, 04:13:55 PM »
Some of the greatest inventions and creations happen by chance. This looks like it has some potential.  ;)
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Offline EHall

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Re: Kitchen sink - is simple better
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2011, 04:38:51 PM »
I can honestly say that every 'kitchen sink' brew I've done (cause I end up in that same position... tons of leftovers) have surprised me every time with how good they turn out. Who cares what anyone else thinks of your recipes, if they turn out good, keep doing it!
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Offline dannyjed

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Re: Kitchen sink - is simple better
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2011, 04:42:43 PM »
There is nothing like brewing a beer that surpases your expectations.
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Offline dbeechum

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Re: Kitchen sink - is simple better
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2011, 09:03:18 PM »
I don't know... I sit on the fence about this (and Denny and I were going back and forth on this as well elsewhere)

I generally think simpler is better. It leads to beers that are more focused and less muddled.

But then again, I've taken considered risks and produced beers with very complex ingredient lists.

I think the caution for simplicity is that way usually is more reliable until you are very assured and understand your instruments (or are very lucky)
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Offline narvin

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Re: Kitchen sink - is simple better
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2011, 09:16:11 PM »
It really does depend.  There are many styles that I think benefit from a simpler grain bill.  Including some that you wouldn't expect... many Belgian styles seem complex but get their flavor from the yeast or rich candy syrup, and can taste muddled with a heavy malt bill.  On the other hand, for a stout layering some complexity in the grain bill wouldn't be a bad thing.  You also don't have an overabundance of crystal malts or other pronounced flavors like aromatic, biscut, etc.  Different kinds of 2-row, brown/amber malt, and even chocolate/black malts are not all that different, so I think your recipe is simpler than you give it credit for  ;)

I've never tasted Mr. Rainer hops, nor have I done a hop-bursted stout, but that's another topic entirely.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2011, 09:18:29 PM by narvin »
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Offline euge

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Re: Kitchen sink - is simple better
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2011, 09:47:14 PM »
Last two sacks I've just been using 2-row, various hops and yeast. More of a blank canvas and it reveals much about the hops and yeast. The impetus was having too many different types of specialty grains- and I just snapped one day. No More! And I haven't found any good crystal malt lately. What I had was stale.

I did throw the kitchen sink at a stout about three summers ago. It was horrible so the keg was "forgotten" for about six months. Time worked it's wonders, and I ended up with something that tasted remarkably similar to Rogue's Shakespeare Stout. Delicious.
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Offline corkybstewart

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Re: Kitchen sink - is simple better
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2011, 01:48:32 AM »
I'v brewed "kitchen sink" beers that were great, but about 3 or 4 years ago I started making those same beers with a lot simpler recipes and they were at least as good.  For me it cuts down on the inventory I have to keep since I have o mail order all my ingredients(except base malts).
A point JayBeerman made in that other thread about having time to let a "kitchen sink" beer age has always puzzled me.  Why would I want to brew a beer that has to sit months before it tastes good when I could have a very similar beer using a simpler recipe and drink it sooner?  The last time my buddy and I brewed my Impy stout we split the batch.  He bottled his 5 gallons and I kegged mine.  Conventional wisdom (BS) kicked in and I told him he should let it sit a few months to reach its peak flavor, like I did with my keg. He started drinking his bottles as soon as they were carbonated and the beer was delicious.  Mine was certainly no better in 3 or 4 months when I started drinking it.
Old Crustacean is another example.  Fresh the hops are harsh, it takes a couple of years for it to mellow.  But why can't they change that recipe so I can drink it fresh?
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Offline chezteth

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Re: Kitchen sink - is simple better
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2011, 06:41:01 AM »
I agree with Narvin.  I don't think your recipe is necessarily overly complex due to the use of different types of similar malts.  Your recipe sounds quite tasty!  I have learned over time that simpler recipes, in many circumstances, tends to be better.  However, there are times when more complex recipes are needed to get the complexity you want in your beer.  And, of course, if it tastes good then go with it.  :)

Cheers,
Brandon

jaybeerman

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Re: Kitchen sink - is simple better
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2011, 11:06:43 AM »
I sit on the fence about this (and Denny and I were going back and forth on this as well elsewhere)

I generally think simpler is better. It leads to beers that are more focused 

I think the caution for simplicity is that way usually is more reliable until you are very assured and understand your instruments

Yep. 

jaybeerman

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Re: Kitchen sink - is simple better
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2011, 11:08:09 AM »
I can honestly say that every 'kitchen sink' brew I've done (cause I end up in that same position... tons of leftovers) have surprised me every time with how good they turn out. Who cares what anyone else thinks of your recipes, if they turn out good, keep doing it!

Ah good to see another experimental brewer

jaybeerman

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Re: Kitchen sink - is simple better
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2011, 11:12:32 AM »
thanks for the replies... just to reiterate the point I was trying to get at - I guess I'm just saying that there's room for all kinds of recipes (and tastes), even a few complex ones.  Cheers, j



Offline ckpash88

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Re: Kitchen sink - is simple better
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2011, 11:51:07 AM »
I am still trying to learn then lingo but what do you mean kitchen sink beer
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Kitchen sink - is simple better
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2011, 12:21:37 PM »
I am still trying to learn then lingo but what do you mean kitchen sink beer

This is a phrase used to describe a method of consuming all of the small quantities of remaining ingredients available (pantry, refrigerator, etc...) for use in a recipe. It could be a "kitchen sink", soup, stew, or even a beer.
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