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Old 12-28-2011, 09:27 PM   #1
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Default Brewing Classic Styles issues...

I'm not trying to be pretentious here, so please don't take it that way.

Did I pick up Brewing Classic Styles too late in the game? Personally, I'm looking at some of these recipes and I can't imagine how he is winning competitions with them.

I've had the book for awhile, but didn't really start looking at it until about 6 months ago when I started brewing lagers regularly. I brewed one of his, the Vienna, and I don't think it came out even close to the style. After doing further research, my next planned iteration is so far from the one in the book that I have to scratch my head.

Im not knocking Jamil, he obviously makes good beer, but I can't seem to get on his bandwagon. He recommends adding caramel malts to replace decoction and seems to think decoction is pointless. I can't imagine a BJCP certified judge preferring a lager with caramel malts over one that was decocted. The flavors are not even close!

Opinions?

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Old 12-28-2011, 09:44 PM   #2
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I dunno. I've been happy with every recipe I've brewed from the book. The west coast blaster is fabulous if you let it condition for a couple of months. I use the book for what it is...a book of basic recipes and nothing more. Use them as a base and build off of them. But have to agree that decoction is one of those things you sometimes need to do for a lager or hefe...

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Old 12-30-2011, 02:14 AM   #3
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I have 7 extract kits under my belt and decided to use the book as a starting point for learning to design my own recipes. My first all grain biab batch is in the primary right now (Amrican Amber). I figure brewing several of these recipes will help me learn how the ingredients work together and will provide a solid foundation for developing my own personal brewing style.

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Old 12-30-2011, 06:20 PM   #4
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I guess if you are looking for proven award winning recipes to brew, then BCS would be a pretty good start. As for the recipe formulations, its pretty tough to argue when Jamil is one the most award winning homebrewers ever. I have the book and have brewed a number of the beers in it and been pretty satisified with the results. One thing brewing recipes like those from BCS has taught me, is if something doesn't come out quite right, is to take a closer look at my process and ingredients. I find it hard to blame the recipe itself for lacklustre results. Brewing a really good APA is the bane of my existence and I have brewed the BCS APA w/caramel a number of times. The first time wasn't too great but a couple interations later with some tweaks to my process and change in malt suppliers its getting to be pretty ok. If you're not interested in someone elses recipes, i'd suggest Ray Daniels Designing Great Beers.

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Old 12-30-2011, 06:37 PM   #5
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I've made several of the recipes in the book and have been very happy with almost all of them. I concur the West Coast Blaster is amazing and the Janet's Brown is great too. I use his recipes as a starting place when I try styles I've never brewed before.

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Old 12-30-2011, 07:01 PM   #6
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As to decoction mashing, few were as enamored with the process as the late, great Greg Noonan (New Brewing Lager Beer). Even HE granted that the process is unlikely to yield any real benefit given today's highly modified malts. In fact, he suggested, the process may well do more harm than good by excess reduction of proteins.

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Old 12-30-2011, 07:32 PM   #7
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A lot has to do with your system. Jamil very clearly states to adapt the recipes to your system. I forget which episode of the Jamil Show, but I think it was the Dortmunder show - Jamil and Tasty are commenting on how they each use a different yeast and grain bill, yet the final beer comes out to be remarkably similiar.

I have to adjust all the recipes for efficiency, boil offs, and hops (change to rager). When I do this I enjoy the beers. And then I tweak as desired.

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Old 12-30-2011, 08:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McCheese352 View Post
One thing brewing recipes like those from BCS has taught me, is if something doesn't come out quite right, is to take a closer look at my process and ingredients. I find it hard to blame the recipe itself for lacklustre results.
I'd probably agree with you in regards to most of the ale recipes in there, but I completely disagree when it comes to the lagers. Jamil's lager recipes tend to be much different than the traditional recipes as they have been brewed for centuries. If I made a pale ale recipe and it didn't come out right, I'd blame myself, but take a look at his vienna lager recipe. It's very different from most you will find from other sources. I can't blame myself for that one, no matter how many medals he has.

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A lot has to do with your system.
This might be the case. I adjusted for efficiency, but not much else. Without being able to compare to the same recipe brewed by Jamil himself, the only changes one can make are to suit it to their own taste, which is my case, seems to lead to the recipe no longer looking like it came from that book.
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Old 12-30-2011, 08:59 PM   #9
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is this the recipe in the book? it's all over the web which is where i pulled it from

3.4 lbs Pils
3 lbs Munich
5 lbs Vienna
2oz Carafa Special II

Hallertau 4%AA

60 min - 1.5oz
10 min - .5oz

aside from the late hops which aren't historically accurate what is the issue?

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Old 12-30-2011, 09:17 PM   #10
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I think that Jamil's recipes were tweaked toward what judges wanted rather than what a style of beer calls for. Many out-of-style beers win competitions including NHC. It's one of the reasons I stopped entering competitions, except to support my local club.

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