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Old 03-09-2008, 12:24 AM   #1
whoptbird
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Default Protocol Question

I'm learning a lot from this site so far and I had a question I didn't see when doing a search (not sure if I searched right or not). I see a lot of people enter contests and the such and my question is "what is the protocol for entering if you use someone's recipe"? There are a lot of recipes here and well if you brew one and love it and want to enter it do you give credit to the person who made the recipe? Should you change the recipe before entering it in a contest, thus making it your own and how much do you change before it's "yours"? Is this just not a good thing to do and you should come up with your own damn recipe you lazy ass Thanks for looking and I look forward to your responses.

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Old 03-09-2008, 12:31 AM   #2
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I've never entered a beer in a contest (probably will enter a brew or two in the CO state fair this summer though!!!), but I don't think I would ever use somebody elses recipe to enter in a contest. It just doesn't seem right to me.

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Old 03-09-2008, 12:31 AM   #3
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That's a good question. I haven't entered any competitions myself and now I'm wondering the same thing.

Personally, I've never made a beer exactly as the recipe called. There is always some difference in procedure or temperatures, or maybe just a couple extra IBU's cause you're in the mood that day.

I would prefer to enter a beer that was entirely my own. But if I used someone else's recipe and it turned out amazing, would I still send it in to be judged?

I'm curious to see what everyone else thinks?

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Old 03-09-2008, 01:20 AM   #4
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Even if you give 10 brewers the same recipe, you are still going to wind up with several different beers at the end of the day.

Folks enter other people's recipes, clones and their own-from-scratch recipes into contests. Heck, Denny Conn's Rye IPA recipe has won more than a few awards brewed by different folks. Mike McDole's winning Longshot entry was based on a Pliny The Elder clone.

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Old 03-09-2008, 01:27 AM   #5
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The contest is to judge who brewed the beer, not really the recipe per se. The judges won't even see the recipe in fact. Although a good recipe will certainly contribute to the final product, it is the skill of the brewer that is really going to produce an award winning beer. If you want to give some credit to the originator of the recipe, you could always add their name in the title of your brew. But it is certainly not necessary and generally not common.

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Old 03-09-2008, 05:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyGuy
The contest is to judge who brewed the beer, not really the recipe per se. The judges won't even see the recipe in fact. Although a good recipe will certainly contribute to the final product, it is the skill of the brewer that is really going to produce an award winning beer. If you want to give some credit to the originator of the recipe, you could always add their name in the title of your brew. But it is certainly not necessary and generally not common.
That makes a heap of sense. Damn being a noob. Thanks FlyGuy.

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Old 03-11-2008, 02:53 PM   #7
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Keep in mind though that there are some comps that specifically say the recipe must be yours and unpublished. One of the first contests I was looking at entering said that. At the time I was going to enter a clonebrew recipe to get feedback on an off-flavor I couldn't identify. That said, I haven't seen it as explicitly stated since.

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Old 03-11-2008, 03:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyGuy
The contest is to judge who brewed the beer, not really the recipe per se. The judges won't even see the recipe in fact. Although a good recipe will certainly contribute to the final product, it is the skill of the brewer that is really going to produce an award winning beer. If you want to give some credit to the originator of the recipe, you could always add their name in the title of your brew. But it is certainly not necessary and generally not common.
FlyGuy hit it on the head... although the beer is what gets judged, it's the ultimate result of the brewer's efforts. Many people brew something someone else has and enter it into competition. I mean, heck, there are only so many (pretty many, but its still limited) ingredients, combinations of those ingredients, etc. that are possible if you want to stay within a style. German hefeweizen uses primarily wheat malt, hallarteau hops a lot of the time, only bittering addition usually, and a hefeweizen yeast... I mean, you can obviously alter the amounts of this and that, the percentage of wheat v. pils malt, final IBU, etc. but to stay within the style a lot of the recipes are going to be similar... Even if you brew something you think is all your own, a lot of times, its been brewed by someone, somewhere... I wouldn't worry about it too much.

As someone else noted, 3 people could brew the same german hefeweizen recipe and you very well might have 3 different outcomes. Guy A mashed high and fermented at 72-73 degrees causing a cloyingly sweet beer with too much banana/clove, Guy B used hallarteau with a bit higher AA% causing higher IBU than guy A, mashed a little low, and thus his was a bit too bitter and dry for an ideal hefe, Guy C mashed correctly, built a healthy starter for his yeast, fermented at 64F, and the beer turned out ideal. He wins... Obviously you could tell all three were an attempt at Hefe, but one person brewed it better than the others...

Obviously you can make a recipe "all your own" by changing some things, but unless you change drastic things, use unusual ingredients or methods, etc. you are probably brewing something else someone has brewed before and/or even in the same competition... If you brew things that are "weird" then you need to enter the specialty beer categories, etc. That would be a commonplace for 'original' recipes if anywhere. This will not happen so much within the style guidelines for normal beers (read: American Pale, Wheat Beer, Baltic Porter, Dry Stout, etc.) b/c there are so many brewers and a limited range of IBU, ABV%, Color, Flavor/Aroma attributes, etc. that comprise a 'style'... You start to go different within a style's guidelines and you are all the sudden... out of style guidelines... and will lose anyway...

With that said, I am not one to grab a recipe, reproduce exactly, and then submit to competition. I normally switch some things up to suit my personal tastes b/c besides sending 3-4 to competition, I have to drink 5g of the stuff... Further, I just like to do my own thing, as do a lot of people. However, as I have mentioned a few times, brewing has been around so long and there are so many that do it, that its difficult to come up with something truly unique. Some brewers really do pull this off (ex// DFH aging there new beer, a 12.5% ABV brown ale, in these new-age, rare wood [san paolo or something?!] fermenters), but they are the few and far between compared to the stuff that falls into categories that have been defined for years and years...
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