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Old 07-28-2012, 06:48 AM   #1
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Default Why are beer recipes so uniform?

Been seriously pouring over recipes coming up with some new ideas to break away from clones and recipes on the net and I can't get this one question out of my head. I couldn't find the right words to express, so let me explain a bit.

I wonder the reasoning behind the uniformity in beer recipes we see. For example:

0.5oz of Amarillo
1 oz of Simcoe
12# 2-Row
2# Munich

Why not more of

0.385oz of Amarillo
0.84 of Simcoe
0.16 of Citra
11.75 of 2-Row
1.45 of Munich

Is it just insignificant to change, thus not worth trying? Does it not really change the flavor? It just seems odd that every beer recipe is so prim and proper.

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Old 07-28-2012, 06:57 AM   #2
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Ask yourself the same question about a chocolate chip cookie recipe. Why not 2.462 Cups of flour? Why not 17.5 ounces of chocolate chips? Well, it may very well be better that way, but you buy chocolate chips in 16oz bags and measuring scoops are made to measure whole cups.

If you want to geek out and get more exacting, more power to you. But there are already plenty of variables available to adjust even using the recipe as specified. The ingredients are just one part of what goes into a recipe.

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Old 07-28-2012, 08:12 AM   #3
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For me it is a weight issue, easier to weigh out 7.5lb of two row than 7.32lb.

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Old 07-28-2012, 08:50 AM   #4
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Man, when I make a recipe it always gets into the 0.0 grams for hops and 1.00 lbs for grain. I think it is silly. Why not just round off?

I think it is because everything looks so good on paper (BeeerSmith or you favorite brew calculator)


Personally, I applaude your attitude. I've never been to worried about a 1-2 degrees in mash temp. Partly because my thermometer is propbably a degree or two incorrect (it's a typical thermometer, who knows if it is actually correct)

When "Homebrewing" we give it our best shot on measurements. But I have to ask a question. How do we know our values, measurement values not personal values; are even correct to begin with? I'm sure they are close, but when a person quotes numbers in the 0.00... area. Is it truly accurate?

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Old 07-28-2012, 09:14 AM   #5
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Well, if you want to get real technical about it, a recipe of mine that looks like:

Quote:
Originally Posted by theveganbrewer View Post
0.5oz of Amarillo
1 oz of Simcoe
12# 2-Row
2# Munich
Usually ends up looking like:

0.52 oz Amarillo
1.03 oz Simcoe
12.1 lb 2-row
2.04 lb Munich

Just going in half pound increments for my grains and half oz increments for my hops (for the most part) makes keeping an inventory very easy as opposed to not knowing exactly how much of a specialty grain I actually have down in the basement. As much as I do love visiting my LHBS, gas still does cost money.
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Old 07-28-2012, 11:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan View Post
I'm sure they are close, but when a person quotes numbers in the 0.00... area. Is it truly accurate?
Exactly! Precision without accuracy is pointless. There are too many intangibles in homebrewing to make it worth getting hung up on overly precise measurements.
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Old 07-28-2012, 12:25 PM   #7
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I personally stick with simple numbers to make it easy to remember. I had a "goal" (in addition to making great beer) when I got back into homebrewing that I wanted to make it as simple as possible. One of my sources of inspiration is a friend who bakes a fair bit and can just whip off a recipe for bread off the top of her head. She'll whip up biscuits just before dinner. I wanted to be able to brew like that. Having ingredients on hand I can wake up one day and just say, "I'm going to brew!". I don't need to open my laptop for BeerSmith, I have recipes in my head that are very simple and make great beer. 9lbs of grain, 3oz of hops in various additions and I have beer. I have more complicated recipes when I do a Licorice Imperial Stout but I have to plan to do those.

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Old 07-28-2012, 01:34 PM   #8
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Because no one can tell the difference between 8oz of chocolate malt and 7.71oz of chocolate malt. If you don't use round numbers and buy in bulk, you will have odd amounts left over. What are you going to do with the 0.29oz of leftover grain?

These are the basic parameters I use:

specialty grains - increments of 1oz. Most of the time it is increments of 2oz.

hops - increments of 0.25oz. Most of the time it is increments of 0.5oz.

LME or base grain - increments of 1lb.

sugar - increments of 1oz.

spices - increments of 1g. It's easy to over or under spice using a more coarse unit.

water - increments of 0.5gal

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Old 07-28-2012, 02:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anoldur
exactly! Precision without accuracy is pointless. There are too many intangibles in homebrewing to make it worth getting hung up on overly precise measurements.
+1
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Old 07-28-2012, 03:36 PM   #10
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You could use metric measurements. Then when you convert them to imperial units, you'd get recipes that look like your second example above.

I routinely weigh out hops in grams for better precision, but use pounds and ounces for my grain since that's how my LHBS measures them.

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