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Old 03-18-2008, 04:41 PM   #1
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Default At what point is a recipe your own

When using a found recipe sometimes we must make changes due to restrictions, unavailable ingrediats, what have you. At what point do you consider that recipe changed enough so that it becomes a new brew?

For example, when brewing an Imperial Stout recently I had to change the hops called for as they were anavailable. I substituted hops with similar charactaristics, and would not call that brew my own.
On the other hand, I gave Papazian's Palace Bitter a try and ended up using a 0.5# more DME than called for (called for 4.5), plus 0.25 oz. more Fuggles in the bittering portion of the boil. I had my first taste of it last night and I could not call this a bitter. It has a very nice, smooth caramelly sweetness, followed by a dry, hoppy (but not bitter) finish. I like it a lot, but I cannot call this a Bitter or a Pale Ale (not sure what it is now - thoughts?).

So, when do you call a found recipe your own?

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Old 03-18-2008, 04:50 PM   #2
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If you change any aspect at all of the original recipe (a hop, a malt, a temperature) I'd say it's now yours. You could say 'inspired by XYZ' if you felt the need.

Regarding your bitter, without working out the values I'd say you either have a best bitter or even just a regular pale ale.

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Old 03-18-2008, 05:01 PM   #3
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I agree. There are thousands of recipes out there, many that are extremely simple or even identical, especially in the case of simple recipes. Changing one ingredient by a half a pound or so can be enough to change the beer noticeably, if not significantly... And of course, the same recipe brewed by multiple people is going to come out different anyway. If you feel like you've customized a recipe and made it your own, then you should be able to 'claim' it as your own.

If someone has a really GREAT recipe that they're really proud of, that's popular and/or award-winning, then I would say you should be more conscientious about taking credit for it without significant changes, but again it's up to your conscience in the end. Like, for example, EdWort's Haus Pale Ale. It's a pretty simple recipe, and no doubt many others have brewed something very similar to it without realizing it, but whenever I tweak the recipe when I brew it, I still refer to it as a modification of his recipe, not as an original one of my own - it's well-known, delicious, and Ed deserves all the credit for it. But if someone threw together a simple recipe, had only brewed it a few times and didn't make a big deal out of it, I wouldn't feel so strongly about it.

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Old 03-18-2008, 05:17 PM   #4
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It's yours when you feel like you understand what every ingredient and amount contributes to to the beer-- when you know why you added a hop at 45 instead of 60 and why you added .5lbs of Crystal Malt 60°L instead of .25 of 90°L.

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Old 03-18-2008, 05:40 PM   #5
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i agree with the poster who i will refer to as Jeep, since that's what the olllllo thing evokes with the tires underneath.

i write down all my recipes and ive not yet made one without a change from the original source, if there was one. that said, none of them are my own because those changes were made without the knowledge i now have from reading and experimenting.,

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Old 03-18-2008, 06:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olllllo
It's yours when you feel like you understand what every ingredient and amount contributes to to the beer-- when you know why you added a hop at 45 instead of 60 and why you added .5lbs of Crystal Malt 60°L instead of .25 of 90°L.
I agree. If you tweak a recipe to change the flavor, body, color, etc. and understand how you did it, then it is now your recipe. Let's say you change the base malt by 1/2# and keep the rest the same just for the sake of changing the recipe...then I think it is not really your recipe. On the other hand, if double the amount of Special B in a porter recipe from 2 or 3 oz to 7-8oz, then that will contribute a different characteristic to the finished product. The amount of change necessary to qualify a recipe as your own is relative based on the original recipe and what you change.
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Old 03-18-2008, 08:21 PM   #7
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Shrug. The closest thing I ever did to making my own recipe is changing an all chinook IPA to an all Simcoe because that's all I had enough of on hand.

I'm pretty content just following recipes for the foreseeable future.

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Old 03-18-2008, 08:33 PM   #8
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I clone a lot, but I create a few as well.

At the very least, I consider all my beers my own "variation". Usually I dial down the ABV and need to up the crystal % and mash temp to compensate for the lower grain bill.

In many cases, I start with a blank canvas and go from there. I'm not afraid to experiment.

A few recent examples:
Sacred Summit Pale Ale
Sterling Gold
Sterling Rye
Six Shooter Pale Ale
Orange Kolsch
Rye Not IPA
Centennial Blonde

Now these, are my recipes.

And now that I think about it. Nobody gave me an exact Kona Pale Ale recipe, or the NewCastle recipe. I searched, gathered what I could and filled in the blanks. So I guess that anywhere that you come up with a clone that you created....tis your recipe as well.

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Old 03-18-2008, 08:39 PM   #9
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A recipe is yours when you "feel" like it's yours. This is such a subjective question, that it almost has to have a subjective answer.

I usually give credit where credit is due when making a variation of someone else's recipe. I've brewed several of my own, original recipes as well. All of them are mine, but I always feel a greater sense of accomplishment when I start from scratch and wind up with a great result.

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Old 03-18-2008, 08:56 PM   #10
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This was supposed to be more of a phylisophical question. But everyone has been giving more direct answers. I do appreciate all the posts and opinions.
Adding the amoung of DME and hops to Papazian's Bitter does make it my own in my opinion now. And I like it!

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