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Old 01-17-2012, 03:56 PM   #11
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Brewing is a business.

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Old 01-17-2012, 04:45 PM   #12
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I've gotten a ton of help from brewers. I always try to make a batch or two of what I am trying to clone BEFORE I drop in at the brewery and start asking questions. I take my time, have a beer or two, start up a conversation based on the particular beer I have been working on, not only showing interest but also demonstrating some respect for their art and a willingness to work for the end product, not just get an easy answer. I have always walked away knowing a lot more about the beer in question, sometimes with the ingredient list, a sample of some of the yeast, the mash schedule whatever. I have never gotten the recipe and instructions blow by blow. I have made a number of those beers or at least my best effort at those beers but I also have made 5 or 6 more batches trying to get it right.....but for me that is part of the fun of it. I always try and go back with a bottle of my best effort for a critque when I get that far. It all ends up being a lot of fun and a great way to learn a lot quickly.
I have also spent some time with Nate at Altitude Brewery in Laramie Wyoming. He is a great guy and a skilled and creative brewer who makes fine beer. I learned a lot about a particular hop and malt from him that I may have never known otherwise. If you ever get by that part of the world, you need to stop in, his seasonals are always great. If he is ther he is very nice guy and more than willing to share with others.

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Old 01-17-2012, 05:09 PM   #13
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OP,
Yes, you will get some really Douchy responses from some. I emailed a certain brewer and was told, "we don't share our recipes, try starting with a basic cream ale and experiment from there"
Really? How does that help me at all? I knew it was a cream ale from the frickin name and obviously that is where to start lol. That guy got put on my S list. If they choose to respond then I'd prefer a much nicer tone or not treating me like an idiot.

However, for ever douchy response, you get some really cool and friendly ones. I've had brewers tell me exact grain percentages, exact yeast, and hops. Can't get any clearer than that.

I even helped out a brewer at a brewpub after he told me he recently became the head brewmaster after the previous guy (who brewed the beer in question) left. I gave my best try, which came close so I wrote to him and gave him my input. He was very gracious.

I usually just ask for a VERY basic breakdown of the recipe. Like which grains are in it and a hint toward yeast. It's up to them how much they want to share from that point.

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Old 01-17-2012, 05:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
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OP,
Yes, you will get some really Douchy responses from some. I emailed a certain brewer and was told, "we don't share our recipes, try starting with a basic cream ale and experiment from there"
Really? How does that help me at all? I knew it was a cream ale from the frickin name and obviously that is where to start lol. That guy got put on my S list. If they choose to respond then I'd prefer a much nicer tone or not treating me like an idiot.
Maybe he was just telling you that the recipe isn't that complex. I mean, it's just a cream ale after all. Low IBU, low malt chracter, add some adjuncts, clean ale yeast....

You could take a combine what is common over a few internet recipes and be 90% there.
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:48 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Brewing is a business.
...for those who have chosen to make it one of their sources of income yes - to the rest of the world...no...brewing is just like baking bread, making cookies, lasagna, soda, etc. each one of those items is, essentially a basic human skill learned and developed over hundreds to thousands of years.
I'm going to have to agree with Gila and say that the ingredients don't make a great beer - the person performing their art with those ingredients does - but sadly not everyone subscribes to this particular philosophy...and so we have responses such as the above and snotty/arrogant/trite responses to curious homebrewers.
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Originally Posted by badhabit View Post
I've gotten a ton of help from brewers. I always try to make a batch or two of what I am trying to clone BEFORE I drop in at the brewery and start asking questions. I take my time, have a beer or two, start up a conversation based on the particular beer I have been working on, not only showing interest but also demonstrating some respect for their art and a willingness to work for the end product, not just get an easy answer. I have always walked away knowing a lot more about the beer in question, sometimes with the ingredient list, a sample of some of the yeast, the mash schedule whatever. I have never gotten the recipe and instructions blow by blow. I have made a number of those beers or at least my best effort at those beers but I also have made 5 or 6 more batches trying to get it right.....but for me that is part of the fun of it. I always try and go back with a bottle of my best effort for a critque when I get that far. It all ends up being a lot of fun and a great way to learn a lot quickly.
I have also spent some time with Nate at Altitude Brewery in Laramie Wyoming. He is a great guy and a skilled and creative brewer who makes fine beer. I learned a lot about a particular hop and malt from him that I may have never known otherwise. If you ever get by that part of the world, you need to stop in, his seasonals are always great. If he is ther he is very nice guy and more than willing to share with others.
This is nice to read - thank you for sharing!! There may exist a camaraderie yet! I like this personable approach where feasible, unfortunately I am many, many, miles away from this particular brewery - but duly noted.
As for blow by blow instructions - that would a holy grail of sorts..heh. i would be pleased as pie if they responded with a hint at the grist and the hop profile, not even the variety - just the profile.


Quote:
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OP,
Yes, you will get some really Douchy responses from some. I emailed a certain brewer and was told, "we don't share our recipes, try starting with a basic cream ale and experiment from there"
Really? How does that help me at all? I knew it was a cream ale from the frickin name and obviously that is where to start lol. That guy got put on my S list. If they choose to respond then I'd prefer a much nicer tone or not treating me like an idiot.

However, for ever douchy response, you get some really cool and friendly ones. I've had brewers tell me exact grain percentages, exact yeast, and hops. Can't get any clearer than that.

I even helped out a brewer at a brewpub after he told me he recently became the head brewmaster after the previous guy (who brewed the beer in question) left. I gave my best try, which came close so I wrote to him and gave him my input. He was very gracious.

I usually just ask for a VERY basic breakdown of the recipe. Like which grains are in it and a hint toward yeast. It's up to them how much they want to share from that point.
Exactly, you were treated like you didn't belong, an outsider of sorts who knows nothing. Harsh.
That's more or less how I approached the email, intro, praise of their craft and my history of imbibing it, my attempts at clones, then just sorta asked if they could give me any tips/pointers/clues. I'll have to find another fantastic microbrew I'm motivated enough about to clone and try again...and again...I'll be that guy...brewers muttering at festivals/gatherings of an insanely pestering asshole trying to freeload their recipes...
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:53 PM   #16
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i'm sorry to hear that sir - that is a fine line i agree and it would appear they simply shrugged you off. brutal. it wouldn't happen to lake placid and the ubu ale you're referring to would it? i ask because i was taking photos of TAPNY booths and breweries etc this past year and when I got a picture of Lake Placid's table and offerings i was deflecting nasty glances from behind tap handles and ubu is delicious.
Nah, wasnt them. I'm glad (Insert Brewery Name Here) deigned to respond. Considering they havent updated their website since August, I guess I should consider myself lucky.
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:55 PM   #17
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I took the approach of saying "It seems like there's a little of this malt and some of these hops. Here's a recipe I put together, am I headed in the right direction?". I got lots of help. I didn't flat out ask for the recipe. I did some homework and tried my best and the brewer responded within 12 hours telling me to lower this percentage, add this malt, and adjust your IBUs.

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Old 01-17-2012, 05:56 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broadbill View Post
Maybe he was just telling you that the recipe isn't that complex. I mean, it's just a cream ale after all. Low IBU, low malt chracter, add some adjuncts, clean ale yeast....

You could take a combine what is common over a few internet recipes and be 90% there.
Yeah, but it didn't seem that simple to me. There is another flavor in the beer that makes me think there is some sort of special adjunct or certain yeast. Then again, I am not very good at cloning recipes. Regardless, I felt a bit slighted by the response. Guess I got used to the nice guy responses...

I agree with GTlaw...the recipe is only half the product. My sister took a chocolatier class, the instructor has his own chocolate shop. He gave the exact recipes to the entire class with these exact words, "Here is the recipe, you'll never make it like I do".
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Old 01-17-2012, 06:32 PM   #19
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Nah, wasnt them. I'm glad (Insert Brewery Name Here) deigned to respond. Considering they havent updated their website since August, I guess I should consider myself lucky.
Heh - yea sounds like you might have actually been 'blessed' with a response if they haven't been able to pay or have time to pay their webmaster to update the site.

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I took the approach of saying "It seems like there's a little of this malt and some of these hops. Here's a recipe I put together, am I headed in the right direction?". I got lots of help. I didn't flat out ask for the recipe. I did some homework and tried my best and the brewer responded within 12 hours telling me to lower this percentage, add this malt, and adjust your IBUs.
Nice - next time around I'll include on eof my failed attempts. This seems sound, thanks! It's been around 65 hours ago I sent the request email.

What's been folks response times, if they get one at all???

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My sister took a chocolatier class, the instructor has his own chocolate shop. He gave the exact recipes to the entire class with these exact words, "Here is the recipe, you'll never make it like I do".
That essentially describes every time I've asked my Mom for a recipe. She's very forthcoming with the ingredients, even the techniques, but she knows, and I am ruthlessly aware, it'll never be like her version.
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Old 01-17-2012, 07:15 PM   #20
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I asked New Glarus for their Black Wheat recipe and received a very kind, apologetic note explaining that they felt they couldn't share any info with regards to their proprietary recipes even given that this particular beer had been discontinued.

I would expect the bigger the brewery the more likely they are to be willing to help. Sierra Nevada doesn't have to worry about clones because they're so big there's no chance of a clone cutting into market share in any appreciable way. Mom & Pop Brewery and Pub, however, could suffer immensely if one of their recipes was let loose.

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