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Old 11-10-2008, 01:47 PM   #1
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Default Brewing Classic Styles - A how to? or a Recipe book?

My absolute favorite book relative to brewing is Designing Great Beers. If you need an idea of what to put into a beer to brew it to a style but still want your own creative freedoms, this is it. Not only does it offer some historical insight but it also breaks down winning recipes and compares the use of certain grains. My absolute favorite is the Summary for each style. Often times, this is all I look at when I am developing a stylized recipe.

But sadly, it too is out of date and is lacking refernce to a variety of styles. Iris Red Ale is no-where to be found in this book of great brews, for example, unless I am just not seeing it.

Anyway, I am curious if the Jamil Z / John P offering "Brewing Classic styles" is anything close to what DGB is.

Does BCS go to any length in discussing what is typically used to make a particular style, and does it offer some variants?

Or is this book nothing more than a recipe book?

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Old 11-10-2008, 02:14 PM   #2
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It gives very basics on each style and a recipe. Jamil basically gives a couple pointers and what he thinks are the most important things for that style. To me, it makes a good companion to DGB. Not as much depth as DGB, but gives a complete recipe for all BJCP styles.

To me, a good starting recipe is good information about the style. Brew it once as written, then make changes that suit your preferences (change hops, etc.) and process.

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Old 11-10-2008, 02:32 PM   #3
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You know what chaps my ass about all these recipe books out there, including JZ's and Palmer's? They give exact amounts.

That really pisses me off. Okay, not 'pisses me off', exactly; more like 'annoys'.

I mean, yeah, five gallons is pretty much the default batch size. I get that. But there are hundreds if not thousands of brewers out there who brew different size batches, from me with my piddly 2.5-3 gallon batches all the way to a fella I know who does 1bbl batches.

That's where Daniels gets it right - he A., specifically doesn't give recipes; and B., works in percentages, not pounds and ounces.

If we all worked in percentages instead of pounds and ounces, we wouldn't have all of these "scale my recipe for me" threads.

Tell you what - I'm going to do that from now on. Percentages and IBUs... Like Dry Irish Stout - 70% Pale Malt, 20% Flaked Barley, 10% Roasted Malt. hm...

Cheers,

Bob

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Old 11-10-2008, 02:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobNQ3X View Post
You know what chaps my ass about all these recipe books out there, including JZ's and Palmer's? They give exact amounts.

That really pisses me off.

I mean, yeah, five gallons is pretty much the default batch size. I get that. But there are hundreds if not thousands of brewers out there who brew different size batches, from me with my piddly 2.5-3 gallon batches all the way to a fella I know who does 1bbl batches.
Brewing Classic Styles gives percents and IBUs as well weights for a 6 gallon batch which (as explained) should give you finished product equal to 5 gallons which is the most common volume for the homebrewer.
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Old 11-10-2008, 02:47 PM   #5
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Actually, it gives percentages of Extracts but NOT base grains. Of course, I've already ranted my a$$ off about this aspect of the book in http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/my-beef-brewing-classic-styles-82896/.

It's a recipe book with all 80 styles represented and it is built on the idea that there are more extract brewers out there than all grain. It gives you enough info to duplicate it regardless of brewing style but it's a pain. Bottom line, it's the best source for proven recipes of all styles.

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Old 11-10-2008, 03:07 PM   #6
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Well, thanks fellas.

Sounds like this is not the book for me.

I take more pleasure from the process of developing recipes than I do out of the actual brewing. And thus prefer the springboard (that is, 'this is how it can be done') type of info that Daniels gives more than the 'this is how you do it' approach of a recipe book.

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Old 11-10-2008, 03:10 PM   #7
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Despite its warts, I'd still recommend this book.

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Old 11-10-2008, 04:03 PM   #8
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I think the most effective way to get to a unique but great beer is to brew a proven recipe and then tweak it. I don't always do that, but if you don't want to end up with any dumper batches, I'd recommend the book.

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Old 11-10-2008, 04:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
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I think the most effective way to get to a unique but great beer is to brew a proven recipe and then tweak it. I don't always do that, but if you don't want to end up with any dumper batches, I'd recommend the book.
Dumper batches? What the hell is that?

Of course I usually keep my recipes pretty simple and have yet to devise anything that uses more than 3 type of grain or 3 type of hop.

Meh.
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Old 11-10-2008, 05:04 PM   #10
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when i'm trying to formulate a recipe to style i look at as many proven recipes as i can find (including those in brewing classic styles) and try to develop a standard deviation of characteristics, ingredients, processes as well as look at interesting outliers. in that sense the book is valuable for the fact that all the recipes have won awards, but i wouldn't say that any single recipe provides a lot of insight when taken by itself.

there is a nice description of each style to go along with the recipe as well as tips for brewing it, but most of it seems pretty common knowlege. i find the jamil show podcasts to contain much more practical and little known tricks for brewing a given style.

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