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-   -   To Clone or not to Clone (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/clone-not-clone-123275/)

hammer one 06-10-2009 02:06 PM

To Clone or not to Clone
 
I see a lot of threads around about people who want to clone a beer and it got me thinking why you would want to clone beer. If you take account of the cost of equipment, ingredient and your time it is more expensive to brew your own. The only real reason that I can come up with for cloning is that the beer you want just is not around for you to pick up at a store. For me I like to brew a beer that I can share with friends and be able to say, "try this thats something that you wont find in a store" Any thoughts?

HorribleCatfish 06-10-2009 02:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hammer one (Post 1373311)
I see a lot of threads around about people who want to clone a beer and it got me thinking why you would want to clone beer. If you take account of the cost of equipment, ingredient and your time it is more expensive to brew your own. The only real reason that I can come up with for cloning is that the beer you want just is not around for you to pick up at a store. For me I like to brew a beer that I can share with friends and be able to say, "try this thats something that you wont find in a store" Any thoughts?

Well, brewing is just plain fun, regardless of the recipe...and I suppose by comparing your brew with its inspiration, you could get a good gauge of your brewing skills.

JesseRC 06-10-2009 02:14 PM

I like to clone, not for getting an exact duplicate of the original, but because in gets me in the general area of where I want to be. So for me , I know I'm not getting a true clone, but I am getting a beer that is in the style that I prefer. Since I fairly new, it gives me a good place to start experimenting.

chefmike 06-10-2009 02:15 PM

I guess you could say the same thing about food: why would you cook anything when you can go buy it?

Several things come to mind: learning the skills it takes to master a recipe, the challenge of not having exact notes from a brew and recreating it based on taste, lack of availability (that you mentioned), cost (a sixer of something good costs $8 to $9 here, right? I spend about $20 a batch, so lets double that and say $40, still cheaper).

And pride... brew a clone of something that is on the money, serve it to your friends and tell them you brewed. They will be impressed.

I like the bonus of being able to put your clone side by side with the commercial version as well... instant comparison. You can learn a lot!

Weezknight 06-10-2009 02:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hammer one (Post 1373311)
I see a lot of threads around about people who want to clone a beer and it got me thinking why you would want to clone beer. If you take account of the cost of equipment, ingredient and your time it is more expensive to brew your own. The only real reason that I can come up with for cloning is that the beer you want just is not around for you to pick up at a store. For me I like to brew a beer that I can share with friends and be able to say, "try this thats something that you wont find in a store" Any thoughts?

I think cloning a beer is a big money saver. The cost of the equipment becomes minimal after spread out through so many batches. For me, it is much more cost effective to clone 2+ cases for $50, when it would cost me around $50 for just 1 case of the beer that I like.

It all depends on how good of a "pipeline" you've got going. If you get a really good clone with a good, consistent, schedule of fermentation to bottling/kegging, then you will be well ahead of the game, money-wise, in no time at all.

rsmith179 06-10-2009 02:22 PM

I tend to agree with Jesse. I like making "clone brews" based on commercial examples that have proven their worth to me. For example, I love really hoppy IPAs. Where would someone begin? I begin by looking at commercial examples, find the ones I like the best, and try to capture those qualities in my own beers. Although they aren't "exactly" like the commercial examples, I like it that way. I'm able to put my own tastes and preferences into my beer.

Cloning basically gives you a starting point. Something that you can then build off of. Oh yeah, and it is really cool to try and get information from the brewers themselves. A simple email to the company that brews your favorite beer may be enough to get you on the right track.

Just did the Green Flash IPA clone from Jamil's show. Haven't tasted it yet, except for coming out of the primary. Can't wait to give it a try, make some changes, and brew it again.

IrregularPulse 06-10-2009 02:22 PM

You can't really figure the cost of equipment because you'd have that same cost no matter what you're brewing. And if I can brew the same thing for $0.50 a pint vs 9 for a 6 pack.
The only clone I've made though is Fat Tire and I can't get that here.

COLObrewer 06-10-2009 02:26 PM

You find a "commercial" beer you like and you want to make one similar. It's fun to try and figure out the various malts/hops/ingredients that make the various flavors/aromas/textures, that is a powerfull learning process. I've only been thinking of cloning one brew because I happen to almost love it, alas, it's been cloned many times, but not by me. Also since I malt/roast my own, it allows me to test my home malts with commercial malts.

ajwillys 06-10-2009 02:27 PM

Alot of the beers I make are slight takeoff's of a clone. The reason is because if I find a clone recipe on the internet, I know what that recipe will taste like before I brew it. I can then tweak the recipe before I've even tasted it, which is fun for me. If you just find a recipe on the internet, its not easy to tweak it because you don't know what the original tastes like yet.

Arkador 06-10-2009 02:28 PM

Cloning humans is still Illegal, but by golly, we can clone Sheep and Beers!

Over time, homebrewed cloned are cheaper. I find that a beer i brewed tastes better, because it has that "I Made It!"

Quote:

Originally Posted by ajwillys (Post 1373358)
I can then tweak the recipe before I've even tasted it, which is fun for me. If you just find a recipe on the internet, its not easy to tweak it because you don't know what the original tastes like yet.

Good point.... ever thought "How would X beer taste if they changed Y variable?


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