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Old 06-10-2009, 08:15 PM   #21
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One - you can't find that particular beer easily. I can't get decent Czech Pilsners in Vancouver, and I can't buy really good German lagers cheaply either. So I try to make them as best I can.

Two - If you got the recipe of a commercial beer from a brewer, and you can succeed at the challenge of making something very very close to the commercial example then you know you are a good brewer.

Three - It simply gives you the ability to brew different things and learn from the experience.

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Old 06-10-2009, 08:24 PM   #22
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Cloning helps me learn what it is that I really like about beers that I enjoy. Without cloning it would've taken me much longer to realize how awesome Chinook is!

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Old 06-10-2009, 08:54 PM   #23
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This has been discussed a lot, but it's for some people and not for others. I'd prefer to brew something that doesn't try to be any existing beer, but maybe it will come close. Honestly I don't drink enough of the same beers to be able to say 'I'd like a SNPA but a little more toasted flavor and a touch more resiny hop flavor' or something, but if I did use a commercial beer as my base that's how I'd do it. But that's because I brew to experiment and try my own version of things. Some people brew to get beer cheaper, and it seems like cloning would be a good way to do that. Some people like the challenge of trying to hit a beer exactly, and so cloning works for that.

But be careful about saying 'I do it to get stuff you can't find in the store...' you sound like the old guy who comes to tastings and handed me a rhubarb beer that was pink with chunks of rhubarb in it. I've learned to have a full glass when he comes by.

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Old 06-10-2009, 08:58 PM   #24
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I think using a clone recipe is just part of the learning process in the same way a beginner cook uses a recipe book - the result is likely to be better than making it up on their own, and they learn the process/ingredients etc. Once they get some experience they begin making their own recipes while probably still making some favorites from the books.

Beer is a bit different to food because all the beer we buy is commercial bulk products whose producers have to protect their recipes, in the same way the Colonel or Coke closely guard their secret recipes. There's no made-to-order beer equivalent of restaurants, or of celebrity chefs on tv, both of whom are happy to sell recipe books for people to use at home, safe in the knowledge that they aren't losing business by giving the recipes away. The absence of beer recipe books written by beer producers gives clone recipes a stigma, implying there's something wrong or illicit about them, but there isn't - it's just the nature of the product.

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Old 06-10-2009, 10:51 PM   #25
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Well if mom or grandma pass down a recipe it's an heirloom . chances are your version isn't going to taste exactly the same. Not really any different with cloning a beer recipe.

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Old 06-10-2009, 11:00 PM   #26
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here's a good reason to clone - you might actually like the clone better than the original. I made a Moose Drool clone and found that I like mine better than Moose Drool. It's a tad bit sweeter and less smokey than the original. Oh, and it scored a 39 at the SW AHA HBC

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Old 06-11-2009, 02:18 PM   #27
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I would like to congratulate all of you! I do agree that cloning is a good way to judge the Quality of your beer. For myself, I guess I'm just partial to my brew. But I all ways like it better than the commercial version. It seems to me that commercial brewers tend to skimp when it comes to ingredient where as home brewers tend to go in the other direction.
On a side note. It's nice to have a discussion about something other than asking and answering the same old questions over and over again.

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Old 06-11-2009, 02:36 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammer one View Post
I would like to congratulate all of you! I do agree that cloning is a good way to judge the Quality of your beer. For myself, I guess I'm just partial to my brew. But I all ways like it better than the commercial version. It seems to me that commercial brewers tend to skimp when it comes to ingredient where as home brewers tend to go in the other direction.
On a side note. It's nice to have a discussion about something other than asking and answering the same old questions over and over again.
Nah, this question has been asked over and over, too!

I guess I'd have to define my version of "cloning". I think my Dead Guy ale clone is pretty close. But I took portions of different recipes, so I didn't just start with a totally blank slate.

In the case of my most recent "clone", it really wasn't an attempt at an exact clone. The beer is Lakefront Brewery Cream City Pale Ale. Now, I tasted it and decided what it was that I tasted that I loved. Definitely cascade hops. A definite malt/hops balance, but with more bitterness than expected and some depth to the malt. So, I put together my "Yooper House Ale" recipe. It's outstanding! Did I clone the Cream City? Nah, it's not that close. But, it's my all-time favorite beer.

So, I think that it's not always about an exact copy of the original (which is impossible anyway). It's about taking those things that make that beer great and translating it into your own beer.
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Old 06-12-2009, 12:44 AM   #29
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Being relatively a Newbie to the brewing of beer, and that I must say I really detest the commercial breweries out there. Their beer is watery, tasteless and in my opinion not worth the money.
I've hence not had beer at the house for decades, heck the only beer in the house was typically something my parents bought during their last visit... can you say 12+ months old.
I love the small craft beers that are around the PNW as it's all on tap, local and has a vibrant and passionate flavor profile. I liked that and they grew on me, but I never went out to the bars or pubs much to enjoy.
So brewing was my out, my way to have the beer I desire to drink, on tap and at my house so I didn't have to think about DUI's.
Not knowing how to brew at first, I took the plunge with a clone beer from my LHBS. It was what hooked me! Ok it wasn't an exact "Clone" but it was similar in style as to what I was expecting and to be honest far better than I had ever imagined!
Since then I've taken clone's off the web and tried to create the same in my brewery, ok they aren't close and that just tells me that I have much more to learn and explore making this hobby something that will grow with me for a long long time.
My latest batch is an alteration and from what I have smelled from the primary, tasted after racking to 2ndary and now I'm about ready to keg. I'm as happy as a school boy seeing my first set of... um um's
This hobby is pure addiction and it's all the fault of that first "Clone" kit.

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Old 06-12-2009, 01:04 AM   #30
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You can always do what I do and make up a recipe then find it in clone or kit form.

I was thinking "what if I added 4 oz chocolate malt and 1 oz toasted barley to my brown ale, that would be good" then I looked on the net, sure enough, brewers best had the exact recipe I wanted to try in kit form, down to the williamette hops and all.

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