Originally Posted by pj_rage
So if you are following a recipe, the most important things are malt ratio and hop schedule? How much leeway is there on OG/FG before it is a clear deviation from the recipe (strictly in terms of taste)?
It's not the OG (within reason) that makes the beer taste the way it does. It's the balance between the IBUs and the OG. If you wanted to hit 1.040 and hit 1.070, and the IBUs are 20, the beer will be very malty and not balanced. And vice versa- if you planned a 1.070 beer and hopped it accordingly so that the IBUs were 70, but it came in at 1.040, you'd have a very bitter beer. More fermentables means that the beer may taste a bit more "boozy" but not with a small difference.
As long as you're pretty close in OG, the IBU/SG ratio won't change much and the beer will still be pretty much as the recipe designed. A bigger difference will change the balance of the beer, but it will be to a smaller degree with a 10 point difference depending on the recipe.