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Old 11-06-2012, 11:59 PM   #1
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Default Recipe Etiquette

I'm curious to hear the general thoughts on "recipe etiquette". A recipe represents the effort and creativity of the author. Clearly if it has been posted in a public forum there is no reason not to use them...I am still a rookie, but I find it more satisfying to put my own twist on each recipe.

I guess the real question is recipe etiquette for contests. I see comments suggesting people are submitting clones, and direct copies of recipes in contests. This seems odd?? I agree that the "recipe" is only part of the equation...execution is still required.

For the record: I love the recipe database! I appreciate the time, effort, and knowledge reflected. Thank you to all who have submitted!

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Old 11-07-2012, 12:01 AM   #2
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my cake is flour sugar eggs and chocolate. i bake it at x degrees for y minutes. you think it's awesome. now you have the recipe. make your cake taste exactly like mine.

same thing.

i thought it was odd at first too.

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Old 11-07-2012, 12:13 AM   #3
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am still a rookie, but I find it more satisfying to put my own twist on each recipe.
And that's great!

I'm more of a perfectionist, and I am always looking for the perfect beer of a style I'm making. If I'm making a Bohemian Pilsner, for example, I'll try my best to use soft water (RO) water, and Weyermann's pilsner malt, and the proper yeast along with a triple decoction. In that scenario, my own twist on the recipe wouldn't improve it at all, so I go with a pretty standard approach.

I don't think either way is wrong. It's just what each brewer wants to do with their beer.

I think a great way to learn about ingredients and what they bring to the table is to brew alot, and to brew standard recipes. It's hard as a new brewer to know what biscuit malt, amber malt, crystal malt and brown malt bring to a recipe and if they use them all then it's hard to pick out what is going on with the beer.

But I agree that recipes can be just guidelines, just like cooking, for people with a little experience.
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Old 11-07-2012, 12:23 AM   #4
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It's all part of the homebrewing community in my opinion. For some people with some recipes they have their secrets. On the other end....Avery has a lot of their recipes posted on their site down to the percentage of each malt to use. People are proud of their work and they like to share it with the world. I may not be able to share a beer with you, but I can give you a recipe for that beer and you can enjoy a whole batch of it. As for tweaking recipes, you just have to be careful how you do it. Most people have already made it several different ways before settling with the recipe you see.

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Old 11-07-2012, 12:43 AM   #5
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Not fully sure what you're getting at pwkblue. I mean, I too tweak recipes to make them mine, I've not once used a recipe I found online just straight up, but I do use strict guidelines if I'm trying to achieve something. For example, I did an English Ale recently that was meant to be a heck of a lot like Fuller's London Pride, but I didn't want a straight up clone so I used the info I could find and tweaked it ever so slightly as to get it very close but still somewhat different. I used their posted hop bill but one hop was out of stock so I used a substitute hop. I tasted the hydrometer sample at bottling time and it smelled and tasted absolutely amazing.... but I have to give credit to Fuller's (for posting their recipe) and others that made clones and similar recipes, it got me in a good ballpark. However, if I had someone visiting whom I knew loved Fuller's London Pride I would certainly consider a straight up clone recipe.

I've only posted two recipes here and none are in the recipe database but were rather posted in threads. My extract Weizenbock, even though I now do AG, still stands as one of my most hands down amazing beers, so I shared the recipe. If someone wanted a sure fire awesome Weizenbock they can use my recipe and be assured it will be awesome - because I've brewed it several times, shared it with many people, and each time it was amazing and was told how great it is. That's an instance where someone might consider using my recipe straight up. If they want they can certainly tweak it to their liking but it might be hit or miss... not something some might want to chance if their Weizenbock loving relative from Deutschland is visiting in a few weeks and wants to taste one of "your" beers.

The second recipe I posted for someone wanting a good Belgian Wit recipe. I posted it and the person brewed it but is as the nature of the internet and time I never heard back how it came out. So all in all when I'm trying new things I like to work out my own recipe but I myself have done many recipes from NorthernBrewer and others just to try something new and be assured it will be good. From there I might analyze what could be improved upon and make some small changes for the next batch.

Brewing is about experimenting and also making great beer. Sometime experimenting doesn't create a great beer and using a sure fire recipe would've done a better job. It's up to you to choose which and when Overall though, in reference to what you'd said... I personally would NEVER EVER enter someone else's recipe in a competition no matter how great it is because even though I made it I didn't think it. Just not my style honestly.


Rev.

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Old 11-07-2012, 12:45 AM   #6
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It's all part of the homebrewing community in my opinion. For some people with some recipes they have their secrets. On the other end....Avery has a lot of their recipes posted on their site down to the percentage of each malt to use. People are proud of their work and they like to share it with the world. I may not be able to share a beer with you, but I can give you a recipe for that beer and you can enjoy a whole batch of it. As for tweaking recipes, you just have to be careful how you do it. Most people have already made it several different ways before settling with the recipe you see.
I agree...and often the feedback is documented in the thread. To me it is just more fun to make something my own. As an example: BM's Centennial Blonde recipe might be the most commented on recipe I've seen. I was looking for a Pale Ale instead of a blonde....changed Vienna to Munich and bumped the hops slightly...pretty much the same, but totally different. I liked it so much that I decided to brew the BM's accurate recipe as well..currently in primary.
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Old 11-07-2012, 12:53 AM   #7
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My thought is that it really doesn't matter where the recipe comes from. Who executed the beer? You did. You could take the recipe for Dogfish 120 or Pliny the Elder or Bud light, but your beer would turn out every so slightly different.

So if you find a recipe online, in a book, or borrow it from a friend, the beer is still yours. Now if you break into my house and steal my recipe book, we have a problem....

In all seriousness, I don't consider recipes sacrosanct. I've always shared mine with anyone who asks -- its all about the execution.

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Old 11-07-2012, 12:53 AM   #8
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Not fully sure what you're getting at pwkblue....

I personally would NEVER EVER enter someone else's recipe in a competition no matter how great it is because even though I made it I didn't think it. Just not my style honestly.


Rev.
I think you got it exactly right!

I LOVE the assistance and knowledge sharing of the recipes posted. I don't see anything at all wrong with using recipes directly...or tweaked. Quite honestly I probably wouldn't be making beer still....if I was just making "kits" from the LHBS....so the recipe and knowledge sharing is HUGE.

I'm just a little shocked to see people openly submitting clones and the recipes of other in contests.
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Old 11-07-2012, 12:58 AM   #9
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I don't understand what the hang up on this issue is. IMO, the recipe is the smallest contribution to the overall beer. The process you implement is far more important than any recipe will ever be. Give ten people the same recipe and you will end up with ten similar, yet distinct beers.

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Old 11-07-2012, 01:16 AM   #10
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I don't understand what the hang up on this issue is. IMO, the recipe is the smallest contribution to the overall beer. The process you implement is far more important than any recipe will ever be. Give ten people the same recipe and you will end up with ten similar, yet distinct beers.
I don't agree with this mentality at all. You ask ten people to make an Amber Ale from scratch and you will get wildly different results from those people. You ask 10 people to make an amber ale with the exact same grain bill and mash temps and you will get slightly different beers but all rather similar in taste.

Beer making is waaay more than process. I guess I might be amongst the few in this belief because many make the claim of how different the same exact recipe would come out among different brewers but I personally feel that recipe formulation is an art in and of itself. Any new AG brewer can make an Amber Ale following a recipe having no idea whatsoever the difference in taste between C40, C60, C80, Belgian Special B, etc. A recipe is easy to follow which is why it's easy for anyone to make a good cake.

Now, before those of you chime in saying what makes the difference between a great cake and a good cake is the process I will say this... take a person that is well familiar with making great cakes off of recipes and a cake chef that is well familiar with all the ingredients and makes their own formulated cake. There's a reason there are chef's and Iron Chef's.


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