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Old 04-26-2012, 06:31 PM   #1
disney7
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Default What to ask a brewery about their recipe

I'm going to stop by a local brewery and see if I can get any recipe hints on a beer that they brew (which is one of my favorites). They've been friendly in the past when I spoke to the brewers.

The particular beer is a highish gravity chocolate stout with a lot of chocolate character. I suspect they're using cocoa nibs.

I'm still new to this, so I'm not sure what I should ask. Also, I'm not going to brew hundreds of gallons at a time like they do, so I'll need some way of scaling it down to a 5 gallon recipe. I'm also probably going to try to come up with an extract recipe first.

I'm thinking of asking:

Cocoa nibs? How much (ratio?)
What type of yeast?
What type of hops (ratio?), what IBU target?
What kind of grains? How much?
OG/FG?
Ferment temp?

I'm sure I'm forgetting something. Any help on the best way to go about this would be, um, helpful.

Thanks

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Old 04-26-2012, 06:36 PM   #2
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Have you done any research yourself. sometimes the info is already on their webpage. i have always taken that information, come up with my recipe for it, then email and ask if you are close. 9 times out of 10 they will either give you the recipe minus the yeast, or further guide you. you aren't a threat to them and most of them started out as homebrewers.

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Old 04-26-2012, 06:38 PM   #3
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"Hey, I'm a homebrewer and I love your ______ beer! I'd like to make something similar. Here's my first stab at a recipe, what should I change?"

That's what I'd ask. If they're responsive (which most are), then your list looks great.

Edit: +1 for doing your homework (post above)

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Old 04-26-2012, 07:38 PM   #4
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Ask when they are brewing that beer. Often times you can get them to pull off their yeast for you to take homr just bring in a quart size canning jar with lid that is sanitized.

Also, just be nice and brown nose a bit. Most brewers are happy to give you pointers. Remember though, even if they give you the exact recipe it doesn't scale perfectly. So you'll have to play with things a bit.

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Old 04-27-2012, 02:09 AM   #5
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When I was up in Alaska at the Midnight Sun brewery, the folks there were more than happy to talk "the talk" with a fellow brewer and fan. They were more than willing to share recipes, yeast, etc.

Do your homework, and let them know you're a fan. It'll be hard for them not to be flattered.

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Old 04-27-2012, 03:55 AM   #6
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last year i asked my local brewery to help me clone one of their beers and they did help me with the grain bill and gave me liters of yeast slurry to boot. last week that beer got a 2nd place ribbon in the world cup of beer held here in oakland. when i contacted the brewery about my win they asked if they could put a picture of the ribbon on their facebook page and twitter account which was very nice of them. just by coincidence they recently started bottling that particular beer which had previously been a seasonal on tap only beer. the brewery is Drakes Brewery in san leandro ca and the beer is their Alpha Session Ale.

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Old 04-27-2012, 04:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eastoak View Post
last year i asked my local brewery to help me clone one of their beers and they did help me with the grain bill and gave me liters of yeast slurry to boot. last week that beer got a 2nd place ribbon in the world cup of beer held here in oakland. when i contacted the brewery about my win they asked if they could put a picture of the ribbon on their facebook page and twitter account which was very nice of them. just by coincidence they recently started bottling that particular beer which had previously been a seasonal on tap only beer. the brewery is Drakes Brewery in san leandro ca and the beer is their Alpha Session Ale.
Congrats, it is always nice to do well and it is also nice to have a brewery help out.
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Old 04-27-2012, 04:13 AM   #8
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I agree you should always check out the website first. Some breweries are very open about the info and may be less helpful to you if you didn't bother to do your homework first.

I've gotten good results by asking a specific question about a beer and depending on how they answer to inquire deeper and see if they will turn over the recipe. Some breweries will start off telling you the recipe. Some may be unwilling to even answer a specific question. Always thank them for their time and whatever they provide, even if it's nothing.

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Old 04-27-2012, 04:55 AM   #9
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As stated above, it depends on the brewery, but some can be very helpful if you just ask. I got really lucky a while back asking the guys at Ska for some tips on brewing a True Blonde Ale clone; they actually responded with the whole grain bill and some good hints about the hop schedule!

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Old 04-27-2012, 11:35 AM   #10
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Good luck on getting that recipe! I was thinking about trying to contact killians for my friends and family who drink mainly that. But I forgot and got lazy lol

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