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-   -   Established Styles? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/established-styles-370791/)

rklinck 11-29-2012 11:55 AM

Established Styles?
I am a new homebrewer and am starting to try to formulate my own recipies (extract with steeped grains). How important is it that the recipes I come up with end up falling within an established style (i.e., matches OG, FG, IBU, ABV, and color)? I put some the the recipes I was considering into a recipe calculator website and it did not fit any style. I had to tweak it to get it to fit as a Saison and another to fit as a California Common Beer.

frazier 11-29-2012 12:09 PM

Well, it doesn't have to "fit" like a straightjacket. But those established styles exist for a reason - most people like them that way. Those recipes turn out good beer. Is there a reason you think your modifications will be an improvement? Maybe they will - or, maybe you will be disappointed. If you've made a recipe before and want to improve it, go ahead. But as a self-confessed "new brewer", I'd be cautious.

rklinck 11-29-2012 12:27 PM

frazier -- thanks. No particular reason that my original recipes were not matching styles. Really just stupidity and me being so excited. I bought ingredients before creating and plugging recipes into calculators. I figured it made sense to try to fit into an existing style.

unionrdr 11-29-2012 12:42 PM

I don't think frazier got the jist of your words. I see your recipies didn't fit style guidelines & you had to tweak them to match a style at all. Good place to start. I'm just getting started with Beersmith2 myself.

GrogNerd 11-29-2012 12:56 PM

as a beginner, I am sticking to style in my recipe formulations and I would advise another beginner to do so, at least until you get the basic techniques down.

people have been brewing for 1000s of years, I trust that most knew what they were doing and that's why certain styles are the way they are.

that said, they are style GUIDELINES and unless you're entering your brews into a competition, only YOU should care if your brew is too dark or too hoppy for any certain style.

brewing is a science AND an art. For me, I'm still figuring out the science part. a science that is pretty forgiving, so unless it's totally out of whack with what you've researched or what you've learned on HBT, don't be afraid to try your own experimenting.

the art will come in time.

unionrdr 11-29-2012 01:14 PM

Good words grog. Learn the science & the art will come. Some of us learn fast,others not so much. But,as the I Ching says,"it is not the speed at which something is learned,but that it is learned at all that matters".:mug:

TopherM 11-29-2012 02:43 PM


Learn the science & the art will come.
+1 That's great advice!

The creativity and art of brewing definitely comes from gaining experience and knowing what each variable in the brewing process does down the line to the finished product.

As a new brewer, there's nothing wrong with making your own recipe, but stick with what you know. Once you have 8-10 batches under your belt, you won't even need to ask the question above - you'll know how to balance malt and bitterness, what underlying styles different grist ratios and hop/yeast types make, etc., and you'll have no problem adding your own twist to underlying styles.

Do a forum search for SMASH recipes. That's a great place to start with your favorite malt and hop to understanding how to balance a recipe.

Good luck!

frazier 11-29-2012 03:59 PM


Originally Posted by unionrdr (Post 4632009)
I don't think frazier got the jist of your words.

This may be true, and if so I apologize. With my own recipes, probably more than half are out of range for one or another of the specs. Do I worry about it? No I don't.

That said, we see a lot of beginners come through who want to throw a kitchen sinkfull of changes at a recipe - usually, by adding sugar with the expressed goal of bumping up the ABV. They have a general idea about the effect their changes will have on the alcohol delivery system, but virtually no understanding of what will happen to the balance and overall quality of the resulting beer. That is why I advocated caution.

On the other hand, if you know you like your beers with a little more of this and a little less of that, then by all means, go for it. That's why we brew instead of buy!


unionrdr 11-29-2012 04:20 PM

Well,I got the impression that the op wasn't doing well making his own recipies that conformed to some kind of style. not like he was having trouble changing them. Hence my remarks. Not to mention jonesin for a cig & a beer for a week+. Some things about retirement blow donkey balls.
As for the rest,oh man,you got that right. All the honeyspicesugaredupzestedblondeporter ales right off the bat are sorta funny. I mean,I dig the enthusiasm,but really...stop & take a deap breath first.:drunk::cross::p

rklinck 11-29-2012 04:58 PM

Thanks for the advice. unionrdr is right on. I made the mistake of coming up with what I thought would be good recipes and buying the ingredients before checking to see if the recipes made sense. No crazy spices, sugars, etc. Just that the mix of DME, LME, steeping grains, hops, and yeast that I had planned did not fit within the criteria. Some were close (e.g., the expected OG is within .005 or the color is slightly out of range), but I went ahead and tweaked the recipes to bring them into the accepted ranges.

Funny thing is that I had already made a batch with my own recipe that fit within a normal style without realizing it. I was so excited that I literally went to my LHBS to get stuff the same day I had made my first batch (a kit), got stuff on the fly, and made a batch without even thinking that I should look for a recipe (DOH!). According to the recipe calculator website I used after the fact, it fits squarely as a Special Bitter (almost middle on all the categories). Dumb luck! We will see how it ends up.

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