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Old 10-28-2010, 06:34 PM   #1
htc
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Default Experimenting with style

First, I'd like to say hello, I'm the stalker that's been reading all of your threads. I would also like any feedback you can come up with, so don't hold back if you see something wrong with my idea.

I'm a noob to brewing, I haven't even done a batch yet, so "pre-noob" might be better terminology. I have been making wine for a while, but beer seems to offer sooooooo much more potential for tweaking or modification, and experimentation. Like most, I'm going to start extract brewing, but after seeing the simplicity and added benefit of steeping special grains I think I'll forego the all-extract brew. But to avoid sounding long-winded, I'll get on with it.

What I would like to do is start with a base Ale recipe, and in small batches - say 4L Carlo Rossi jugs (I have about a dozen from my wine endeavors), modify that recipe by steeping different caramel malts, toasts, adjuncts, IBU additions, hop variety, First Wort Hopping or dry hopping to see how that particular modification affects the overall flavor and outcome.

It's not that I don't like following recipes, and want to be difficult. I'm more of a take the whole engine apart to see how it works, than a follow the instructions for resetting the clock kind of guy. Know what I mean??

Any ideas for a recipe to tweak (I haven't found a style I absolutely didn't care for other than an IIPA or a local Barleywine, I'd like to stay middle of the road so-to-speak). Or is this its own class of experimentation, and can only be winged?

So what advice/criticism do you have?

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Old 10-28-2010, 06:45 PM   #2
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i don't know man. you have a lot going on here. I think firstly, you need to establish your "brewing process" then start tweaking and playing with ingredients. You need to establish some sort of baseline. Sorry, I know this is not the answer you are looking for.

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Old 10-28-2010, 06:56 PM   #3
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I wasn't planning to do all of this at once. I was looking more of like a try messing with this or that first, they're most used or you'll see more dramatic differeces between each.

As far as the brewing process, I'll be using primary and secondary fermentation, a standard 1 hour boil, counterflow chiller, bottling when finished. That's what I can think of at this point, if you need any other info let me know what I'm missing.

Thanks by the way. I appreciate your insight and helping me along with this.

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Old 10-28-2010, 06:57 PM   #4
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I'm going to agree with MBG. Try a couple basic recipes with extract and steeping grains and then once you get a good feel for the process, then start with the experimental batches. While you're doing the first couple batches, start reading on different styles, malts, hops...basically research the ingredients so when you do start experimenting, you can take a more methodical approach than throwing things in willy-nilly.

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Old 10-28-2010, 06:59 PM   #5
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visit the northern brewer website and you can see the whole kit inventory and instructions for all kits they sell. I have been buying the ingredients separately which leaves plenty of leftover grains to experiment with.

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Old 10-28-2010, 07:03 PM   #6
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It's been years since I've brewed anything, but I experimented a lot when I was brewing a lot. I followed recipes to the letter for my first 5 or so batches. After that I threw all kinds of stuff in my wort. Vanilla beans, cinnimon sticks etc... I never made anything that was undrinkable. I guess I was lucky. I'm anxious to get back into it. My job keeps me on the road a lot but it's going to slow down soon and I'll be home more, so I plan on brewing again. I'm glad I found this place!

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Old 10-28-2010, 07:06 PM   #7
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I agree with moosetav and MBG. Get the skills before you go for the thrills. However, if you truly want to take an engineers approach to brewing, I think that you would get much more enjoyment by brewing all grain. I'm not saying extract won't give you great base beers to experiment with. From your post, I think that you're an all grain type of guy and should make the investment/commitment now rather than later.

~Mike

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Old 10-28-2010, 08:28 PM   #8
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Like you I'd made wines first. Beer is ready so much quicker!

Like other advice, start simple first. Then you'll experiment. Then you'll go back to simple cos it's ready quicker

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Old 10-29-2010, 08:21 PM   #9
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I've done some more looking into it and I think I simplified it a bit and zcan get more specific for you guys.

Palmer's "How to Brew" freebie on the net has basic recipes for different beer styles and a somewhat simple American Pale Ale recipe.

6lbs Pale Malt Extract
.5 lbs Crystal 60L
OG 1.045
(Hopping and Ferm Schedule left out because I don't have consent of author)

I was thinking... Brew the original, shrink the recipe to my gallon sized jugs, and swap out the Crystal 60 for another specialty grain in a similar ammount for each subsequent batch.

Each batch differing from another by only ONE ingredient, and all the while referring back to the original for comparison.

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