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Old 08-17-2012, 10:16 AM   #21
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*their way
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:44 PM   #22
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I can buy regular beer...

I try to do 2 beers that I tinker with and 1 normal in rotation. The normal is really just so I can spread the hobby to people!

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Even ales take too long. I need something I can ferment during the boil and drink from the kettle!
You have to grow old, you don't have to grow up.
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:48 PM   #23
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I agree! In fact, I've found an even more surefire solution. Believe it or not, there are actually stores that will sell you beer already made. I've been buying this "pre-made beer" for about six months now, and I haven't had a bad batch yet. It's incredible. This is much, much easier than any of the other methods I've seen, so I'm surprised that nobody around here has ever heard of it!
Yeah but man, take that pre-made crap and rack in on to a can of Lychee fruits and see what happens.
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Old 08-17-2012, 01:02 PM   #24
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My second beer was a blonde ale that I want to experiment with. I added blueberries to half at bottling. People loved it.

Experimenting is half the fun if home brewing. If no one experimented when brewing we still might only have a pale ale style

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Kegged: Dunkelweizen, Fizzy yellow beer and Pumpkin Ale

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On my list to brew: Stone IPA and some kind of wit
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Old 08-17-2012, 01:06 PM   #25
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My first batch was a cream ale. I bottled half by recipe (mostly) and added bourbon vanilla extract to the other half. Most people liked the regular best but the vanilla version wasn't awful.

Second batch was an American Wheat. Bottled half and racked the other half on 3 pounds of blueberries. Most people preferred the original, but there were quite a few chicks who still ask me when I am making the blueberry again.

Lately, my changes have been a little more subtle. Sometimes I'll add some Honey Malt. I nearly always mess with the hop schedule. I think we learn more from our failures than we learn from our successes.
These are the kinds of experiments that improve your beers. For one, you're cutting the impact of having a beer turn out poorly by reducing the amount of modified beer. Second, you're using a control.

I brewed an amber that I wanted to experiment with dry hopping, so I split the beer in two. The result was one good beer and one excellent beer. The excellent beer gave me the inspiration for an Imperial Red Ale. Meanwhile, I'm planning on taking the first recipe and trying to make it into a sessionable beer.

After I get better temperature control, I plan on brewing a lot of 1-2.5 gallon batches and really tuning a few of my recipes. This will involve brewing a lot of base malt plus single specialty grain brews and tasting them.

One of the things I might do is brew the current iteration recipe in a full batch and blending it with the experimental batch at the glass in varying proportions, then selecting one or two blends that work. Then, I'll brew them and taste them.
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Old 08-17-2012, 01:15 PM   #26
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Why not experiment?
Because it's not "experimentation" if you don't understand, or have experience with the BASICS first.

My take on this is that there is a difference between true experimentation and throwing things together "willy nilly." I have noticed on here is that a lot of noobs think what they are doing is experimentation, when in reality they are just throwing a bunch of stuff against the wall and hoping it sticks.

Working on your process is good way of doing this, as is reading.

Throwing a bunch of stuff in your fermenter and seeing what you get at the end, and ending up making an "is my beer ruined" thread is not the same thing as experimenting.

To me, in order to experiment truly, you have to have an understanding of the fundamentals. You have to know how the process works somewhat. You have to have an understanding of how different ingredients or processes affect the final product. You may even need to know, or at least understand something about beer styles, and what goes into making one beer a Porter and another a pale ale. And where your concoction will fall on the continuoum.

To me it's like cooking or even Jazz. But going back to the cooking analogy. Coming up with a balanced and tasty recipe takes some understanding of things...just like cooking...dumping a cup of salt will more than likely ruin a recipe...so if you cook, you KNOW not to do that...it's the same with brewing...you get an idea with experience and looking at recipes, brewing and playing with software how things work..what flavors work with each other, etc...

That to me is the essence of creating...I have gotten to a point where I understand what I am doing, I get how ingredients work or don't work with each other, so I am not just throwing a bunch of stuff together to see what I get.

I have an idea of what I want it to taste like, and my challenge then is to get the right combination of ingredients to match what is in my head. That's also pretty much how I come up with new food recipes as well.

You'll get there....a LOT sooner, if you focus on the fundamentals, and get your processes in order...rather than just playing around.

If you're brewing with kits, and want a stronger beer, then brew higher gravity kits.

If you want a strong beer, don't choose a normal gravity beer and decide that since you read about boosting gravity by adding more sugars to just add more sugar, choose a beet of the grav you want, just like if you wand a peach beer, don't choose a non fruit beer recipe and try to "figure out" how to add the fruit...get a kit or recipe that has everything you need in the right quantities you need. Recipes are about a BALANCE between flavors, bitterness, aromas, what have you, and until you get a few batches under your belt, and learn the fundamentals, stick with the already proven and balanced recipes. That way you don't have the extra step of trying to figure out what went wrong if the beer doesn't taste good.....if the recipe or kit already tastes good (and they would have gone through tastes tests and ALREADY before you got to them- you know they are already good, if not award winning beers, if you went with a kit or book recipe, they have been vetted) if there is something not right, you will have an easier time trying to figure out what went wrong in terms of your brewing PROCESS, not because you went off the ranch and on top of trying to actually learn to brew, you also through a bunch of crap into the equation.

If you want a fruit beer, buy a fruit beer kit....

Beer recipes are a balance...and if you add to one variable, that will affect other parts of it...For example if you decide to raise the gravity of a balanced beer...a beer where the hops balance out the sweetness...and you raise the maltniness of it without also balancing the hops, then your beer may end up being way too cloyingly sweet. Or if you just add sugar willy nilly it could become overly dry, or cidery.

At this stage most folks trying to do it don't know enough yet, and they won't learn just by jacking a recipe o your first time out of the box. Don't start altering recipes on your first batch, or else you're gonna be posting a thread titled, "Why does my beer taste like I licked Satan's Anus after he ate a dozen coneys?" And we're not going to be able to answer you, because you've screwed with the recipe as well as maybe made a few noob brewer mistakes that typically get made, and neither you, nor us, are going to be able to figure out what went wrong. Because there's too many variables.

Just brew a couple batches and learn from them, and read books about recipe creation before you start messing around. It's not about tossing stuff into a fermenter and seeing how it turns out.If you want to make strong beers, learn to make GOOD beers first.

Read and learn about creating great RECIPES, not just how to boost the alcohol content of a beer. Learn about the ingredients, how they affect each other, how they balance each other.


There's nothing WRONG with Cooper's kits, or any kits really, they don't need to be messed with by a bunch of new brewers who don't know anything yet.

They weren't made by amateurs for chrissake, recipe kits be it kit and kilo or other kits are designed by folks with a LOT MORE EXPERIENCE then the person wanting to f with it....
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Old 08-17-2012, 01:23 PM   #27
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I made the damn recipes I'm brewing. I'm sitting there with a notebook of paper and a calculator determining the mathematics of the brew. I'll doctor them up however I'd like.

That said, I don't do it without careful consideration of the flavors (that I perceive) to be involved. I always have a clear goal or objective for the beer when planning the recipe. I don't just add flavors or fruit to beer like, "Well let's just see what this crap does! WOOO"

After that I evaluate the recipe and try to come up with 2-3 things I can try differently next time if it didn't achieve my goal. Next time I brew the recipe, I change 1 thing to see how it changes the overall product. If it sucks (hasn't yet, we'll see about my mushroom beer)...well I tell myself not to be so creative with what could have probably been a good beer had I remained more conservative.

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Old 08-17-2012, 01:40 PM   #28
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i've been modding my beer recipes ever since my first extract kit. with great success.. I added 3 gallons of apple juice to my Holiday Ale kit, and invented a friend and family favorite brew we lovingly refer to as the Slopiday Ale! (2 years running!!) I highly reccomend trying anything that keeps your interest in the hobby.

on the other hand, my buddy wanted to make a pumpkin beer for his first batch last year, added a can of pumpkin puree to his kit beer - and it soured. So, you just have to try your luck and dont be discouraged if you don't like the final product, try something new!

in retro spect we are pretty sure he got contamination from something other than the canned pumpkin puree because it was boiled.

at any rate i would like to disagree with the OP and state that if you have great fortitude and don't mind a setback - go head and experiment to see what you get!

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Old 08-17-2012, 01:51 PM   #29
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I don't mind the experimentation with ingredients, even by noobs. In a somewhat controlled manner.

What I at, is when someone asks "What happened to my beer? I wanted to increase the ABV so I added 5 pounds of table sugar."

Or, "What can I add to my Mr Beer Swill Ale kit to increase the ABV?"

My suggestion is always to brew the kit as is. If you want higher ABV find a kit/recipe that has a higher ABV.

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Old 08-17-2012, 01:58 PM   #30
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I don't mind the experimentation with ingredients, even by noobs. In a somewhat controlled manner..

THIS.

But the thing is a lot of folks don't....

They change a bunch of variables at the same time, and they can't trouble shoot it later. Then they can't learn what they did wrong, because they can't figure out what they did wrong.
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