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Old 10-27-2009, 01:46 PM   #1
Pschof
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So what is the general feeling on this board about brewing to style vs. doing DogFish Head-style crazy experimentation? I suppose one question is what people are actually trying to do with their brewing hobby and why (replicate/tweak beers vs. discovering something new). But another is just how often people are happy with what they get when they throw together ingredients without quite knowing how it will taste ahead of time.

 
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Old 10-27-2009, 01:51 PM   #2
Revvy
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I brew some things to style, I tweak certain recipes constantly trying to perfect it, and I wildly experiment on some beers.

So my answer is "yes."
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Old 10-27-2009, 01:54 PM   #3

I enjoy experimentation and maverick brewing though I typically brew to style; however I always ask one thing: if you aren't brewing a specific beer to style, don't call it that style. That only manages to confuse the drinker.

If you hand me one of your creations and say it is an ordinary bitter, I'm already preparing a mental checklist of attributes to measure it against. If it's dramatically different from that checklist, I'll be dismayed and it won't fare well in my analysis, while it may be a tasty beer.

To relate an anecdote: I judged American Light Lager recently at a competition. One of the judges raved about how this one particular entry had lots of prominent malt and hop character - pretty much the antithesis of 1A. How do you think it fared?


 
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Old 10-27-2009, 01:55 PM   #4
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I make beer....as long as it is drinkable I am happy, so I am not big on experimentation....yet!
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Old 10-27-2009, 02:06 PM   #5
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I tend not to brew to style. However, there is a lot of room between brewing to style and extreme brewing. It is fun to play around!


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Old 10-27-2009, 02:20 PM   #6
Stoopidwon
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As of right now I just brew what I know I'll drink. I'm not ready to brew 5 gallons of something I'm not sure I wanna drink....I will probably brew 2.5 gallons of anything that I just wanna try.
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Old 10-27-2009, 02:42 PM   #7
Pschof
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How often do people like whatever it is that they concoct when they get creative? My experience is that I tend to like beer and beer-related drinks. So it is pretty hard to disappoint me.

 
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Old 10-27-2009, 02:47 PM   #8
corvax13
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I recently started brewing small 1g batches just for this purpose - taking left over ingredients from a couple brews, adding in some experimental stuff. So far so good.
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Old 10-27-2009, 02:48 PM   #9
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I look at styles as the proven methods and ingredients that work together. This is a great way to learn what works, what doesn't, and why. People should go through and brew the styles, this will teach them the basics then they can build on it or off of it to come up with their own crazy ideas.

Brewing crazy is the spirit of homebrewing to me, but the people who do it the best are the ones who took the time to master the styles first. It's like in French cooking you have to master the mother sauces before you can create your own unique dishes.

 
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Old 10-27-2009, 02:56 PM   #10
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I'm fairly new to these boards, so I can't really speak for anybody else, but I'll offer these two thoughts. The first is obvious: brew what you like. Brewing crazy beers can be fun and challenging, and I applaud those who are up for experimenting if that's what they want to drink. I also think there's something to be said for brewing things you can't pick up at your neighborhood liquor store; hell, that's what got me into brewing. However, my second thought is this: brewing to style can be an excellent learning tool. Shooting for a known target allows you to best evaluate your brewing skills and will allow you to better formulate recipes when you do decide to brew something crazy. Remember that Picasso painted some incredible "conventional" paintings when he was younger; it's not like he just started painting crazy cubist stuff the moment he first picked up a paint brush. So do whatever floats your boat, but I think that brewing to style from time to time will improve both your technique and your recipe formation.

 
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