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Old 11-02-2011, 08:14 PM   #1
Oct 2011
Rancho Cordova, CA
Posts: 529
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How do people feel about beer styles? Do you think following a specific style is important or is making a good tasting beer important? I realize that competitions require rules for styles, I think for the most part beer is made to taste good not to fit a style. What do the rest of you think? I saw this discussion on another site and wanted tosee what people hear think.

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Old 11-02-2011, 08:29 PM   #2
Dec 2010
Olympia, WA
Posts: 465
Liked 23 Times on 21 Posts

Im of the mindset that making a good brew is primary.

Style guidelines serve the same purpose as having breeds of dogs. I like some better than others, but unless I'm entering it in some type of competion, it's only important that I like the dog. And that it doesn't crap in the house
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Old 11-02-2011, 08:30 PM   #3
Oct 2011
Columbia, MO
Posts: 516
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I'm a newby, and I don't think I've really hit a style dead-on yet, but it all tastes good. I'm brewing an altbier tomorrow and I'd like to get the gravity and color close to one of the two styles, but I'm most concerned that it taste like the beer I remember from when I was stationed in Deutscheland. I think later, when I've got the basics down, I might try a little harder to hit style standards. Thing is, a lot of times I'll try a beer that's supposed to be a good style example, and I'll realize that it's not as bitter as I would prefer or it has too much of one malt or the other, so why brew a beer that's not to my own taste, regardless of definitions?

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Old 11-02-2011, 08:37 PM   #4
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Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
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I brew different beers all the time. And I try to expand my brewing horizon, by drinking and brewing different styles. SO when I do that I try to do as much research as possible, drinking commercial versions, reading as much as possible about the style, looking over a ton of other folk's recipes to see what ingredients/process are common to the style. So I kinda get immersed in the style for a bit.

I've done that with styles that I've never been into prior to homebrewing, like Vienna lagers, wits, tropical stouts, saisons, and now my latest "obsession" traditional bocks.

I go through cycles of immersing myself in new styles, and then brewing and drinking old favorites.

But I also like to experiment, and come up with strange combinations and use weired ingredients as well. I probably have entered more beers in in categories 21-23 than any other I enter into. In fact most of my experiments have done the best in contests.

I mean I've used, 50+ year old honey, Jaggery, Date Syrup, Date Palm mollasses, every grade of brown sugar, mascerated dates, mexican hot chocolate disks (both in the boil and as mash liquid), ginger orange marmalde, lime marmalade, candied ginger, tortilla chips, my own chili powder, whole dried and smoked chilli, I've roasted my own grain and even soaked it in simple syrup and then roasted it, I've been experimenting with priming with things like date syrup. And I've used all the "normal" "strange" ingredients like pumpkin, spices, citrus peels, stuff like that. I've also researched historical beers to try to recreate old and regional styles as well.

The thing about experimentation though, is that most experiments still have an underlying base style. I mean in contests you have to identify the base style if it's one of the experimental category....So you kinda still need to brew a strong underlying style...for example my chocolate mole porter with mexican hot chocolate and chilies STILL would be a to style and very tasty porter without the spices and chocolate.

That's the fun of brewing, you can do it all.
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:05 PM   #5
Adjunct of the Law
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Sep 2009
Isle of Staten
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When I'm brewing a style, I get pretty pissed off if I don't get it right (like the Vienna I'm drinking right now). When I'm not brewing a style, I just want it to taste good.
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:11 PM   #6
Sep 2009
San Diego
Posts: 177
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I'm right there with Revvy, always changing what style I like, and LOVE to tweek it out side the style a bit.

Right now im about to brew Breakfast Porter, a Coffee and Oatmeal Porter. One of my other favorites is an Imperial Red Ale. I started in a style, then went were my taste buds took me.
'Styles' are to help guide some one choosing what to buy and for providing some kind of order to a competition. A brewers job is to blur those lines and make something tasty.

Style be damned, full speed ahead!

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Old 11-02-2011, 09:11 PM   #7
Feb 2009
Washington, DC
Posts: 72
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Whenever I decide to brew to style, I want to hit it dead on. This is especially true when I make an Oktoberfest with a double decoction mash. I don't want all that work to wind up being an under-attenuated diacetyl mess (it didn't). Otherwise, I just want it to be enjoyable for myself and my friends.

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Old 11-02-2011, 09:14 PM   #8
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May 2009
Posts: 3,045
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I typically shoot for a style. But when I have enough brewed and on hand that is to whatever styles I wanted then I start to experiment. I mean, lets face it, sometimes the experiments don't turn out as anticipated and the last thing you want is your new experiment sitting there undrinkable while you wait for your IPA that is done to style which should taste great.

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Old 11-02-2011, 09:24 PM   #9
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Feb 2011
Sheffield, Ohio
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I like doing old styles,even extinct ones when I can afford to. Like the #3 Burton ale I'm fermenting now. It hasn't seen the light of day for some 121 years! Or trying to clone a commercial style we both like. It's a nice change from the usual that brightens things up a little.
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Old 11-03-2011, 02:45 AM   #10
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Sep 2006
Hawley, PA
Posts: 1,696
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My take is this: you have to master a style before "improving" on it. You want to make a Chocolate Chili Coffee Imperial Stout? Get your basic imperial stout recipe down. Wanna make a wild Pumpkin Lavender Cinnamon Saison? Learn to make a basic (but awesome) saison first. Obviously your tastes should lead your brewing, but I think if you know how to make a basic style, your forays into the wilderness will turn out that much better.

It's like learning an instrument -- learn the basics before you start on with the advanced techniques.
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