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Old 02-20-2012, 02:03 AM   #1
Waynep005
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Default To clone or not to clone

I was wondering what the general view of brewing clones of comercial brews is on this site. I for one do not brew clones if I want a certain beer I go and buy it. I have only been brewing for a little over a year and do brew other peoples recipes. So I am not claiming some moral high ground on this subject just curious.


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Old 02-20-2012, 02:43 AM   #2
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Clones let you test your brewing ability against a recognized brewery. It also helps you understand flavor profiles when you brew it yourself. I was wondering about goose island Matilda until I brewed a belgian and smelled the similar flavors. Granted that wasn't a clone, but it helped me understand.

I have a newcastle clone bottling which should be ready in 2 weeks. I brewed it because it was a new style (British Brown), used ingredients I hadn't used before (Irish Moss), Ingredients were cheap (30 bucks for 50 bottles vs 75 for commercial), and finally I could do a taste test later and see if I got close. My friends who like newcastle also want to do a taste test. It will be a lot of fun I think.

Also keep in mind no clone will be 100% accurate, you're more cloning the style than anything. Clone a beer of the style you want and adapt!


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Old 02-20-2012, 02:46 AM   #3
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I use clone beer recipes as the base model for all "my" recipes. I usually put my own spin on the recipe by adding different hops, yeast, grains,etc. Not really a clone recipe at that point but they are a great starting point because chances are the recipe is pretty solid to begin with.
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Old 02-20-2012, 02:47 AM   #4
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I clone ruination because a sixer is $18.
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Old 02-20-2012, 02:52 AM   #5
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Just to agree with the other answers, clone recipes allow you to start with a recipe you know you'll like, and also give you an understanding of how the grains, hops, yeast, etc. work together in the finished product. The Two Hearted clone you can find on here is the base of my grain bill for all of my IPAs and APAs. I did tweak it a bit for my own liking, but it is still eerily similar. My favorite hopping schedule is a far cry from the original recipe, but initially brewing that clone stepped up the quality of my IPAs immensely.

Also, what do you do about a clone of a recipe you don't have access to? Getting anything from DFH is a special occasion for me, so instead of trying to find someone to ship me a case I'd rather just clone it. Same goes for RR, Surly, etc.

And of course homebrew is usually cheaper than buying commercial beer. And I'm a cheapass that loves brewing.
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Old 02-20-2012, 03:02 AM   #6
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Most of the beers I brew I have a particular commercial beer in mind. That is not to say that I try to do an exact clone but usually something close. I figure it is like playing guitar...you learn certain songs because they teach you certain techniques. Same with brewing beer.
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Old 02-20-2012, 03:12 AM   #7
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I think most brewers recognize that recipe is only a part of it. If you are cloning an existing beer, even if you are using a recipe you read online, you still have to go through the effort of doign everything right, and managing fermentation.

Creativity comes with risk, there's no shame in taking that out of the equation when you are trying to nail down your brewing process, or create a beer for your friends.
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Old 02-20-2012, 03:19 AM   #8
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As a homebrewer, I was making my own recipes from the 1st batch. The only time I ever brewed someone else's recipe at home was Papazian's Guinness clone; Propentious Irish Stout. I cloned Spaten Oktoberfest, but that wasn't my goal, it was serendipity that my recipe turned out that way. That all being said, I was already working at a brewery when I started homebrewing, and had maybe 5 or 6 brews under my belt before I started brewing there, so I got the brewing of others' recipes/learning how stuff fit that way.
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Old 02-20-2012, 03:31 AM   #9
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A big part of homebrewing for me is trying to recreate something that I can't buy off the shelf. I'm not able to buy anything from Dogfish or Stone (just to name a few big names) within hundreds of miles, but often times, there are well-respected clone recipes for those brews. Brew the recipe, learn from it, then make it your own.
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Old 02-20-2012, 02:25 PM   #10
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I love the experimentation aspect... but a four pack of Chimay Grande Reserve runs $20 or so... so this one is definitely on my "to brew" list.


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