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Old 11-16-2007, 03:37 PM   #1
Nov 2007
Posts: 3

I'm fairly new to the homebrewing (got about 7 batches under my belt) and my question relates to determining style. I've been following clone recipes so far and all have come out awesome. I would like to start creating my own beers and am not sure what determines a style. For example if I wanted to make a pilsner, what ingredients determine it being a pilsner? Is it the grains used? The type of hops? Same goes for everything else. I've brewed a stout but don't know what made it one. I would appreciate someone shedding some light on this subject. Thanks.

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Old 11-16-2007, 04:04 PM   #2
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May 2007
Nashua, NH
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Ingredients are a means to an end. Styles are defined by their flavor, body, color, and other characteristics - and the way you make your beer have certain characteristics is by the ingredients and process you use. Different beers of the same style can be made with quite different ingredients, though there are often certain ingredients that are most commonly used for that style. A lot of the learning process of formulating recipes is learning what characteristics different ingredients can provide, so you can choose ingredients effectively to make the beer come out the way you want it. It's a lot like cooking in that regard.

Style guidelines:

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Old 11-16-2007, 04:19 PM   #3
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May 2006
Adams, MA
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Get a copy of Designing Great Beers, and maybe Jamil Z's new book. DGB talks extensively about the history of different style and what goes into a lot of great commercial and homebrew examples; Jamil's new book (which I have not read yet) is supposed to get into a lot of pointers about what makes an excellent example of many different styles. I would also HIGHLY recommend listening to Jamil's podcasts on the various styles; I cannot emphasize enough how much I have learned from listening to those. Each one focuses (most) of its attention on one particular style, and it's been going on long enough where a good percentage of the styles are represented.
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Old 11-16-2007, 04:26 PM   #4
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Jun 2007
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Def. read the link above to BJCP style guidelines.

I just got my copy of Designing great beers looks like a great resource as well.
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Old 11-16-2007, 08:19 PM   #5
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Sep 2007
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Absolutely look at the BJCP guidelines and the Daniels book. I can't speak for Jamil's new book, as I haven't read it, but I expect it is good.

Also, the Classic Style Series is good for learning about a certain style (or set of styles). Some of those books are better than others, but all of them have good information.

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Old 11-16-2007, 08:37 PM   #6
Jul 2007
Indiana, PA
Posts: 210

Brewing software always helps, but isn't necessary. Something like Beer Tools Pro will allow you to stick with in style guidlines for color, bitterness, alcohol %, plus gravity readings, which will (read: should) give you the correct mouthfeel and body.

That's the nuts and bolts part. On top of that, knowing taste and aroma qualities of specific styles is a must.

Also, looking at other recipes to get an idea on hop varietals and specific yeast strains used per style is a good resource.

Oh, +1 on knowing what flavors/aromas certain ingredients impart on your beer.

But don't let yourself get all boxed into styles. It's a good time just throwin' some stuff together and seeing how it turns out. Being new to brewing myself, I feel its a good way to learn.

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Old 11-17-2007, 08:52 PM   #7
Nov 2007
Posts: 3

Yeah thats what I'm doing now. It's how my question came about. I took a pound of American 2-row, 5 lbs of light extract, 1 lb of dry muntons wheat and used the leftover hops from my freezer (cascade, pearl and goldings) and then I pitched White Labs California Ale yeast. I was wondering what style this would qualify as.

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Old 11-17-2007, 09:41 PM   #8
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I would call it an American Pale or a Common.
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Old 11-19-2007, 07:40 PM   #9
Nov 2007
Posts: 3

Thanks for the reply. I ordered a copy of Designing Great Beers and look forward to reading it.

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