At what point is a recipe your own - Home Brew Forums
Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > At what point is a recipe your own

Thread Tools
Old 03-18-2008, 04:41 PM   #1
Mar 2008
Madison, WI
Posts: 1,180
Liked 7 Times on 7 Posts

When using a found recipe sometimes we must make changes due to restrictions, unavailable ingrediats, what have you. At what point do you consider that recipe changed enough so that it becomes a new brew?

For example, when brewing an Imperial Stout recently I had to change the hops called for as they were anavailable. I substituted hops with similar charactaristics, and would not call that brew my own.
On the other hand, I gave Papazian's Palace Bitter a try and ended up using a 0.5# more DME than called for (called for 4.5), plus 0.25 oz. more Fuggles in the bittering portion of the boil. I had my first taste of it last night and I could not call this a bitter. It has a very nice, smooth caramelly sweetness, followed by a dry, hoppy (but not bitter) finish. I like it a lot, but I cannot call this a Bitter or a Pale Ale (not sure what it is now - thoughts?).

So, when do you call a found recipe your own?

Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2008, 04:50 PM   #2

If you change any aspect at all of the original recipe (a hop, a malt, a temperature) I'd say it's now yours. You could say 'inspired by XYZ' if you felt the need.

Regarding your bitter, without working out the values I'd say you either have a best bitter or even just a regular pale ale.

Canadian Brewers Unite!

Projects: Sylvania Kegerator Conversion, Tower Cooling, Grain Milling Station

Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2008, 05:01 PM   #3
Funkenjaeger's Avatar
May 2007
Nashua, NH
Posts: 1,598
Liked 9 Times on 7 Posts

I agree. There are thousands of recipes out there, many that are extremely simple or even identical, especially in the case of simple recipes. Changing one ingredient by a half a pound or so can be enough to change the beer noticeably, if not significantly... And of course, the same recipe brewed by multiple people is going to come out different anyway. If you feel like you've customized a recipe and made it your own, then you should be able to 'claim' it as your own.

If someone has a really GREAT recipe that they're really proud of, that's popular and/or award-winning, then I would say you should be more conscientious about taking credit for it without significant changes, but again it's up to your conscience in the end. Like, for example, EdWort's Haus Pale Ale. It's a pretty simple recipe, and no doubt many others have brewed something very similar to it without realizing it, but whenever I tweak the recipe when I brew it, I still refer to it as a modification of his recipe, not as an original one of my own - it's well-known, delicious, and Ed deserves all the credit for it. But if someone threw together a simple recipe, had only brewed it a few times and didn't make a big deal out of it, I wouldn't feel so strongly about it.

Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2008, 05:17 PM   #4
olllllo's Avatar
Apr 2006
Phoenix, Arizona
Posts: 13,330
Liked 139 Times on 113 Posts

It's yours when you feel like you understand what every ingredient and amount contributes to to the beer-- when you know why you added a hop at 45 instead of 60 and why you added .5lbs of Crystal Malt 60°L instead of .25 of 90°L.
Rabbit And Coyote Schwag
Rob - Phoenix Ambassador to Milwaukee
Where did your avatar go?
Ginger Beer for Moscow Mules Bacon Vodka

Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2008, 05:40 PM   #5
Dec 2007
Posts: 195

i agree with the poster who i will refer to as Jeep, since that's what the olllllo thing evokes with the tires underneath.

i write down all my recipes and ive not yet made one without a change from the original source, if there was one. that said, none of them are my own because those changes were made without the knowledge i now have from reading and experimenting.,

Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2008, 06:59 PM   #6
Mar 2008
Huntsville, Alabama
Posts: 150

Originally Posted by olllllo
It's yours when you feel like you understand what every ingredient and amount contributes to to the beer-- when you know why you added a hop at 45 instead of 60 and why you added .5lbs of Crystal Malt 60°L instead of .25 of 90°L.
I agree. If you tweak a recipe to change the flavor, body, color, etc. and understand how you did it, then it is now your recipe. Let's say you change the base malt by 1/2# and keep the rest the same just for the sake of changing the recipe...then I think it is not really your recipe. On the other hand, if double the amount of Special B in a porter recipe from 2 or 3 oz to 7-8oz, then that will contribute a different characteristic to the finished product. The amount of change necessary to qualify a recipe as your own is relative based on the original recipe and what you change.

Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2008, 08:21 PM   #7
Aug 2007
Posts: 118

Shrug. The closest thing I ever did to making my own recipe is changing an all chinook IPA to an all Simcoe because that's all I had enough of on hand.

I'm pretty content just following recipes for the foreseeable future.
Gloucester County Homebrewers
Beer Crafters LHBS (RIP - Store closed 9/09)
On tap:
1. Slyfox 2008 Dunkelweizen
2. None



Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2008, 08:33 PM   #8
...My Junk is Ugly...
BierMuncher's Avatar
Jan 2007
St. Louis, MO
Posts: 12,390
Liked 783 Times on 434 Posts

I clone a lot, but I create a few as well.

At the very least, I consider all my beers my own "variation". Usually I dial down the ABV and need to up the crystal % and mash temp to compensate for the lower grain bill.

In many cases, I start with a blank canvas and go from there. I'm not afraid to experiment.

A few recent examples:
Sacred Summit Pale Ale
Sterling Gold
Sterling Rye
Six Shooter Pale Ale
Orange Kolsch
Rye Not IPA
Centennial Blonde

Now these, are my recipes.

And now that I think about it. Nobody gave me an exact Kona Pale Ale recipe, or the NewCastle recipe. I searched, gathered what I could and filled in the blanks. So I guess that anywhere that you come up with a clone that you created....tis your recipe as well.

Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2008, 08:39 PM   #9
Yuri_Rage's Avatar
Jul 2006
Posts: 14,274
Liked 792 Times on 505 Posts

A recipe is yours when you "feel" like it's yours. This is such a subjective question, that it almost has to have a subjective answer.

I usually give credit where credit is due when making a variation of someone else's recipe. I've brewed several of my own, original recipes as well. All of them are mine, but I always feel a greater sense of accomplishment when I start from scratch and wind up with a great result.
Homebrewed Blog..........YouTube Channel .......... Shirts, posters, etc

Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2008, 08:56 PM   #10
Mar 2008
Madison, WI
Posts: 1,180
Liked 7 Times on 7 Posts

This was supposed to be more of a phylisophical question. But everyone has been giving more direct answers. I do appreciate all the posts and opinions.
Adding the amoung of DME and hops to Papazian's Bitter does make it my own in my opinion now. And I like it!

Reply With Quote
Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Six Point Sweet Action Clone Recipe? wendelgee2 Recipes/Ingredients 19 04-13-2012 01:24 AM
Looking for Recipe - Blue Point (LI NY) Toasted Lager WormBoy All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 8 04-01-2012 08:23 PM
Is there any point? Martin2D Lambic & Wild Brewing 3 08-12-2009 05:27 PM
Getting my brew from point A to point B bernerbrau General Beer Discussion 32 09-24-2008 02:17 AM
Please point me to a recipe/kit Pogo Recipes/Ingredients 2 09-05-2008 05:06 PM

Forum Jump