Brewing beer not to a "style"

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Jako

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Well trying trying to use old ingredients need to be creative. For some odd reason I always felt like I needed to brew to a "style". I feel so free hah.


Anyone else getting creative now trying to avoid the plauge?
 

Bramling Cross

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As someone that was born with a strong dissentient streak, I'm not interested in adapting my recipes to conform to a classification system that was designed to optimize the running of beer contests.

That said, I'll happily admit that they're a handy abstract framework when thinking about recipe design, or speaking to others about beer. For all the problems that the style classification system creates, it must be said that it does make it a lot easier to think and speak about beer.
 

Joshua Hughes

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I’m so new creating recipes I try to keep within the style. What bothers me is when I see a clone and i plug it into brewers friend and it doesn’t fit the style, especially when it’s a beer that’s a legend and I don’t know how to classify it.
 

Hoppy2bmerry

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I’m so new creating recipes I try to keep within the style. What bothers me is when I see a clone and i plug it into brewers friend and it doesn’t fit the style, especially when it’s a beer that’s a legend and I don’t know how to classify it.
Sometimes commercial examples are not good representations of a style, but they are enjoyable and can be popular. Keep on researching, make what you like.
 

Bramling Cross

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I’m so new creating recipes I try to keep within the style. What bothers me is when I see a clone and i plug it into brewers friend and it doesn’t fit the style, especially when it’s a beer that’s a legend and I don’t know how to classify it.
That doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad clone. Let's take Anchor Steam, the primary example for the California Common style, as an example. Anchor has been very forthcoming about the Steam recipe and their techniques. Nevertheless, if you plug the Anchor recipe into the brewing software of your choice, it will very likely come up out of style--most notably in terms of color. It just goes to show how differing rigs can produce two excellent, but from a style stand point, "different" beers. The style classification system isn't bad for what it is, but you can't poke and prod at it too much without it collapsing.
 

Dgallo

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If it taste good drink it! If it taste great, drink it and then brew it again! That being said, I’m currently on a kick of brewing some traditional lagers and I’m obsessed with style guidelines when building the recipes for those beers. But at the end of the day as long as taste good, to style or not to style is an afterthought!
 

David Baker

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I have two styles of beer ... those I like and those I don't.

I can't even spell BJCP.
Hallelujah! Good for you. Too many numbers. Too much debate about matters that can be ignored.
I have two styles of beer ... those I like and those I don't.

I can't even spell BJCP.
Hallelujah! Good for you. My outlook is even more limited. I only brew the 1 beer I like. Good luck to all these beer scientists!
 

TheMadKing

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Guidelines are just that.. Guidelines. They offer a convenient way to label beers so that people have a common frame of reference when they are discussion what a beer should and shouldn't taste like.

I'm a beer judge but that doesn't mean that the style guidelines are an immutable Bible.

As a general rule, I ignore the guidelines in a few important places:

color on dark beers because anything above 35 SRM doesn't matter one bit IMO.

Calculated IBU. They are a good place to start but balance is more important to most beers. I like my cream ales to have 25-30 IBU because it tastes better to me. I like my RIS to have 90IBU and a FG of 1.030 because I like the balance and complexity.

Traditional English ales and traditional belgian ales because the styles were pretty much invented for the bjcp and in reality they are both representing a vast spectrum of flavors that we're never really defined. English bitters could realistically be divided up into 10 different styles/variants IMO
 

BrewMan13

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I started brewing with no regard for styles whatsoever; "brewing what I couldn't buy" is how put it. Now, I'm more style oriented, but veer off now and then. Had too many duds trying weird ****. Never really have a "bad" batch nowadays.
 

GBRbrew

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After multiple brews I have leftover grain (I have to order in 1 pound increments no lhbs) throw them together with a base malt and and some hops and I have what I like to call a frankinbeer
 

jswillbrewforbeer

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OCD part of brain: BREW SOMETHING THAT FITS INTO A MOULD, IT'LL FEEL GOOOOOOD!
Rational part of brain: You only like about 20% of traditional styles you attempt, perhaps you should brew on a more whimsical basis according to what you like.
Nihilist part of brain: why bother brewing? You'll inevitably run out of beer and end up sober and conflicted.
 

KaptainKarl

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Recipe for the ale I’m drinking now.
Malt: leftover LME and DME, amber and light? Total about 6lbs.
Hops: a couple handsful of Nugget comes for bitter, a coupla handsful of Cascade comes for flavor.
Ginger: at bottling because it was sitting there and what the heck.
Yeast: SO4
Flavor: Delicious.
 

mattdee1

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Unless the main goal is to participate in homebrew competitions where the style guidelines actually come into play, fussing over style guidelines with any rigidity almost sounds antithetical to the spirit of the hobby, IMO.

But with that out of the way, I definitely think there is benefit to going through the exercise of brewing some beers "to style" so you can learn firsthand what makes certain styles tick. Over centuries of beer-making, "styles" develop for a reason - the collective wisdom of brewers shows that certain groups of ingredients and processes tend to produce results that are reliably desirable when used together.

It has direct parallels to lots of other creative hobbies - cooking, photography, songwriting, etc. Learning the "rules" first and then making deliberate decisions to break them is always a better approach than just flying willy-nilly from the get-go.
 
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Jako

Jako

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I have two styles of beer ... those I like and those I don't.

I can't even spell BJCP.
I love it. I want to work on a English kellerbier low ABVish for quick refreshing summer drinks.
 

bracconiere

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it is handy to know that a 60% pale malt 40% black patent malt beer would probably be a little "thick"....but it's easy to get a feel for that sorta thing pretty quick....and just throw stuff in a pot.....


(and i just kegged up a beer, 20lbs pale, 8 ozs crystal 40, and 2ozs chocolate rye....you'd have to tell me if that fits a particular style or not.....rye brown perhaps?)

edit: and i only carb to 8psi, so milk rye brown maybe?
 
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Jako

Jako

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Style is for competitions...be like me now...make 11 gallons, split then batch two different yeasts...two different beers.

:mug:
My first batch on my new system i did this. But I used a old bucket and infected everything... once i get a second stainless fermenter i definitely plan on doing this.
 

Giggs

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Brewing to a style, whether for competition or not, is a fun way to challenge your knowledge and skills. Most of what I brew is off the top of my head based on what I'd like to drink or bring to Club. Maybe once a year, I'll pick a style or two, get a bottle of the reference beer, and do my best to design and execute a brew to the style.
 

WESBREW

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Go for it. Mix it up a bit to see what you can create. I would stay around 70% or more of common base malts So you don’t overwhelm the beer with a strong flavor
 

Snuffy

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"Well trying trying to use old ingredients need to be creative. For some odd reason I always felt like I needed to brew to a "style". I feel so free hah. Anyone else getting creative now trying to avoid the plauge?"

Like my buddy from Nawlins sez, "Sometimes, a manna gotta do what a manna gotta do."
 
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ehall

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I always called my beers that were made with leftovers I want to get rid of 'kitchen sink' beers. They always turned out good. but I also found over time that to many ingredients in one beer just muddles it up.
 

bleme

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I named my favorite beer to-date Oxymoron because it was basically a black NEIPA. It started as a Northern Brewer Ace of Spades kit that I had won in a raffle. I moved all the hops to whirlpool and dry-hop, added in a bunch of Belma that was taking up room in my freezer, and pitched a slurry from my fridge. When the owner of the local brewpub tried it he said that after 30 years of brewing, he thought he had tried everything but that beer blew his mind and opened up a whole new branch of what beer could be.

BJCP guidelines are a useful tool, but for me they are just a starting point that gets modified based on my taste and inventory.
 

gonefishin2

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Randy Mosher discusses Screw Styles briefly in Mastering Homebrew. I usually describe most of my beers as Screw Beers—They are generally a combination of my favorite parts of different styles combined to be drank in a certain setting (or season).
 

Hwk-I-St8

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I don't really take style into account when putting together recipes (as a general rule). Most beers I brew are based on a style, but with twists and tweaks to make them different. I brew a lot of NEIPAs, but I prefer them to be more bitter than the style calls for, so they're more bitter. Much more refreshing IMO.

I brewed a Gose, but my son wanted it to be a margarita gose. We added tequila infused with lime zest at the end of the fermentation. Very refreshing, but not really a gose by the style guidelines.

Brewing is too much fun to just limit yourself to a style. I gave up on comps for two reasons: inconsistent feedback and being hamstrung into a style.
 
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