Repeat Recipes

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HutBrew

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Just curious what everyone else did as far as brewing the same recipe more than once.

Do you tend to tweak a method or ingredients, or try to replicate a brew you made as much as possible?

What sort of beers do you repeat, and how often do you brew them?

When I got into brewing I told myself it would be interesting if I didn’t brewed the same beer twice, but now I find myself wanting to try to make the same beer, but perhaps adjust a few little things.

Any thoughts in general are welcome!
 

Golddiggie

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I have several recipes in rotation. An English bitter, English IPA and some of my stout recipes. Some I've tweaked between the first and second batch but others are the same from the start. Only changes are when the hops AA% changes to keep things the same.

IF I'm going to make any real changes after the recipe is dialed in, it's typically a new recipe.
 

kevin58

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I brew most everything several times. Repetition helps you hone your process and become a better brewer IMO. My goal is repeatability.
The one I have been making consistently once or twice a year for the last dozen years is Denny Conn's Rye IPA. A close second is the 1880 Whitbread Porter recipe from Ron Pattinson's book "The Homebrewers Guide...".
 
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BrewnWKopperKat

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What sort of beers do you repeat, and how often do you brew them?
At the start of each year, I brew a brown ale in the spirit of Moose Drool (Caribou Slobber was my first kit recipe). The base recipe is from "Can You Brew It?". When I review the brew day notes over the years, I can see the changes in my process and note taking (or lack there of :().

I also have a Cascade (single hop) APA and a Centennial (single hop) IPA that I brew periodically.

For me, a blend repetition and "experimentation" keeps it interesting.
 

hotbeer

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By the same recipes, do you just mean same ingredients in the same amounts?

If so, yes I'll do the same recipe several times and then vary something like my mash temps, how hard I boiled or something else to see what difference that makes.

Those things can change the taste and other qualities of your beer. Changing recipes all the time means you'll sometimes blame the recipe for a bad tasting beer when it's really something else you did.
 

D.B.Moody

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Do you tend to tweak a method or ingredients, or try to replicate a brew you made as much as possible?

I do both, but will generally make it a separate recipe if I do a variation several times. I have brewed 290 times since 1994. I have used 65 recipes, but only have 17 in my current rotation, and those recipes account for 198 of my brews. Four of those 17 are really just variations of two of them, so that's 13 . Two of those thirteen account for 91 of the 198 brews. So yes, I tend to brew many of the same recipe, even if some/many are tweaks or variations. Why woildn't i brew what i like? Of all of my brewss 285 are ales. I do not brew lagers. Nine of my 17 recipes would be considered bitters or pale ales. So, again, I brew what i like, and repeat successful brews.
 
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MaxStout

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I like to mix it up and brew something different. But I look back at each of those beers and ask myself if I want to brew it again, or just leave it as a one-off. Some beers in the former category I've brewed several times, and I stick to the general recipe, maybe with a tweak. I don't like to add too many variables; if it turns out better or worse, I can't identify what did it.

I have some perennial favorites, like an oatmeal stout and a porter each winter, and an APA and Kolsch in the summer.
 

Sam_92

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I have a really hard time brewing the same beer twice. Either I am out of an ingredient and have to make a substitution or I end up throwing something into it on a whim. I think that the discovery of new flavor combinations is more important to me than the nailing of consistency on my system.

I do the same thing with cooking too, never can quite do the same thing twice.
 

grampamark

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I’m definitely in the “learn to brew consistently” camp. If you can’t, or won’t try, to make the same beer the same way, every time, and get the same result (within the limitations of the typical homebrewing setup), you’re not really brewing, you’re just putting stuff together to see what happens.

I brew about once every 2 weeks and rotate through about a dozen recipes that I’ve brewed multiple times. About once or twice a year I‘ll brew something new, and if I like it I’ll brew it again. Then that beer might get added to the rotation. I’m at the point, after approximately 170 batches, that I’m not surprised, or disappointed, with what I brew. That’s what striving for consistency does, IME.

Now, get off my lawn, and take your damn pink flamingos with you. :cool:
 

Bramling Cross

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I have three tiers of recipes: 1) Locked recipes that I've (usually) developed through a systematic, iterative process; 2) Developing recipes that I'm trying to elevate toward being locked; and, 3) Experimental recipes--typically ideas or techniques that I employ on established, locked recipes.

A good example of this is the 2.5 year Panther Piss project that I'm currently wrapping up. The goal of the project was to learn how to make adjunct N. American lagers at a very high level while developing an adjunct "plug-in" that I could employ to Americanize established lager recipes for the miserably hot and muggy summer months here in DC.

Along the way, I wrote and brewed eleven separate Panther Piss recipes spanning the lager spectrum. Some of those beers were discarded after one try, others were developed through several iterations. In total, I brewed twenty-eight separate batches of Panther Piss series beers. This resulted in three recipes being "locked," a few were discarded (mainly because Americanizing the style didn't make much sense), a few made it into further development before being dropped, and two are in the process of further development.

Put differently, I've never made a kitchen sink beer for the lolz. That's not how my brewery works.
 
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seatazzz

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I have 5 or 6 recipes that I've pretty much dialled in, that I rotate through. It's been a while since I tried something totally new; husband keeps bugging me for a saison, preferably raspberry, but I haven't gotten to it yet. Mostly I've got a WF lager, an IPA (usually my Citra/Sabro), a Pale, and some cider in the kegerator. Every couple of months I do an American Strong that I do quite well. I keep extensive notes for each brew in Word and don't use any brewing software. Sometimes a new hop comes along (or husband gets it in a YVH flash sale) that I want to showcase, and that goes in a Smash or a Pale. I'm not super adventurous in my recipes but I seem to be constantly tweaking my process. Totally in love with BIAB right now, to the point that I might put the mash tun up in the rafters until I need it for a big beer.
 

Sammy86

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Do you tend to tweak a method or ingredients, or try to replicate a brew you made as much as possible?

I tend to tweak until I've got a recipe locked in...when I was brewing more (pre-3 kids and no Brewzilla 65L) i tended to change small things to see what I liked best. Different hops and yeast were easiest

What sort of beers do you repeat, and how often do you brew them?

Now since I've been on a lager lock the past 3+ years i tend to brew my Helles/German Pils/Kolsch. They are tried and true recipes that now I brew 12 gallon batches I split and pitch two different yeasts.

I also contiually brew my American Wheat beer...it's just a great beer to have on tap...I am however tweaking it for the upcoming brew by adding some rye malt and splitting the batch between WY1010 and 34/70.
 

madscientist451

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I remember the beers I want to repeat, but I never seem to get around to it, I just want to keep trying something new. The exception would be simple lagers, which I brew this time of year (winter) to save for summer drinking. My ales tend to be somewhat complicated and I've got a long list of untried recipes.
 

porterguy

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I have a really hard time brewing the same beer twice. Either I am out of an ingredient and have to make a substitution or I end up throwing something into it on a whim. I think that the discovery of new flavor combinations is more important to me than the nailing of consistency on my system.

I do the same thing with cooking too, never can quite do the same thing twice.
I'm with you. There's a part of me that always says "what if the beer I DIDN'T make would have been the best beer I ever made?". That and the "why make one the exact same way; maybe tweaking it will make it even better". That's what makes this a great hobby, different strokes for different folks.
 

camonick

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I have several recipes I repeatedly brew without any changes. I’ve been brewing for a long time and I feel like they’re about as good as they are going to get. I’m not opposed to trying new styles or recipes either and do so often. It’s about 50/50 for me. There are several styles I don’t like and don’t waste my time brewing them or trying to re-invent the wheel.
 

madscientist451

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I have several recipes I repeatedly brew without any changes. I’ve been brewing for a long time and I feel like they’re about as good as they are going to get.
I'm asking for forgiveness in advance for going :off: , but is there any chance you could put some of your time tested recipes here on HBT?
Some recipes sound good but you kind of wonder if they really are all that good, I'd also prefer not to waste my time brewing "meh" recipes.
"Snow Day" seems to be getting a lot of mentions on the untapped page.
Thanks!
:mug:
 

CascadesBrewer

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For years I moved mostly from recipe to recipe. I had Cascade Pale Ale (similar to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale) that I brewed once a year, and a few other recipes that I brewed more than once. I eventually got burned out and lost my motivation. I was brewing okay beers, but I did not feel like I was improving. I recall a Hefeweizen that was wonderful, but it mostly felt like I was brewing yet another mediocre Red Ale, or so-so English Brown, or whatever. When a beer did not turn out that great, I just blamed the recipe.

For the past several years I have adopted a strategy that sounds a bit like a smaller version of @Bramling Cross. I really got motivated to dig into specific styles and come up with "house" recipes that fit my preferences. Sometimes I feel that chasing that "perfect" recipe is more fun than actually getting there, but I will cycle back and brew those recipes. Sometimes I brew them "exactly" (usually with some adjustments based on ingredient availability). Often I will brew them with minor tweaks. Maybe try out a new yeast, or a slight ingredient tweak. I almost always play with the hop combo in hoppy beers.

In 2022, NEIPAs are at the top of my list of styles to focus on. I would like to rotate in 4-5 batches, but I would not be surprised if I only get to 3 batches this year.
 

Chuckbergman

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I think I brew very similarly to Brambling Cross, although I don't think I've ever given it the methodical definitions that he has. I like trying new recipes (experimental) and when I find ones that I like, I move them into development. Some of those become locked and I know that when I brew it following the recipe and my notes then I should get a pleasing and consistent result. But some of my recipes stay in development phase for quite a while.
 

Bramling Cross

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I've enjoyed reading this thread. It's a fun glimpse into how other brewers think.

While reading the many fun responses in this thread, it struck me that the more methodical brewers were also the brewers that have, how do I say this gently? We've been through a mash tun or two and a few fermenters along the way ;)

I'm in perilous danger of somehow managing to survive half a century on Earth. I started brewing in college, so that means I've been brewing for nearly 30 years--aw, nuts! I know the styles, malts, strains, and hops that I like. Because of that, I can be a very systematic brewer. I have the luxury of pursuing the Platonic ideal of the styles that I enjoy because I've learned via trial and mostly error how to make them.

If you're a newer brewer that is enamored with being able to make beer, lots and lots of different beers! All the beers! Yeeeehaaaaaa!!! I used to be like you. There are a few new homebrewers that I'm guiding, mostly I try to get them to learn their malt, hops, and yeasts. Once you learn that, you tend to zero in on things that you like, rather than seeing what sticks to the wall.

Anyway, I'm not sure if this is a useful post or not, but it was something that I was thinking about while reading this fun thread.
 

mashpaddled

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When I started homebrewing I thought it made sense to eventually get down a list of beers I brewed regularly similar to a pro brewery so I could dial in recipes. I've had too many beers I've wanted to brew to spend enough time going back to specific recipes. I've brewed some of my sour beers repeatedly for blending but that's a little different. I still have a long list of things to try brewing but I want to start winnowing that down so I spend at least half of my brewing perfecting maybe a dozen house beers I rotate through every two or three years. I think I've said this four or five times over thirteen years so I'm not holding myself to this too harshly.
 
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Generally, I think that every other batch I brew is a repeat of one of my core recipes. Usually there is some variable that changes slightly in each of the repeaters, but I take careful notes so that I can record the differences and attribute them to the correct cause. My Pale Ale or IPA, for example are a core grain bill at this point, the only changes might be between S-05 or WLP007 yeast and the hop variety and schedule, trying to keep the IBU's consistent. But I love to write and create recipes, so I make something different regularly and those can often become part of the regular rotation as well.

I have to say this, and the folks that have been brewing a lot can probably attest to the same. Temperature control in the process, really clean sanitation skills, and good ingredients take a lot of the variables out of the brewing process so that you can focus on the recipe and the end result. I don't have to worry anymore about fusels or diacetyl in my beer, so I can focus on the other elements like O2 exposure or freshness of base materials, and so on; this makes repeatability/recipe fine-tuning so much easier.
 

Velnerj

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I've been brewing for almost 5 years but consider myself lower intermediate brewer because I don't brew so often. Nevertheless I am proud and often surprised at my finished product (but had a few dumpers too!).

Where I live the local beer is amazing and cheap so I try to brew beers that are not available to me. When I go to a craft beer pub I like to try several different beers and learn as much as I can about tastes etc.

So I would say I'm still sowing my royal oats so to speak with my brewing. I'm going to try to make all the styles I enjoy and the revisit the ones that stood out later when I run out of new territory to explore.
 

odie

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I have several repeats...if the guys like it Ill make more.

Of course the recipe can slightly vary depending on what hops and grains I have on hand at the time. Also, my process is always evolving as I discover improvements
 

BrewMan13

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I brew and tweak recipes until I'm satisfied, then leave them alone. I'm targeting 20 recipes that I wouldn't change, and then mix them into the rotation as desired (nearly done with this). I do 20 batches a year, so targeting ~10/yr repeats, ~4-5 IPA's (mostly to experiment with different hops), 1 or 2 wild ales, and the rest new/experimental stuff.
 

bwible

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I've enjoyed reading this thread. It's a fun glimpse into how other brewers think.

While reading the many fun responses in this thread, it struck me that the more methodical brewers were also the brewers that have, how do I say this gently? We've been through a mash tun or two and a few fermenters along the way ;)

I'm in perilous danger of somehow managing to survive half a century on Earth. I started brewing in college, so that means I've been brewing for nearly 30 years--aw, nuts! I
I have some years on you in age but you have a few years on me in brewing. I’m north of 60 and I brewed my first batch on Memorial Day in 1997, so this May will be 25 years for me. I’m looking for a special recipe to brew on that day. I got a birthday recipe from Ron Pattinson and I may do that.

I tend to brew in cycles, mostly by which yeast I have on hand at any given time. I brew 3 gallon batches and I like to re-use yeast several times. If I have 1056 I’m going to be drinking a bunch of American styles, if I have a London Ale yeast I’m trying to make at least 3 British styles, etc. I have repeat recipes, some of which I make with no changes others are attempts at constant improvement. I don’t chase fads and I’m never out to brew the latest hip and trendy style or use the latest crazy hop.
 

bwible

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I brew and tweak recipes until I'm satisfied, then leave them alone. I'm targeting 20 recipes that I wouldn't change, and then mix them into the rotation as desired (nearly done with this). I do 20 batches a year, so targeting ~10/yr repeats, ~4-5 IPA's (mostly to experiment with different hops), 1 or 2 wild ales, and the rest new/experimental stuff.
I did 20 batches for 2020 and 21 batches for 2021. I’m 4 in so far this year. (Again 3 gallon batches). I’m not going to be able to keep that going forever.
 

tracer bullet

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I have 8 recipes I keep repeating over and over with small tweaks every time trying to dial them in. I started this about 2 years ago and it's made a HUGE difference in the quality of my beer. I was all over the map trying recipes or making my own and never happy with them. Finally settled on 8 styles, found some award winners to copy, and then have been tweaking them ever since. I'm up to 4 or so iterations of each and the changes keep getting smaller. Not sure what's next but I'm not done with this quite yet.

I highly recommend repeating recipes with small changes to learn the differences.
 

Velnerj

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Slightly off topic, has there been any published books with recipes from the ameture homebrewing community?

Reading this thread got me to thinking that not only are there probably some great recipes here but stories behind them as well. It would make for a good read... But I'm afraid it's been done already.
 

bwible

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Slightly off topic, has there been any published books with recipes from the ameture homebrewing community?

Reading this thread got me to thinking that not only are there probably some great recipes here but stories behind them as well. It would make for a good read... But I'm afraid it's been done already.
Websites like Brewers Friend or BeerSmith or BeerTools, etc are full of user submitted recipes. Not so much the stories that I’m aware of. This site has a recipe section.

I’m not aware of any such compilation. Individuals like Gordon Strong, Jamil Z etc have their recipe books, some stories included.

But I agree, always say I usually can’t think of anything someone else hasn’t already thought of.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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Slightly off topic, has there been any published books with recipes from the ameture homebrewing community?

Reading this thread got me to thinking that not only are there probably some great recipes here but stories behind them as well. It would make for a good read... But I'm afraid it's been done already.
Take a look at the book Homebrew All Stars.
 

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The last several years I have had certain beers I brew each season( spring will be miabock, blonde ale and likely a Scottish ale) so most of those are repeats with very little tweaks and the other beers were I’m trying new things, keeps a good mix of new and getting consistently good results on the same recipe
 
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Slightly off topic, has there been any published books with recipes from the ameture homebrewing community?

Reading this thread got me to thinking that not only are there probably some great recipes here but stories behind them as well. It would make for a good read... But I'm afraid it's been done already.

If you are an AHA member, you can search through their recipe database of competition winning beers in almost every style.
 

davidabcd

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Tweaking comes with the territory until the recipe is spot on. Once in a while the recipe is spot on from the start.
I've made the same recipe five times in a row, no changes.
In the beginning I tried out some different styles but they weren't in my wheelhouse.
If it's not a Belgian Tripel, it's an Old Ale. If it's not an Old Ale, it's an Imperial Stout. So just the three.
 

Velnerj

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Websites like Brewers Friend or BeerSmith or BeerTools, etc are full of user submitted recipes. Not so much the stories that I’m aware of. This site has a recipe section.

I’m not aware of any such compilation. Individuals like Gordon Strong, Jamil Z etc have their recipe books, some stories included.

But I agree, always say I usually can’t think of anything someone else hasn’t already thought of.
Take a look at the book Homebrew All Stars.
If you are an AHA member, you can search through their recipe database of competition winning beers in almost every style.
I'm well aware of the many recipe repositories, especially the one on this site. Furthermore I know about Denny and Drew's book. But that is a book with more or less "professionals."

My vision was a bit different. I also have a copy of Colby's homebrew recipe Bible, where I heard it slip that he may or not have even tried all the recipes in his own book (not that it would be a requirement.). I would fancy a book that collects the top recipe from homebrewers who have spent time honing a recipe to their satisfaction. Each recipe would have some info about the brewer and how he/she came up with the recipe that appears in the book. It's the back story that is often missing but could bring some richness to just a list of ingredients on a page. Add some photos and I think it would make a good addition to my library...
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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I would fancy a book that collects the top recipe from homebrewers who have spent time honing a recipe to their satisfaction. Each recipe would have some info about the brewer and how he/she came up with the recipe that appears in the book. It's the back story that is often missing but could bring some richness to just a list of ingredients on a page.
While it's not in "book" form, there are brewers who blog about refining their recipes (see #7 for an example). These blogs occasionally show up in other homebrewing forums, along with the back story.
 

Velnerj

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While it's not in "book" form, there are brewers who blog about refining their recipes (see #7 for an example). These blogs occasionally show up in other homebrewing forums, along with the back story.
Thanks for this! Skipped over that entry reading through the first time. As I was reading the blog I was thinking... Have I read this before?! Nope, you were on basic brewing radio, right?
 
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