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Repeatability?

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foxtrot

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I've been brewing all-grain for about 2 years and have never repeated a batch, mostly because I'm too obsessed with trying different ingredients. But there are a few brews that turned out pretty well and would like to make again, but I'm wondering just how different they will turn out.

With so many variables to take into consideration like grind quality, water chemistry (I use tap since it is good quality), yeast performance, malt & hop analysis, mash time, boil intensity (evaporation rate), hot and cold break quality... man, the list goes on. Can anyone say they consistently produce the same product every time?? Seems like one would have to go through great lengths of quality checks to even come close... lets hear it from you "house-ale" dudes and gals!
 

ajf

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I tend to find it easier to design a new recipe than to locate an old proven recipe, so I don't exactly have a house ale. besides which, if I don't experiment, I will never improve.
However, whenever I produce an exceptional beer, I follow up be brewing one of a small number of "reference" recipes so I can do a side-by-side comparison. If the new brew is better than the old one, I have a new reference recipe, and the old one gets retired. I find this works very well, and each time I re-brew an old recipe, it is very close to the original, although over the past year or so, I have been unable to get the same quality of hops that used to be available, and this does make a slight difference.

-a.
 

menschmaschine

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If you control as much as you reasonably can, the end result is pretty much the same. A few factors that I believe or have found to affect repeatability in no particular order:

-Grist composition
-Mash temp/schedule
-Hops schedule
-Yeast strain
-Yeast Pitch rate
-Fermentation temp

I have found that switching yeast strains, even within "groups" of yeast strains can have a profound effect on flavor profile. And to a lesser degree, fermentation temp can also effect the flavor profile. If you take good notes and mimic what you did the first time, you can get close enough where it would take a refined palate to detect the difference.
 

HotbreakHotel

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If I repeat a brew it comes out pretty much the same. I guess the more you do the same the closer it will be.

One time I got sloppy on a repeat wheat beer and it came out crappy the second time, but I definitely took some shortcuts.
 
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foxtrot

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Holy cow HotbreakHotel, I spent the first 30 years of my life in GR! I'm in Denver now. What a small world it is.

Cool, I do take good notes. I guess fermentation was my biggest concern; as long as I keep temps similar and make the same starter amount I should be good to go then.

Thanks all!
 

Cpt_Kirks

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The more detail you put in your log book, the easier it is to duplicate a brew.
 

m1k3

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I just listened to: Repeat-ability - Can You Brew It 04-09-12 on the BN.
This thread seems to be a good place to post my notes.
Seems like JZ and Tasty agree with much that was said here (3 years ago!)

NOTES:
Brewing often helps. Store equipment in the correct location, clean and ready to use.

Measure and record (time/temp/volume)
or use a Standard Set of Parameters Every Time
(Example 1.3qt/pound or 9 gallons of strike water every time)

Don’t switch formulas (ex. Rager vs. Tenseth)

Same source for ingredients (fresh)

Weigh things yourself (at least the specialty grains)

Same mill
Hops – AA%, Source

Water Adjustments – made to the gram (or even smaller, if possible)

Hot Side:
Boil off Rate

Cold Side:
Fermentation Temperature Control
Sanitation

Test your Repeatability:
Brew close together and perform blind triangle test.
 

SouthBay

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Dang dude, way to revive an old thread.

FWIW, i never 'repeat' a recipe exactly. I take notes on everything from carbonation to head to flavor, and comment in my notes on what would make the beer better. I guess i consider all of my brews a work in progress, and am 'improving' them each time i brew.
 
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