How do you perfect a recipe?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by jmcnamara, Jan 17, 2018.

  1. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    I'm looking to perfect a few this year, and I'm thinking about how I'll go about doing it.

    Doing a single small batch at a time, changing one ingredient or variable at a time, is probably the most methodical and scientific.
    However, that will drive me crazy and take too long. So I thought I'd brew 3 or 4 small batches, with 1 being the current recipe and the others having any number of tweaks to the malt, hops, yeast, whatever. Kind of a shotgun approach to get into the ballpark of what's good, then fine tune it from there.

    As long as i don't stray too far from the original recipe during each test, i think the quantity of tests would outweigh the precision of the first method in terms of quick, useful information to refine the recipe.

    How do the rest of you do it?
     
  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    actually my throw it all in recipes are the best and always when I cant remember what I added but first what type are your shooting for to start
     
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  3. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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  4. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    I'm thinking switch to Maris otter, put in some oats, and switch to an English yeast as some first things to try
     
  5. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    ok thanks so what didn't your like about it
     
  6. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    Nothing particular that I can remember (I'm not a good note taker).
    But I really liked it (maybe because it was my first one kegging)
     
  7. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    brew it again without changing anything, see if you still love it
     
  8. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Do the same recipe twice?!?! What madness is this!
     
  9. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    no need to change it if its good
     
  10. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Agreed: If you liked the first time AND you don't have any good reason to change it, brew it again and see what happens (yes, heresy, I've been known to brew the same recipe more than twice). This time around, keep good notes so you can get better next time. My "perfection" methodology is triangulation. I brew a recipe, then adjust based on the results, rinse, repeat. It can quicken the process if you keep in mind things that are relatively independent or relatively linear, that is, a change in x makes a proportional change in y.
     
  11. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    If you can streamline it and it's better, that's the way to go, but if it isn't go back to the original. Way too many variables other than ingredients that can trip us up.
    My simplest recipe is my most-brewed and my most complex recipe has only been brewed once but has won awards, my winning-est recipe has been changed (subtly) every time I've brewed it.
    I think of recipes as concepts. Where malt complexity is desireable, I'll throw a lot of ingredients at the grist. Where hops are in the forefront, I'll keep the malt bill simple. Styles where yeast is a big part of the profile, I'll try to simplify everything and mash and ferment really carefully.
     
  12. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    All good points, thanks. Looks like I have a good reason to fill up a keg.
    And I'll have the stock beer on tap to taste against any trial batches
     
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  13. KC

    KC Active Member

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    I keep control bottles from every batch so that I can take 3-4 evolutions of a recipe and taste them side-by-side. The properties I like best overall get carried over from the original brew logs to the master recipe.
     

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