your brewing trends

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by jmcnamara, Sep 26, 2015.

  1. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    Just wondering how other people's homebrewing careers have changed over the years.
    Beyond the progression from an extract kit to all grain, I've noticed a few trends in my brewing. At first, I would go for the biggest, hoppiest, booziest brew i could do. No style wws brewed twice, let alone the same recipe. Things were done in big bold strokes, subtlety was not the name of the game.
    Maybe it was the switch to all grain that really shifted things, i was constrained in the amount of grain i could use, and therefore restricted a bit in my brewing choices. Smaller batches, experiments, and session ales started to come into the brewing schedule. I also started going back to previously brewed styles, as well as tweaking some earlier recipes. And using techniques, ingredients and styles that i never heard of just a few years ago.
    I'm also starting to create my own recipes from scratch, i dont have to copy and tweak an existing recipe or do a ton of research on what this malt does that type of hops.
    Idk, i know I've only been doing this for about 4 years now, so i still have a lot to learn and experience. Just kind of cool to reflect a bit on what I've done so far.
    How about you?
     
  2. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    Very similar here really.
    When I started almost 10 years ago, I had no clue what I was doing. I only did extract brews and tried out pretty much everything I could think of. Ales, wheats, darks, chilis, limes, honey, peaches, etc, etc, etc...
    Some beers turned out okay, some were pretty horrid, but it was all new, exciting and fun. And most of all, because it was extract, relatively quick and easy.

    After a couple years off, I started up again about 5 years ago, this time all grain and with a bit more of a plan. This time around, I was going to aim for being able to consistently brew a good IPA with primarily german ingredients before moving on to more "adventurous" beers. Even with that goal, I started out with much too complicated recipes and little clue of what I was doing. I fairly quickly realized that I was going to have to simplify the recipes and get my process down pat before moving on.
    And...I am still working on it. :lol:
    Right now I am repeatedly brewing the exact same simple recipe (2 malt types + 2 hop varieties) over and over again, only changing one of the malts or hops at a time.
     
  3. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    Story time: I got started very young, I would go to the cousins farm and haul hey in the summer, one day I saw them hovering around a 55 gallon barrel taking, didn't know anything about beer let alone how to make some, I had to be around 15ish. and of course this started my home brew journey, Back then it was dirt roads and hills and ponds, everyone new everyone because it was a thousand acres to the next farm/ranch, we all new the feed store manager and the seed man for cattle and farming so he told us how to do it and as far as the beer turns out we made our mash from a 50 pound bag of grain inside a huge thick trash type bag in the barrel and just left it in the hot sun all day, then at night we just strained out the grain then put the barrel on a wood fire....this is where I first bit the bug "about 1979" lol. oh I never drank the beer, i was to young but it was fun to make
     
  4. markintopton

    markintopton New Member

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    Stronger and longer and waking up in the driveway.
     
  5. Basquebrewing

    Basquebrewing New Member

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    I am still in the experimental phase. 4th extract brew down moved from extract plus specialty grain bought from a shop the first go to tweaking a recipe for the other three. Two are still fermenting and if I am honest the black sheep bitter kit was better than my tweaked rye stout recipe. I think I have improved my tweaking so fingers crossed.

    Now planning an all grain system but live in an apartment so limited by space. Luckily my girlfriend doesn't mind me taking over half the balcony with a three tier system and running hose pipes from the bathroom through the living room... Don't think she fully realizes what she is getting into.

    In terms of trends I feel like I have the enthusiasm of the newly converted and want to learn as much as I can as fast as I can. :D
     
  6. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    right on brother!
    have you checked out BIAB brewing? It's basically all grain without all the extra equipment. Might be a good way to transition from extract without having to buy a whole bunch of stuff. on the other hand, if she's cool with it...take it to the limit
     
  7. Basquebrewing

    Basquebrewing New Member

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    Yeah. I have looked at BIAB. At the moment I am doing a partial boil. About 12 litres on the stove with natural gas. I have done an experiment with 20 litres of water but dont have the power to get it to a boil. So my thinking is, I will have to migrate to the balcony and invest in a propane burner anyway so may as well go all in and go all grain. Think I can work out a system that I can grow into. The next step is looking for a garage I can rent. Thinking about four steps ahead. It makes going to work each day bearable
     
  8. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I find myself brewing more balanced brews over time. The tongue-ripping bitterness of a double imperial IPA has gotten a bit boring over time so now I find myself facing the challenge of a Pilsner, an Altbier, Blonde Ales, perhaps a Kentucky Common, mild, drinkable beers where I can't hide behind a pound of hops per gallon and can find the flaws in my brewing process. Not to mention, I like drinking the beers!
     
  9. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    Good thinking ahead basque. No need to waste money buying the same thing only bigger.

    Nosy, what's your kentucky common recipe? I made one a bit ago, forgot where i saw the recipe at originally. I thought it turned out well, but halfway through fermenting i read something which made me question if i had brewed it anywhere close to style. Mine ended up like a pleasantly sour wine
     
  10. fire60

    fire60 New Member

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    Some very interesting replies. I started brewing back in 1970 (I am now 62) back then it was only kit brewing and only about 1 brew in 5 was any where worth drinking! brewing started to taper off after about 3 years or so, and stopped when a couple of mates and I thought we had poisoned another mate luckily for us it turned out to be a serious case of appendicitis.

    I got back into kit brewing in the early 80's after marriage and kids. There used be some very heated arguments between son and daughter about who was going to what job during bottling. That jaunt did not progress beyond kits and the results were only slightly better. I carried on for a couple of years and then decided to give it up due to other interests.

    I started brewing again in Feb of this year. I am now only doing all grain, and the results are pretty good so far.
    Like a lot of other replies, I am trying to perfect one brew by experimentation (APA) I have also brewed a vanilla stout and am about to bottle a second ginger beer to name a few.
    One of the best things for me was discovering Brewers Friend, the tips and info on this site is simply amazing.
    Thanks to every one who contributes.
    Happy brewing and keep up the great work!

    Pete.
     
  11. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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  12. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    interesting. it looks a little similar to what i did. I didn't use any rye, subbed chocolate malt for the black, and bumped up the crystal to 120. and i only used cluster hops. and a different yeast. ok, i guess it's a bit different then
    I didn't see any indication of anything sour with the beer, I'm assuming that you didn't do any souring?
    the one i did called for a sour mash, which turned out amazing for my first attempt at it. second try, not so much
     
  13. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Remembering that Louisville, KY was one of the largest cities in the country at/around 1900, it's likely they had the latest technology for brewing Kentucky Common, meaning it was very likely not soured, at least not leaving the brewery. If it soured, it did so in trade. I read a long expose on the style from a Kentucky brew club and eventually decided the best description of it was a dark cream ale, the dark malts added to counter the extremely hard local water. Souring is not mentioned in the brewing notes from a Louisville brewery. Ky Common was made to quench the working man's thirst on hot summer days so it was likely very "drinkable," that is, not too far out of balance in any direction.
     
  14. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    well then, i have no idea what i brewed.
    also, an expose from a homebrew club. i wonder what dark parking garages they had to hang out in to get at the truth :D
     
  15. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    They had pretty extensive notes from a Louisville producer of the style, actually.... I've read and tried the sour Ky. Common before further research (and common sense) pointed me in a different direction, hence the 5.0 on the recipe - it's my 5th major revision! There's a lot of legend swimming around in the Internets about this style but I'll bet on history and the already clean breweries of the late 1800's. The recipe I provided makes a clean, fairly dry, balanced brown ale, the kind of beer I really like.
     
  16. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I really didn't answer your question but its a broad subject, are you asking how I brew or what I usually brew
     
  17. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    No worries, at least it was a good origin story.

    Either way you mention really. Are there particular styles, recipes, or ingredients that you've gravitated towards? Were you super picky about mashing schedulesand rests but now just do an infusion every time? Or vice versa?
     
  18. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I edited it to tell e better story, for my brew trends I will say Ive been on a ipa kick for the last few years using a mixture of Amarillo, Centennial, Cascade and Simcoe hops , finally got the recipe down but hard to brew on my system and cool fast from all the massive hops, I get excessive at times, lol now im just experimenting with perfecting good common styles of beer, blonds, browns and good mellow pale ales, next is lagers :D
     
  19. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    Took awhile for me to post on this as I really hadn't thought about where brewing has taken me. I watched my dad brew in an old ceramic crock with blue ribbon malt and many different results so I understood the need to be clean and sanitize. Bought a kit from a store and never looked back again. Was utterly hooked. All Grain opened up brewing to the limit of my imagination but have gone through many different styles over the years. I guess the trend I follow would be looking for different variations of all types of beer and brewing them. I enjoy IPA's the most but can't set down a good Trappist or Oktoberfest or Bock or Saison etc. Balance is really the key factor in brewing that creates very good beer IMO. So I guess balance is the trend I'm following. What is fun is finding balance in odd combinations. One of my recent recipes was a Saison with centennial hops with a gallon of huckleberries with 1#honey malt. To me that is to much honey malt for a 5gal batch but the hucks and hops needed the malt sweetness to balance out. Last years seasonal, brew, (one every year) was a Big Belgian Strong Ale with 11 different malts. It was terrible at first, thick and sweetish but after 6 months you could almost taste every malt. This will come out of the cellar for many years a bottle at a time at 12.2ABV. This years seasonal was a Barleywine (batch #111 still fermenting) with Saison yeast,8 oz. of homegrown Centennial for bittering hops, homegrown Cascade for aroma, 5#'s of honey, with a finishing gravity of around 13ABV.

    So I guess experimentation in balance is my trend now.
     
  20. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    that's interesting.
    it kind of reminds me of math equations and graphs. like, how does changing this one part of the equation affect the rest of the line graph? or, now that this one part is thrown way out of wack, what do we need to do to the rest of the equation to keep the graph nice and smooth?
     

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