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Stick to a style or jump around ?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Techniques' started by mongey, 3/10/18.

?

when I brew I ....

  1. stick to what I know and like to make it better

    2 vote(s)
    14.3%
  2. brew whatever I'm feeling at the time and move on.

    12 vote(s)
    85.7%

 

  1. mongey

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    Posted 3/10/18
    So, I have just moved to AG . Done 4 batches and after wanting to switch and putting it off for about 18 months . I have made good beer surprisingly easy .Still learning basics and got tonnes to learn but I kind expected my early beers to suck and they really haven't.

    Like many, have a 3 year old with another on the way .work full time and life is busy . I can fit in a brew day every 3 to 4 few weeks with a bottling session in there someone. I'm planning my 5th beer. I'm a bit torn on how to approach my brewing for the next while . I already have literally 50 beers I want to make. But the 3rd batch I made a simple saison , even though not carbonated yet, tasted fantastic out of the fermenter .and i think id like to work on it and do it again.But then I think about all the different stuff to try .Just brewing more beer more often isn't an option with life constraints.

    so I'm at a philosophical brewing crossroad . In life You learn by trying a bunch of new stuff. but you also learn by refining stuff and getting better.

    curious about how you guys choose to use your brewing time. You like to keep trying new stuff or refine what you really like ?
     
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  2. chesl73

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    Posted 3/10/18
    Good question Mongey. I have similary 'issues'. I see on this forum people brewing every or every other weekend and I wonder how they do it and I also wonder how much beer they must be drinking to get through it.
    I've been AG brewing for 2 years now and I'm still torn about refining versus just brewing the next beer you like the look of.
    I think it depends on what you want out of your home brewing to a large extent - ie, do you really want to improve as a brewer and be very disciplined and understand your ingredients and the different elements that will effect the beer. You could brew the same SMASH beer for 12 months and vary the hobs schedules, the malt, the yeast, the water etc. You'd probably learn a lot but it might get a bit boring.
    Or at the other extreme if you are just happy brewing decent beers and enjoying them then just brew whatever comes to mind.
    In my case I couldn't just do the same beer over and over, yes, I'd like to get better but the motivation isn't there to be that deliberate and dedicated.

    What I try and do is to do a larger batch (~19L) of a beer I know I'll like to drink and is what I want to drink for the time of year etc and then in between these bigger batches I'll do small batches of beers that I'm working on or trying out. These might be ~10L batches were I can get faster turnover and experiment a bit or refine an existing beer. That's the idea anyway although of course it doesn't always work out quite like that.
     
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  3. chesl73

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    Posted 3/10/18
    Another point...
    What I've thought often I'd like to do to refine/learn a lot more and I think it would be a better approach is to do more side by side comparisons. Maybe do a mash then split into two and do two boils with different hop additions or schedules, or do one boil and split into two fermenters with different yeast or one with dry hops and one without etc.
     
  4. captain crumpet

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    Posted 3/10/18
    i learn from my mistakes and move onto the next brew. Most problems are process issues in my experience.
     
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  5. Nullnvoid

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    Posted 3/10/18
    I seem to favour American Pale Ales over my 5 year career, but the need for IPA in my life is increasing!!

    upload_2018-10-3_15-30-12.png
     
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  6. philrob

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    Posted 3/10/18
    After 12 years or so of AG brewing since I retired, I'm done with experimenting.
    Only brew about 4 or 5 different beers I like to drink, and that's it.

    1.Hefeweizen
    2.Dunkelweizen
    3.US Brown Porter
    4.APA
    5.AIPA

    I toy with the idea of brewing some UK styles, but then at my age of 70 life is too short to start a new learning curve to perfect new ones.
    Having said that, I just broke the mould and have a BoPils lagering at present. The logic there is that it will be ready for Christmas for the influx of relatives.

    Had a rather sad experience in early August when we visited one of mrs philrob's cousins in Queensland for lunch. Had bought some innocuous XPAs, hoping to educate a philistine, but was knocked back when all he chose to drink was some crappy xxxx light. Anyway, it left more for me.
     
  7. altone

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    Posted 3/10/18
    Well I currently do 2 or 3 brews a month. Most up until now are APA's or ESB's.
    Now I have a couple of kegs with beer for drinking and the odd party, I'll be trying 1 new beer style (or recipe at least) each month.
    The rest will be just to keep something in the kegs :)
    I'm happy with my APA's and play around with them a bit. The ESB's taste good but still need work.
    So it's a good time to try and learn different things and I've got a helluva list of beers to try and make :D
    @philrob Don't give up trying new things mate, Once us old buggers stop doing things we can't start again :)
     
  8. chesl73

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    Posted 3/10/18
    philrob - experimenting doesn't have to mean trying new beers. It can be trying to refine your existing beers to make them better or try a different hop or yeast or whatever it is. Just a variation of the same beers you have been brewing.
     
  9. altone

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    Posted 3/10/18
    Good thought.The split with different dry hops is one of the ways I often play with my APA's and will be trying different yeasts with my next English beers.
    For me, as I'm limited in batch size I wouldn't try different boils, but for a 50l plus system that would be a good way to experiment too.

    Cheers
     
  10. Danscraftbeer

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    Posted 3/10/18
    On the subject of time (I have it, no kids etc.) I may have been blessed with commercial kitchen work and in mind with cross contamination potential. In a word: Sanitation. Its hard work. Its a lot of the work. So to minimize work and time spent its logical to think bigger volumes so you brew less. That may be a bitter pill to swallow but its also about your consumption. What would you like as a regular volume/batch size etc.

    Ever since my first kit brew it was better than the bottle shop product so I was sold on home brewing from the very first brew.
    Variety? Any kind of beer is accessible to you because you can brew! I kept count. I'm up to #200 and a million brewers could not brew every style and variation. Chose/Find a House Beer standard balance thing that you like to have as standard. Or more variety if you have the time.
     
  11. Quokka42

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    Posted 3/10/18
    I have my "go-to" styles, but they have changed over the years and every so often, when I have enough in kegs to keep me going, I try to develop a new style. I believe I have recently nailed a "Lazy Yak clone" so I will be putting another down this weekend before I do anything else.
    I am also a father, plus I am into "Low'n'Slow" barbecue, so I mostly keep to the KISS principle once I get a recipe sorted.
     
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  12. professional_drunk

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    Posted 3/10/18
    Brew what you like to drink but can't buy a satisfactory version of.
    I like to drink Vienna lager, Kolsch, Doppelbock. I prefer my version of these styles over what I can buy.
     
  13. gabbawocky

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    Posted 4/10/18
    I'm in the same situation in terms of how often I get to brew. I've really enjoyed switching to AG but it's just not always feasible when life gets busy.

    For myself I've gone down the path of brewing lots of different styles rather than trying to perfect a few 'house' beers.

    My theory is that I'm never sure what I'll want to drink and because I bottle I figured I'd always have a few bottles of each style left over for any given session.

    The other thing I've done is buy a couple of glass 5L demijohns. I use these to make ginger beer, cider, mead etc. Making these is generally quick, cleanup is simple and it's a world away from AG. The only downside is that you can count the fermenting time for mead in months rather than days or weeks.

    I'll also buy a fresh wort kit once in a while if I know I've got lots going on and the FV's going to be empty for a few weeks. At least it keeps the supply chain ticking over.
     
  14. wide eyed and legless

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    Posted 4/10/18
    I very rarely stray from my go to beers, got a bit sick of the AIPA's probably once a year for that style along with pilsner and kolsch, agree with ches173 try different grains hops and yeast in your regular beers, may pick up a better combination.
     
  15. YAPN

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    Posted 4/10/18
    Aint that the truth.
     
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  16. mattfos01

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    Posted 4/10/18
    I have my go to beers, I make a golden strong, foreign extra stout, imperial stout, Kölsch, Czech pils, pale ale, Janet’s brown ale, and a saison regularly. I added a bitter into the mix 3 or 4 months ago which I can’t wait to do again. I am on a roll with Kölsch right now, doing a couple back to back. I feel like Saisons will be next.

    I keep meaning to start my sour career but only so much time...
     
  17. mongey

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    Posted 4/10/18
    Yeah. I think having a stable of 4 or so beers I really like is going to work for me at the moment. Someday when I get a bunch of time back I will look at brewing allot more often. Next year we have 1 income for a while when baby comes so I need to brew everything I drink

    I'm pretty content if I can make a good Saison, Pale ale , IPA and something strong and Belgian styled for winter
     
  18. Rocker1986

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    Posted 5/10/18
    I usually brew a different one each batch and just refine them that way. The most common are APA, Bo pils, and whatever style my red ale is. Sometimes I'll throw an ESB into the mix. There's usually a porter or stout each year for winter too. Otherwise most of the experimenting is with different hop combos or different yeast. I know what I like and what I don't, no point brewing something like a wheat beer to experiment when I know I don't like the style very much.
     

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