Thursday, October 18, 2012

Brewing recipe platforms

A friend of mine was just asking me about gluten-free beers that might be available for sale since he thinks he might have a problem with consuming wheat.  That got me looking for recipes that might fit his needs, as gluten-free beers off the shelf aren't easy to find and don't have a great variety.  However; the recipes I found were very varied, although all were partial extract.  Nothing wrong with that, just thought it odd.

Anyway, that got me thinking about our local homebrew club's competition this weekend and recipes in general....pretty much a long stream of consciousness and none of this really has much to do with where I'm going with this.

So I started thinking about the recipes I've build recently and the experimentation I've done with various spices, herbs, fruit and other ingredients.  I was wondering if I might be better served by going back to basics.  Build some base recipes with no additives, just sticking to the basic grains, yeast and hops, then just tweak those volumes and processes until I'm satisfied that they are the best representation of the style that I can create.  Like building a sturdy beer recipe platform that I can use to launch different variations.

Next, recreate them with one new ingredient, perhaps several times with varying amounts to determine the impact and optimum amount.  Then leave that one ingredient out and try a different one, then maybe both together.  Then maybe start over with the base and some different spices altogether.

Obviously, this is a lot of batches, a lot of time, and experimentation effort.  I'm just wondering to what degree other craft or home brewers go through a similar process, and whether it is worth doing. Alternatively, should I just try to work it from the design side, figuring out what flavor profile I am seeking and select the necessary ingredients and work out the calculations to get me there?

I'm hoping some of my readers will comment.

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