I thought I would write a little blog detailing the process I go through in cloning beers including tips and how this aids in creating my own recipes and understanding ingredients and balance.
This is how I personally approach it and is not the only way or possibly even the best way, but it works for me :)
A large number of homebrewers seek out recipes on websites from Australia, Europe and the USA.
With large communites, there is a huge amount of recipes available as well as forum threads discussing the more popular ones. One thing I notice is that many home brewers will choose a recipe, print it out and bring it in to a homebrew shop to gather the ingredients without any further research or analysis. More often than not, the ingredients are not available in New Zealand, the recipe is rounded to ounces or pounds (Pet hate here... do homebrew shop staff a favor and convert to metric!) and lacks information. They are unable to say who wrote the recipe and may have selected it as it had a cool name and was given a 5 star rating on Beersmith by the person who created it. Personally, if I am going to throw $50 and a heap of time into making a beer, I want to be sure of the recipe and source.
Choose reliable sources such as brewing magazines, books by well known authors such as Jamil or do some research to confirm the recipe is a good one.
It's been a fantastic Summer so far and the Cricket World Cup is starting in a couple of weeks. Perfect conditions for an easy-drinking, refreshing fruit-beer.
Most of this method is based on this presentation by Jess Caudill – Wyeast Laboratories Inc. and Jason Kahler – Solera Brewery.
A bit of background first - we're in the process of setting up a brewery in the storage area at the back of the shop (more of which anon). One of the pieces of kit we're looking at investing in is an oxygenation system to ensure an adequate supply of O2 for our yeast pitch. This typically consists of an Oxygen bottle, regulator, a couple metres of high pressure hose and an inline oxygenation stone to dissipate the O2 into the wort.
For my first blog entry, I've chosen a subject that's near and dear to my heart; a relaxed brew-day. I've designed (by necessity) a brew schedule that allows for a happy and contented household that doesn't incur the stress of a high maintenance, fully hands on brew day. None of this is based on new brewing techniques, most have been around a lot longer than I've been brewing. And the kicker; the equipment is fairly basic and economical but the beer can be as good as any beer brewed on the most expensive systems available.