Clones are a good way to compare your finished brew to the “actual” beer.  Most breweries are fairly open about what goes into their beer…it’s the exclusive yeast strains and hops blends along with the specific process used that distinguishes their product.  I also like clones because it is easier to start tweaking a recipe for a desired and measurable result, such as altering the body, color or flavor slightly.

While I enjoy coming up with my own recipes, I still do the occasional clone, especially when it’s the first time I am brewing a new style of beer.  This is a nice skill as a lot of wedding/birthday presents amongst my friends involve custom brews for them…I can always make them their favorite beer!

My first stout

I try to brew beers from every category, even if it is not a favorite of mine.  I do like a good stout but it is a beer I have to be in the mood for.  So I decided to come up with a recipe for a flavorful yet easy drinking stout.  I came up with a good balance of base malts and roasted barley that I thinned a bit with some honey.  The result was a stout loved by all who tried it.  This stout recipe still stands as one of my best so far and is always a solid go-to as winter approaches.

One of my firsts….

Early on I used kits I would order online.  After a number of these kits, following the process exactly and figuring out the nuances, I decided to experiment a little.  I made a Berlin Wheat beer but wanted to tweak it a bit with my own tastes so I added honey and 7 pounds of peaches I had pasteurized and frozen myself.  I let it age a little longer than normal and it turned out really good…so good it was gone in a week or so!