Friday, September 30, 2011

In the Lab: Recipe Formulation

I have received questions about where my recipes come from so I thought I would post on it.

Let me start by stating that The Brewing Network is the single best source of brewing knowledge available to anyone with an internet connection. PS - All of their content if free as well. Listen, learn, love it, donate.

I am a student of The Brewing Network (The BN) and of many of their guests. For years my homebrewing recipes and practices were an attempt at mirroring Jamil Zainasheff. I listened to every podcast, interview, and read every article I could that had Jamil attached to it. Three batches into my homebrewing career, I was brewing all grain and following Jamil's recipes that are available in his book Brewing Classic Styles. I brewed those beer for four years, trying to brew every style in the BJCP guidelines. Now that I am applying myself to commercial brewing I have put all of those recipes aside as I try and forge my own path in the world of zymurgy. However, that does not mean that I have moved on from the BN.

I am familiar with brewing american pale ales, but I have only brewed one american IPA. The reason I have shied away from them is that it is a difficult category to enter in competition and come away with a win. Your IPA's MUST be fresh, after six weeks IPA's are in decline. Also, judging order in an IPA flight is a wild card that is tough to overcome. Being placed late in an IPA flight can take a standout beer and make it taste like an average beer due to palate fatigue for the judges. It is just part of the game with competition brewing. So when I came to formulating my Professor IPA for Cranker's I found myself once again leaning on my original source of brewing knowledge, the BN podcast archive.

I went back and listened to interviews from brewers like Vinnie Cilurzo (Blind Pig IPA), Matt Brynildson (Union Jack IPA), Chuck Silva (Green Flash IPA), Mike "Tasty" McDole (Every Beer He Has Ever Made), and Nathan Smith (Dankness IPA). All of these guys are amazing brewers who give freely of their own knowledge for the betterment or craft beer. It is fascinating to look at the various approaches to creating amazing IPA's. After learning what each brewer is trying to accomplish with each ingredient and technique they employ I was able to create my own beer.

The Professor IPA batch number one will be boiling away in my kitchen in a few days. Sure it will take some iterations before I get the beer just where I want it, but I know the service that the BN provides has me well on the path to the beer I want to pour from the taps at Cranker's.

Drink good beer with good people!


  1. You should repay the BN by sending them this blog post and few of your beers for tasting and feedback!

  2. Great idea, and I have! I also included a link to their donation page. There one can make one time or recurring donations. Thanks for reading Geoff!