As a beginning all grain brewer, I’m looking for some guidance on creating beers that I like, so my thought was to look to “clone” recipes and that, in the process, I’d learn more about the use of various components. Is there some underlying theme in “Clone Brews” that is misleading regarding an authentic recipe or is it pretty much all over the map? Is there any way to use this book? As a resource, how does that work – to get you into the ballpark?
My frustration is that when I look to the web for ideas on a given beer or style, they’re so different as to make me wonder if there’s any hope. For example, I’m planning to use a yeast cake to make a dark strong Belgian like Kwak, but there’s a lot of variation on the web and most recipes seem to be based on the “Clone Brews” recipe. Is there any way to use the book or internet recipes to get close to Kwak or am I limited to clone kits by supply stores that offer very little choice? I realize that, in time, I’ll be familiar enough with all the ingredients that I can create a taste I’m looking for (or at least get close over a number of batches), but for now at my level of ineptitude am I better off brewing basic recipes (from “Brew Like a Monk”, “Brewing Classic Styles”, etc) and learning how all the factors play off each other?
I did a clone recipe of Leffe from a homebrew supply store and it wasn’t very close, so that wasn’t terribly helpful.