A lot of noise was made this week when BrewDog released every recipe in its entire history of commercial beers. The recipes here are freely downloadable in pdf format, one per page and sized for a typical homebrewer 5 gallon brew day. James Watt, a co-founder of BrewDog had this to say
Many of the classic BrewDog beers were developed during our homebrewing days, and we still use a homebrewing 50L system to develop new beers and recipes. Home brewing is ingrained in our DNA, and is a cornerstone of the craft beer industry. We have always loved the sharing of knowledge, expertise and passion in the craft beer community and we wanted to take that spirit of collaboration to the next level with DIY Dog. The more people that home brew, the more craft breweries will pop up and help us in the fight against global mega beer corporations, making the future brighter for craft beer.
Excellent stuff there and really gets to the heart of the ‘craft beer movement’ that seems to have grown over the last fifteen to twenty years. At the heart of most craft breweries is a homebrewer.
I didn’t necessarily think to highly of BrewDog prior to this, they just seemed over the top and just too much ‘in your face’ if that is really a thing. Now I did enjoy their show on Esquire where they brew in various parts of the world and in strange places (floating down a river in Oregon for example) but just felt too ‘commercial’ to me. That was just how I viewed them.
As I use open source software on my own laptop (Elementary OS) and have done so for nearly twenty years I greatly enjoy the idea of brewers sharing their recipes for others to tinker with. Of course, I don’t think it is something that has to be done by any brewery, it is their intellectual property obviously, but I really enjoy it.
The only other time I remember a brewery releasing a full recipe is Stone, which specifically did after they announced the retirement of the infamous Stone IPA. The thought there is that Stone IPA will live on indefinitely with random home brewers making a batch whenever they really have the knack for an early hallmark of American IPAs. I will say that Stone IPA was the first IPA I fell in love with and for me was always the standard bearer of what an American IPA should be. I’m sure through the years there were others that won peoples palates over, but as there are commercial examples of beers listed in the BJCP guidelines for styles that are the standards to compare to, Stone IPA was mine.
Well, this post was about BrewDog and their recipes. I have so many recipes that I want to try out outside of the Brewdog release I just don’t know when I will get to one. I will say, the first to catch my eye is “Hops Kill Nazis”, an Imperial Red that just sounds delicious. If you are curious it is on page 73 of the BrewDog release. A nice caramely chewy body with bitterness to balance it out. Sounds delicious and if I was planning a brew right now, I would go for it. It is a little heavy handed for quenching a thirst after working in the yard at 75F all day (what I’m doing today), but I would give it a shot.
And this of course leads to homebrewing. I can take the exact recipe BrewDog released for Hops Kill Nazis, brew it, and it will still be mine. Sure, highly skilled and practiced (on cloning) homebrewers can nearly nail it, but generally this will still be ‘mine’. Different in some hopefully only subtle ways, but still good.