Just Try It
Now it's time to drop the training wheels and strike out on your own. You have read about the various beer styles of the world and you should now have a better idea of the kind of beer you like best and want to brew. Homebrewing is all about brewing your own beer.
Many brewers decry the adherence to classic beer styles, especially when it comes to competing at state fairs and such. "My beer tastes great, why should it be scored low just because it doesn't meet the criteria of a particular style?" Dog shows often face the same criticism. A mongrel beer may be fantastic, but if the contest is all about pure breeds, then you are brewing up the wrong tree.
Home brewing is not bound by styles and you as the brewer are not bound by styles. Styles are a convenient jumping-off point after you have honed your brewing skills. Consider a style to be the breadboard you first made in woodshop. After you got a feel for the materials and the tools, it was time to strike out on your own. First you made some embellishments to a standard project like a jewelry box or doll chair, and then you designed your own project. Brewing is much the same. Start out brewing standard recipes for standard styles. Then, tailor a style to fit your tastes, and finally, create your own style.
This chapter will present more guidelines for using ingredients to attain a desired characteristic. You want more body, more maltiness, a different hop profile, less alcohol? Each of these can be accomplished and this chapter will show you how.