As with cooking, brewing is a combination of recipes, science and art. We decided to try to make beer that would match ones that we’d been buying, as a challenge. Learning more about it along the way, our initial foray into beermaking was extremely ambitious! But we were hooked!
Combinations of grains, hops and sugars are what yield the final flavor and alcohol content. Volume, water added, timing, fermenting, and keg treatment all come into play. Depending on when you put the ingredients in, you can adjust the final aroma, flavors and finish.
After talking with several brewers, I also learned that the final ABV (alcohol by volume) of the beer will offset the flavors of the hops as well. So a lower ABV IPA might taste a lot more bitter than one with a higher ABV. (Science!)