What are “Similar Additions”?

You may have noticed, while perusing the rankings of different additions, a small section called “Similar Additions”. This is a pretty fun feature that adds a lot of possibilities.

How it works

This is the boring part, unless you love data. Basically, I wrote a script that goes through each addition, and compares how it’s rated with each style with how every other addition is rated with each style. For instance, I look at how bourbon goes with a Sweet Stout (very well), and compare it with how hazelnut goes with Sweet Stout (fairly well), and how cucumber goes with a Sweet Stout (bleh). Then I repeat that for each style. If the additions are consistently close, I guess that they are quite similar, like bourbon and hazelnut. If they aren’t, then I guess they aren’t similar, like bourbon and cucumber. Essentially, I’m calculating distance in many dimensions, with each dimension being a different style of beer.

How to use Similar Additions

I’ve found Similar Additions useful in a couple ways. I often start with a common combination that I know I like, say a coffee American Stout. Say you’re tired of brewing coffee stouts, and are looking for inspiration to change it up. Similar additions to coffee are listed as hazelnut, chocolate, pecan, bourbon, and cinnamon.

One way of using this would be to replace the coffee in your recipe with one of these other additions. Chocolate and bourbon stouts are quite common, so it seems like we’re on to something with this technique. Hazelnut stouts are also available, and delicious. But how about I pecan stout, or a cinnamon stout? I’ve never had one, but I can certainly imagine them working well.

You could also look at this as inspiration for using multiple additions. For instance, you could do a coffee pecan stout, or a coffee cinnamon stout.

Examples of similar additions

In just a few minutes, I found this ideas for using similar additions-

  • Blackberry Ginger English Porter
  • A Witbier with Elderflower instead of Orange Peel
  • A Blackberry Blonde instead of Apricot

What combos have you found using this method that worked for you?

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