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Designing Great Beers: The Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles Paperback – Jan 26 1998


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Designing Great Beers: The Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles + How to Brew: Everything you need to know to brew beer right the first time + Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 404 pages
  • Publisher: Brewers Publications; 1st edition (Jan. 26 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0937381500
  • ISBN-13: 978-0937381502
  • Product Dimensions: 18.2 x 2.4 x 25.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 816 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

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Part 1 of Designing Great Beers is a complete book in itself, focused solely on home-brewing ingredients and techniques (including three superb chapters on hops alone). Ray Daniels proves himself the "techie" type, infusing his introductory chapters with as much brewing math as brewing lore. Yet, Daniels never hops off the deep end of beer geekdom. Instead, he complements this emphasis on data with the creative use of graphics; where one could get bogged down in the stats, there is usually a clear visual depiction to instantly summarize their meaning.

This focus on facts continues into part 2 of Daniels's guide, where it backs an admirably pragmatic take on beer styles and their importance in home-brewing. Daniels devotes a chapter to each of 14 major style categories, detailing historical origins and modern brewing techniques. He lays a contemporary groundwork by compiling and analyzing the recipes of the National Homebrew Competition's most successful beers. The assumption is that beers deemed representative of particular beer styles in modern competitions serve as ideal models for recipe creation. Among the information provided for each style is a chart showing the percentage of brewers using each type of grain and in what proportions the grains were added. Similar data are supplied for hop varieties, yeast strains, and water treatment. This reverse engineering of award-winning beers naturally benefits experienced brewers seeking to wow judges at the next competition. Yet, even brewers taking their first shy steps into creating their own recipes have much to gain from this kind of practical analysis. Daniels provides the basic tools a brewer of any level can use to formulate recipes with confidence and creativity. --Todd Gehman


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Adam Bigham on Jan. 24 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is a fantastic help for a homebrewer who wants to create his own recipes. It isn't going to tell you how to clone Newcastle or Sam Adams, but it helps you create your own unique recipe within the framework of a classic beer style, whether a Northern English Brown Ale, an Oktoberfestbier or Sweet Stout. The detail is astounding, ranging from historical references, commercial and homebrewed examples. With a wealth of well-presented information, the two chapters on hops I've reread several times, along with many of my favorite style chapters. Practical advise is given for creating a successful recipe, drawing on the author's own experiences in National Homebrew Competition. One example I think of is from the Brown Ale chapter: he gives the suggestion of choosing just a couple specialty malts to compliment your chosen yeast, rather than the often-employed little-bit-of-everything approach to the malt bill. This book could be valuable to someone who's made a handful of extract brews and wants to create something within a style framework; likewise, it would be of value to someone who's been brewing several years. I'm still doing extract brewing, so I know I'll be going back over a lot of the material pertaining to mashing someday. Not to mention some of the style chapters that I don't have the ability to do yet, like Pilsner or Kolsch. By the way, the author himself recommends Noonan's Scotch Ale (Classic Beer Style Series: 8), and I would too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By theoriginalsubguy on Feb. 7 2004
Format: Paperback
After NEW BREWING LAGER BEER, this has been the most helpful book to get my beer styles just right. It contains hordes of information usually available only in professional works, and doesn't over complicate it. I love this book and always refer to it before I start a new brew. It is the only accurate book that discusses the amount of water retained in your grain, and allows you to calculate the pre brew water quantity more accurately. A must for you home brew library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By rama on Jan. 9 2003
Format: Paperback
I've got several brewing texts, but this is the one I frequent the most. If you're a moderately experienced brewer looking for details on a particular style, or you're trying to get away from just copying other people's recipes and try your hand at it for a change, this is just the book. It tells you the ingredients, mash schedule, yeasts, etc that would be appropriate for a style and what worked for other award winning beers, plus some history on each of the major styles.
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Format: Paperback
Any serious homebrewer, or anyone aspiring to become one, should read this book, and then use it as a reference tool.
It provides an introductory section, which is really a thorough course, in brewing technique, covering malts, water, color, hops and yeast. It is heavy in formulas and theory, but presented in an understandable manner (if you have already brewed).
Then it moves on to a section for each of the classical beer styles, with detailed information on each, and I was pleased with the coverage given to the traditional German ales, my favorite subject. But it is similarly thorough with respect to British ales and pilsners. Unlike other recent books, it does not put emphasis on the Belgian fad.
Since I brew mainly to please myself and not to win competitions, I am not convinced that the statistics on how the NHC runners-up brewed is significant (and there is a lot of it). It may indicate if these brewers hit a style right - but only as tasted and interpreted by the judges. Although it may be useful to take some inspiration and knowledge from these recipes, one should not be a slave to the taste (or lack of) of others or strict interpretations of style. My only other gripe is that some tables use different methods of measurements for the same thing, making it hard to compare values.
The many tables and formulas are mindboggling. Luckily you can buy software that will translate and calculate it all for you (ProMash comes to mind) - but the book is extrememly useful for your understanding of how values are calculated - in short how the beer might turn out.
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Format: Paperback
First, let me say what this book is not. It is not a recipe book, or a book which describes the techniques for brewing beer. In other words, it is not for beginners.
After following recipes for a number of batches of beer, it was time to learn how to create my own recipes. The purpose of this book is to do just that; come up with your own recipes. The first part of the book tells the reader how to compute the grain bill, the hop bill and how to hit original gravity. It also contains information on beer color, yeast and water. I used this section to make the computations for my first original recipe. This, in turn, gave me the incentive to buy a brewing software package which I now use in conjunction with the second part of the book.
The second part describes beer styles and what ingredients go into each style described. There is a chart for each style which gives information on ingredients used in beers which made it to the second round of the NHC. I found some of the charts in this part somewhat confusing and there are a few references in the text to wrong charts. However, as a result of this book, I have started to formulate my own recipes with a lot of success.
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