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Brew Own Brit Real Ale Paperback – Oct 1998

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Storey Books (October 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580171028
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580171021
  • Product Dimensions: 21.7 x 14.2 x 1.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,638,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Cheers! Now you can brew your own Bitters - Pale Ales - Milds - Porters - Stouts - Old Ales - Barley Wines

In this treaure chest of more than 100 homebrew recipes, you'll find precise recreations of all the well-known Real Ales from Great Britain's famous breweries including:
-- Bass
-- Boddington's
-- Eldridge Pope
-- Fuller's
-- Guinness
-- Young's
-- Marston's
--Sam Smith's
-- and many more!

Whether you're an old hand or new to brewing, easy-to-understand recipes and explanations of British homebrewing techniques and ingredients will help you get "Real."

About the Author

Together with Roger Protz, co-author Graham Wheeler is the leading authority on homebrewing in Great Britain. He has written extensively for the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), the United Kingdom's foremost publisher of beer books which is credited with beginning a worldwide beer appreciation "renaissance."

After reading Roger and Graham's book Brew Your Own British Real Ale, Ray Daniels, Real Ale Festival organizer and author of Designing Great Beers, said: "Deliciously rewarding fodder for both enthusiasts and emulators of British real ale."

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
There is no shortage of books which attempt to replicate commercial beers, and this book is not much more than that. I haven't tried brewing any of the recipes, although I'm sure they really do come close to their commercial counterparts. What I was looking for, though, was very specific details on the technical aspect of cask conditioning ale and the equipment involved. This book does not help much in that regard. It explains cask conditioning as the equivalent of bottle conditioning, but in a 'cask' which it only describes in a page or two.
If you are looking for recipes trying to emulate Real British Ale, this is the book. If you are looking for more information on brewing and storing cask conditioned ale, the details are insufficient.
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Format: Paperback
For as long as I have been homebrewing, I have wanted to make English Ale. This book gives great info on making English Ale, from malt and hops, to great details on yeast types. This is one of my favorite homebrew references.
Do not fault this book for not providing cellarsmanship info. If you want info on casks and such, try 'The CAMRA guide to Cellarsmanship'. If you can't find it here, UK has it.
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Format: Paperback
A LOT more actual brewing information than the titles in the Classic Beer Style Series, not very much history. I'm no brewer but this one appears to me to at least come close to having enough information to actually brew these ales. It doesn't have a listing for further reading but still good to have.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
book is decent but none of the recipes state what yeast to use so it is diffucult to say how accurate they will turn out to be. Overall, not what I was expecting.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars 15 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great resource April 21 2010
By GrundlagenS62 - Published on
Format: Paperback
Wheeler's _Brew Your Own British Real Ale_ contains a great store of recipes for commercially produced British real ales. The first half of of the book is devoted to general discussions of beer and brewing. Wheeler's treatment of these topics is nowhere near as useful as Palmer's in _How To Brew_; the real value of the book is in the recipe section, which contains recipes based on information from the original brewers. I have enjoyed this book a great deal and I have found the recipes to provide a useful survey of British brewing conventions---my own brewing of British beer styles has improved as a result. Below I list a number of criticisms, but please don't lose sight of the fact that Wheeler's book is a great compendium of recipes and overall a great resource for anyone interested in producing ale in authentic British styles. Now to the criticisms:

(1) Wheeler gives malt bills in weights rather than percentages; percentages make it easier to convert a recipe to your own brewing system given a known target original gravity and your system efficiency.

(2) Recipes do not list the color ratings for the various malts included. "crystal malt" is not especially useful when a range of crystal malt from 10 L through 135 L and higher is available. I have had good success with British Crystal 77 L from Simpsons, but surely this is not the malt that all commercial brewers use for all their beers.

(3) In cases where I have an independent, reliable source for a brewery formula, Wheeler's recipe is often substantially different. Riggwelter from Black Sheep, for instance, is listed as containing sugar, but when interviewed on The Jamil Show on 3/29/2010, the head brewer claimed that sugar was not in the formula for Riggwelter. Additionally, from tasting comments in the same program, it was clear that a major flavor of the beer was contributed by pale chocolate malt (around 200 L), whereas Wheeler seems to have achieved the same color using a smaller amount of higher kilned chocolate malt (around 400 L), which would contribute a substantially different flavor. In another recipe, Adnams Explorer is listed as using exclusively Liberty hops, but Adnams claims to be using Columbus and Chinook on their own website; Liberty and Chinook are pretty dissimilar! Some of the variation surely comes from the revision of commercial formulas over time, but these examples don't inspire confidence in the accuracy of the recipes as a whole. Other recipes, like those for Fullers ESB and London Pride---see data given by Fullers in the the Sept/Oct 2008 issue of Zymurgy---and Worthington White Shield, seem to be spot on, but about half of the recipes I have independent sources for seem to be substantially different.

(4) A huge factor in the final flavor of a beer comes from yeast strain selection and fermentation practices. There are many different yeast strains available to home brewers, and Wheeler gives little advice about how to select appropriate strains for each of his recipes (his comments on yeast strains are generic and not tailored for different recipes). The recipes would be improved if Wheeler provided some guidance as to which sorts of yeast are more appropriate to particular beers---homebrewers have ready access to around 20 strains of yeast originating from British breweries, and each strain produces a different beer from the same wort.

(5) The author says that in many recipes he includes a small addition of black malt to correct for color (perhaps because of a faulty assumption about the color level of a crystal malt addition, or perhaps as an alternative to brewers' caramel coloring or an extract like sinamar). Even in small quantities, these black malt additions will change the beer flavor. The basic strategy is fine, but it would have been nice to know exactly where a malt addition is made by Wheeler to correct color and where it reflects the actual practice of the original brewer.

(6) Dry hopping quantities are not given; dry hopped beers all contain the same generic instruction: "dry hop with a few cones of [insert hop variety]". A half ounce per five gallons seems to work pretty well in most British styles where dry hopping is appropriate, but that is at best a rule of thumb. Regarding hop schedules in general, Wheeler says that dry hopping and hopping in a hop back or whirlpool are more common than late kettle additions in commercial practice, but that his recipes substitute late kettle additions (sensibly since few home brewers use a whirlpool or hop back). nonetheless, it would have been nice to know where a late kettle addition in one of Wheeler's recipes corresponds to a commercial brewer's late kettle addition and where it corresponds to a hop back or whirlpool addition.

Points (2) through (6) suggest that the recipes are substantially a product of Wheeler's interpretation and inference just as much as they reflect commercial practices. I don't mean to suggest that Wheeler has made lots of bad interpretations and inferences, just that the book would be more useful if Wheeler had said where he was extrapolating or guessing and where he was using information from the original brewer. Of course many people just want a collection of recipes that will make nice tasting beer in roughly the intended style, and these collected recipes will certainly do that, but these recipes are not going to *clone* the commercial beer in many cases, even if you chance on an appropriate yeast strain. All of that said, I still recommend the book to any homebrewer interested in developing a better understanding of the range of British beer styles, especially in concert with other resources (like K. England's yeast strain chart available on Zainasheff's Mr Malty website). Those of us interested in British brewing and beer styles are indebted to Wheeler for his work in collecting so much information from commercial breweries and in general to the good work done by CAMRA to protect and preserve traditional British ale.

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for British Beer Info Feb. 23 2000
By William Wible, Jr. - Published on
Format: Paperback
For as long as I have been homebrewing, I have wanted to make English Ale. This book gives great info on making English Ale, from malt and hops, to great details on yeast types. This is one of my favorite homebrew references.
Do not fault this book for not providing cellarsmanship info. If you want info on casks and such, try 'The CAMRA guide to Cellarsmanship'. If you can't find it here, UK has it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What ever happened to a distilled water color mash? July 11 2014
By Harold Melvin - Published on
Format: Paperback
I would like to offer a long needed counter to the complaints regarding the lack of a color rating (in Lovibond) for the Crystal malt in the recipes. If you know anything about crystal and color you know that the outcome of color is obviously the malting of the crystal and THE QUANTITY of the crystal in the recipe.

But which Crystal should we use? Mr. Wheeler does tell us in the text of the book, but most of us fail to take notice. Honest, it is there.

How do I know? I contacted the author, Graham Wheeler and here is his reply that helps make sense of his recipes and maybe why a lot of people "get" his recipes and rave about the book...

"Although some largish British commercial brewers have their malts made to their own specification, by tradition the typical standard crystal malt is what today we would call medium or standard colour. The colour does vary slightly between manufacturers from 120 EBC (about 60L) to about 170 EBC (about 85L), but 140 (about 70L) or 150 EBC (about 75L) is usual. I used 150 EBC (about 75L) in the recipes.

I did try to address this in a ham-fisted way in the paragraph on crystal malt where I said: "The recipes usually use standard crystal malt." I do not know how the word "usually" crept into that sentence. Perhaps I was subconsciously hedging my bets just in case I came across a brewer's recipe that used something other than standard. I should have said: "Standard crystal unless noted otherwise." As it happened all the recipes use standard.

It is only relatively recently that light and dark crystal malt have appeared, particularly on the British home brewing market. There was just "crystal malt" without qualification and it was expected to be about 140 EBC (about 70L). Indeed, some long-established commercial brewers are of the opinion that crystal malt of above about 200 EBC (about 100L) imparts an inappropriate burnt flavour to a beer.

You are doubtless aware that you can divide EBC by two to approximate Lovibond."

There you have it folks... Standard Crystal malt is someplace between 70 to 85 lovibond and they let the quantity in the recipe control the color.

I have sold brewers grain and will attest that only recently have color ratings have become consistent.

Up until a couple of years ago (10) have grains actually achieved any consistency of color and even today brewers have to make a test distilled water color mash to find out where their latest batch of grain is going to take them... now we open up a whole 'nother can of worms where it is the responsibility of the brewer to control his color, not the malster or a simple recipe to achieve consistent outcome of color and flavor.

The more we learn the harder it gets.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent recipe section, but mostly targeted at a British audience. Sept. 21 2014
By Jacob R Francis - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I originally purchased this book because I have been making more of an attempt to brew more sessionable low gravity ales, and no one does it better than the British. I mainly purchased this for recipe related inspiration, and in this respect the book is great - there are over 100 different recipes that are claimed to be clones of commercially available beers, presented in primarily all-grain recipes, but they have extract equivalents as well. I have yet to try any of the recipes, so I cannot vouch for their authenticity or accuracy - personally, most seemed to be very low on Crystal malt usage, but without actually trying them, it is difficult to judge fairly.

Most of the recipes seem solid, although they could be a turnoff to most US brewers because of the heavy use of brewing sugars (cane, corn, etc), which are frowned upon here. They also make no suggestions on which yeast to use in any of the recipes - in fact, very little is mentioned regarding specific yeasts in the whole book aside from mentioning White Labs Burton Ale Yeast, Danstar Windsor, and Safale S-04 as a good yeast to work with - so I assume that these are what they used for all of these recipes, although any English ale yeast should probably be fine. Another potential issue with the recipe portion is that all of the measurements are in grams, whereas in the US we primarily use ounces/pounds for almost all brewing ingredients - not a huge deal, but it will require you to do and be comfortable with doing unit conversions for each recipe. Overall, the recipe portion is fairly decent if you know what you are doing and can do simple unit conversions.

The bulk of this book (like most homebrew books) is spent on basic homebrew starter information - equipment, processes, ingredient types, etc. The biggest negative of this section is that since this is a British book, it describes and details many different pieces of equipment that may be very common to British homebrewers in their local shops, but I have never seen here (self contained boiler units, immersion boilers, cask-style fermenters). This is not entirely a problem since this was published in Britain and written primarily for the British market (since it was published by CAMRA), but has its drawbacks internationally. This book is also written with a definite British vernacular, and can be challenging to read in certain sections, especially if you were a true beginner outside of Britain who had never brewed a batch before.

Overall, not a bad book, not a great book. Granted, I am probably outside of the primary target audience for this book; however, as long as you are aware of the shortcomings of this book and its obvious intended audience geographically, then it is worth a read.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars British brewing perspective March 27 2010
By James E. - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I worked in the UK for quite a while and became a lover of British beers. this book from the group CAMRA is helping me make better real ales. The only fault I find is lack of detail in the recipes. It would be nice to know the color levels of the crystal malts as well as the alpha rating of the hops. Overall a pretty good guide.