Designing Great Beers: The Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles Paperback – Jan 26 1998
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
The book is not a recipe book, if that's what you're looking for, but does go into detail about style guides and each styles history. It also covers ingredient trends in the NHC (National Homebrew Competition) in the US, although from a few years back. It would be nice to see a new addition to update that info.
All in all I'm glad I've got this book - and I would definitely recommend it for those brewers who plan to put their beer into competition, or for those who just love a little history and want to know more about the hobby!
It really breaks down how to formulate recipes based on your target style, percentages of appropriate malts and adjuncts, yeasts, etc.
This book opened my eyes to hitting target gravity, bitterness ratios and a host of other things. Well worth it!!
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.
Most recent customer reviews
This book is a little technical. But very interesting. Information very useful for serious brewers.Published 2 months ago by Donald Lavoie
excellent ressource, this book is really helping me design my brewsPublished 2 months ago by Michel
Solid book by Ray Daniels, very technical, definitely for the intermediate home-brewer. Styles have been evolving a lot since the initial publication of this book but it remains... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book is definitely showing it's age and missing many of the popular beer styles of today. I didn't learn very much from this book and don't bother referencing it at all... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jordan Harris
Another great book for the home brewer's library. It is probably my second most referred to home brewing book, after "Brewing Classic Styles," by Jamil Zainasheff.Published 5 months ago by ukulele2
A great second brewing book. This goes pretty deep into selection of all ingredients, but is a nice mix of history, information and tips. I use it every time I am planning a beer.Published 7 months ago by AlexC
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