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Designing Great Beers: The Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles Paperback – 1 Dec 1996

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Product details

  • Paperback: 390 pages
  • Publisher: Brewers Publications (1 Dec. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0937381500
  • ISBN-13: 978-0937381502
  • Product Dimensions: 18.2 x 2.4 x 25.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 71,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By L. Wall on 19 May 2009
Format: Paperback
First off, it should be pointed out that this book is concerned with creating recipes. It is not an introduction to home brewing and doesn't have any information on technique. If you're looking for an introduction to brewing, or an introduction to full mash brewing then John Palmer's book, How to Brew: Everything You Need to Know to Brew Beer Right for the First Time, is excellent, and also free on the web.

This book is split in to two parts. The first part, which accounts for about a third of the book deals with brewing calculations. Things like how to estimate your mash efficiency, hitting your target OG, and calculations for minerals additions to your water.

This section is quite good. Some of the material is covered in other sources, for example John Palmer's book, but not all of it.

In part two, each chapter covers a beer style, and there are 14 chapters in total. (Some chapters sneak a couple of related styles in.) The styles covered are mostly British and German. Within each chapter there is a historical overview of the style, some discussion of where the style is now, and lots of statistics. The stats are things like how much of a given grain or hop is used on average in commercial examples of a style, and in beers which have made it to the second round in NHC beer competitions.

Part two is useful if you want to brew closely to style or for competitions, but I don't often use it. I'll try to explain why with an example. On the page 165 there is a table of the incidence and proportion of specialty Malts used in NHC second-round pale ales.
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71 of 73 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 May 1998
Format: Paperback
Some people are content to brew with other people's recipes. For those that are not, this book represents a breakthrough, not only in brewing how-to manuals, but in the whole spectrum of manuals on creating things to ingest. This is not a beer cookbook, id est: pick one of these that looks good, buy these ingredients, mix like so, cook like so... This book takes the process one step farther: what do you want to brew? this is typically how that style is brewed. this is what is typically in that style of beer....and the general instructions necessary to create the recipe for the beer you want, with all sorts of reference information to help the brewer achieve that goal... A reasonable understanding of brewing is a pre-requisite. This book is for creating beers with particular characteristics with regard to the brewer's particular process. If there are any shortcomings, it would be that certain common styles, such as German Dark Lagers, Belgian Trappist Ales, are not addressed. But the design process laid out allows a brewer, even without the benefit of anything more that basic parameters, to make a beer that will approach those parameters. I own or have read several texts on homebrewing, this is the only book to which I refer when I set out to brew a batch of beer.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By K. Møller on 16 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A phenomenal book for designing your own all grain recipes. Very easy to read as you can read just the chapter you need for brewing a specific type of beer and get some useful hints. Also it is highly recommended for European readers as the metric system is consequently used thorough the book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By L. G. Howarth on 8 Nov. 2008
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book with much useful content and advice. However, it is let down in my opinion by the significant use of statistics from the American Homebrewers Association competitions. I am sure that AHA members brew some fantastic beers but are the ingredients they use in brews aimed at winning competitions really a reliable indication of what defines any given beer style? For example, in the discussion of ingredients used in English Pale Ales Table 16.10 shows that commercial brewers almost always use English hops with Goldings, Fuggles and Challenger dominating as might be expected. However, the statistics shown in Table 16.11 show that AHA members tended to use Goldings, Cascade or Fuggles in that order. The distinctive American Cascade doesn't get a mention in table 16.10 while Challenger isn't used at all in Table 16.11! This tendency to refer to AHA statistics renders a large part of this book irrelevent to me which is a great shame because the rest of the book is very good indeed.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By mr d j bowes on 24 May 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a great in depth book. It is not really for the occaisional home brewer though. Only for those with serious nerdity.
I would suggest it is for those who have progressed to all grain brewing or as a text book for the micro brewer.
It is full of top quality information.
A complete brewing formulation spreadsheet design is probably missing, though there are plenty of these on the web.
Watch out for the 'american gallon' linked weights an measures though.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mrs Kerry Dunn on 6 May 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Upon opening the book and first glance the book is scarey. But then again it is not made to be a book of recipes for you to follow, this is for you to set your creative juices going and design a brand spanking new beer.

The book goes into great detail on the different types of beers and how to make them.. fruit, IPA, old ale, bitters, wheat etc. the different ingredients and their sub-catagories e.g Yeast and what the different kinds do/act like and the taste they contribute to giving. There are a lot of mathmatical calculations to understand also. The book though is clear and well written.

If you want recipes for different beers to try out, this is not a book for you.

If you are a beginner to the world of brewing, this is not for you... just yet.

If you have experience at brewing from ingredients (not the brewing kits) and want to create something that is truely yours, this book could be for you.
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