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4.8 out of 5 stars69
4.8 out of 5 stars
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49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on 21 June 2008
For the technical side of brewing this book covers what you need to know! I also have the "complete joy of homebrewing" which is also a great book and lot of fun to read, but to be honest it is not as up to date as this book. I recommend this book together with "designing great beer" - with this set you'll be able to brew the most common types of beer with very good results.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 9 January 2012
This is a very comprehensive book, with a mine of information about home brewing. It is written in an engaging style, which makes it easy and interesting reading.

The main criticism that I have relates to the fact that it is aimed exclusively at American readers. British readers need to be aware that a US gallon is significantly less than an imperial gallon - or alternatively stick to the metric units only. Also, some of the ingredients (particularly hop varieties) are very hard or impossible to come by in the UK.

I appreciate that this is hardly the author's fault, as he may not have been aware that his book would sell abroad. It would be nice if an international edition of this excellent book could be published.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 10 October 2009
I've had access to the on-line version of this book before, and since I've evolved to a more-than-occasional brewer I sort of felt obliged to buy the book that learned me so much about one of my favorite drinks.

At first, I only used the book to get down to the practical side of brewing beer. I feel that if you follow the author's advice and if you can just bring yourself to be patient, things can't go wrong, not even if you want to go through the whole brewing process instead of just starting from a malt extract. The book does what it promises in the subtitle.

But this book also contains detailed explanations about all the processes involved in brewing, so that you understand about the chemics involved. This might seem a bit boring at times, but it helps you to understand where you can tune the process and how you can create your own beer style. This understanding is exactly what you need after you've tried brewing a couple of times, it worked, and now you want to try something different.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on 18 March 2009
This book really is the beer homebrewers bible but the sheer volume of complex (to a new person) information could scare off.
Suggest don't buy the book quite yet - just buy a brewkit with the money instead, get the bug to take it to "real" brewing and THEN buy this book!
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63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on 24 October 2007
The title really does say it all with this book!

I've been brewing for a few years now, and upon getting this book my beers have leapt forward from being usually OK (but still very obviously homebrewed), to being beers that I would be happy to receive in a pub or beer festival...honestly!

This book contains just about everything you could need for any stage in your brewing life. Everything from the beginner's standard 'can and kilo' brews, right up to full grain and everything in between.

Ingredients, methodology, techniques, equipment, recipes - its all here.

(My only slight criticism is that it is doesn't contain details on 'kegging' your beer, but this is really fairly simple and info can be easily found online for this if you wish.)

Basically this is the only beer homebrew book you will need - I highly recommend it!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 12 November 2009
After having previously purchased Brew Your Own British Real Ale (Camra) which was a great book for novice to intermediate brewers I wanted to know more about the actual brewing process and the chemistry involved in each of the ingredients. This book is the only reference guide you will ever need as it goes into great depth to cover all aspects of brewing. The book is written by a US author and as such in places it can be slightly slanted to US style beers but on the whole the techniques are fairly generic and very easy to understand. The chapters start off with the basics and end with more information that you'll ever need to complete your brews, including a handy troubleshooting guide to assess why your beer didn't quite turn out as you expected!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 13 March 2010
I am very new to brewing and wanting to build up the fullest possible picture of how to make the best beer and chose this (based on other reviews). It is without hesitation worth every penny. I read it all and compulsively got another batch on the go It does make you realise that you can take the home brewing hobby as far as you want to and it will show you how to optimise what you are doing. Be aware though if you are a kit brewer it may cause you to want many new pieces of equipment like boilers, mash tuns and many other random stuff you never thought you would spend your pennys on. saying that though you do get out what you put in and the sky is the limit from the ground up, I am just trying to resist running before I can walk.

Get it, be inspired and get your mates round and drink till sun rise.

This book along with a more recipe orientated book is really all you may ever need (at least for now).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 13 July 2009
In depth view of brewing, if you are interested in the nitty gritty. Written by an American so slightly different brewing style than in the UK.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 June 2012
If you're a beginner or even an experienced homebrewer then seriously if there's one book you should get, it's this one. 'Palmer' is often refereed to as the 'Brewer's Bible' and is definitely the most commonly quoted texts on forums. The fact is this text has been written over years by someone who really knows his stuff, starting out as a free document and the first edition is still available in its entirety on Palmer's website free of charge. This is NOT a commercial book thrown together to make money. The great thing about this is you can 'try before you buy', but the updated 3rd edition is definitely worth paying for if you want to take the hobby a bit further than the 'kit and a kilo' kits you start out with.

Palmer knows his subject and it definitely shows: He really addresses pretty much every question a beginner (or I for one, at least) could raise in each section from "what's different between lagers and ales", to little points like "do I have to sterilise dry hops?" up to graphs telling you how many yeast cells you should aim to pitch, water ion concentrations and all sorts!

I only have a few negative points to make. Whilst the text does have a crash-course section and walks you through each step, I think it's fair to say readers will definitely benefit from a degree of knowledge in the subject. The book definitely errs towards providing content for the hobbyist rather than the novice, and you'll still be referring to it years after your first batch as you step into all-grain and enter competitions, etc. Because the book is useful for beginners and advanced brewers alike it takes some knowledge to know what is relevant to your level and what isn't. Otherwise beginners may find themselves swamped with the information intended for all-grain brewers and not extract brewers, or doing a boil for pre-hopped extract, doing a starter for dry yeast etc. etc. For this reason I'd recommend the book to someone who knows they want to advance the hobby, rather than as a gift for someone who's never tried it.
This leads on to my second criticism. Because the book is aimed at all levels of brewer, it has a slightly confusing layout. Don't get me wrong: It goes from extract, to partial to full mash as you'd expect. But reading from cover-to-cover, I am finding that I will be overwhelmed by advanced information on water alkalinity one chapter, then turn the page and arrive at "brewing your first extract beer". Whilst you'll definitely want to read the book in its entirety, I think it is ultimately designed to be a reference document, suited to looking up specific subjects when you need to. Again, try to enter with enough knowledge to know what applies to you and what doesn't if you're a novice.

One final point: As of 2013 the 3rd edition is lacking a few more recent methods in brewing. There's been a movement, especially in Australia, towards simplified techniques such as "brew in a bag" and "no chill". In this respect, How to Brew shows its age a little; giving the impression you can't conduct a mash without first converting a cooler with a false bottom. The fact that partial/mini mash only gets a side-note also emphasises that Palmer is a little guilty of making mashing/all-grain seem more complicated than it actually is. But this is a minor point and may well get addressed in a fourth edition.

Those points aside, I'm finding it a fascinating read and really can't recommend this book enough to anyone inclined to learn more about the hobby. Even with the free copy online, it's a small price to pay for such a wealth of information.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 26 September 2010
This book is an excellent reference item for anyone engaged in home brewing or looking to get started. technique and tips are all backed up with the science behind brewing. As such it helps to further the reader's understanding of what is a very large and complex subject.

For non-American home brewers: Do not be put off by the references to American beers and brewing. Whilst alot of the book is targeted to the American style of brewing and Malt Extract brewing, there is a vast amount of useful information here that is applicable to all styles of brewing.

A must have for the home brewer's library.
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