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Customer Review

on 16 June 2014
This is a comprehensive encyclopaedia of beer and brewing, starting with 'Abbey beers' and ending with 'Zymurgy'. There is a limited number of headwords but each carries a substantial article. The combination of the 'Topical Outline' at the front and the Index makes this book easy to consult, but beware: once you have started, one thing leads to another, and before you know it, you are late for the pub / bedtime / or any other scheduled event. Anyone using it to set a pub quiz can earn himself great kudos and everlasting detestation in equal measure, unless he be very careful!

Topics range from brewing chemistry: organic and inorganic, through biographies of individuals and of breweries, to measurements used in the industry, such as EBC and bittering units; degrees Plato and Balling, (the latter not indexed); the Zentner; equipment (what is a lauter tun, and why has it become so popular?) and dispense, too. Different beer styles are described, with their history, including the obligatory mention of ancient Egyptian brewing. Hop varieties; barley varieties; other grains, e.g. spelt, sorghum and wheat; law: starting with Hammurabi, and more … much more

In a work of this size, there are bound to be a few oddities: such as the idiosyncratic spelling 'candi' in the phrase 'candy sugar'; a spelling not supported by my Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, my Webster Collegiate Dictionary, nor, in case it were taken from Belgian practice and languages, in my van Dale English – Dutch, Dutch – English dictionary. Neither did a Google search for <define:candi> produce any likely candidate. (Pun not intended)

My own personal criticism is that too often an index entry lists page after page, with too few sub-headings, if any. Cf. Michael Jackson (The Beer Hunter) or Louis Pasteur: eleven entries for the former, ten for the latter, with no sub-divisions.

Were it less US-centric, it would merit 5 stars.
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