Brewing Better Beer: Master Lesson for Advanced Homeowners

Brewing Better Beer: Master Lesson for Advanced Homeowners

by Gordon Strong


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One of the most successful and respected homebrewers in America and highest ranking judges in the BJCP, there are few candidates better placed than Gordon Strong to give advice on how to take your homebrew to the next level. In Brewing Better Beer, the author sets out his own philosophy and strategy for brewing, examining the tools and techniques available in an even-handed manner. The result is a well-balanced mix of technical, practical, and creative advice aimed at experienced homebrewers who want to advance to the next level. The book is also a story of personal development and repeatedly mastering new systems and processes. Strong emphasizes that brewing is a creative endeavor underpinned by a firm grasp on technical essentials, but stresses that there are many ways to brew good beer. After mastering techniques, equipment, ingredients, recipe formulation, and the ability to evaluate their own beers, the advanced homebrewer will know how to think smart and work less, adjust only what is necessary, and brew with economy of effort. The author also pays special attention to brewing for competitions and other special occasions, distilling his own experiences of failure and (frequent) triumphs into a concise, pragmatic, and relaxed account of how judging works and how to increase your chances of success. The author’s insights are laid out in a clear, engaging manner, deftly weaving discussions of technical matters with his own guiding principles to brewing. Learn to identify process control points in mashing, lautering, sparging, boiling, chilling, fermenting, conditioning, clarifying, and packaging. What are the best ways to control mash pH, which mash regimen suits your process, how can you effectively control your process through judicious equipment selection? Other tips on optimizing your brewing include ingredient and yeast selection, envisioning a recipe and bringing it to fruition, planning your brewing calendar, and identifying the critical path to ensure a successful brew day. There is also a detailed discussion of troubleshooting to address technical and stylistic problems advanced homebrewers often face. Through it all, Strong highlights you are the ultimate arbiter, giving advice on how to judge your own beers and understanding how balance takes many forms depending on style.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780937381984
Publisher: Brewers Publications
Publication date: 05/16/2011
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 1,142,693
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements xi

Foreword xiii

Introduction 1

Blown Up, Sir 1

The Journey Is the Reward 4

Structure of This Book 7

Using This Book 8

But Why Nothing on Extract Beers? 9

Part I Philosophy

Chapter 1 The Philosophy of Brewing 13

Everyone Has a Story 15

Channeling Influences 18

Mastering Skills 20

Developing Your Own Style 22

Part II Mastering Your Craft

Chapter 2 Mastering Techniques 27

Transforming Grain 28

Mash Fundamentals 29

Common Mash Rests 30

Doughing-in 32

Single-infusion Mash 33

Step Mash 35

Decoction Mash 37

Handling Dark Grains 43

Lautering 48

Preparing to Sparge 49

Lautering Options 50

Managing the Boil 57

Using Hops 64

Traditional Hopping 65

All-Late Hopping 66

First Wort Hopping (FWH) 68

Post-Boil Finishing Hop Methods 70

Multiple Additions 73

Chapter 3 Mastering Equipment 75

Matching Equipment to the Task 76

Measuring Ingredients 76

Crushing Grain 78

Moving Liquid 79

Managing Heat 80

Mashing 82

Lautering 83

Boiling Wort 84

Chilling and Separating Wort 84

Fermenting and Conditioning 86

Packaging 88

Learning Your System 89

Optimizing Your Brewing 94

Planning Your Brew Calendar 95

Planning Your Brew Day 96

Approximating and Estimating 99

Chapter 4 Mastering Ingredients 103

Assessing Ingredients 104

Malt 106

Modification, Diastatic Power, and Protein Levels 107

Characterizing Malt 109

Selecting Malt 110

Preparing Malt 111

So What Do I Do? 113

Adjuncts 115

So What Do I Do? 117

Hops 120

Storing Hops 121

Characterizing Hops 121

Selecting Hops 124

So What Do I Do? 125

Yeast 127

Choosing a Yeast Strain 128

Preparing the Yeast 130

Managing Fermentation 132

So What Do I Do? 136

Water 137

Water Sources and Classic Profiles, A Cautionary Tale 138

Water Basics 139

Assessing Your Water 142

Adjusting Your Water for Brewing 144

So What Do I Do? 150

Part III Applying Your Knowledge

Chapter 5 Evaluating Your Own Beer 155

Understanding Beer Styles 156

The Purpose of Beer Styles 157

Understanding BJCP Terms 158

The 'Narrowness' of Styles 159

The Style Space 159

How to Read and Apply the Styles 161

Developing Your Palate 162

The Tongue Map 162

Understanding Balance 163

Aroma Techniques 165

Tasting Techniques 167

Malty vs. Sweet 172

Building Your Skills 173

Critically Assessing Your Own Beer 176

Structured Tasting 177

Evaluating for Faults 179

Evaluating for Style 179

Chapter 6 Envisioning Your Beer 183

Recipe Formulation 187

Adjusting Balance 196

Scaling Recipes 196

Adjusting Final Gravity and Attenuation 198

Balancing Bitterness, Alcohol, and Tannins 198

Interactions 200

Avoiding Clashing Flavors 201

Recipe Formulation Examples 203

Example: Cloning a World-Class Beer 203

Example: Modifying or Improving Someone Else's Beer 206

Example: Brewing a Style Not in the Guidelines 207

Example: Creating a Beer Based on a Food Idea 211

Example: Building a Recipe From Historical Research 214

Example: Make a Reference Beer, Then Adjust 218

Conceptualizing New Styles 220

Getting Ideas 220

Creating a Fusion Recipe 222

Avoiding Stupid Ideas 224

Chapter 7 Troubleshooting 229

Detecting Beer Faults 230

Technical Brewing Faults 232

Style-Related Faults 242

Low Gravity 243

Incorrect Attenuation 244

Boil-related Issues 245

Harshness 245

Aftertaste Issues 246

Clarity 246

Chapter 8 Finishing Beer 249

Factors Affecting Beer Stability 249

Conditioning 251

Lagering 252

Clarifying 253

Stabilizing 255

Carbonating and Packaging 255

Final Adjustments 259

Adjusting Finished Beer pH 261

Adjusting Salts for Flavor 262

Adjusting Color 262

Adjusting Carbonation 262

Adjusting Clarity 263

Adjusting Balance 263

Blending 264

Why Blend? 265

Conceptualizing Blended Beers 267

Strategies for Blending 270

Methods for Blending 271

Chapter 9 Competition Brewing 275

Brewing for Quality 276

Timing is Everything 278

Brewing for Quantity 279

Winning BJCP Competitions 285

Understanding Competitions and Judging 286

Preparing for Competitions 291

Packing and Shipping 295

Chapter 10 Conclusion 299

Expanding Your Knowledge 300

Staying Current 301

Final Advice 302

List of Recipes 305

Index 307

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