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Formulas ingredients historical and modern day brewing practices are all covered in this book Drawing on information from old brewing records books contemporary beer analysis and hundreds of recipes the author provides a wealth of data on the current and historical brewing techniues and ingredients for 14 popular ale and lager styles It also includes brewing calculations for planning and adjusting brews as well as a thorough examination of primary brewing ingredients

10 thoughts on “Designing Great Beers The Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles

  1. says:

    Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels is a very through guide to the components of beer current and historical styles of beer and in depth investigations of how those styles are made both commercially and at home If you want to create beers in a few particular styles this is the reference you need However this is not a “how to” There is excellent information on how to figure out how much malt you need or how much yeast or how to “fix” your water But the instructions use beer making jargon that the beginner and perhaps even the intermediate brewer will not understand For example it may be interesting to know that one style used a “triple decoction” in the mid 1800’s But if you don’t know what a decoction mash is as opposed to an infusion mash that doesn’t help One thing I would love to see in a book like this is an “I screwed up” section There is a passage on things you can do if your final specific gravity misses your target if you don’t know what that means this is not the book for you But I’d love something like “what will my beer taste like if I use too little yeast or boil at too high a temperature ” I just finished a batch of classic British Ale using an all grain mash bill the first I’ve tried But I did the mash at much too high a temperature and had far too small a final gravity The beer had a sour taste that I wouldn’t have expected and it was thin But it wasn’t bad That’s the sort of “what if” information that I’d love to have I’m not sure that sort of thing would be what the author was trying to get at with this book But it surely would be nice The best use of this book is as a reference for home brewers who want to try making beers “like” particular styles that is for those who want to experiment This is also a great book for home brewers who get into competitive beer making yes that’s a thing For beginners though I’d stick with “The Complete Joy of Home Brewing” by Papazian and probably buy some of the excellent kits that are available from various sources In short this is an excellent book for what it does But don’t expect it to teach you how to make beer Just how to design it

  2. says:

    This is a fine book for beginning to intermediate brewers who want a reference for the characteristics of traditional styles Part I covers ingredients and Part II tours the styles including history characteristics suggested ingredients and some words on techniue There are no recipes this is for those who wish to formulate their own with some guidance What is covered is covered very well; the limitations come in the form of some odd omissions Part I provides 120 pages of background on ingredients measurements and the like; another ten pages of techniue would round things out In particular on methods of water treatment and on mashing techniue would complete the volume particularly since several styles reuire particular mashes andor water It's a little odd to have to go elsewhere when so much else is covered Part II could benefit from a little Belgium Lambics in particular are mentioned only in passing in the fruit beers chapter; this popular but difficult style deserves full treatment Finally this is now 12 16 years out of date; beer may not have changed much in that time but the variety of ingredients available to the homebrewer has exploded It is a shame that Randy Mosher's Brewer's Companion is twenty years old and very hard to find now as it seems there is no modern replacement If you're building a brewing bookshelf I'd start with Designing Great Beers then add Mosher's Radical Brewing and supplement with Brewer's Companion if you can find it But you'll probably still be yearning for information

  3. says:

    Every since I first read this book I have referred to it as The Bible so has every other brewer I have ever worked with Not at all a book of recipes this advanced brewing tome is of a reference My only complaint is the binding I'm pretty sure I am on my 5th copy because the binding falls apart and the pages scatter Perhaps that's because it gets used most of the time in a humid environment Invaluable for recipe development this book has it all most every recipe formulae and tables you will ever need commercial and winning homebrew ingredient ratios and historical and modern information for most common beer styles I use this book almost every time I test batch and reuire my brewers to use it too I firmly believe in constructing beer from numbers; if you don't future test batches will be just shots in the dark If there were 6 stars I would give it that

  4. says:

    For somebody who wants to really understand brewing science and how to brew classic styles this is an excellent read It may be easier for me to read since I'm an engineer but I found every page of this book useful The section on styles is also very great as it gives you a history of the style and then as an added bonus it gives you albeit from 1994 or 1995 the general makeup of NHC second round beers for those styles which can help you to come up with your own version of classic styles of beer I felt like a kid in a candy store throughout the whole reading of this book

  5. says:

    This brewing book keeps paying dividends If you concoct your own recipes it's an indispensable reference

  6. says:

    This is a well researched thorough discussion of various beer styles including histories and cultural context as well as ingredient considerations based on traditional and contemporary recipes with a bias toward tried and true vs hip and trendy The book was published 20 years ago so there is no mention of recent crazes such as hazy IPAThere is also inexplicably no mention of Belgian styles This and the poor presentation of tabular material are my only complaints Still there is much wisdom in these pages The author knows his stuff and takes a longer view that is less malleable than BJCP classifications which change often to accommodate current interpretations These truly are classic stylesBefore discussion of individual styles there is a detailed explanation of recipe formulation theory Using this I was able to develop a hefeweizen recipe from scratch scribbling copious notes on scraps of paper and doing longhand calculations Rather amusingly I ended up with something that bore strong resemblance to Jamil Zainasheff's recipe in Brewing Classic StylesOn the one hand I was somewhat annoyed at having spent the better part of an afternoon reinventing the proverbial wheel On the other my goal was not increased expediency but rather increased understanding The fact that I reached the same destination as Zainasheff—a justifiably well respected brewer—using independent means validates the work in his book and in the current volumeThrough the process of deriving a similar recipe using established methods I came to appreciate why Zainasheff made the decisions he did in formulating his This increases my confidence in those methods and in my ability to create new recipes or tweak existing ones to suit my tasteI haven't yet brewed the hefeweizen recipe I created but I know that when I do it will be a good example of the style If it isn't the fault lies not in the recipe but in its execution I should start practicing

  7. says:

    It was great Lots of thorough discussion of the history behind the styles and the ranges of each one I have great plans for using this book later on including a possibly historically inspired wheatThe only problem is some styles are mentioned in the discussion of a different one and then never brought up again For example lambics are used as a comparison of Berliner Weisse but they don't have a discussion for them It's also 20 years old so some of the modern styles are missing as they haven't become common yetMy copy has some messed up formatting but that's because it's an ebook

  8. says:

    I'm marking this as read after the fact calling it last year Then weeding itThis is a pretty good book but it is extremely dated regarding techniues and is especially limited in recipe formulation as the availability of grains and other ingredients is far larger today

  9. says:

    Read this continually for several years and tried many recipes and techniues

  10. says:

    This is a textbook Kinda old but great for reference when making recipes