If you are interested, or even just mildly curious, about how to brew beer at home, you need to read this book. This book excels over many other revered texts on home brewing simply for how straight forward and beautifully presented the informations is.
Brewing beer is not easy but it isn’t difficult either. It is an involved process with a lot of independent variables that the brewer is in control of. Because of this, every other book on brewing is typically a lengthy read. Beer Craft, on the other hand, is neither too wordy or too simple. It can easily be read in one sitting. Despite this, Beer Craft is just as informational as other books on home brewing. It is very clear what steps need to be followed exactly, and what steps you have the freedom to explore on your own. In addition to this, there are plenty of charts breaking down different ingredients and how they can be used. Brewing beer is a science. The ratios of the ingredients used and even the different temperatures used can alter the end product. Beer Craft does an excellent job of teaching the science without being too overwhelming.
Most books will recommend beginners start by using malt extract to brew beer. Beer Craft doesn’t even suggest this as an option, giving only all grain brewing methods. Where others will caution against the involvement required to brew all grain, Beer Craft provides the reader with one gallon recipes that can be brewed on a standard kitchen stovetop with supplies that do not require a hefty financial expense. This allows beginners to brew beer like the pros do, right from the get go.
Lastly, few books properly instruct beginners how to begin formulating their own recipes. Descriptions of beer styles is usually done by describing the final product, not the ingredients used to create it. Within Beer Craft are various charts showing what malts are used, and to what percent of the total grain bill, for each style of beer. Within each recipe Beer Craft gives, there are suggestions on what to change or add to the recipe. For example, Beer Craft provides a recipe for a pale ale. It then gives substitution suggestions to change it into an IPA, imperial IPA or even a black IPA. In addition to the recipe suggestions, one of the most useful chapters is one on adding specialty ingredients. Not only does it suggest different fruits or spices to add, but how much should be added and at what point in the process it should be added. Taken together, you learn what ingredients make up 10 different styles of beer, and suggestions on what to change in order to create other styles, or what to add to create something entirely new. If you want to brew an IPA with oranges, you can create a recipe simply by using the pale ale recipe, following the guidance on how to make it an IPA, then following the suggestions for adding citrus fruits. No other book I’ve read has shown me how to do this so easily.
I’ve learned more about beer reading this book than I have from reading anything else. This was also the shortest of all the beer books I’ve read and the best looking!
For more information, and more photos of the pages, go to the Beer Craft Book website