The Brewer’s Apprentice: an Insider’s Guide to the Art and Craft of Beer Brewing, Taught by the Masters by Greg Koch and Matt Allyn
Date read: 26-27 March 2017
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Library binding, 192 pages
Published 2011 by Quarry Books
Source: Deschutes Public Library [641.873 KOCH GREG]
- Brewing Basics
- 1 Mashing and Lautering: Eric Harper, Summit Brewing Co.
- 2 Bittering Hops: Vinnie Cilurzo, Russian River Brewing Co.
- 3 Aroma Hops: Nick Floyd, Three Floyds Brewing Co.
- 4 Lager Brewing: Bill Covaleski, Victory Brewing Co.
- 5 Water Chemistry: Mitch Steele, Stone Brewing Co.
- 6 Brewing Like a Belgian: Tomme Arthur, The Lost Abbey
- 7 Wheat Beer: Hans-Peter Drexler, Weissbierbrauerei G. Schneider & Sohn, Germany
- 8 English Ales: John Keeling, Fuller, Smith & Turner, England
- 9 Lambic Brewing: Jean Van Roy, Brasserie Cantillon, Belgium
- 10 Brewing with Fruit and More: Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
- 11 Brewing Big Beer: James Watt, BrewDog Ltd, Scotland
- 12 Barrel Aging: Scott Vaccaro, Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
- 13 Organic Brewing: Ted Vivatson, Eel River Brewing Co.
- 14 Tasting and Evaluating Beer: Ray Daniels, Cicerone Certification Program
- 15 Making Beautiful Beer: Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
- 16 Mead: Bob Liptrot, Tugwell Creek Meadery, Canada
- 17 Hard Cider: James Kohn, Wandering Aengus Ciderworks
- 18 Traditional Cider: Jérôme Dupont, Domaine Familial Louis Dupont, France
- Brewer’s Glossary
- Photo Credits
- About the Authors
Aroma hops with Mitch Steele contains a chart with seven suggested hop blends for “flavor and aroma” (36). These include hop variety and ratios. For example, Goldings and Target at 4:1 for English ales; earthy and spicy with hints of tangerine. I am interested in trying a couple of these.
Lager brewing with Bill Covaleski contains the clearest, most succinct, explanation of the gross differences between German, Czech, Swiss, and American Lager yeasts (44).
On Soft water [We have extremely soft water!]:
“A bonus of using soft water is that because of a low temporary hardness level, there’s little trouble hitting a desired pH with pale base malt.” 54
The chapter on Brewing with fruit and more contains the second full-on WTF?! Moment I came across in this book. [Sadly, I failed to note the first]. The section titled, Sanitizing Fruit, begins “Fresh or frozen fruit will both need to be sanitized unless you are adding it after your boil” (101). I believe that is incorrect.
On the next page, in Adding fruit to the brew it states there “are three common points in the brewing process at which you can add fruit: at the end of the boil, during primary fermentation, and to the conditioning tank” (102). So, in practice, all the additions are “after your boil” and, thus, no fruit needs sanitizing. And that is simply wrong.
Brewing big beer contains some good information on pitching rates, making a yeast starter, using Champagne yeast and high-test yeast strains.
Following this chapter proper is an interview with James Watt of BrewDog. I was particularly dismayed by this choice because despite their three “world’s strongest” records they used freeze distillation for all of them. Freeze distillation is illegal in the US for homebrewers as it is distilling. This is a book for homebrewers so why focus on something clearly illegal? Better choices would have been Sam Calagione and World Wide Stout, among others (Palo Santo Marron) and Jim Koch and Utopia. No doubt in 2011 there were plenty of other choices too.
All in all, I found the book useful and enjoyable, even if in a middling way [3 of 5 stars]. There is some poor editing throughout but not a substantial amount. For instance, Beyond fruit has an incomplete sentence: “Most culinary elements that have a manageable fat content (yes, chocolate works), and can be sterilized, added, or infused into beer in some way” (103). [Just remove the “and” is one way to fix it.] Plus, it mentions “fat” with no commentary as to what is “manageable” or even why fat is an issue. There are several more minor editing issues between the above and “… , we’ll rack the fermented cider the sediment off yeast” (174). Most of the poor editing is comprehendable but not always and perhaps not to people with limited knowledge.
I do think it could be a useful book, but at this point, with all of my others, I would not pay much for it.
This is the 17th book read and 7th reviewed in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2017 [2017nfc]