Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Need More Input...

Before I embarked on my new brewing pass time I wanted to get to know the ins and outs of homebrewing, so like some kind of fleshy Johnny Five I went on the rampage for more input, ordering books willy-nilly for all corners of the internet. Here I give a rundown of the books I've acquired and my thoughts from a beginners point of view.

The Homebrew Handbook - Dave Law and Beshlie Grimes
This was the first book I ordered when I set out on this little adventure, and with what little knowledge I had at the time I did find it very informative. It has a punky vibe to it's design, which is fine for your initial read through, but for a pickup reference guide it makes it a little difficult to quickly scan through. There are 75 bare bones recipes included, so you can get you grips with the basic styles before you begin experimenting.

Home Brew Beer - Greg Hughes
I always associate Dorling Kindersley with kids books about dinosaurs or pond life, and initially when you flick through the pages it does have that kind of feel about it. However, once you get stuck in you realise it's clear, concise and goes into a bit more depth than The Homebrew Handbook. It's clarity also lends itself more as a reference guide, with the edges of the pages denoting each section making it a breeze to flick through. It has 100 recipes and for a lot of them it also instructions for the malt extract version.

The Radical Brewer - Randy Mosher
I bought this based on an indirect Twitter recommendation from Jay Krause of Quantum Brewing. I wanted more input, and I most definitely got it! This book is so packed full of information it'll blow your mind, but it's all written in an easy going and amusing manner that makes for a really entertaining read. The way Randy talks in this book has really struck a chord with me, with where I am now and where I want to be, essentially - do your own thing, go crazy, make great beers and enjoy it because you're a brewing wizard! It also has a plethora of spells recipes with names like "Mister Boing Boing" and "Dragon's Milk"...brilliant! I can see this becoming my bible when I get stuck into some proper brewing.

The Complete Homebrew Handbook - Various
Just when I thought I was done with my pursuit of physical reading material I spotted this. It's part magazine, part book - a bookazine if you will, and although it initially covers the usual stuff, such as history, terminology, methods, etc., the real selling point for me were the recipes. It doesn't feature the usual generic beers, instead opting for recipes of well loved brews from the likes of Thornbridge, Quantum, Magic Rock, Weird Beard, Wild Beer Co and Mikkeller, but to name drop a few! There's even a recipe for Kernel's Export India Stout included, one of my favorite tipples of recent happy am I? Extremely! Though I expect my results will not be quite as polished as Kernel's efforts (I mean c'mon, who's would be?), but it'll still be great to have a bash and will no doubt be an interesting exercise. There's also a handy section of useful tips from the said brewers too for fledgling homebrewers such as myself. Overall it's well written, in depth and packed full of detail. Definitely worth seeking out.