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Brew Like a Monk: Trappist, Abbey, and Strong Belgian Ales and How to Brew Them Paperback – September 8, 2005


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Brew Like a Monk: Trappist, Abbey, and Strong Belgian Ales and How to Brew Them + Farmhouse Ales: Culture and Craftsmanship in the Belgian Tradition + Wild Brews: Culture and Craftsmanship in the Belgian Tradition
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 295 pages
  • Publisher: Brewers Publications (September 8, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 093738187X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0937381878
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

It's been 21 years since my wife, Daria Labinsky, and I left our previous jobs as newspaper editors to see the country and some of the world beyond. Writing about beer was not part of the plan. Neither was writing books, but I've been lucky to co-author four of them with her, write three on my own and contribute to many others.

The three most popular - "For the Love of Hops," "Brewing with Wheat" and "Brew Like a Monk" - are about beer and brewing, but I don't pretend to be a brewing expert.

I'm a journalist. I visit places (mostly breweries, but for the most recent books hop farms and research facilities) I collect stories, I ask people what they do and why they do it, I sort through various histories, and I try to make sense of what brewing scientists have to say.

Not everything I learn makes it way into books, so as well as writing for a variety of magazines I comment on the importance of the "where in beer" at www.appellationbeer.com.


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 68 customer reviews
Beer with a story, the kind of book I like to read.
Dave Hansen
It gives enough of the history and background on belgian trappist and abbey style beers to be interesting from that standpoint alone.
JJ
A reader interested in brewing can get a sense of visiting each brewery and asking questions about the beers made.
Jeff Stearns

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

104 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey S. Erway on December 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
So if you've just done your first batch of beer this is not the book for you. As a matter of fact, if you have just done your first all grain batch this might not be the book for you. However, if you are a seasoned veteran of the mash tun and want to really delve head first into some of the most beautiful beers on earth this could be your ticket. I know Stan and can affirm that he knows as much about Belgian brewing as anyone in the US. Interviews with Belgian beer masters as well as those stateside gives the advanced homebrewer or professional a great idea of what it will take to brew great belgian inspired beers. Clearly the most important parts of this book to the brewer are the sections on ingredients and fermentation. If you are a diehard English inspired brewer this book will be an eye opener as to what exactly is so different about brewing belgian ales.

While being the most accessible of the series, Brew Like a Monk does have periods of extreme tehnical pursuit and it is not just there to baffle, but to educate. Topics such as pitching rates, krausening, bottle conditioning, mash PH, hop extracts, fermentation temperatures, attenuation, and adjunct types are covered in full. For those that are so inclined, Malt analysis and enzyme content are also covered as well as fermenter design of the trappist and secular breweries.

As I said, this, as well as the other two in this series, are not for the novice brewer, but if you really want a definitive and complete working knowledge of belgian brewing in the trappist tradition, look no further.
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Bigfoot on September 8, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As other reviewers have pointed out, it's a good idea for the reader to have several years of all-grain brewing experience. That, and an existing appreciation of abbey-style beers; words alone cannot adequately portray the unique flavors of Belgian fermentations.

Homebrewers often set out to create trappist-inspired beers with the goal of high alcohol content. From reading the book, one will learn that this is a flawed approach; these beers are about allowing the yeast to contribute flavor and attenuation, about embracing the quirky qualities of the yeast, and about retaining balance and "drinkability" in the beer. Higher alcohol content is serendipitous, but almost incidental.

Insightful interviews with trappist brewers, and secular brewers of superb abbey-style ales, introduce the reader to this brewing "philosophy." These discussions, and the technical data of the beers they brew, are of enormous value. (As are the lessons they learned from brewing less-than-spectacular beers.) In fact, the differences in malt bills between the two schools is radical at times. I found it amusing that many of the most revered examples of the styles do not fit neatly into the "guidelines" that are supposed to define them.

All aspects of abbey-style brewing are explored in depth... from water, ingredients, and mash temperatures to pitching rates, influences on yeast behavior, and bottle conditioning. Questions about two of the most controversial topics among homebrewers... yeast origins and sugars... are definitively answered.

Finally, the text is a joy to read! At once both thoughtful and passionate, the book conveys the reader on a journey of exploration and teaching.
Read more ›
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Lyle W. Neander on March 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
The author presumes you are a proficient brewer and concentrates on the philosophy of belgium abbey brewing rather than the mechanics of brewing. It is a good read and provides the home brewer with useful data to incorporate into their brewing. Excellent section of the use of sugars for increased attentuation and reduced cloying qualities associated with malt only brewing. Overall I would recommend this book without reservation to any home brewer seeking to gain more professional results in their brewing and greater complexity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ben Hamlin on February 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are serious about beer and interested in the development of the Belgian style so you can create your own version, then this is a truly useful book for you the adventurous home-brewer. I started out with the clone recipe books (of which there are many out there) and initially bought this book to quickly increase my ability to clone a Belgian style beer that had enjoyed on a whim. Once I started reading however, my eyes were opened. The book does cover quite a bit of history but in doing so debunks a lot of myths about abbey beers and some of the notions about 1000 year old recipes. This is really more a book about brewing philosophy written with the small batch home-brewer in mind. There are very helpful and encouraging tips scattered throughout the book and any brewer with this new knowledge (and perhaps Brewsmith software-my personal favorite) you can continue the "tradition" of abbey beers even though you may not be affiliated with a monastery or even Belgium for that matter. Home-brewing is all about finding your style and using the experience of those that have come before to create something that you really want to drink.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Hoffman, author:Radiation Days: A Comedy VINE VOICE on July 25, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Imagine that you-an experienced homebrewer-got to gather around a fire with some folks who had years of experience brewing versions of your favorite beer style. It would be hard to have a bad time, harder still not to come away a better brewer for it.
This friendly, if somewhat disorderly book is just that conversation. I love the complexity and depth of belgian strong beers. Occasionally, by dumb luck, I've brewed one. Other times, my efforts have been dull, or over-concentrated or just odd.
In these conversations, we get some clarity about yeast, malt, fermenters, temperature control and bottling.
I think the odds in my favor just went up. This is a book to mine for insights.

Lynn Hoffman, author of The New Short Course in Wine
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