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Designing Great Beers: The Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles Paperback – January 26, 1998


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Designing Great Beers: The Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles + How to Brew: Everything You Need To Know To Brew Beer Right The First Time + Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 404 pages
  • Publisher: Brewers Publications; 1ST edition (January 26, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0937381500
  • ISBN-13: 978-0937381502
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (199 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Part 1 of Designing Great Beers is a complete book in itself, focused solely on home-brewing ingredients and techniques (including three superb chapters on hops alone). Ray Daniels proves himself the "techie" type, infusing his introductory chapters with as much brewing math as brewing lore. Yet, Daniels never hops off the deep end of beer geekdom. Instead, he complements this emphasis on data with the creative use of graphics; where one could get bogged down in the stats, there is usually a clear visual depiction to instantly summarize their meaning.

This focus on facts continues into part 2 of Daniels's guide, where it backs an admirably pragmatic take on beer styles and their importance in home-brewing. Daniels devotes a chapter to each of 14 major style categories, detailing historical origins and modern brewing techniques. He lays a contemporary groundwork by compiling and analyzing the recipes of the National Homebrew Competition's most successful beers. The assumption is that beers deemed representative of particular beer styles in modern competitions serve as ideal models for recipe creation. Among the information provided for each style is a chart showing the percentage of brewers using each type of grain and in what proportions the grains were added. Similar data are supplied for hop varieties, yeast strains, and water treatment. This reverse engineering of award-winning beers naturally benefits experienced brewers seeking to wow judges at the next competition. Yet, even brewers taking their first shy steps into creating their own recipes have much to gain from this kind of practical analysis. Daniels provides the basic tools a brewer of any level can use to formulate recipes with confidence and creativity. --Todd Gehman

Review

Designing Great Beers: The Ultimate Guide To Brewing Classic Beer Styles is more than just a recipe book or merely another "how-to" manual, it is an indispensable guide intended for brewers interested in formulating their own beers based on classic styles, modern techniques, and their own vision of the perfect beer. With more than 200 tables, Designing Great Beers offers brewers knowledge on the essence of various styles, giving them the needed insight to create their own beers including "Six Steps to Successful Beer", "Hitting Target Gravity", "Pilsener and Other Pale Lagers", "Yellow-Red Proportions of Beers, Malts and Caramels", and "Common Hop Varieties and Their Typical Alpha Acid Levels". Designing Great Beers is must reading for every home brewer, microbrewer, and fun armchair reading for armchair reader contemplating the perfect brew. -- Midwest Book Review

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Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in taking their brewing to the next level.
Schtave
This book does not provide recipes, but it does provide great information about the fundamentals that you can use to formulate your own recipes.
Brian A. Schar
There is a chart for each style which gives information on ingredients used in beers which made it to the second round of the NHC.
Robert M. Halperin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

137 of 139 people found the following review helpful By Robert M. Halperin on June 26, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First, let me say what this book is not. It is not a recipe book, or a book which describes the techniques for brewing beer. In other words, it is not for beginners.
After following recipes for a number of batches of beer, it was time to learn how to create my own recipes. The purpose of this book is to do just that; come up with your own recipes. The first part of the book tells the reader how to compute the grain bill, the hop bill and how to hit original gravity. It also contains information on beer color, yeast and water. I used this section to make the computations for my first original recipe. This, in turn, gave me the incentive to buy a brewing software package which I now use in conjunction with the second part of the book.
The second part describes beer styles and what ingredients go into each style described. There is a chart for each style which gives information on ingredients used in beers which made it to the second round of the NHC. I found some of the charts in this part somewhat confusing and there are a few references in the text to wrong charts. However, as a result of this book, I have started to formulate my own recipes with a lot of success.
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78 of 82 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
The first section of Ray's book covers the fundamentals of all grain brewing. I seldom refer to it.
However, the second section not only profiles many of the classic beer styles, it analyzes the recipes and techniques used in producing competition winning entries for the styles. While one can argue that strict style guidelines and competitions based on style guidelines are counterproductive in the craft beer industry, it is very interesting to see how accomplished brewers are formulating their recipes. Many of the formulation compilations are surprising. If anything, they show that you CAN deviate from strict recipe guidelines and produce a quality beer.
I have two shelves full of brewing books. This is the one I would hang onto if I was allowed only one brewing reference.
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59 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Robert F. Mortan on September 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
For anyone who has brewed at least one batch, this is a must-have book. You will learn more from reading this book, than from brewing a hundred more batches. Read Papazin, then graduate to this. You will learn to hit target gravities, target IBU's, and how to balance them against each other. Styles are broken down into easily (for the most part) reproducible processes and techniques, allowing you to formulate your own recipe within the style, not copy someone else's. I never brew a batch without reading up on the particular style in this book first. Best book out there on beer. Bar none.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By R. Danley on November 6, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The print version of the book is excellent. Unfortunately, when preparing the ebook, the publishers apparently used optical character recognition software, and didn't proofread the final copy.

Many of the equations needed to determine the amounts needed in the recipes make no sense. This makes the strongest points of the book worthless. Until the equation errors are corrected, I would recommend saving your money for the print copy
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Dennis M. Doherty on January 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
The title of this book is the truth. It IS a book about Designing Great Beer: The Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles. If I were allowed only one book about brewing beer, this would be it.
With this book and a little work on my brewing system to figure out certain variables (efficiency, how much water is lost etc...), I was able to create an Excel Spreadsheet that walks me through the process of designing my own beer and it works. I plug in the size of the batch I want, original gravity, bittering, and a few other things and it tells me how much mash water and sparge water I need to start. Then when things don't come out perfect, an additional spread sheet helps me calculate how much malt extract, sugar, honey or even water to add to get the gravity to where I want it. This is all from what I learned from part one of this book. If you are an all grain brewer and you don't have this book, you are not brewing to the best of your ability.
If you like to enter contests, you know that the judges don't care if the beer is good. They want beer that is good and true to style. The second part of this book is such a comprehensive guide to style I can almost guarantee it will help you improve your scores.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Brian D. Gabriel on May 8, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I first got this book I didn't like it much. Why would I need all of this "data" when my BeerSmith program does all of the calculations for me? But as you perfect your style and technique--you find that you want to know "why" as much as "how". This book is GREAT for that. It is almost compulsively detailed and falls somewhere between a casual brewers how-to book and a full blown textbook of beer. Especially cool are the comparisons of the evolution of different styles; the grain bill comparisons for contest winning examples of styles; and the various graphs and charts which illustrate many of the intricacies of bringing beer within your BJCP guidelines.

I would say that this book is nearly indispensible for the intermediate homebrewer. Once you have figured out how to keep your equipment clean and the basics of brewing, this book is the next logical step. It does not replace a good brewing software program (like ProMash or BeerSmith) but it does let you know what is going on "behind the scenes" in those programs (how is it calculating my lovibond? how is it getting an ABV? why is that a style paramater?).

Get. This. Book.
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