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Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation (Brewing Elements) Paperback – October 16, 2010

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Product Details

  • Series: Brewing Elements
  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Brewers Publications; 9/16/10 edition (October 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0937381969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0937381960
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

From the foreword: "...loads of sound information and techniques that will work for brewers at all levels, from beginning homebrewers to production brewers at any sized brewery. Included are fantastic tips for working with all kinds of yeast strains and beer styles, introducing new strains, and how to use best brewing and lab practices to keep your yeast healthy and your beer tasting great."

Mitch Steele, Head Brewer/Production Manager, Stone Brewing Company

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Customer Reviews

This book is very informative and interesting to read.
This is a great book for the dedicated brewer, if you are curious about what effect yeast has on your homebrew.
G. Uhl
It's very easy to follow and grasp some more technical information.
Robert Rivera

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By G. Schmidt on January 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a pretty good home brewing book. It's NOT a yeast biology textbook or a yeast-ranching manual, though, and I think the other recent review is a bit unfair in its expectations. (If you're looking for that kind of information, it's out there. Start with George Fix.) It is technical enough to get its point across without requiring me to dig out old college textbooks to understand its references.

If you're an intermediate- to advanced-homebrewer, this is worth having. (True beginners should probably concentrate on big-ticket techniques first.) It will teach you everything you need to know to get the best performance out of yeast purchased from reputable sources and help you shepherd it through a typical 4 or 5 generations.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A. Colombo on January 20, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading the other reviews I was a little unsure if purchasing this book would apply to homebrewers. After reading this book extensively I believe that this is an excellent starting point for homebrewers who want to learn how to culture and store their own yeast. The other reviews are correct, there are a few basic introduction chapters in the beginning but the vast majority of the book is an extensive guide on yeast culturing practices from start to finish. The author(s) do an excellent job explaining concepts and procedures in a clear way giving the reader a step-by-step guide, with some photographs.

The authors give examples of how commercial breweries grow up their yeast to pitchable rates, but the vast majority of this book is written for homebrewers who are working in 5 and 10 gallon batches. Everything is covered in detail, from washing and rinsing yeast harvested from a primary fermentation vessel, pitching rates, yeast starters, harvesting yeast, storing yeast, preparing slants and petri dishes and streak plating yeast cells to grow and isolate different colonies. For those homebrewers who think that yeast culturing is way too much of a headache and prefer to purchase a new vial of yeast from the store for every batch, please give this book a chance and see how easy it is to culture and isolate your own yeast. The author(s) do an excellent job of describing how complex a brewery laboratory can be, but they do an even better job of teaching the homebrewer to use the exact same techniques at home using nothing more than a pressure cooker, agar, dry malt extract and a wire inoculation loop.

If you are a homebrewer who is just starting out and are using extract and partial mash recipes then perhaps yeast culturing is too large of a next step.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David Louw on February 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a very active home brewer (25+ batches a year), fan of Jamil's other book (Brewing Classic Styles), and voracious reader of brewing literature. Overall this book is well worth the money but there are a few places it could be better. The biggest problem is the sequencing of the information. Given that this is supposed to be a practical guide I was disappointed that I had to slog through the first half of the book with very little applicable information. I would recommend that home brewers don't try to read the book start to finish but rather jump around in an order of their choosing. Most of it was a rehash of what I've found in other sources though it was nice to see it all in one place.

I also found it was difficult to find information by looking using the index. For example, I recalled reading a note about the dangers of crash cooling. The index was useless in helping me track down the relevant passage and I basically had to skim through several chapters.

On the positive side the information is solid and saves having to dig it up from other books. Zainasheff and White also clarify some critical procedures around testing and propagation. Especially useful on this was clear lists of supplies and equipment. Definitely worth adding to your shelf once you've got some of the other brewing topics down. I just hope that in future editions they improve the sequencing of the information and beef up the index.
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192 of 259 people found the following review helpful By Y T on December 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book was very disappointing.

If you're hoping it will contain the information necessary to maintain yeast without reliance on commercial sources (after obtaining a culture) then it will be grossly inadequate. The over simplification of techniques (often times a complete omission) make this book useless to a professional; this simplification is so incredible that it is not much more than a primer for the homebrewer. Considering it was written by prominent professionals with a academic backgrounds in science, it is appalling that it reads like a hybrid between an amateur forum post and an advertisement for White Labs.

The book was truly lost for me upon reading the sentence: "An easy way to determine the proper amount of yeast for your batch and how big a starter you need is the free Pitching Rate Calculator at [...]" (p144). Anybody buying an entire book dedicated to beer yeast is far beyond needing a reference to that website.

A text of this type should enable the reader to perform all of the necessary calculations on their own; it doesn't. This book mentions several times that certain methods should be avoided or circumvented in lieu of less ideal but easier methods because the reader is not competent enough to maintain a sanitary environment or use complex/expensive equipment or methods, yet the book goes on to recommend the reader purchase items like a centrifuge (p182) and a spectrophotometer (p229).

I admit some of this disappointment is my fault.
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