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Beer Craft: A Simple Guide to Making Great Beer Paperback – May 10, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Beer Craft is a terrific primer for anyone looking to enter the endlessly fascinating world of homebrewing. Authors William and Jessi struck a perfect balance: Beer Craft is both quite educational while being effortless to follow!” ―Greg Koch, co-founder and CEO, Stone Brewing Co.

“Bostwick and Rymill demystify the esoteric process of homebrewing. ... The genius of this book is that it takes an incredibly complex topic and boils it down to quaffable parts without dumbing down the key points of becoming a serious homebrew honcho.” ―Food and Wine

“The ReadyMade magazine–style guide in retro pop-art tones boasts brilliantly colored charts, graphs, and illustrations that could revolutionize homebrewing.” ―Edible Brooklyn

“A new kind of guide … Offers insight for everyone. Laminate your copy so it can live forever on your countertop.” ―Beer Advocate

“Bostwick and Rymill streamline beermaking into a simpler, cheaper, and less daunting task: brewing by the gallon. … In this writer's experience, homebrew shopkeepers often encourage beginner brewers to first try their hand at pale ales, browns, or IPAs. But Beer Craft, true to the current era of creative and "extreme" brewing, pushes readers to explore.” ―SF Weekly

“This is the book I wish I'd had back when I made my first homebrew. With it, the greenest homebrewer could go into the kitchen with confidence and make great beer. … Highly recommended for anyone thinking about starting to homebrew. Advanced brewers might also consider picking up a copy just for the great reference charts on malt varieties, types of hop, yeasts, and basic recipe formulas.” ―Apartment Therapy

Beer Craft is like Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything--just for homebrew hobbyists. Unlike the homebrew books that have come before, Beer Craft is designed for urban DIYers living in small, city apartments. Even if you don't plan on making your own beer, the design, interesting facts, and plain readability of the book makes its worth adding to your library.” ―Dwell

About the Author

WILLIAM BOSTWICK is a writer and beer critic. He likes brewing old-school styles like heather beers (but understands why some of them have gone extinct).

JESSI RYMILL is a designer and editor. She collects labels and bottle caps and wonders why the beers with the weirdest designs usually taste the best. Together, they live, work, and brew in Brooklyn and San Francisco.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books (May 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605291331
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605291338
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #510,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Aside from being beautifully designed and a really simple read, this book approaches brewing from an angle that none others do (that I know of). For brewers just getting started, the typical books and other instructions that you find online lay out the process well, but for 5 gallon batches (read: A LOT). While this is OK, it commits you to making a huge amount of beer. This book pairs it down and teaches you how you can do it in smaller, 1 gallon batches. A 1 gallon batch basically yields you about a 12 pack. You end up using smaller equipment that is more manageable and if you don't like the beer you make (which can happen), you don't have so much to get rid of. You can always expand if you want to make a lot.

The other thing that I really like about the book is, because you are working with smaller batches, you can experiment and adjust your ingredients and really think out the beer you want to make. The authors break down the different types of beer and relate them all to one another so you can understand what the hell you're making and how you can tinker and change things up. It also has a lot of clever designs in it like a diagram that you can lay your hops out on and get a close estimate of the weight, if you don't have a scale around. If you're interested in beer history too this is a good find. All in all, really nice. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
DISCLOSURE: I am acquainted with William Bostwick's father from whom I received this book as a gift. He's a proud dad, and rightly so.

Now that we have that out of the way, let me say that I've been brewing beer for over a decade. I've read lots of books - some better than others - on the subject. This one is the sort of handy guide I've been looking for.

William covers not only the "hows" of home brewing, but the "whys" and adds a healthy dose of beer history. Jessi gives wonderful advice and practical hints on label and cap design. The book's layout, artwork and extras, such as a brewing record, are all first rate.

Plus, William threw in a great tip on how to remove old labels which in and of itself is worth the price of admission. If you've ever tried (and failed) to remove an old label from a bottle you know what I mean.

So what's the bottom line? How good is it? I wish I had had this book three weeks ago when I did my last brew, and I'll have it near me the next time. And I ordered and paid for a copy for my oldest son who wants to get started in home brewing but doesn't know where to begin. Cheers!
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Format: Paperback
I'm more of a wine guy than a beer guy, but I do like a beer now and then. I've toured a few breweries, and know some people who make their own beer. So I thought this book might be interesting.

I found it more than interesting. It is very to-the-point about the differences between beers and how those differences are achieved by brewers, but without any sense that they are glossing over the details. Their graphical representation of the relationships between different types of beer helped me to better understand my tastes. The recipes and instructions are clear and should be easy to follow.

The vignettes with different brewers add the human interest angle, and soften the overall bluntness of the book. Bluntness doesn't bother me, but I think the vignettes are a net plus in this book.

After reading it I'm actually thinking I should give some home-brew a chance. How much did I like this book? I was provided an advance (electronic) copy of the book by the publisher for review; I've ordered a copy of the final product.
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This book is a great way to learn about beer making, and to start making beer without a major investment in a larger kit, but the method in the book might be harder than that with a kit.
The method explained in this book uses mostly kitchen items that you might already have, and shows you how to make one-gallon batches (9-10 bottles) of beer using a whole-grain mash (not sure if that's the industry term). When you go to the brewing store to pick up the last few items you need, you will learn that many people who home brew purchase kits that produce five or ten gallons of beer (a lot) at a time (but which are relatively expensive), and many people use pre-made mixes that have a higher chance of success than using actual barley. (I have friends who have made much better beer with much less effort using kits and mixes than I have during my first three brews using this book--it's actually easier to maintain the temperature of a larger batch, and maintaining temperatures is key in brewing.)
As long as you don't mind the challenge, it's a great way to learn about how beer has traditionally been made, and to do the process yourself, start to finish, without making a huge amount (as your first few batches will in all likelihood be awful anyway). It's basically the equivalent of making pasta with your own homemade sauce instead of store bought--so if that's how you like to do things, this book's for you.
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If you tend to be more of a visual learner, this is THE BOOK on brewing for you.

If you want to make smaller than standard 5 gallon batches, this is THE BOOK for you.

If you want something simple, with which to get your feet wet, this is THE BOOK for you.

I have The Joy of Brewing and How to brew as well. (about 3/4 done with the former) and this book is a much simpler, concise read. I'd honestly suggest going with Craft Beer along with one of the other two.

I love how good the book looks. It is easy to read, and small enough to barely fit in a back pocket. I really can't recommend this book enough, for the new brewer. I have NO clue how good it is for more advanced brewers, but I'd think the simple tables/visual aids could be used down the road.
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