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Brooklyn Brew Shop's Beer Making Book: 52 Seasonal Recipes for Small Batches Paperback – November 1, 2011
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"The owners of Brooklyn Brew Shop have created a must-have for beer obsessives. This simple, straightforward book addresses the basics on equipment and ingredients, and includes recipes for around 50 beers, organized by season. Cross your DIY tinkerers off your holiday list―this is their gift."
―Heather Shouse, Time Out Chicago
About the Author
ERICA SHEA & STEPHEN VALAND are co-owners and -founders of the Brooklyn Brew Shop. They sell their beer making kits and ingredient mixes at BrooklynBrewShop.com, the Brooklyn Flea, Williams-Sonoma, Urban Outfitters, West Elm, and Whole Foods. Both they and their kits have been featured in Food & Wine, the New York Times, Real Simple, Cosmopolitan, Serious Eats, and on the Early Show, Regis & Kelly, ABC, NBC, and Fox. They live in Brooklyn.
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But I also had these "leftover" packs of grain, yeast, and hops, since I had to buy specialty ingredients in larger quantities than the recipes required. And in that situation you might think, gee, how can I combine these and other household ingredients into a whole new beer? Well, this book won't even come close to telling you. This book (and its predecessor) just repeat the same. format. over. and over. and over. If you want to know how beer works, you will need Palmer and Papazian (preferably Palmer, Papazian's book reeks of the 1970s). A little study of Palmer online taught me about diastatic potential (so I could make sure my leftover grains, when combined and mashed in the proportions I had, would actually produce fermentable sugar), and voila, my saison and stout leftovers made a nice brown ale of my own creation, no thanks to this book.
I understand this is not presented as a theory book, but honestly, it would've taken very little additional information about "here's why this recipe works," things like diastatic potential and mash temperature ranges affecting residual sugars, etc, to make this a real springboard. And there would be lots of ROOM to put that information if they didn't spend two pages repeating the exact same formula for every recipe: mash at 148-152F, run your wort through the grains twice, ferment two weeks and bottle, voila. I mean that right there was an oddly constant step: no matter whether the recipe is for a mild 3% or a strong 9%, the fermentation steps were the same, even though you probably want to rack to a second carboy and wait longer for a high gravity beer. They could have just listed those steps in the beginning, and for each recipe said "follow the standard process on page 12," and then provided a little more info about the ingredients and why they work together, or how to fine tune your ferment.
There are a good two dozen or more beers I want to brew. The book is separated into seasonal sections. The Everyday IPA is a Spring beer. Other got-to-make beers are: the Grapefruit Honey Ale (Summer), Cranberry Wheat (Fall) and Chocolate Maple Porter (Winter). Other interesting recipes are the Apple Crisp Ale, Prohibition Ale (which uses raisins to prime the beer), Cardamom Ale, Grapes & Grain Ale, Pumpkin Dubble, Chestnut Brown Ale, Winter Wheat Ale, Dates & Honey Ale and the New Year Beer.
Each recipe has suggested food pairings. At the end of each seasonal chapter there are food recipes using beer from the book such as Beer Mustard, Lavender Shortbread with Honey-Beer Glaze, BBQ Beer Barbecue Sauce, Beer-Brined Pickles, and even Spent-Grain Dog Biscuits! There is an index, sources and glossary in the back.
Beware newbies - the book is sketchy on how to brew and gives you just the briefest of instructions. But there's plenty of places online for all that how-to information (google How to Brew by John Palmer) and many, many books. Each recipe has a 5 gallon conversion for brewers who enjoy making larger batches. I am so thrilled to have a nice little book with lots of interesting recipes, all figured out for 1 gallon batches.
They give great ideas for food pairings, how to reuse ingredients like grains or fruits, etc. I was inspired by this book to make a chestnut brown ale and an apple ale similar to the recipes provided, but with modifications that allowed me to use ingredients in the amounts that I can obtain them. My dad raved about the chestnut brown ale that was inspired by the recipe in this book.