- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Brewers Publications (November 17, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0937381845
- ISBN-13: 978-0937381847
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.5 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 55 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #316,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Farmhouse Ales: Culture and Craftsmanship in the Belgian Tradition Paperback – November 17, 2004
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Yes, the book has recipes and guides for any spice additions you might use, and info on water, yeast and hop value. This is NOT a book for a beginner brewer, but is a welcome companion for an intermediate level homebrewer, or if you are historically curious. Knowledge is good.
Published in 2004, I did find myself amused where the author Yvan De Baets "A History of Saison" section states "Authentic saisons,along with traditional lambic beers, are certainly the most fascinating styles of old beers that still exists in Belgium. Unfortunately, they are part of a family of beers that is endangered since they no longer appeal to the tastes of the consumers who have become used to sweet and simplified flavors; therefore we absolutely must support or revive them in their authentic version or they shall become extinct."
In 2013, I can say that the state of saisons and lambic ale is more popular than ever, because of homebrewers and the American craft beer movement. These styles are no longer in danger of becoming extinct. Cheers!
For me the best chapter was "A Word on Style". The quote "Perhaps no other family of beers can frustrate the style police like farmhouse ales..." gives an idea of the attitude of this book. The point is made that "style" is sometimes over defined and stifles creativity. The point is to make good beer.
The book does not set out to prescribe what a farmhouse ale should be. Rather it describes the history of the farmhouse ales and their modern successors. The book does give some recipes and suggestions, but makes the point that these are starting points for experimentation.
As a brewer who views style very broadly and loves to learn new techniques and experiment, I greatly enjoyed this book. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys beer and brewing.
Discussion of historical and geographic influences on saison and biere de garde are interesting and kept to a minumum. Of particular interest is the text devoted to paragons of both styles- describing their evolutions, specific malts and hops used, abv and attenuation, yeasts, gravities, fermentation temperatures, aging, water profiles, and so on... everything one would need to reverse-engineer a clone beer, if one chose to do so.
It is not, however, a collection of clone recipes. The samples recipes for variations of both styles are intended as guidelines, easily adaptable to individual brewhouse procedures and efficiencies. Also, the parameters are so diverse that it is difficult, if not impossible, to define style guidelines, a fact that the author acknowledges. This loose end can be frustrating to the reader.
Overall, a useful book; solid information, and nothing irrelevant or overtechnical.