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IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale Paperback – October 16, 2012
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The recipes are never a bad touch. I didn't see their value so much at first, but I have went back and referenced them on multiple occasions. The web is filled with beer recipes, however, so this certainly isn't an exclusive source of such info.
I feel there was quite a bit of brewing information that was left out. There was a sense of elitism without explanation (always a red flag) when it came to jabs against dry yeast or extract brewing. Simply stating that extract "doesn't taste as good" (to paraphrase) wastes an incredible opportunity to teach. I came across as dogma to me and that won't improve my brewing. I missed out on the "why" part.
The trickiest part of all this is I'm not a huge fan of the Stone IPA, but am a huge fan of Stone Ruination. Because of this, the book's claims of using extremely small amounts of specialty grains to keep from masking the flavor of the hops may or may not be for me. The author sure seems to be a fan of following the rules for any given style of beer, and I generally abhor such talk. I'll just have to do my own experimentation and find out. You could argue that's a strength of the book, but I'm not so sure. I bought the book to rule out a bunch of low-hanging-fruit-issues so that I could move to more pressing experiments. Oh well.
Overall, it's not a bad read. The extremely detailed history lesson of IPA is going to be for a TINY segment of the population. The recipes are....well....recipes. The information ain't bad, but I don't recall any Eureka moments. If you've got The Complete Joy Of Brewing and John Palmer's How To Brew, this book really doesn't add much.
A great read.
If you want the real story of IPAs and want some killer recipes to go with it, get this book right away. The author is one of the definitive sources on this style for the modern age.
You would expect Mitch Steele to at least reveal some useful trade secrets but you will find none in this book besides the obvious "Dont use a lot of crystal malt in a Double IPA" "Use dark malts with no roasted flavors like Carafa III in a Black IPA".
Unfortunately, I found the book lacking in real tips for brewing better (modern) IPAs. There is good recipe information for brewing historical IPAs circa 1800-1850 (including water chemistry), but none of the recipes are scaled for the standard 5 gallon homebrewer setup. I myself am looking forward to using the information to brew a heavily hopped Burton IPA in the near future. There are also excellent recipes for some of the best-known modern IPAs in the country. All in all, about 50 pages of recipes. These recipes are from the horse's mouth, so to speak, and should be much more accurate than anything you find on the internet.
There is some style discussion for double IPAs, black IPAs (or dark cascadians, whatever you want to call them), and Belgian IPAs, but it really doesn't amount to much and is more of a side note than a main focus.
There is good brewing information in the book, but if you have already read Palmer's How to Brew and Yeast by White and Zainesheff (both of which are excellent books all homebrewers should read), I don't think there will be anything new to you. In the end, it is a nice addition to the interested brewer, but definitely not a must-have. Cheers.
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great read and reference.