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Principles of Brewing Science: A Study of Serious Brewing Issues Paperback – November 16, 1999

3.9 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

The late George Fix will be remembered as a pioneer in finite element methods and phase field methods, and for numerous other contributions to numerical analysis and applied mathematics. He also distinguished himself as the chairman of three mathematics departments and as a caring adviser and mentor to graduate students and junior mathematicians. George had a second concurrent and distinguished career as a practitioner and scientist in the brewing of beer. His own home brews won countless regional and national sanctioned competitions, and he was named Homebrewer of the Year in 1981 by the American Homebrewers Association (AHA). He wrote two books with his wife, Laurie, An Analysis of Brewing Techniquesand one of the Classic Beer Style SeriesMarzen, Oktoberfest and Vienna. In addition, he authored a scientific treatise titledPrinciples of Brewing Science, which has gone through two editions and which is a standard reference among amateur and especially professional brewers. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Recognition Award by the Association of Brewers in 1991 and the Ninkasi award by the AHA in 1997, the highest honors bestowed by these organizations at the time. He also served as a consultant for brewpubs and gave numerous lectures all over the country to aficionados of the brewing arts and sciences.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Brewers Publications; 2 edition (November 16, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0937381748
  • ISBN-13: 978-0937381748
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.5 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By magellan HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a fairly technical discussion of the subject of brewing chemistry. It's probably more than your typical home-brewer will want to get into, but if you've got some biochem background, or have read Dr. Lee Janson's Brew Chem 101 book and are looking to read on from there, (or you're a very masochistic home-brewer :-)) this would be the next step to take. It does require a greater knowledge of biochemistry and some math (not too surprising, since Dr. Fix had a Ph.D. in math from Harvard). I note the problems with the citations another reviewer here mentioned, who said Dr. Fix refers to his own work and his other book too often, but I didn't mind that too much. Dr. Fix was certainly a competent professional in both math and brewing chemistry, and he did much important work on his own. The important thing is that this book helps to bridge the gap between the professional manuals of industrial microbiology and brewing chemistry and the professional literature. After completing this book, if you want more information, you'll have to go there, such as:
1. Beer and Wine Production: Analysis, Characterization, and Technological Advances (ACS Symposium, No. 536)
2. Biotechnology of Malting and Brewing by James S. Hough
3. Malting and Brewing Science: Hopped Wort and Beer (Volume 2) by D. E. Briggs, et al
4. Brewing Microbiology by Iain Campbell
5. Methods of Analysis of the American Society of Brewing Chemists, by the American Society Of Brewing Chemists
6. Malting and Brewing Science : Volume 1 (#Y0343)
by Dennis Edward Briggs, James S. Hough
7.
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Format: Paperback
Principles of Brewing Science deals with the biology and chemistry of beer. With my background in biochemistry, I was able to enjoy a detailed analysis on the subject. My only negative criticism is George Fix's excessive and sometimes exhaustive references to his own literature. Fix referred to himself about 40 times in this 173 page book. That is almost 1 reference per 4 pages, not to mention the fact that roughly one third of the book is charts and diagrams. What is most disturbing is that his other book, An Analysis of Brewing Techniques, makes numerous references to this book. The reader ends up getting caught in a futile cycle of references between these two books where some of the referred items are redundant. This round-about circle of references boarders on academic dishonesty. Another eyebrow raising issue is a reference Fix attributes to Rabin and Forget, 1998 on page 152. The reference section, however, has no list of Rabin or Forget. In all fairness, this book is the best compilation of the science behind the beer process and is quite informative. But I think it would be better suited as an appendix for his other book.
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Format: Paperback
George has cleaned up this edition and offers many more citations and support than in the first edition. The style is scientific, clear and concise. George is not afraid to get into the hard topics. This is an excellent introduction to brewing chemistry throughout the cycle.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While the book does have its problems with seemingly circular references and excessive typos, I think this is the best, to-the-point distillation of decades of brewing research available. I appreciate the scientific format of citing references to support claims, as you can easily go verify the statements for yourself. While this book does not read like a novel, I think the technical style is well written, clear and concise. You won't find elegant language or long prose; it isn't that kind of brewing or homebrewing book. I would recommend this book to anyone who ever asks the questions "why" or "how" when it comes to brewing. If you are simply looking for a how-to book then this may not be for you. If you want to know the answer to why hop oils isomerize or degrade the way they do, or why brewing water affects brewing or why different enzymes behave the way they do at given temperatures and pH, or how kegging pressure affects the partial pressure of carbon dioxide and carbonic acid (or many other questions like these), then this is your book.

Overall, I think this book is an excellent distillation of more advanced (and lengthy) technical brewing books, and I will be recommending this to many of my friends involved in the AHA and BJCP.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book, well written and researched. The book gives a much more thorough treatment of the chemistry of the process than many other texts on the subject. The book would likely not be of significant utility (they should read How to Brew: Everything You Need To Know To Brew Beer Right The First Time which is a very good practical guide), but for those who seek an deeper understanding of the molecular basis of said noble beverage it is well worth the effort.

As a bit of a chemistry nerd, I really enjoyed this book. For those who don't have a chemistry background it may be a little bit overwhelming at times but probably no less interesting.

I would like to take issue with the publisher however, as there are several errors in the printed text. Most of these errors are typographical by nature and as innocuous as any such error can be in a published work but for a work which markets itself as a serious study of brewing science it really is important to be reliable. When such errors relate to scientific information they can affect the delivery of information and markedly detract from the reader's overall impression of professionalism and validity.

Despite this, I strongly recommend this work as a most thorough and entertaining explanation of brewing science.
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