Friday, May 6, 2011

A couple of good books

I thought I'd take this opportunity to recommend some really good and informative books on beer and homebrewing -they've been really helpful to a lot of beginning homebrewers including myself, so if you're thinking about starting out with the hobby you really ought to get a hold of these. 

Charlie Papazian's Complete Joy of Homebrewing is a standard textbook which countless homebrewers have relied on for years.  It'll introduce you to all the basic concepts, guide you through your first few batches, and it'll also have you chanting the mantra every homebrewer needs to hear: Relax, Don't Worry, Have A Homebrew.  So true! 

Papazian takes a really balanced approach to homebrewing, and unlike a lot of brewing hobbyists he doesn't assert the absolute supremacy of all-grain.  Rather, he very diplomatically assures beginning brewers that excellent beer can be made using any of the methods available to us - extract, partial mash or all-grain. 

Dave Miller's Homebrewing Guide is what reignited my interest in homebrewing, about 5 years after I left the UK for graduate school.  Before that I'd been helping my dad brew a few batches of British bitter, and had really loved it, but didn't have the time or resources to do it in school.  On a trip to the Genesee Country Village (about which I'll probably be writing very soon - well worth a visit!), I picked up Dave Miller's book and immediately the homebrewing bug returned.  Miller deals with pretty advanced techniques (most of the book is devoted to all-grain brewing, which I'm really not ready for at this point), but the wealth of knowledge he presents regarding the chemical, biological and engineering aspects of brewing is nothing short of staggering.  There's a lot of advice in there for correcting off-flavors (he even goes into great detail as to what chemical reactions cause each problem), and it's basically a great read if you want to get beyond the basic instructions that came with your first homebrew kit, and actually understand what goes on in your brewing bucket. 

Well, there you have it.  Should be enough to get you started.  By the way, it you enjoy reading Upstate Brews and want to see more beers reviewed, why not buy me a pint through the Paypal button at the top right?  Thanks for helping me meet the costs of this blog - I really appreciate it.

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