The most comprehensive and easy to read book on beer brewing
published in years. This volume takes you from the simplest steps
of brewing your first batch to the finer points of hydrology, yeast
culturing, and mash management. You'll find the revised version of
this classic with 400 pages, many more photos and
illustrations, and 22 recipes.
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6/5/2006 -- I am interested in home brewing, but really don't know where to begin. I really enjoy dark beers such as Newcastle, Trois Pistoles, Guinness and several others. Occasionally I drink Heineken, Becks and Sam Adams. Any ideas and suggestions would be very helpful. Also what is "refermented on yeast base" referring to?
Response From The Home Brew Store Dot Com: Beginning homebrewing is actually a fairly simple process. There are some basic equipment items that you would need to get started, and the actual brewing is much like cooking a soup or stew.
Basic equipment includes a stainless steel stockpot for boiling. I can sell you an expensive one, but perfectly acceptable cheaper ones are available at Big Lots, Walmart, and other stores. 16 to 20 quarts works for extract brewing.
Other items include a bucket or carboy (large glass jug) for fermenting in, a bucket with spigot to bottle from, siphoning tools, a bottle capper, and some sort of stopper with an airlock. Some other items that are nice to have are a hydrometer (for checking specific gravities at various times in the process), a thermometer, and cleaning equipment. The True Brew, Brewers Best, or Home Brew Select beginner equipment kits all have these items, and are a great investment. Most homebrewing kits are packaged with a 5-gallon batch size as the industry standard. You will find some 2-1/2 gallon kits (like Mr. Beer), but support for the smaller sized kits is limited.
For beginners, I recommend starting out with kit beers. These are boxed or canned extract recipes that are already formulated for a particular style of beer. By following the instructions, you can brew your first batch in about an hour and a half, and be drinking it within two to three weeks. I heartily recommend the Home Brew Select line, as these are recipes that my partner and I have developed over time with much trial and error, and are quite proud of the results. Other brands that produce good beers are True Brew, Brewers Best, Muntons, and Edme, although any of the kits we list are good. We have brewed at least one of every kit we sell, and don't carry them if they don't turn out well. In addition, I can recommend a couple very good books on the subject, and our info email and toll-free number are always available for assistance.
Some recommedations for the commercial beers you've listed are:
Newcastle Brown = HBS American Presidents Brown or Munton's Connoisseur Nut Brown
Trois Pistoles - I've never had it, so I can't say
Guinness = HBS Show Me Stout or True Brew Irish Stout
Heineken = HBS Mid-continental lager
Becks = Brewmart Czech Pilsner
Sam Adams = HBS Patron Saint of Vienna Lager
Refermented on yeast base is a term used when brewers reuse the yeast from one batch to start another, rather than starting with a fresh packet of yeast each time. With careful sanitation, yeast can be cultured from batch to batch over time, eventually resulting in a mutated strain that takes on the charactersitics of the beers it has been used for. Several breweries in Belgium and Holland use this method to produce Abbey dubbels and triples.
4/17/2006 -- I want to try malting my own barley. What would you suggest as a good resource?
Response From The Home Brew Store Dot Com: There are a number of good resources on the market. The magazine "Brew Your Own" has published some great articles in the past - look for them online at byo.com. Some good books include "Malts and Malting" by Dennis E. Briggs, which talks about it from the commercial perspective, but includes a great section on chemistry/biology and another on methods; "The Homebrewer's Garden" by Joe and Dennis Fisher has a 30-page chapter on growing and malting your own grains; "The Biotechnology of Malting and Brewing" by James S. Hough, which has several chapters on the malting process.
11/14/2005 -- Would this be recommended as the first book to buy?
How many pages are the book?
Response From The Home Brew Store Dot Com: Yes - this is an excellent book for first timers. John Palmer spends the first few pages going through the absolute basics of brewing. Then he goes into great detail, chapter by chapter, with such a logical layout that you can read as little or as much as you need to find out what you want to know.
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I got an evaluation copy of the book when it first came out, and I literally read it in one night. I couldn't put it down. Even though he is an engineer by trade, he speaks in layman terms that are easy to follow. I learned quite a bit from the book that I didn't already know, and I had been brewing for several years by then.
It has 364 pages counting the section on "about the author".
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