Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels

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Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels

Postby rpt » Thu Feb 26, 2015 16:04

This is an American book that is for when you want to move away from following recipes and onto formulating your own. It's an excellent book that I keep referring to. I would definitely recommend it.

The book is divided into two parts. Part one is about a third of the book and gives a lot of background information. Some of it is helping you work out how much water to use, calculating the malt bill and how many IBUs your hops will give you. If you use software then you don't need this although it's always a good thing to understand. Other chapters talk about different types of malt, yeast and hops.

Part two is the core of the book. It is divided into 14 style chapters. Each one starts by looking at the history of the beer and then moves on to analyse modern recipes. It looks at both commercial examples and also at NHC second round entries. These are beers that have made it past the first round of judging in the American Homebrewers Association National Homebrew Competition. Often the homebrew and commercial recipes will differ somewhat but it shows that it's possible to make a style of beer with a variety of different ingredients - very useful if you want to make something with what you've got. There are tables showing how often particular ingredients are used in the beer and in what proportion. The final part of each chapter summarises the key success factors in brewing that style. So, for example, some of the factors for brewing bitters and pale ales are "Include 5 to 8 percent crystal malt with a Lovibond rating of about 40", "Five to 15 per cent wheat or 1 to 4 percent flaked barley may be added to any bitter or pale ale recipe" and "Add bittering hops to achieve a BU:GU ratio of 0.70 to 0.90".

The styles are Barley Ales of Germany [Alt and Kolsch], Barley Wine, Bitters and Pale Ales, Bock Beer, California Common, Fruit Beer, Mild and Brown Ales, Old Ale, Pilsener and Other Pale Lagers, Porter, Scottish and Scotch Ales, Stout, Vienna, Marzen and Oktoberfest and Wheat Beers. The most glaring omission is Belgian Beers - I cannot find Saison, Dubbel or Tripel.

My main criticism of the book is that it uses American units. It does give Celsius as well as Fahrenheit but other measurements are pounds, gallons and ounces. Since most of the ingredients are given as percentages this doesn't actually matter too much but I wish Americans would realise that the rest of the world doesn't use their antiquated system.

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Re: Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels

Postby Dennis King » Thu Apr 02, 2015 20:36

I have this book but to be honest I find it hard work, might just be the American style.
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Re: Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels

Postby Aleman » Thu Apr 02, 2015 22:09

This was the book that actually got me thinking about beer styles, and how to create my own recipes to hit those styles.

Lot of information in it, somewhat poorly organised.

The American Units thing doesn't bother me, as any decent brewing software will convert. . . .US Ingredients I do find to be a PITA though

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