designing Greats Beers

Designing Great Beers

Designing Great Beers,

Ray Daniels

Ray Daniels started home brewing in 1989, became a certified amateur beer judge in 1992, and won a beer writer of the year award in 1998. Daniels is the founder and director of the Cicerone Certification Program – a Sommelier program for beer servers. He is currently on the faculty of the Siebel Institute of Technology  - a world class brewing school in Chicago founded in 1872. Daniels has authored over 2 dozen books. He wrote this book in 1996, published it in 1998 and copyrighted it again in 2000. The bulk of the book is over 20 years out of date. Some styles have emerged in the past 20 years such as Belgian Wits, Saisons, sours, Imperial IPAs and other big gravity beers that he does not cover. Even out of date, the book warrants 5 stars. Daniels has written this book for the advanced home brewer and small craft brewer. The book is not a compendium of beer recipes. It’s what the title says: Designing Great Beers. Daniels guides the brewer through how to create beer recipes rather than giving the brewer a list. Part One, roughly a third of the book,  covers how to develop a plan for creating a great beer: 1) what are the characteristics of the beer you want to make, 2) how to figure out how much malt or malt extract you will need, 3) how much and what kind of water will you need, 4) what kind of hops, how much and when to add them, 5) what kind of yeast do you want and what temperatures do you need for it, and 6) how to finish your beer. Sure he uses math. How else would a brewer figure out how much malt, hops or yeast to use and how else would brewer know how to correct his or her water?  Part 2, comprising about two thirds of the book reviews the major styles of the mid to late 1990s. Daniels provides background information on the style, reviews the basic techniques of the style and then he reviews recipe examples for commercial beers and home brew recipes from the National Homebrew Competition for 1993 and 1994. Anyone mastering the techniques described in the first part of the book and observing how Daniels applies those techniques in the second half of the book should be able fill in the blanks for the news styles that have emerged in the past 20 years. If you want to improve your brewing techniques and learn how to design great beers, then buy this book. If you want a list of recipes, look elsewhere. Buy Designing Great Beers on

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