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Old 10-08-2009, 03:56 PM   #11
Mr. Nice Guy
Jan 2008
Durango, Colorado
Posts: 336
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I find it interesting that the first post mentions some of the contest winning beers were from 15 years ago when they make a point that the recipes are current winners. confused?

I love technical stuff and I flip through this book all the time.

It is neat for the intermediate brewer to go to a section and find out what is important in a particular style. Comparing the recipes gives me good ideas for my own recipes.

I think the book is more geared for the intermediate brewer, it only touches on the basics and finer points. For me it is what I need, I had Charlie P's books and Extreme Brewing and this seemed to cover a lot of ground that those don't.

Check out Sam C's Extreme Brewing for a good article on dry hopping.

I just need a good book on all grain brewing now...
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Old 10-08-2009, 04:00 PM   #12
zman's Avatar
Apr 2008
Posts: 2,647
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I really like the book as it serves as a good guide on how to build a recipe from the ground up. It tells you the malt and hop combinations for different styles of brews and I really liked the chapters on hops and hop utilization. It is not a page turning novel. It is more like a text book on brewing

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Old 10-08-2009, 04:04 PM   #13
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Feb 2009
Cleveland, OH
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I also own this book, but was not "unimpressed". Yes, there were some things that were repeated from "How to Brew" but this is a brewing book. I now have about 10-12 books on brewing and I can honestly say that most of them cover the same stuff for the most part. However, each book does have SOMETHING new and that's worth it for me. Then again, all of the knowledge in those books does not compare with the knowledge available right here on HBT.
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Old 10-08-2009, 04:45 PM   #14
hexmonkey's Avatar
Dec 2007
Hunterdon County, NJ
Posts: 365
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Originally Posted by rocketman768 View Post
I suppose, but what I was getting at is the following. If I want to design a brand new recipe, I look at the most popular recipes on hbt of that style, then decide which grains and hops and yeast etc. I like/dislike. Then, maybe add some flair if I want. Then figure out acceptable ratios of grains to stay within style guidelines for color, flavor, gravity, blah blah. Then figure out how much hop flavor and bitterness I want within the guidelines. If the beer doesn't turn out the way I want, I modify the ingredients on the next batch of it until it tastes awesome.
That does sound like the basic idea. And I think you and Daniels are using the same basic principles. But, for the purpose of writing a book, his way is the only way I can see that it would work.

From your description above, your "yardstick" for when you decide that a recipe is "finished" and needs no further tweaking is your palate.

In Daniels' book, he's using the combined opinions of the judges of the competitions as his yardstick.

If he wrote a book and just said "hey these are my recipes, this is how I figured them out, and they taste awesome", even if he had some good sound reasoning, it would be very difficult to know how accurate the recipes themselves are, because he'd have based it on his palate alone. That would make it harder for people to make a judgment call on whether it's a good book for learning the procedure of designing the recipe.

By making the winners of the competitions his "yardstick", he's got more statistical evidence to back up his reasoning. This makes it easier to trust his method (if not his recipes), because it's not based on the perceptions of just one person.

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Old 10-08-2009, 04:55 PM   #15
lehr's Avatar
Dec 2008
flushing michigan
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My chocolate lab liked it he ate the living shhiiiiiiiittttttt out of it.


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Old 10-08-2009, 05:15 PM   #16
Apr 2008
Madison, WI
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Why i regard the book worthwhile, at the bare minimum, is the statistical portions of the recipes alludes to the composition of contest winning beers, as hexmonkey described. When i ultimately design a recipe, i'll either start here at HBT and then turn to DGB, or vice versa. Usually what i've first developed follows very closely with the second reference. Because i hold HBT to a higher regard (due to the voice of MANY experienced brewers), to me this shows that DGB does what it was intended to do - develop a "standard" recipe composition for a given style based on 1) experience and 2) a large data set.

What i DON'T like about the book is the very limited styles it touches on. For example, i found nothing mentioning Belgian beers.
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Old 10-08-2009, 05:24 PM   #17
Oct 2009
Philadelphia area, PA
Posts: 176
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I read the book cover to cover when I got it new in 97, when I got it at the AHA conference and had Ray sign it.

The examples are rather dated, because well the book is dated. However, with that said, I can't tell you how many times over the years I've went back and reread chapters when I was getting ready to brew a beer that I was new to.

I'll just reiterate what other posters have, there's a huge amount of information on particular styles. Next time you brew a new type of beer that you know little about, flip through and read that chapter. He covers pretty much all the bases.



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Old 10-08-2009, 05:27 PM   #18
Sigafoos's Avatar
Aug 2007
Buffalo, NY
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Or Irish Reds.

DGB is limited in a bunch of ways. I'm also not entirely sure his history is always perfect (though he does talk about stronger milds in the mild/brown category). Its main downside is that it's pretty dated by now ('there were two styles of porter but they've been merged back into one by the BJCP,' and that's ignoring Baltic). But it's good for 'lots of people do this, some do this, most of the time it's this with this but not alone,' etc. I sat on the floor with DGB and BCS last night trying to hammer out a recipe for my porter/mild partigyle this weekend.

I think it's much more useful than BCS, though, which I only have because I got it for free for joining AHA.
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Old 10-08-2009, 05:31 PM   #19
Bob's Avatar
Nov 2007
Christiansted, St Croix, USVI, US Virgin Islands
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Originally Posted by rocketman768 View Post
If I want to design a brand new recipe, I look at the most popular recipes on hbt of that style, then decide which grains and hops and yeast etc. I like/dislike. Then, maybe add some flair if I want. Then figure out acceptable ratios of grains to stay within style guidelines for color, flavor, gravity, blah blah. Then figure out how much hop flavor and bitterness I want within the guidelines. If the beer doesn't turn out the way I want, I modify the ingredients on the next batch of it until it tastes awesome.

I think this is pretty much common sense to anyone, but the book seems to basically restate the above paragraph except by expanding it to multiple chapters, and in place of the gadjillion recipes here to draw from, it just has an overly condensed table in that style's chapter (when it exists).
And that's the point. Rather than read through a gajillion recipes, he's condensed the gajillion recipes into a convenient, handy chart. Not only that, but he's told you things like award-winning bitters are brewed with, say, 80% pale malt, 10% mid-range L Crystal malt, and 10% sugar.

Wow. I don't have to sift through gajillions of possibly crappy recipes to arrive at a conclusion.

I'll take it.

Frankly, I can't fathom why you'd want to waste your time wading through a gajillion recipes, generating data, collating that data, and doing all that work yourself. Unless you enjoy sifting through gajillions of recipes, of course. In that case, knock yourself out.

"Overly condensed" is relative. He's restricted his dataset to award-winning recipes. I don't call that "overly condensed"; I call that separating the wheat from the chaff.

Moreover, he gives you more room in which to design, in that he lists the traditional ingredients for a particular style, then gives you the ingredients used by successful homebrewers. Sometimes they coincide, sometimes not. He gives you a range of possibilities.

A bunch of you have mentioned the history of the styles that gets highlighted in the book. You are right, and I think he does a fairly good job with that. I'm just not quite sure it belongs in a book entitled "Designing...".
I don't understand this, either. In order to design something, you have to have some idea of what you're designing, you need a frame of reference within which to design. You can't design a church if you don't know what a church is supposed to look like. You stand just as good a chance of ending up with Grand Central Station instead of a cathedral.

Same thing goes for beer: You can't design a particular style without regard to the drinker's expectations for the style. Bitter is Bitter because of what goes into it, what has gone into it historically. Without that historical reference, you lose a point of reference; you're flying blind. That's not only a way to waste precious brewing time and resources, it's also a way to brew some mediocre (or downright bad) beer.

I think you need to read the book more fully. It really is a shortening of the way.


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St Croix, US Virgin Islands

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Old 10-09-2009, 08:29 PM   #20
malkore's Avatar
Jun 2007
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Originally Posted by Edcculus View Post
I fail to see how you did a "quick read" of this book.
turn to Index in back, find style, turn to relevant pages, and skim it.

you get to see the 'concepts' for formulating that kind of recipe.

I too found it less useful to 'read like a book' and more useful as a 'reference source for styles'.

I also agree its not complete.
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