Brewing With Wheat: The 'wit' and 'weizen' of World Wheat Beer Styles (Anglais) Broché – 16 mars 2010
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Rather than being a recipe book of steps to follow, this book fills the role of spending time with both the brewers who make these beers, and an experienced beer writer who can help collate the massive amount of knowledge and opinion out there about how to create them. "Brewing With Wheat" is not only about how to brew a good wheat beer, but also about why the featured brewers think these are best practices.
There is certainly technical information, but without being prescriptive. Stan assumes the readers of this book are already good brewers who can think about what is being made and adapt ideas to their own systems and preferences. And yet, as specific as some information is, it avoids telling you what to do. That will certainly be frustrating for some, but it is exactly how I think about my brewing. I'm looking forward to this book getting as shopworn as "Brew Like a Monk" has become.
Much like his previous book, Brewing with Wheat provides an incredibly well-researched, incredibly comprehensive discussion of brewing wheat beers. He covers all the classic styles in great depth, talking to a range of producers, and even researches details on more rarely brewed, antiquated styles. The information extensive, ranging from ingredients used from producers, to very specific temperature and flavor charts for ALL commercially available wheat yeasts. Some (including myself) may find that his anecdotal discussion style may lead to some long-winded sections that are occasionally tangential. However, it is very readable and the information is top-notch. It gave me many ideas, including insights on how to brew better versions of these beers.
I have tested out several of the techniques listed and consider this to be a valuable addition to my brewing library. I was able to brew better wheat beer almost immediately, and to utilize several techniques to control flavor characteristics (e.g., creating a lower-ester, higher phenol heffeweizen through a combination of mash and fermentation techniques). In particular, I think the table of yeast strains provided at the back of the book (even more comprehensive than Brew Like A Monk) is an incredible resource to any brewer who wishes to brew wheat beers. I also appreciate that Gordon Strong, one of the most noted American beer judges, provides insights what judges look for in these beers, including common off-flavors and mistakes. These not only let people know what to do, but also make it clear what is inappropriate for these beers as well.
I want to emphasize, this is not an instruction manual or a basic recipe book. It's a discussion of the ingredients, techniques, and processes used by commercial brewers and several homebrewers. It lets you know what producers do and why, so you can assess that information yourself and determine the best way to use it. While there are a couple recipes, this is not a basic how-to manual. It assumes you are at least familiar with basic brewing processes and science. Beginning brewers should first read books like How to Brew, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, or similar manuals to understand the techniques described within them. Those looking to simply get good recipes have a number of other options. Those who want to think about making truly great wheat beer should read this book.
Most brewing books approach a topic like a technical discussion, but not so for Brewing with Wheat. It is more like you are having Stan over for a beer at your house and he is telling you all about his travels from the road. This isn't to say though it's a casual text, it's quite detailed on the science and the recipes brewers are using. In his own words from the final chapter "I'm not sure I learned any secrets, but... an awful lot of brewers let me look over their shoulders, explaining exactly what they are doing and why."
The organization starts with the basics of wheat as an ingredient and then dives into chapters on Wits, Hefeweizens, American Wheats, and some historic sections. While it can be enjoyed by any home or commercial brewer read in full the larger value in this book will by in doing research on a future recipe. Much like Designing Great Beers when you want to focus on how to make the most of your Wit you can look at the historic and modern techniques to perfect your own recipe. I enjoy experimental brewing so I look forward to use the book to designing a Gose or Grodziski. This book is a must have for every brewer's library.