Friday, May 13, 2011

"How To Brew" Vs. "Radical Brewing"

How to Brew: Everything You Need To Know To Brew Beer Right The First Time
This is the cover for "How To Brew" by
John J. J Palmer.  Some people call it the
ultimate book for the beginning home
brewer.
So, I got my copy of How to Brew from Amazon.com today.  I've only read the first chapter so far, but I have to say that this is definitely the first book that I should have bought for brewing.

I had previously purchased Radical Brewing: Recipes, Tales and World-Altering Meditations in a Glass by Randy Mosher, but after reading about a third of it and brewing the first recipe I think this book should be reserved for more advanced brewers.  The recipes in this book tend to be a little more twisted and unique rather than classic examples of styles.  For example, instead of a traditional IPA he has an IRA - India Red Ale - and a Belgian-American IPA with Belgian yeast.

Also, Radical Brewing tends to gloss over certain details about the brewing process, like "How do I filter out all these hops that I have boiling in the wort?"

How to Brew, on the other hand, focuses on the what and why about each step in the brewing process.  It slowly works you up from extract brewing to all-grain brewing and then gives you recipes from various styles along with style guidelines.

Radical Brewing: Recipes, Tales and World-Altering Meditations in a Glass
Radical Brewing is aimed
at a more advanced brewer.
From my point of view, I'm interested in learning more about a traditional example of an IPA before I start twisting it.  Like mathematics, I want to learn about adding and subtracting before I move on to integral calculus.

They are both good books, but they serve different purposes.  Beginners and traditionalists should start with How to Brew.  Intermediate and advanced brewers or people looking for more exotic recipes should buy Radical Brewing.

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