Brewing Better Beer, by Gordon Strong
I read a lot of brewing books. Some are much better than others. Brewing Better Beer by Gordon Strong is easily one of my favorites. Most brewing books are aimed at beginning brewers, and spend a lot of time on the basics, without taking that next step. Brewing Better Beer is a great book, aimed at intermediate or advanced brewers.
In Brewing Better Beer, Gordon Strong takes more of a first person approach to the brewing process. He shares stories of (mostly award winning) batches that he has brewed, and shares nuggets of wisdom from the process of creating those batches of beer. This book is like having a conversation with an expert brewer. As the title suggests, it isn’t about “how to brew”, it’s about how to brew BETTER. As an intermediate brewer who still runs in to complications (more often than I’d like…), this book is exactly the type that I’d like to read. Gorden shares tips and concepts that can help you improve the beer you’re already making.
Brewing Better Beer covers most every step from the mash, the boil, fermentation, and bottling. Through each step, he suggests things that could be done in that step, why you might do them, and how they’ll change your beer. Gordon doesn’t take a scientific, dry approach, but rather a very conversational, anecdotal approach. It’s like having a pro along for your brew day — which I think is great.
If you can’t tell, I’m a huge fan of this book. After reading so many dry books that seem to say mostly the same thing, it’s nice to read a book that is truly unique. Living in a smaller city without a homebrew club, it’s nice to feel like you’re getting advice from an expert brewer, and not just making it up as you go.
As much as I liked it, it did take me a long time to get through. I felt like it could wander occasionally, and would lose my attention. I had to be in the right mood to read this one, but it’s still one I’ll be reading again and again in the future. There is quite a bit of reference to competition brewing, as well, which I don’t currently care much about.
Brewing Better Beer is currently going for less than $12 on Amazon, which is almost too cheap not to check out. If you’ve been brewing for a while, and would like to pick up some extra info that might help your batches improve, or even your processes – this one is worth picking up.