Brewing Beer Like Those You Buy

A forum for asking about brewing publications of all sorts. Also the place to put reviews of brewing books that you've read.
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Dennis King
Telling everyone Your My Best Mate
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Re: Brewing Beer Like Those You Buy

Post by Dennis King » Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:22 pm

barneey wrote:As Amazon have them on sale 2 books for a tenner, I've ordered them both for a read.
If you have ordered the Ken Shales book please don't expect to much from it. It was written in the early years of home brewing being legal. Just spare a thought for those of us who started brewing in the 70s when this was considered one of the most advanced books around.

Graham

Re: Brewing Beer Like Those You Buy

Post by Graham » Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:34 am

Dennis King wrote: If you have ordered the Ken Shales book please don't expect to much from it. It was written in the early years of home brewing being legal. Just spare a thought for those of us who started brewing in the 70s when this was considered one of the most advanced books around.
The early days of British home brewing was dominated by winemakers. Unlike home brewing, home wine making was never restricted and was never the subject of licensing. Also unlike home brewing, "country wine-making" did not require specialist ingredients, but could use garden produce, stuff gathered from the wild, or supermarket fruit or juices. Consequently, when home brewing became free of licence, home wine making was already firmly established and the wine makers were already in the majority and dominated the scene. They dominated the clubs and their committees, looked down their noses at us common upstarts, who preferred beer to dandelion wine, and they generally gave an impression of superiority and of knowing it all.

The fact that winemakers also dominated the hobby's printed media damaged home brewing to the extent that it is only in relatively recent years that it has recovered from that early, near-fatal blow. It was winemakers that wrote the first home brewing articles in the magazines and winemakers that penned the first books on the subject. Unfortunately winemakers treated home brewing as an extension of country wine making. As will be understood there is not a busting lot of fermentable material in a bucketful of dandelions, so if one wants some alcohol in a dandelion wine one has to add loads of household sugar to provide some substrate for the yeast to work on. Consequently a winemaker's interpretation of a beer was a malt-and-hop-flavoured country wine; a minimum of decent ingredients, loads of household sugar, yeast nutrient to compensate for the deficiencies inherent in the approach, ten-minute boils and so on. Indeed, I remember having an argument with a member of a local home brewing club in the early seventies, who was convinced that it was impossible to make beer without a kilo or more of household sugar. We still see remnants of this approach in the can and a kilo beer kits that still exist today.

So considering some of the stuff that was around at the time, Ken Shales' "Brewing Better Beers" was not too bad; although some of his recipes leave rather a lot to be desired he tended to use significantly less sugar than many other writers.

Back to Dave Line. Despite Dave Line being the hero of this piece, his lesser-known, third and final book: Beer Kits And Brewing is, in my view, worse than Ken Shales' books. Beer Kits And Brewing is not a good book; an unexpected anachronism when one considers the standard of his earlier stuff. What ever possessed him to write it is beyond my understanding. I can only assume that he was pressurised by the home brewing supply industry, who, I know from experience, get rather jumpy and obstructive if you seem to be diverting people away from their precious and lucrative beer kits. Some of his recipes use 2kg or more of sugar and there are some astounding technical blunders that were not in his earlier stuff. Dave Line died before this book went to print and I can only assume that he was seriously ill during the writing of it, or, more likely, that the book was subject to incompetent editorial interference after his death.

Anyway, if you are quick, you can snap up a copy of Beer Kits And Brewing for only £624 plus postage on Amazon

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FUBAR
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Re: Brewing Beer Like Those You Buy

Post by FUBAR » Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:49 am

Dennis King wrote:Good news there may be a new book but sad to hear you are stopping brewing.
+1 would brewing smaller volumes make it possible to carry on brewing ?
I buy my grain & hops from here http://www.homebrewkent.co.uk/


I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me - Winston Churchill

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barneey
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Re: Brewing Beer Like Those You Buy

Post by barneey » Thu Jun 05, 2014 12:23 pm

Just ordered a 2nd hand copy of the aforementioned Beer Kits And Brewing for a couple of quid on Amazon, just for a fascination / read of things gone by.

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a-slayer
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Re: Brewing Beer Like Those You Buy

Post by a-slayer » Thu Jun 05, 2014 12:42 pm

Ken Shales's book was the one I started with too and moved on to Dave Lines, following his recipes and ideas improved my brewing no end. I give credit to my wife for having the sense to buy Dave Lines book for me and that's what started me into AG brewing with an Electrim boiler with mash bag, perhaps she was telling me my previous efforts were not up to much!

Dave S
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Re: Brewing Beer Like Those You Buy

Post by Dave S » Fri Jun 06, 2014 12:50 pm

a-slayer wrote:Ken Shales's book was the one I started with too and moved on to Dave Lines, following his recipes and ideas improved my brewing no end. I give credit to my wife for having the sense to buy Dave Lines book for me and that's what started me into AG brewing with an Electrim boiler with mash bag, perhaps she was telling me my previous efforts were not up to much!
I went exactly the same way. So a debt of gratitude is owed to both I think. Didn't have any support from the wife though, which probably increased the gradient of the the uphill struggle that is brewing.
Best wishes

Dave

BarnsleyBrewer
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Re: Brewing Beer Like Those You Buy

Post by BarnsleyBrewer » Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:17 pm

Graham wrote:
Dennis King wrote:Good news there may be a new book but sad to hear you are stopping brewing.
It's an age thing, I am not yet, not quite, official retirement age, but I have the fitness of a man twice my age. I still have an issue with balance and an unpredictable left hand; not as unpredictable as Doctor Strangelove's hand, but it makes lifting and moving full vessels around a risky business. Time to call it a day I think. I have been at it since 1979 and the enthusiasm is not as strong as it used to be.

It won't stop me lurking on here, though, and causing as much controversy as I can. Ah! simple pleasures.
Good to see you back on Graham, I was asking how you were on another thread and got directed to this...

BB
"Brewing Fine Ales in Barnsley Since 1984"
- - - - - - - 30 years (1984 - 2014)- - - - - - -
Pints Brewed in 2018......... 208
Pints brewed in 2017.. 416
Pints brewed in 2016.. 208
Pints brewed in 2015.. 624
Pints brewed in 2014.. 832

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