Post Number: 12866
Posted From: 126.96.36.199
|Posted on Saturday, April 23, 2011 - 12:29 am: ||
A few days ago I got my copy of Gordon Strong's new book Brewing Better Beer, just published by Brewers Publications. I've been reading it since then.
For those who are considering buying the book, I thought I would give my thoughts. Overall I'm quite pleased with it. It's not essential reading, which I might say about the two brewing books by John Palmer and Ray Daniels. It's quite short on statistics and formulas. And it's not particularly inspirational, which is how I might describe Randy Mosher's Radical Brewing.
What Brewing Better Beer could be called is a kind of extended master class or series of lectures by an extremely competent brewer. There is a quiet authority to Gordon's style, with very little preaching or self-promotion. He is learned but not professorial. He offers his collected knowledge, philosophy and experience in a straightforward, accessible manner with occasional asides and anecdotes but not a lot of excess filler. You can read a chapter at a time and pick up advice and pieces of information as you go.
I have judged with Gordon on a couple of occasions. In person he comes across as being extremely competent but not intimidating. His book has the same tone and wise demeanor. It's not going to revolutionize my brewing, but it may increase my confidence level.
(Message edited by BillPierce on April 23, 2011)
Post Number: 7704
Posted From: 188.8.131.52
|Posted on Saturday, April 23, 2011 - 02:14 am: ||
Does he warn against trying to sanitize fresh bourbon barrels with a flaming sulfur strip?
Post Number: 12867
Posted From: 184.108.40.206
|Posted on Saturday, April 23, 2011 - 02:55 am: ||
That's the opening of the introduction, Dan. He admits it's high on the list of stupid brewing tricks.
Post Number: 2710
Posted From: 220.127.116.11
|Posted on Saturday, April 23, 2011 - 03:12 am: ||
I think it was the Denver NHC where he was still limping around with a cane. He told me it threw him about 10 feet backwards - and Gordon is not a small guy.
Early in my judging career, I had the pleasure of judging at the Dayton Brewfest, I think it was called, a smallish competition at which he was the organizer. I was only a certified judge at the time, but somehow I ended up on the best-of-show panel. I still remember the winner, a Tripel, and - no surprise - it was Gordon's.
Bill, I appreciate your thoughts. I missed out on the early bird AHA special, so I'll get mine at the table in San Diego so I can get it personally signed. I've judged with Gordon also, at least twice that I can specifically recall, and my impressions are the same as yours. He was kind enough to write me a letter of recommendation for acceptance into the Food Science program at Kansas State, so I am indebted to him.
On a separate but related subject, as the president of the BJCP, he has been instrumental in coordinating the major changes afoot with the exam process - not necessarily instigating, but "herding cats" with the unrest among the natives, a.k.a. the graders, due to the workload. I will reserve comment on that for that thread.
Post Number: 7563
Posted From: 18.104.22.168
|Posted on Saturday, April 23, 2011 - 04:36 pm: ||
I'm really enjoying Gordon's writing style and the whole philosophy of the book. My only complaint is that it's the book _I_ wanted to write and he's done it better than I ever could!
Post Number: 12868
Posted From: 22.214.171.124
|Posted on Saturday, April 23, 2011 - 05:19 pm: ||
As president of the BCJP, its highest ranking judge and principal editor of the last major rewrite of the style guidelines, you might think Gordon is a style fanatic, but that is very much not so. His knowledge of styles--and beers in general--along with his extremely well-developed palate, gives him the ability to fine tune ingredients and technique to achieve the desired characteristics in a beer, whether it fits a particular style category or not. He is also a brewer of great patience, and he understands that creating a truly good beer is an iterative process of revision and refinement. He knows it takes time to become familiar with a brewing system and to be able to make the most of its strengths and overcome its limitations. A brewer needs to brew over and over until it becomes a natural extension of the accumulated knowledge and experience.
Qualities like this are what great brewers are made of, and Gordon Strong is certainly one of them.
Post Number: 2103
Posted From: 126.96.36.199
|Posted on Saturday, April 23, 2011 - 06:50 pm: ||
My copy of Brewing Better Beer came in today's mail.
I'm looking forward to giving it a thorough reading. I had chance to talk with Gordon last weekend at the NHC 1st round judging here in Indianapolis. One of his other hobbies is cooking, and he said he used many cooking analogies in the book. If he's anywhere near as knowledgeable about food as he is about beer making, I'd guess he's an excellent cook.
(I'll get my copy of the book signed when he's here to judge the Indiana State Fair Brewers' Cup comp in July.)
I, too, have had the opportunity to judge with Gordon, on a BoS panel at the Brewers Cup and on a flight of beers the other year at the NHC 1st round in Cleveland. I'll second what Bill said about the experience.
Post Number: 1001
Posted From: 188.8.131.52
|Posted on Monday, April 25, 2011 - 02:43 am: ||
Gordon is a cool guy. My wife stewarded for him for meads in Denver, and she liked him since he wasn't the typical snobby judge.
She brought back some amazing meads that were leftover bottles from those that went very far but didn't make it to the Best Of Table (Best of Show).
He comes across to me as a somewhat serious guy tho. Not as laid back or as blue collar as the average homebrewer, but obviously that is just his nature, and has also brought him such success in the hobby.
Guess I'll have to pick up the book now to get his tips! I think I have every book ever put out by Brewers Publications.
Post Number: 1
Posted From: 184.108.40.206
|Posted on Sunday, May 01, 2011 - 05:18 pm: ||
I appreciate these comments and reviews. Just yesterday I went into my LHBS looking to pick up this book, but unfortunately they did not yet have it on their shelves. I suppose I could mail order it, but I'll probably just wait until I'm back for some more ingredients.
Zymurgy this month is running an excerpt from the book ("Mastering Malt", pg 19) including two recipes.