Book Review: Brewing Engineering

This week I’ll be reviewing Brewing Engineering: Great Beer through Applied Science, 2nd Ed. by Steven Deeds.

I consider myself very well read and relatively connected to the brewing worldI have plenty of brewing books in my brewing library I love reading through, I follow a fair number of blogs, and listen to a shameful number of hours of brewing podcasts.  So, I found myself quite surprised when, on so many occasions reading this book, I found a new brewing fact or tidbit that I had never come across before.  In fact, there are a few things from this book I plan on incorporating into my brewing process.

Brewing Engineering, Steven Deeds

Unlike books such as Water or American Sour Beers, Brewing Engineering doesn’t stick to one topic and explore it in detail.  Rather, I think the strength of this book is in the number of topics to which it exposes the reader.  Much of the book is based off of blog posts written by Deeds, loosely organized into chapters.  Unfortunately, sometimes the topics did feel underdeveloped and left me wanting to know more, but I think that’s the nature of a book covering so much ground.

To get the most out of the book, you’ll probably also need to be a bit scientifically or mathematically inclined, but you won’t miss out on any concepts, perhaps just some formulas or tables.  Even being quite scientifically and mathematically minded myself, I found it difficult at times to make sense of some of the tables.  I don’t think the problem is the tables themselves, meant in most cases to save you from doing the calculations behind the tables, but instead the brevity of the explanations.  Once figured out, I could certainly see the many of the tables making for nice quick reference.

Additionally, I think its worth noting that the experimental results in this book should not be treated as gospel, nor do I think the author intends them to be.  Many of the topics he presents are supported by his own experiments, and the reader should take care to realize that the results of these experimentsas alwayshold true under the conditions of the experiment.  Whether these conditions match those in your brew house and would produce the same result is something for each reader to decide.  If anything, it is a great launching point to do experiments of your own.

In the same vein, many of the suggestions in the book are not strictly “best practice,” such as his proposed 15-minute brew day.  In these instances, Deeds makes an argument as to why he feels that in some cases these short cuts are OK.  Again, the reader must make up their own mind, and decide which corners they feel comfortable with cutting in their own brewing.

Therefore, I think the target audience for this book is someone who is already knowledgeable about brewing and is comfortable with the basics.  This will provide them with the background to evaluate the arguments made and experiments performed by Deeds, and allow them to come to their own conclusions or design experiments of their own.

My biggest problem with the book is the number of typos: they can be quite jarring and distract the reader.  However, if you can forgive these minor transgressions, I think there are many valuable tid-bits, lessons, and thought-provoking experimental results in this book.  Its a relatively quick read, and in many cases provides a nice springboard to further experimentation and research.

You can pick up your own copy here (Amazon link).  If you’d like a better idea of what this book is about, or to see what Deeds has been doing lately, you can check out his blog, Woodland Brewing Research.

– Dennis,
Life, Fermented

The author provided me with a copy of this book to review.

My review policy:
I will provide my honest opinion of whatever book or product I am asked to review.  But, I didn’t start this blog to be negative.  So, if my review of a product or book is not positive, I will simply not post about it at all.  Its the age olde wisdom of Mom: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.  No negativity, and no dishonesty.  Basically, its the opposite of hard-hitting journalism.  Sorry Pulitzer.

If you would like me to review your product, drop me a line on my contact page and I’ll let you know where to send it.  I accept no payment for reviews.


About Dennis
Home brewer, home chef, garage tinkerer. Author of Life Fermented blog.

6 Responses to Book Review: Brewing Engineering

  1. brulosopher says:

    Sounds like an interesting and perhaps personally (to me) relevant book, nice review. Just a heads up, your Amazon link appears to be broken.

  2. Matt says:

    Awesome, never read this one. I’ll pick up a copy. Thanks.

  3. beeryben says:

    I’ll definately get this on my reading list. Thanks.

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