Wednesday, December 16, 2009

12 'Beer' Books for Christmas, #6: Malting and Brewing Science

Malting and Brewing Science

The 6th Book for Christmas

Malting and Brewing Science
J. S. Hough, D.E. Briggs, R. Stevens, T.W. Young
Chapman & Hall (2nd edition) 1982
ISBN: 0-41216590-2

When you're really, really, really ready to begin to, well, really learn the science behind malting and brewing, you might want to pony up a couple hundred bucks for the two volumes of Malting and Brewing Science. [Brewmaster Steve Parkes —owner of the American Brewers Guild brewing school— points out that a newer, rewritten, and re-titled version of the tomes is now available: Brewing: Science and Practice.]

Volume One
covers barley, malting, and other things. Volume Two (pictured above) covers hops, wort, and beer. The science of beer, by the way? It's called zymurgy.

Here's the syllabus of Volume Two:
  • Hops
  • The chemistry of hop constituents
  • Chemistry of wort boiling and hop extraction
  • Methods of wort boiling and hop extraction
  • Biology of yeasts
  • Metabolism of wort by yeast
  • Yeast growth
  • Brewery fermentations
  • Beer treatment [me: includes cask-conditioning!]
  • Microbial contamination in breweries
  • Chemical and physical properties of beer
  • Beer flavour and beer quality
Well, then!

There's a lot more to learn, and these two textbooks don't include much on mechanical issues, and they were originally published in the 1980s. But if your vocational intent is indeed serious, you'll study them until they are dog-eared.

For more avocational purposes (and that implies no disrespect), read instead Brewing Lager Beer by Greg Noonan and Designing Great Beers: The Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles by Ray Daniels. Both are superlative primers, and less of a drag on your wallet. There are many other how-to-brew books, but this is my list of one book at a time, and I've already cheated with four suggestions.

Happy brewing to you: it's an all-consuming passion.


This is another in a a series of 12 recommendations for beer-themed books —one per day, until the Winter Solstice, 21 December.

This is not a Top 12 list. It's my list of 12 books, personal delights. On Christmas Day: put your feet up, pour yourself a good beer, and read a good book. Better yet: give a friend the gift of a beer and a book.

12 'Beer' Books For Christmas: the entire list here.


  1. Its been rewritten and updated since

  2. You're geeking out hardcore now! John Palmer's book "How to Brew" is probably a gentler introduction. Or, why not just jump straight into the ASBC's "Practical Handbook for the Specialty Brewer" series, if you've been looking for a reason to buy that spectrophotometer.


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