By Chris Colby
An experienced homebrewer and writer/editor, Chris Colby probably wrote Methods of Modern Homebrewing in his sleep. He’s one of the few out there that could pull it off. Which he did.
This book is excellent, and with all due respect to Charlie Papazian and The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, I wish this book had been available when I started brewing a couple decades ago. One, Colby has chops, and two, the book is well-written while remaining accessible to an inexperienced brewer. Colby tosses in sour beer production, forced fermentation and wort stability tests, and so much more, and it’s written in such a way that even if you’ve only brewed three time in your life, you feel like you can pull off just about anything.
Fine. The guy’s smart and writes in plain English. But what I really valued about this book is the way it was constructed. It wasn’t boring requisite history lesson, boring ingredient rundown, boring how-to-brew, etc., followed by a daunting list of recipes. Instead, Colby demonstrated a brewing method, and followed it with a recipe. In the Extract and Partial-Extract sections, walked us through some basic styles so that no matter what our gateway beer was, we could recreate it.
Then, Colby got into the nuances of All-Grain brewing. After explaining Single Infusion Mashing, he gave us an applicable recipe. After Step Mashing, he gave us a relevant beer style recipe. Decoction: same. When he talked about first wort hopping, he gave us the recipes for pertinent beers. When he talked about fermentation, he gave us help and recipes in the realms of lager fermentations, high-gravity fermentations, and more. When he got into sour beer production, be handed over recipes for appropriate styles made via sour mashing and kettle souring, as well as more traditional methods.
This book is complete, well-constructed, smartly written, and I’d highly recommend it to any beginning homebrewer.
FTC disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher.