Book Review: Designing Great Beers


Beer Diary,

Someone once asked me how do I write a new beer recipe? I thought about it and it always starts with one book Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels.  It is my most valued resource when it comes to recipe writing. It covers the basics of all grain but moves into chapters on the classic styles of beer.

WHY IS IT SO GREAT? First off you don’t need to yell. Second because it gives you some history, then the style guidelines for a beer and then gives you a nice break down of second-round NHC beer recipes.  Break down of recipes meaning how many recipes used X yeast strain , X hops etc.  Allowing me to get a feel for the style, common threads and what I should do to highlight the flavors I want to bring out.

What if I want to make a crazy beer that is not in the book? – This summer I made a Butter Beer from Harry Potter.  I checked and there isn’t a chapter on it. BUT. It does cover the Kolsch which I used as starting point for my Butter Beer.

I recommend this book for people that are looking to learn a lot about beer and to take their beers to the next level. If you are happy cruising down to the brew store grabbing a brown ale recipe sheet getting the stuff and heading home to brew it on your stove top then you most likely don’t need this book. If you have an all grain set up, bored of kits and want to start creating some of your own recipes then I highly recommend you get this book.  Christmas is almost here, Christmas list here Designing Great Beers comes.


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