Friday, January 29, 2010

School is now in session!

Alright Ladies and Gents it's time for book club. And this week we're looking at Lee W. Janson's (PhD!!!) book, Brew Chem 101: The Basics of Homebrewing Chemistry. Coming from an engineering school, I've run into my fair share of doctorates, both students and teacher. Most of these people have one thing in common. Sure, they know differential algorithms, Poisson distributions, and boundary layers, but you can't bring them down off their high horse to explain something in terms everyone else can understand. Now Lee Janson may be a "doctor", and she does, in fact, hold her doctorate in biological sciences and biochemistry. But make no mistake, Lee is not one of these people.

As a matter of fact he does a fine job in turning a complex subject into a piece of reading that doesn't feel like you're reading a chemistry textbook. Yeah, he uses words or phrases like "protein strings" and "benzene rings", but he does it without shoving it down your throat. To be quite frank, you can even gloss over it if you really want.

This book is pretty short at around 100 pages, but Lee really cuts to the chase and does a good job about it. It's definitely a good read for the intermediate to advanced homebrewer, especially if you're doing all-grain batches.

Reasons to dog ear a page? This book's section on mashing and sparging  does a great job at covering the subject, and goes into good detail why you do certain temperature rests and what temperatures. The book also has a very in depth section on beer's off flavors which will help you troubleshoot your beers.

I would say the only reason not to buy this book is if you already know everything about the chemical interactions in homebrewing and/or have your degree in biology or chemistry. Lets not be modest.

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