Monday, August 22, 2011

Little Yeasties

I just finished mowing the yard and I'm enjoying one of my summertime Coronas. Today was a special day, because I even mowed the back yard. I know exciting. But the back yard doesn't get mowed very often. My active dogs keep my back yard in a constant state of construction zone. To continue that analogy, their toys and tennis balls are like the construction equipment you see parked everywhere (even the crane the hoists the ladders 20' in the air. I love it when they do that.). It's an offroading experience since they've managed to dig a track where they always run back and forth. Well now it's cut, and along with grass its fertilized with the pulverized remains of tennis balls and baby dragons.

Today's post is a review of a book I started read a while back. Just last Christmas actually. The book "Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation." You may recognize one of the authors, Chris White, if you've ever purchased White Labs yeast. I was really excited about this book when it came out because it touches on a topic that I really don't mess around with very much. At the start the book is very promising, and vouches for itself to be a book for beginning homebrewers to smaller sized production brewers. It also goes as far to say as this is not a book for large breweries that already has a number of labs devoted to yeast. 

Multiple labs? Yes, labs. That's way over my head and probably yours too. The book is relatively easy to read, and is definitely a go-to book for all questions yeast. To clarify my viewpoint, I tend to focus on the recipes of the homebrew, and I'm one to keep the yeast a constant. Following some of the rules of engineering, successful experimentation relies on tweaking one variable at a time as to know exactly what effect that variable has on the process. My recipes are my variables. My brewing method is a constant (as best I can make it), my yeast, and my method of fermentation and carbonation.

Diving into this book, Part 1 was written for a guy like me. It describes a lot about yeast, history, fermentation, and the attributes for a good fermentation. After part 1 however, the books takes off from there and proceeds to go way over my head. Biology. Caring for a strain of yeast, caring for multiple strains of yeast. Counting yeast cells. Propagating different cultures. Petri dishes. Petri dishes! I haven't seen those since 9th grade biology. The book tops the whole thing off with building you own lab, right down to test tubes, beakers, microscopes, flux capacitors and hadron colliders.

No. Really.

Anyway, I can safely say that I will never need another book on yeast. This book has everything covered (save growing it from the DNA of a monkey or stem cells). One of these days I might kick up my brewing and use other parts of this book, but right now I'm perfectly content with part one. Now if I can only get this car past 88 mph...

Have you read this book? Any comments? Post below! We love to hear from you. It helps us know that you readers really exist and our hits aren't just from spambots somewhere on the internet.

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