Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse (Brewing Elements)

Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse (Brewing Elements)

Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse (Brewing Elements)

Brewers often call the soul of beer. Fourth in the series, Malt: A to delves into the intricacies of this key ingredient used in virtually all beers. This book provides a comprehensive overview of malt, with primary focus on barley, from the field through the malting process. With primers on history, agricultural development and physiology of the barley kernel, John Mallett (Bell’s Brewery, Inc.) leads us through the enzymatic conversion that takes place during the malting process. A detailed discussion of enzymes, the Maillard reaction, and specialty malts follows. Quality and analysis, malt selection, and storage and handling are explained. This book is of value to all brewers,

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Nathan P. Piechocki

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Good Addition, Needs Further Editing, December 28, 2014
By 
Nathan P. Piechocki (Baltimore, MD USA) –
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This review is from: Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse (Brewing Elements) (Paperback)
I pre-ordered this book and it shipped slightly sooner than I had expected, so I was pleased by that. I am currently halfway through and can say that while I am satisfied with the material provided, the proofreading and editing (both for content and copy) appear rushed (for instance, the spellings “malster,” “maltser,” and “maltster” appear regularly interchangeable even on the same page.) There are spelling or grammatical errors on every page, the formulas given are often missing operators or other symbols and I have to cross-reference them online, and figures are sometimes incomplete or misleading.

Despite these subtle distractions, it is overall a great addition to my brewing library and a good springboard into more specialized textbooks, but in need of a revision in the near future.

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Stephen Swartz

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars
Interesting book, but not about brewing., April 11, 2015
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Stephen Swartz (Seattle, WA USA) –
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This review is from: Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse (Brewing Elements) (Paperback)
This is an interesting book, pretty well written, and I enjoyed reading it. I am somewhat disappointed with the book, though, because I brought a false expectation to it. Since it is part of the Brewing Elements Series, published by Brewer Publications, I expected it to be about brewing. Comparing it to the Water book from the same series, there is virtually nothing of relevance to someone who wants to mash malt, or boil and ferment wort. It’s fun, and if I wanted to malt grain at home it’d be invaluable, but as a brewing book, it leaves much to be desired.

What information it does have leaves me with questions. For instance, on page 112 Mallett writes that the optimal temperature for beta amylase is 131, and the optimal temperature for alpha amylase is 147. That’s fascinating, but then if it’s true, I’m quite curious why we mash at 145-155. It’s those sort of conversations I would have loved to see in this book.

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Druid Brew

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars
Doesn’t do justice to the significance of malt in beer, nor the range of malt complexities available., July 30, 2015
By 
Druid Brew (Louisville, KY) –

This review is from: Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse (Brewing Elements) (Paperback)
After Yeast, this was the most highly anticipated book in the series for me. Unfortunately, it is incomplete and riddled with grammatical errors, suggesting the deadline trumped putting out a high quality product to complete a brewing series. While for some reason there is extensive time committed to barley production, as a book designed for home brewers, I would have thought a lot more attention would have been paid to the malts themselves. How they are produced? What are their unique flavors? What makes one different from the other? The basic concepts of high kilned vs low kilned malts weren’t even discussed, which may be the single most important distinction between the pale ale malts and the vienna/munich/melanoidin malts. It explains why malts of the same kilning color have diastatic power and some do not, while also offering insights as to why they taste different despite similar analytical specs. I cannot count how many times “dependent on time and temperature” was repeated throughout this book, almost to the point of becoming a copout for actually researching details on the production of different malt types. While complete maltster-specific detail on temperature profile is better reserved for a technical manual, a simple explanation of time and temperature could have been used to detail how a specific category of malt is made and the characters that result from the specific temperature regime. Aromatic malt, which may be one of the most popular specialty malts out there, wasn’t even discussed or listed in the index. In fact, the list of malts and maltsters in the appendix only represents the products sold by one or two malt distributors and is grossly incomplete. Again, maybe part of the let down was that I had really high hopes for this book. It is still a worthwhile read if you know little about malt, and there are plenty of good factoids to learn. Regardless, it will forever be a part of the brewing series in its current form. Unfortunately we are stuck with a less than optimal effort that will forever do nothing but collect dust on my shelf.
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