Sunday, April 28, 2013

Book Review: IPA by Mitch Steel

IPA by Mitch Steel - Brewers Publications

Let me start out my saying that this is a worthy book. I am glad that I own it now. There is a wealth of knowledge from historical brewing to modern techniques contained within the pages of this book. If you're new to the style and you want to be brewing IPAs DIPAs BIPAs or WIPAs this book can help. Mitch breaks down all of the techniques from mashing to whirlpool hoping. He covers ingredients from hops to grains. He explains what impact your water may have on the beer. The section that I found the most interesting was the breakdown of modern brewing techniques from a man with a wealth of real world experience. He relates techniques used by Stone and others to things you could do at home. This review will focus on telling you what is in this book without re-writing the book on my blog. If you are looking for a cutting and pasting of the best tidbits so that you can circumvent the book you should look elsewhere.

(Please read more after the break.)

The book starts out with an introduction of Mitch Steel. He then goes straight into a history lesson that take you from Roman-Brittian through the early 2000's in America. He covers how the cultivation of hops impacted beer brewing, the Norman invasion, colonialism, and ends up with American entrepreneurship and exceptionalism. This history lesson is more than half of the book. So if you see the book on a shelf know that more than half of it is history.

After our not so brief history lesson Mitch gets into the nuts and bolts of brewing an IPA. He profiles the styles well in section called IPA variations. He starts with Double/Imperial and chronicles the origins of the style and what he considers to be the important aspects of brewing the style. He then details the Black, Belgian, Session, Tripple and White IPA styles.

That section leads into information on brewing IPAs, Malt, Hops, Yeast and Water. It details the procedure from grain to glass including hop recipes, techniques, and commercial efforts. While not everything in this section will help every brewer step up their game this 42 page section is why you buy the book. He finishes the book up with a recipes section.

I found the recipe section to be quite informative. When I sample an IPA from this section I can guess at which hops I am tasting and see when they were used in the making of that beer. I'll assume Mitch either got the recipes from the brewers themselves or cloned them using his own experience. The highlight recipes for me were stone sublimely self righteous and the alchemist el jefe. When I brew this year's black IPA I'll open this book for recipe inspiration.

Buy this book.

Don't do it for me, I get nothing out of it. Do it for yourselves, this book contains years of research and know how. If you want to wax intellectual on the subject of beer you'd be a damn fool to do so without reading this book. If you are already a 10th level beer nerd you can just use this book as a referance of your awesomeness.

Here's to you Mitch. A Black IPA was enjoyed in your honor!

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