Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation | Book Review


The ‘Brewing Elements Series’ is a 4-part book series deep-diving into the different components you need to make beers and as part of the new job I wanted to read them for educating myself a bit more. Stacking knowledge is never a bad thing, right? The “Yeast book” was the one I was looking forward to reading the least, but after having read it I can safely say its probably the one that gave me the most out of all four in terms of new things I learned!

“Why Does it make a difference which type of fermentation system you use? Ferment the same beer in two different type of fermentors and more often than not, you will get two different beers. The fluid mechanics of fermentation are unique to each type of fermentor” – Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation

If you ever stumble upon a couple of beer-enthusiasts talking about their favorite brands, styles or breweries it is rare to hear them ever touch on the subject of yeasts. It’s probably the most underappreciated and least understood ingredient in beer brewing – Whereas the grains and hops gets plenty of love and more or less define most of the beer-culture.

I was the same until I read through this book, now my appreciation of this key component to a well-rounded brew has increased. A lot.

Written in a very formal, almost academic, tone the book kicks off with a small lesson in yeast-history and how mysterious the fermentation process was for us for the longest time and from there, takes the reader through all the invaluable ways to work with the raw material to make precious drops of beer.

“Brewers have always reused (repitched) yeast, long before they knew yeast was responsible for beer production. In fact, brewers continual re-use of yeast eventually led to impressive genetic variety of brewing strains, and to their suitability for brewing.” – Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation

The book is an impressive source of information and because of how the book is structured, it is very easy to use it as reference material in the future. There is something for everyone here as well – From the home brewer to the commercial brewer, and everything in between. With chapters like “Your own Yeast Lab Made Easy” there’s plenty of really interesting material to read even if you have no intention to actually do the things described, but want a little peek behind the curtain.

There can be a bit of a bog-down at times and a bit too many things like flocculation classifications, enzyme formulas, chromatography, and phenolic compounds that took me a bit to wrap my head around (and I really need to revisit in the future to fully understand completely) – Which isn’t a negative thing, its a nice addition to have something there to be explored once the basics are in place after some experimentation with yeast in the brewery.

It’s a very niche book and I don’t know how valuable it would be in someone who doesn’t brew beers library, but for us who do, I couldn’t imagine a better reference-book on the topic than this one.

“Today, for most Belgian brewers, yeast is everything. While many Belgian brewers will freely share information about the rest of their brewing process, their yeast is something to be protected”.  – Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation

yeast 2

Utopium highly recommend this book to any brewcurious people!

If you are interested in a copy of the book and would like to support the Utopium-blog at the same time, please consider buying it through Amazon.


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