The first edition of The Homebrewer’s Companion was published in 1994. I wrote it in the period 1992-93. This just released second edition is a much needed revision that reflects additions, updates, new research, changes, corrections, deletions and much improvement over the original version written over 20 years ago.
The Homebrewer’s Companion, Second Edition is what I consider a “Volume 2” of The Complete Joy of Homebrewing. The Companion’s subtitle is “The Complete Joy of Homebrewing Master’s Edition.” As mentioned in my story 4th Edition Complete Joy of Homebrewing released, “ …For ease of use and quick access to extended information and insight the two books are extensively cross-referenced; no small feat cross referencing and revising, writing and publishing two books at one time. I can’t think of any other brewing books so intertwined, connected and cross-referenced.”
Here are a few of my own thoughts behind the genesis and newly revised edition of The Homebrewer’s Companion, Second Edition.
The Golden Rule
The Golden Rule of Homebrewing is: “Relax. Don’t worry. Have a homebrew.” Without a doubt the single and most dramatically significant thing that can spoil the taste of your beer is . . . worrying. Remember that whenever you brew or enjoy a glass of beer.
You have strived to Relax. You have pursued the fine art of Not Worrying. And indeed you’ve had a Homebrew. You often wonder what the world could be like if more people brewed their own beer.
You are a brewer. You appreciate quality beer. You have The Homebrewer’s Companion, Second Edtiion in hand. Have you already jumped to the recipe section in search of a recipe for your favorite kind of beer? Perhaps you thumbed through the ingredient section investigating whether there was anything new to enliven your curiosity. What does this book say about lagering? You wonder, having flipped to the index in search of techniques that enable you to keep up with the creativity that’s rampant in the craft brewing world and to brew more types of beers like those you’d be willing to pay money for.
You’re at the beginning of this “Master’s Edition” of The Complete Joy of Homebrewing; another book on brewing. What worthy advice might this writing offer? Yes, “Relax. Don’t worry. Have a homebrew” is still the Golden Rule of Homebrewing. Yet another quite profound truth of brewing beer is that it is an art. Beer is fashioned with the tools of knowledge and experience. Science is a valuable tool, but the artistic elements of brewing cannot be reduced to a scientific process. Be wary of the scientification of brewing.
Science is temporary rule, order, and an attempt to explain why the world behaves as it does. It is a set of laws and statements about phenomena observed and verified repeatedly. Throughout history science agrees on sets of rules for relatively short periods of time. Then we change the rules and laws, because someone else has observed new and different things, and new rules are based on more current experience. Scientific knowledge can help us make better beer.
Heart, mind and soul
But science alone can never create the experience of producing fine beer. Our own experiences are absolute and essential. Your heart, mind, and soul become part of the beers you create. Your senses are your most valuable tool. Taste your ingredients, your fermentation, and your premature beer. Watch it ferment.
Note the aromas. The difference in the sound that bubbles make in hot water and cold water tells you something.
Creativity, tools and your journey
Brewing is not just a recipe and a set of important procedures and measurements in your brewing logbook. You must observe your beer and note what it is telling you. The development of the art of brewing takes time. For all of us who brew, it continues. The purpose of The Homebrewer’s Companion, Second Edition is to help enhance the spirit of creativity, to explore new tools for brewing, and above all to help advance your wonderful journey in homebrewing.
The Homebrewer’s Companion, Second Edition is not about how to chill your wort— it is about how heat moves. It’s not about trub separation— it is about the behavior of liquids. It’s not about reactions in brewing— it is about dancing with enzymes and ions. It is not about culturing yeast— it is about creating life and soul. It is not about beer styles— it is about people and the environment in which we enjoy beer. It is not about maximum yields and efficiencies— it is about personal priorities.
The Homebrewer’s Companion, Second Edition is not about homebrewed beer— it is about yourself.
Ten Reasons why you would buy this book
You’ve been homebrewing for more than fifteen years, or five years, or three years. Perhaps you’ve been brewing for less than a year. Whoa- ho, there are many of you who have been at it for six months and have already brewed over twenty batches. Somehow you’ve found the means, the mind, and yourself with this book in hand. You’ve come to the profound realization that WORK IS WORK . . . PLAY IS PLAY . . . BEER IS BEER . . . BUT HOMEBREW IS THE BEST.
Ladies and gentlemen, you are out of control— and that ain’t bad, is it?
10 Reasons Why You Would Buy The Homebrewer’s Companion, Second Edition
- Whether you consider yourself a beginner, intermediate, or advanced homebrewer, you’ve come to realize there are a lot of variables that can influence the character of your beer.
- You are enjoying beer as you’ve never enjoyed beer before. You have learned to recognize, respect, and appreciate beer in ways you had never imagined.
- You’re a hobbyist at heart, and the art of homebrewing has revealed a means to tap into your creative instincts.
- You’ve found the results rewarding and worth the distinction of sharing with friends. Mesmerized by bubbles rising from the bottom of your glass of homemade brew, you’ve dwelled on the mysticism of it all.
- As brewers have done for 10,000 years, you’ve sipped, quaffed, and conceded thirst for the beers of your creation.
- A bit of masterfulness has crept into your everyday life.
- With a bounce in your step and bubbling in your fermentation locks, you move forward in your daily life knowing that there is a full fermenter in your home brewery.
- Bottles and kegs condition themselves with the proper effervescence and will soon debut. You mea sure your days knowing that while your beer ferments or ages life is improving in your home.
- You’ve begun to plan for your next batch, while always on the lookout for new ideas, new techniques, and new beers.
- You may even be thinking of going professional and are wondering how much more complicated, creative, and life- changing can beer making get.
Click here for more details about The Homebrewer’s Companion, Second Edition (2014, HarperCollinsPublisher)