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True Brews: How to Craft Fermented Cider, Beer, Wine, Sake, Soda, Mead, Kefir, and Kombucha at Home
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True Brews: How to Craft Fermented Cider, Beer, Wine, Sake, Soda, Mead, Kefir, and Kombucha at Home

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  505 ratings  ·  38 reviews
This accessible home-brew guide for alcoholic and non-alcoholic fermented drinks, from Apartment Therapy: The Kitchn's Emma Christensen, offers a wide range of simple yet enticing recipes for Root Beer, Honey Green Tea Kombucha, Pear Cider, Gluten-Free Sorghum Ale, Blueberry-Lavender Mead, Gin Sake, Plum Wine, and more.

You can make naturally fermented sodas, tend batches o
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published May 14th 2013 by Ten Speed Press (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  505 ratings  ·  38 reviews

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Recently, I’ve gotten it into my head to try out some homebrewing and after requesting a whole shelf of do it yourself beer brewing treatises from the library, both basic and advanced, Emma Christensen’s “True Brews” came to be my favorite. I will probably invest in a copy! True Brews is a great place to start, with Christensen’s clear explanations detailing basic instructions and recipes for a beginner to quickly start doing their own homebrewed beverages, including the equipment and ingredient ...more
Valerie Skudlarski
Jun 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cook-books
The sodas and fruit wines seem pretty easy. I like her descriptions before each recipe and the interviews with experts are helpful.

**Edit 09/10/13**
I just did one of the beer recipes and I probably wouldn't do it again. I like small batches because I can lift them on my own, but a 1 gallon batch is too small for all the work. I only got 9 bottles out of it and a 2.5 gallon batch is probably the same amount of work and you can get about 22 bottles out of 2.5 gallons. The Naked Brewer: Fearless Ho
Gloria Chavira
Aug 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great recipe book on fermented drinks. I use the kombucha recipe at home and my brew is delicious.
Brian Wood
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Emma Christensen covers all types of brewed beverages in this book. I started out brewing beer a few years back and I have since brewed some various wines as well . This covers other beverages such as home brewed sodas, keifer, Kumbacha, hard cider, mead, and Sake.

True Brews is a great book if you are looking to learn about all the types of home brewed beverages you can make at home. There are a lot of great tips in the book on the process and a few different recopies for each type of beverage.
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booze
The primer on fermented liquids

The basics for how to make and troubleshoot your own sodas, kombuchas, kefir, beer, mead, sake, cider, and fruit wine, while helping newbies avoid common pitfalls. Accessible, well-written, a great gift for anyone you love who has expressed interest in doing any one of these themselves because once you understand the concepts, you might as well make it all yourself.
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food, food-science
I dinged a star because some of the recipes are unnecessarily "complicated" for an absolute beginner. I say complicated because the author adds steps, ingredients, and supplies that aren't really needed to get fermenting. Like Campden tablets, yeast nutrients, tannin. Other than that, this book is a great, quick introduction into fermenting beverages - even soda.
Linn Chapel
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a fantastic book that's been guiding me through the mysteries of brewing. So far, I've learned how to make homemade soda - to my kids' everlasting delight - and brushed up on my Kombucha skills. Next I hope to try some hard cider and mead. The author Emma Christensen has packed a lot of carefully tested info into the chapters of her book with a sure hand and a breezy style.
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, food-drink
Great recipes and instructions for all sorts of fermented drinks. I've used it for two batches of kombucha, and consulted it for some beer - also will use for some cider and mead later this year! A good primer text if you're interested in the subject!
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly useful. I read this cover to cover and refer to it constantly. Great recipes and general how-to information.
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
It was interesting to learn how to make homemade soda, and to learn about kefir and kombucha, but I wasn't really interested in the book beyond that.
Amy Bradley
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
A good introduction to creating fermented beverages with over 50 recipes, non-alcoholic as well as alcoholic. Some I was not interested in (beer, for example holds no interest for me), but others are interesting to consider.

One point of confusion for me was that the blurb of a recipe mentioned that x number of pounds of fruit would make x quarts of juice - but the recipe was in cups. (After looking it up, the number of quarts was equivalent to the number of cups - but as a non-American, quarts
Aug 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cookbook
I wouldn't recommend this book for someone looking to learn about Kombucha brewing. Although I'm still new myself, and I know there are a variety of different ways to make Kombucha, the directions differed quite a bit from several other consistent practices I've seen in other books. They also overlook important things, i.e.; they recommend using a cheese cloth to cover your jar (countless books, brewers, and websites say it's not ideal as it allows fruit flies in), nor do they tell you what wate ...more
Andrew Reed
Aug 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
True Brews has become my home brewing bible, albeit it's my main and only resource apart from information I get from the internet. I work at a bookstore and have chosen True Brews from a number of options available to me and for a beginning brewer it has served it's purpose in every way. I have tried each recipe provided for ciders and I am currently venturing into kombacha with fruit wine hopefully in the near future. The book is laid out in a simple and easy to follow style providing the reade ...more
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: brewing
True Brews is an excellent addition to any serious (or casual!) homebrewer's collection. The small batch sizes make it easier to take risks and experiment on recipes, and the author's inclusion of "Master" recipes are a great jumping off point for brewing something unique. Most importantly, the recipes work! I have brewed about 6 batches from recipes in True Brews, and I have yet to encounter a dud.
Sarah Brown
Jun 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
"True Brews" gives you straightforward recipes and useful tips/tricks for brewing a variety of fermented beverages. I primarily picked out this book because I recently started brewing Kombucha and was looking for a few new recipes; however, we also brew beer and I found that chapter to be very helpful as well. It's simple and to the point. I feel encouraged to dive into another fermented beverage realm. Maybe mead!!

"The scoby IS weird." -- Yes. Yes, it is. =)
Jul 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Want to get into homebrewing but don't want to deal with massive five-gallon batches? This is the book for you. Christensen's simple descriptions, vivid photography, and manageable batch sizes to a great deal to make homebrewing much less intimidating to novices to the hobby. Plus, it has plenty of recipes for non-alcoholic beverages if the hooch isn't completely your thing.
Aug 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Fun and informative book, especially about Kombucha. It gave a little a little less information than i hoped for Water Kefir but many recipes if I chose to figure that whole situation out. If I ever get over being nervous about growing a Scoby, I will probably check this book out again for the tasty Kombucha recipes!
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
An okay intro to different types of homebrews, but overall just felt a bit flat to me. (pardon the pun)

I admit to a snobby eye roll when I was looking over the acknowledgements page and saw a San Francisco homebrewer thanking MoreBeer. Please go support your local supply stores! Brewcraft, Oak Barrel, Fermentation Solutions are great places to shop from!
Heydi Smith
Dec 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-non-fic
I've been looking for a simple book that can tell me about kefir and kombucha, in terms I can understand. This book was just the ticket. Not only did I understand their instructions but it also provided troubleshooting tips and recipes to use the fermented drinks in or change their flavor profile.
Natasha  A.
Jun 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Absolutely fabulous book.
We went looking for a book to learn how to make cider.
What we found was this, and it has opened our eyes to so many possibilities!
I had no idea you could make soda with yeast.
I had no idea what kafir or kombucha even was.
I can't wait to get started.
Word Owl
Loved it! Her notes at the beginning of each chapter are both inspiring and informative! Entire review here. ...more
Jun 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Another great book that very accessibly presents a great variety of home-brew options. I'm excited to try making mead. I may even take the plunge finally with kombucha. Another book for the permanent brew shelf.
Jun 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crafty-books
ooh, makes me want to buy everything I need to start homebrewing!
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Need my own copy of this one!
Nov 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is artfully created, fun to read with simple, completely delicious recipes. Drink it in!
Dec 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great explanations, exceedingly clear instructions, excellent advice, in particular in terms of preparing the novice for what to expect.
Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great recipes for home brewers of all kinds :-) Nd I finally figured out what kombucha is
Mar 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great info. Love the master recipe at the start of every brew type.
Mar 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wish-list
This is going on my wish list - I need this in my personal library. So helpful, informative and straightforward - any drink seems doable with this book :)
Aug 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Interested mostly in the Kefir.
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