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Wild Brews: Beer Beyond the Influence of Brewer's Yeast

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  251 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Explores the world of Lambics, Flanders red and Flanders brown beers as well as the many new American beers produced in the similar style.
ebook, 265 pages
Published December 5th 2014 by Brewers Publications (first published July 25th 2005)
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Andrew Bell
Mar 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: homebrewing
The bible on sour beer making and a must for anyone attempting to brew the styles. Goes from the most basic to the most detailed intricacies of sour producing (cooperage to acid and ester production, fruit additions, etc). Absolutely essential. It also pays great attention to the history of sours and not just the technique.

Its very much belgian centric. In almost completely ignores sour beers from Germany (berliner weisses, gose, etc), and doesn't touch into American sours in great detail (
Steven Allen
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy brewing my own beer. Saw this book at my local library and checked it out to see if I wanted the recipies inside. Great book but can be a little boring unless you are really into the science behind brewing. Author can get to a point where he sounds like a Peanuts phone call as he drones on about all of the perils of using wild yeast in brewing.

If you can slog through the boring bits, the history and technique of wild yeast brewing is interesting (at least for me). I will be adding this
Jan 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This may be the best book on brewing I've read. It captures the magical essence of wild beers, sour flavors, and Belgian tradition. It's not book of basics, but is fundamental.
Cara West
While the author is clearly very knowledgeable and this book contains very useful information, it can be quite redundant and would have benefited considerably from an editor. Still, if you are interested in understanding how wild Belgian beers are made or making a wild beer yourself, this book is an excellent primer.
Jun 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a fine book. Definitely packed with lots of information and will be a guide that I can go back to. A great resource for lambic, gueuze, and Flanders acid ales.
Gus Grosch
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting history of Belgian brewing, probably should be called mixed fermentation as in practice it discusses using multiple commercial yeasts, not spontaneous yeasts.
John Hubbard
I found this very good on the Belgian stuff. Not as good on the American.
Josh Osborne
Jun 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beer
When it comes to brewing wild/sour/funky beer, it turns out there aren't many resources out there. Unlike homebrewing in general, where you'll find more "how to brew" books than you could possibly know what to do this, the relatively esoteric niche of brewing both traditional Belgian sours and their newly Americanized brethren are sadly represented both in print and online. Online, you'll find some great blogs like The Mad Fermentationist, Bear Flavored Ales, and brewing sub-forums like Homebrew ...more
Jun 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Wild Brews contained a good amount of valuable information. I most enjoyed chapter four, on beer-souring microorganisms; I bookmarked it and plan to reference it often. The book also includes a few website resources for further research on microorganisms, barrel upkeep, aged hops, etc., that I look forward to pursuing.

Horrible editing, to the point that some passages had to be read multiple times to understand the intended meaning. Also, a good deal of the book seemed to be redundan
Dec 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was incredibly informative about wild brewing, specifically lambics and Flemish red brewing. I really was interested in the history of wild brewing. The information about the brewing process was very detailed. I did think parts could have been better organized, and sometimes the jumping between styles got a little hard to remember some of the specific details and how it related to one style vs the other.
Bill Thorp
Nov 22, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was fascinating. It contains a great history, a "tour" of Belgian sours, history as it relates to brewing technique, an decent review of involved germies, recipes, etc.. It contains enough real how-to on sours & esters to make you comfortable with experimenting on your own. ...more
Alex Turner
Really good book covering the history, some of the current state of play in Belgium and a comprehensive over view of practices and processes. A great starting point for anyone wanting to try their hand at doing some brewing in this style.
Very informative. At times not written as clearly or as well as it could have been, but at the same time I don't ask writers to brew excellent beer. Overall delightful and informative.
David Hartung
May 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Very informative on the souring process and associated bacteria.
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  Tami Charles is a former teacher and the author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made...
28 likes · 46 comments
“Lambic is flat, since all carbon dioxide produced during lambic fermentation escapes from the barrel. Packaged young, lambic develops carbonation in a manner similar to a cask or bottle of real ale. Real ale is casked or bottled at the end of fermentation with just enough fermentable sugar left in solution to provide a gentle carbonation. The microorganisms responsible for lambic fermentation can consume virtually any type of sugar; therefore, the brewer never bottles young lambic. The fermentation of the remaining sugar in young lambic would produce enough carbon dioxide to shatter the bottle.” 0 likes
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