I've finally got round to reading The Brewer's Apprentice: An Insider's Guide to the Art and Craft of Beer Brewing, Taught by the Masters. A rather modest title, which presumably goes down well across the Atlantic.
But I couldn't help but think that the authors were setting themselves up for a fall. Which indeed they do quite rapidly. The 'masters' tell us on the first page of chapter one that "malt houses let grains such as barley germinate and being to grow, creating starch." As a mere journeyman brewer I was under the impression plants got energy from sunlight and stored it as starch, so I was somewhat surprised to see this claim that starch is created by grains
when they germinate
during the malting process. I was even more surprised to see diastolic enzymes mentioned in the explanation of mashing. Presumably they reduce blood pressure*.
Embarrassing howlers aside it's not a bad book: a rather basic home brewing guide with chapters broken up by interviewing prominent brewers. And a self confessed cat rapist, but enough fun has been had with his contribution already. Some of the things said in the interviews got me pondering, which is a good thing, though I'm not sure how much use they'll be to people new to brewing.
* They meant diastatic enzymes. During the malting process enzymes are created (or activated but I won't go on about our old friend Protein Z 40kDa here). Starch levels actually fall sightly.