Author Topic: John Palmer  (Read 5980 times)

Offline dbeechum

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John Palmer
« on: December 10, 2009, 09:47:44 AM »
Guess we're looking for more than just Dave's now!



Two score and seven years ago, two parents in Midland, MI raised a determined young boy who wanted to make things. Make things and catch fish. About this same time, he tried his grandfather's homemade root beer for the first time, and declared it to be the "best stuff in the world!" The root beer was made in a large stoneware crock with Hire's extract and tended to make the bottles explode, but it was worth it. As time passed and catching ever-larger fish to impress the girls seemed to lose it's effectiveness, John went off to Michigan Tech to learn metallurgy. Metallurgy, snow, and drinking local beer were engaging pastimes for many years but it was finally time to leave Michigan and seek his fame in fortune in Southern California. Girls had nothing to do with it.

The the local aerospace industry of Southern California proved to be a very nourishing environment for the up-and-coming metallurgist, but the lovely beaches of Orange County tended to starve a sophisticated beer drinker. It was the heyday of Corona girls serving beer with lemon, but their beauty and it's style was kind of smooth after a while, give him two-hand hefty biersteins any time. It was the dark lager beer in particular that he missed, and being an engineer, he decided that actually brewing some could not be that hard. A couple trips to the local homebrew supply store and that first disappointing batch of beer was made.

Ah the twists of fate - that first batch was cidery and did not taste anything like the beer he had in mind. It made him more determined than ever to analyze the brewing processes and determine the best method for brewing his beer. And thus was born his five year mission to explore strange new beers, to seek out new recipes and new brewing techniques, to boldly explain what no one had explained before, at least not quite in the same way. Several years were spent writing and re-writing the material and then the book was published online at howtobrew.com, the first comprehensive brewing book on the internet. A year later, it was published in hard copy, and a few years later it was revised and published by Brewer's Publications in 2006. Many people ask if brewing beer and writing about beer is his full-time job, but no, it's is just a cherished hobby. His secret identity is being a metallurgist and quality manager for a large heat treating corporation.

John always enjoys having a beer and sharing experiences with other brewers at weekend competitions and conferences.
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Online theDarkSide

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Re: John Palmer
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2009, 09:56:11 AM »
I love his book, How To Brew, and enjoy listening to him on The Brewing Network's Brew Strong.

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Offline denny

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Re: John Palmer
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2009, 10:32:47 AM »
John's a great guy and his work has helped MANY homebrewers.  I have to say, though, that my favorite JP moments are when he's scheduled to speak at NHC in the AM after club night.....VERY high entertainment value!  ;)
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Offline bluesman

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Re: John Palmer
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2009, 10:45:40 AM »
I love his book, How To Brew, and enjoy listening to him on The Brewing Network's Brew Strong.



+1

Great book!
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Offline dean

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Re: John Palmer
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2009, 10:55:17 AM »
I love his book, How To Brew, and enjoy listening to him on The Brewing Network's Brew Strong.



+1

Great book!

+1 again, its my go-to book! 

Offline a10t2

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Re: John Palmer
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2009, 04:43:29 PM »
I can honestly say that if it wasn't for How to Brew I probably would have quit brewing after my first couple crappy extract beers.
Beer is like porn. You can buy it, but it's more fun to make your own.
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Offline dhacker

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Re: John Palmer
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2009, 03:20:01 PM »
I have several copies of HTB 3rd Ed.

One in the night stand, one in my office, one in the brew house and one in the "Throne Room".

Never try to brew with out it!  :)

Just brew it...

Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: John Palmer
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2009, 07:22:08 AM »
Nicely written bio, dbeechum (very nice Queen reference in the second paragraph 8)).  I must have read the 2nd edition of How to Brew at least three or four times before attempting my first batch.  It's an excellent resource!
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Offline dbeechum

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Re: John Palmer
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2009, 09:47:43 AM »
Nicely written bio, dbeechum

I would take credit for that, but sadly.. the bio itself was written by none other than Mr. Palmer - so all praise to him and a hope that his house didn't get mudslided this weekend. (John's house is a really bad stone's throw away from the Station Fire burn area)
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Offline dean

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Re: John Palmer
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2010, 06:52:06 PM »
YOuf know, I goota ask this, how many homerbrewers can read that boolk from cov er to cover and really understand it?  I love the boodk but damn if I can read more than a secoton or two and I have to quit.  Its easy but its alot at the same time, atl least for me it is.  Best damn book eever read though.   ;D

Offline kgs

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Re: John Palmer
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2010, 08:23:07 AM »
YOuf know, I goota ask this, how many homerbrewers can read that boolk from cov er to cover and really understand it?  I love the boodk but damn if I can read more than a secoton or two and I have to quit.  Its easy but its alot at the same time, atl least for me it is.  Best damn book eever read though.   ;D

This book *is* a lot to absorb at any one time. Also, as much as I love this book, its organization may be a bit of an obstacle for newer brewers. Think of it as a reference book and focus on the chapters you need the most to help your next brew. Did you have questions about your water? Study chapter 4. Are you trying your first all-grain batch? Read up on chapter 19. Getting ready to bottle? Read chapter 11.

I took this book on business trips last year and read and re-read the chapters that were most pertinent to what I was trying to accomplish next (or the problems I was trying to understand better from earlier batches). A lot of it made no sense at first, but became much clearer through subsequent brew days and through re-reading.

I still blip over the really wonky charts, but I enjoy the level of professional detail in them. You don't need to understand the chart "comparison of particle size distribution as a function of crush" in order to understand the general principles about crushing in that chapter, but it's good to know Palmer has an evidence-based focus to his expertise. Also, the book isn't well-indexed, so when you find a factoid you find particularly useful, dogear the page or jot a note on the inside cover.

To get even more insight into your next batch, try reading this side-by-side with Ray Daniels' Designing Great Beers (again focusing on a batch you're getting ready to brew, or an older batch you're trying to diagnose). But don't overthink the process.

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Offline euge

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Re: John Palmer
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2010, 10:52:16 AM »
I really owe alot to JP.

I'm not sure the publication is meant to be read completely before one starts brewing. Seems it is geared to get one started fairly quickly. Then one can learn more from the book as experience progresses since this is when we start to ask more technical questions. Good reference.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman