The Theory and Practice of Brewing, by Michael Combrune
The most pivotal book in brewing!

For the longest time, brewing was considered an Art, and a brewer was considered an Artisan. In 1762, Michael Combrune changed the brewing world forever. He published The Theory and Practice of Brewing, a book which treated brewing as a Science and not just an Art. Combrune, a professional brewer at the time, was the first person to perceive and document brewing as a science. The Theory and Practice of Brewing is Combrune's theories on brewing and the practical application of these theories applied to brewing beers of the time. Nothing like this book had ever been published.

A year in the works and 242 years after it was originally published, Raudins Publishing is proud to present a completely restored republication of this pivotal book. We have taken every measure to reproduce this book in all its original glory including its rather large page size. Here is your chance to own the book that changed the brewing world.

Theory of Brewing
Degrees of Heat System
During the nearly 20 years it took Combrune to research the science of brewing, he developed a system for brewing which was based upon the degrees of heat of specific items. Part I of this book details this system, his Theory on Brewing. Essential in his mind was the seasonal temperature, and how it impacted brewing. He describes a detailed system on using the degree of heat shown on the thermometer at various times in the year to dictate the extracts for small beers, the quantity of hops to use, how much yeast should be used, and the length of time the wort should be boiled. Also included in his system is the heat that the malt was exposed to during malting. (See the Malt section below.)

An interesting aspect of Combrune's system is that it is all backed up by arithmetic computations to illustrate the points. His theories weren't nebulous theory, but instead theories about the relationships of aspects of brewing based upon heat. This aspect of Combrune's book clearly made it a first. One example of his arithmetic computations is that he describes how to compute the resulting temperature of adding boiling water and room temperature water, and then extends the concept to include a grist in the matter. Basically, he developed equations for computing the amount of boiling water, and air temperature water required to hit a mash-in temperature!

Any mention of Combrune's work must include a discussion on the Thermometer, for Combrune was the first to describe and advocate the use of the Thermometer in brewing! Before Combrune's book, mash temperatures were dictated by how well the brewer could see his own reflection in the mash water. At a specific heat, the water would become like a mirror, and that would be the time when most brewers would mash-in. Combrune felt that a brewer could not work efficiently without the thermometer and this is evident in the fact that the use of the thermometer is at the center of his theories on brewing.

Combrune discusses the malts of the time with quite a bit of detail. He felt that the heat the malt had been exposed to played an important part in the brewing, and it therefore plays a factor in a number of the calculations he presents. He even relates how long beers made with malts dried to specific heats will require to be aged and whether they will become fine!

Combrune includes hops in his Degrees of Heats system, but also includes discussions concerning hopping rates for various beers (Porter, Small, Burton Ale, Amber & Two-penny) based upon the quality of the hops, and other discussions on hops including those from Worcestershire and Kent. (Kent already supplied half the hops for the industry.)

Practical Applications
Part I of the book is dedicated to the Theory of Brewing, where Part II is dedicated to the practical application of these theories. Combrune even provides example calculations for applying his theories.

Mashing: Parti-Gyle / Multiple Mashes
Combrune's book offers a nice view into the details of parti-gyle brewing. Parti-gyle brewing is where multiple mashes of a grist are performed to extract all the sugars from the mash, thereby producing multiple beers. At the time, sparging was not performed and therefore it was common to draw a strong beer and a table beer from a single mash to achieve efficient utilization of the grain. Parti-gyle brewing was an inherent part of Combrune's world and is therefore found in most every aspect of the book. One nice detail is that Combrune describes, based upon beer styles, how much small beer should be expected to be extracted from given quantities of malt. It is this type of detail which is captured in this book which made it so unique.

Detailed Information On Mashing, Boiling, and Pitching
Combrune describes about every aspect of the brewing process and delves into them. For example:

  • He shows detailed calculations using his theories on heats to dictate mashing temperatures for the various mashes.
  • He describes how long various beer styles, and their subsequent small beers, should be boiled based upon the seasonal temperature.
  • He includes information on what the proper pitching temperature should be based upon the seasonal temperature and what the proper quantity of yeast for pitching should be for a given beer style!
As with all of the older books, discussions about the period beer styles and brewing them is to be cherished. Beer styles or groupings that Combrune discusses include Burton Ale, Brown Ale, Brown Stout, Old Hock, Dorchester Beers, Porter, Brown Strong Beer, Amber, Two-penny, Pale Ale, Small, & Pale Strong. As Combrune's system varies based upon beer styles, he includes discussions on these all throughout Part II of the book.

It is interesting in that Combrune captures the time when pale beers were beginning to be extremely important and he describes brewing Pale and Amber as being "the art at its greatest height."

Example Brewing Calculations
Combrune lays down a complete set of his calculations for a brewing of porter or brown strong beer (with 5 mashes), and common small beer (with 4 mashes). He also includes real world measured results from a few of his brewings for these two beers.

To say Combrune's book impacted the brewing industry is an understatement. The Theory and Practice of Brewing was referenced and quoted by most every brewing book published after it. The book caused the brewing world to think in an new light and the impact of the book was quite long lasting as it was translated into German in 1796, and French in 1802. (Both being done almost 40 years after it was first printed.) While across the ocean in the United States, Thomas Jefferson considered Combrune's book to be the best brewing book in his collection! These are probably some of the reasons we have had numerous requests to republish this title.

One extremely nice aspect of Combrune's book is that it includes a nice glossary describing the brewing terms of the day. Interestingly, Combrune uses the term "barley wine" long before it was used as an official beer style.

Inside the Mind of a 18th Century Brewer
We could continue describing the many aspects of brewing covered by Combrune, but as he touches on so many, it would be near impossible. One could consider this book as essentially a view into the mind of an 18th century brewer! We would suggest that you sit back with a barley-wine and immerse yourself in his world, as no other brewing book has described it in the manner that Combrune did.

Book Details
Table of Contents
To get a better idea of what the book contains, take a look at the table of contents from the actual book. The Table of Contents for this book doesn't do justice to the amount of information in this book, so we have also included the complete index here too! Click here to read a PDF version of the contents and index. (The PDF is 213k.)

Numbered Edition
The book is a numbered edition! The print run size was 331 copies. The books will be sold in sequential numbered order. Therefore, the earlier you place your order, the lower number your copy will be. For future numbered editions of our books, we will make the same numbered copy available to you first, allowing you to have a matched set.

Reproduction Quality
The book is hard cover bound in black bonded leather with gold foil stamping on the spine and front cover. The book is 300+ pages and printed on 60lb. natural offset paper. It has been reproduced in its original/eccentric size (7.5" x 9.5"), making for a rather large book. (Due to the large page size, the book requires about 4 times the amount of paper that our previous title required!)

Period Typeface
To maintain the original look and feel, we have typeset the book using fonts produced from original 200 year old typefaces. The book utilizes the "Long-S" in its typesetting as most books did during the 1700s. If you are not familiar with the long-S, Click here to read further about it.

Reviews & Articles
If you would like to read an independent reviews of one of our books and articles which reference the books, Click here.

How to Order

The book is in stock and available for US$64.95 Sale Price US$50.00 plus shipping.

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Combrune's Theory and Practice of Brewing:
To order The Theory and Practice of Brewing: US$64.95 Sale Price US$50.00

18th Century Brewer's Set (2 books)
To order The Theory and Practice of Brewing, and Every Man His Own Brewer : US$99.00 Sale Price US$85.00

Complete British Brewer's Set (4 books)
To order The Town and Country Brewery Book, Scottish Ale-Brewer, The Theory and Practice of Brewing, and Every Man His Own Brewer : US$155.00 Sale Price US$125.00

5 Pack (Books #3-7):
To order The Town and Country Brewery Book,Scottish Ale-Brewer, M'Harry's Practical Distiller, Combrune's Theory and Practice of Brewing, and Every Man His Own Brewer: US$190.00 Sale Price US$160.00

All Six Remaining Books In The Series:
To order The Complete Practical Brewer, Scottish Ale-Brewer, The Town and Country Brewery Book, M'Harry's Practical Distiller, Combrune's Theory and Practice of Brewing, and Every Man His Own Brewer: US$200.00

Purchasing with check or money order: We also accept checks and money orders. Click Here to go the order page.

* A limited quantity of these sets are available due to the limited number of copies remaining of some of the books. (Complete Practical Brewer and Complete Practical Distiller.)

** Sets that contain a pre-order book: If you order a set of books which contains a pre-order title, the entire set will be shipped when the pre-order title comes back from the printer.

* Disclaimer: Recipes from old books should be viewed with caution. Ingredients may have since been deemed dangerous. These books are being published soley for the historical perspective and information.