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Best Homebrew Books

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Bizoneill, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. Bizoneill

    Bizoneill Savant (335) Connecticut Apr 19, 2012 Beer Trader

    I'm sure this has been asked before but I couldn't find anything.... I've seen a lot of books out there. I was just wondering if any of you fellow homebrewers out there had any suggestions on what is the best home brew book for a new homebrewer that wants to start creating their own recipes?

    I just brewed a 5 gal all grain batch of a Hennepin clone last month and now I am just waiting for the bottles to finish yup. I think an IPA or DIPA is my next venture.

    Please let me know what you guy think!

  2. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (930) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009 Beer Trader

    That's really two questions.
    New Homebrewer: "How to Brew"
    Creating Recipes: "Designing Great Beers" or "Brewing Classic Styles". Though the latter is really a collection of recipes, it does contain some information useful for recipe design
    Spaceloaf and Bizoneill like this.
  3. leedorham

    leedorham Champion (845) Washington Apr 27, 2006

    Brewing Classic Styles is a great book for the "I want to brew X but don't know how" type scenario.

    Honestly, I learned how to brew from the internet. Youtube, blogs, forums, etc.
  4. Bizoneill

    Bizoneill Savant (335) Connecticut Apr 19, 2012 Beer Trader

    Thanks VikeMan! I'll take a look at these bad boys....
  5. "Radical Brewing" by Randy Mosher.
    Bizoneill likes this.
  6. Bizoneill

    Bizoneill Savant (335) Connecticut Apr 19, 2012 Beer Trader

    I hear ya leedorham... I did most of my research online watching Youtube so far. That's where I learned to brew all grain and build my mash tun :) thanks for the input!
  7. Not sure if I've said it, bit I have thought it every time I see it mentioned. Designing Great Beers blows. All he does is provide you with surveys of what final round competition beers used. I bought it and read it, but I really think it is a waste of time and money.

    My recommendations would be How To Brew and Brewing Better Beer by Gordon Strong.
    Bizoneill likes this.
  8. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Champion (810) Texas May 21, 2010

    How to brew.

    Joy of homebrewing is an easier read, but is less detailed than How to Brew.

    I've got beer captured, it's got a lot of clone recipes that are good starting points if you don't know what you're doing but have an idea of what you want (and a similar beer happens to be in the book, lol). TBH I get more ideas from reading this and a couple other forums than I do from books.
  9. Ol_Johnny_Skippelwicky

    Ol_Johnny_Skippelwicky Advocate (580) Minnesota Feb 13, 2013 Beer Trader

  10. od_sf

    od_sf Savant (440) California Nov 2, 2010

    If you have an interest in Belgian beers, I highly recommend:

    Brew Like a Monk: Trappist, Abbey, and Strong Belgian Ales and How to Brew Them by Stan Hieronymus

    Farmhouse Ales: Culture and Craftsmanship in the Belgian Tradition by Phil Markowski

    Wild Brews: Culture and Craftsmanship in the Belgian Tradition by Jeff Sparrow
    Bizoneill likes this.

  11. Beer Captured is one book that I never pick up. The yeast selections are uninformed guesses at best.
  12. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Champion (810) Texas May 21, 2010

  13. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Champion (810) Texas May 21, 2010

    Honestly, I pay little attention to the yeast choices in that book. Once you get to making your own recipes, such books are less useful. However, it's a reference book that serves a function in my home library.
  14. How to Brew is a good book for new to intermediate brewing although Gordon Strong's book is a good follow up that explains more of the modern all grain techniques employed. The last half of the book is mostly trash where he writes unclear garbage about how he tastes beer. It's not a well written book but it's worth reading as you get your feet wet with all grain brewing.

    As far as recipe designing, I don't think there's a great book that covers the process broadly. Several good books on specific styles (e.g. Wild Brews, BLAM, Farmhouse Ales and some of the Brewers Association style books). Brewing Classic Styles will give you a good starting point for many styles but not as valuable for crafting your own recipe. Designing Great Beers is a book of limited value. It's a survey of NHC finalist recipes from like 1995 with the key grains used, ranges of those grains, and key beer numbers. It will get you into the ballpark of where you need to start off for a recipe in those styles but it's nothing you couldn't come up with yourself by looking at several more recent recipes.
    Bizoneill and AlCaponeJunior like this.
  15. Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation changed my whole process for the better. I am constantly referencing this piece of gold
  16. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (930) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009 Beer Trader

    Great book. I almost mentioned it, but didn't becuase OP used the word beginner.
  17. minderbender

    minderbender Savant (250) New York Jan 18, 2009

    Designing Great Beers is divided into two sections. The first section describes general processes for brewing and recipe design, including how to calculate a lot of brewing variables. The second section describes a number of styles, including historical notes and recipe data from competitions. The second section is arguably not very helpful, though I enjoyed reading it, but regardless I think a beginning brewer could learn a lot from the first section.
  18. What do you find problems with in Gordon's book? He has some credibility from his Ninkasi awards and BJCP level.
  19. It's poorly written. It's just him rambling about stuff. It reads like he took a bunch of his posts online and compiled them into a book with some self-congratulatory BS. He says right off the bat that there are no sources quoted, which makes the book less valuable than a book citing to quality sources. If I want to learn more about what he says I just have to take his word about it. That wouldn't be such a problem if he discussed subjects in depth.

    There's no deep development on subjects that one would expect of a book called "master lessons..." instead most of it is the same stuff you can read online pretty much anywhere with the same quality of sourcing and writing. It's worse than his articles, but not by a huge leap. That whole second half of the book is just worthless. At one point he spends a whole section talking about the tongue. Ok, I get the point of it but it went on and on.

    He's a smart guy and a skilled brewer, but he is not equally skilled as a writer. Had somebody properly edited that book and forced some more content out of him it probably could have been "master lessons..." instead of a decent book for new all grain brewers.
  20. I like the book, but I can't disagree with your comments. All of the brewing related books I have read have ultimately been exactly as you described. Or worse. Much worse. I wonder, when a brewing related book will rise to to level of a James Beard Award level cookbook. Brew Like a Monk drove me mad. It could have been a pamphlet but instead was filled with repetitive rambling. I really hope my recent purchase of IPA and Farmhouse Ales is not disappointing.
  21. Farmhouse Ales is very different from BLAM. A little light on the homebrewing discussion though.

    The difference is I haven't seen any other books titled in a way that makes you think for $20 you're going to become a jedi taught by yoda himself in that damn swamp in Return of the Jedi and pull a starfighter out of your fermentor with the force.
    sergeantstogie likes this.
  22. i can't get enough of "Brewing Classic Styles" but what do I know?
    jsullivan02130 likes this.
  23. kneary13

    kneary13 Savant (320) Massachusetts Jan 30, 2010

    Brewing Better Beer by Gordon Strong. Seriously all you need unless you are going to dive deep into Belgians or Wheat beers, in which case the aforementioned style-specific reads are great too.