Great homebrewing takes a lot of trial and error. Having references on hand is both smart and practical. The best homebrewing books cover recipes, techniques, tips, and tricks advantageous to every homebrewer. This list spans a range of topics from beginner to advanced, each with its own strength. In no particular order, add to your library:
How to Brew: Everything You Need To Know To Brew Beer Right The First Time
by: John J. Palmer
If you have never homebrewed before, How to Brew is definitely the place to start. Wether you are planning to start with extract brewing or or will jump with in to all-grain, How to Brew will provide all the basics and more. This book is well written, witty, and entertaining, but is still technical and concise. It provides the foundations to build upon from your first batch of homebrew and will continue providing value with each and every beer you brew. How to Brew is not just for beginners, it provides useful information and techniques for immediate and advanced brewers, even if just to refresh your memory or re-learn forgotten techniques.
With How to Brew fourth edition being released in 2017, the book has added some fresh content which covers the their top six priorities in more details including: sanitation, fermentation temperature control, yeast management, the boil, good recipes, and water. Not only have they updated and expanded all of the previous chapters, but it includes 5 new chapters, more recipes, updated graphs, charts, visuals, and equations. Each recipe now includes recommended water profiles which is a huge step towards making great beer! Lastly the fourth edition has an entire chapter on water profiles and a much revised chapter on yeast covering everything from yeast pitching to starter yeast growth factors. How to Brew: Everything You Need To Know To Brew Beer Right The First Time fourth edition is a must have for everybody’s homebrew book library.
The Complete Joy of Homebrewing Fourth Edition: Fully Revised and Updated
by: Charlie Papazian
Similarly to How to Brew, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing is great book to start your homebrewing adventure with. The book is thorough and thoughtful, covering all the topics you need to understand to get started homebrewing. It’s easy to read and follow with some added humor at the right times. The Complete Joy of Homebrewing offers up homebrew recipes to get you started which well help enforce the techniques discussed and covered. This book will not only teach you how to brew, it will also teach you to relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew (RDWHAHB).
If you have a few batches of beer under your belt and are looking to start designing your own homebrew recipes, Designing Great Beers is the book you want to read and keep on your shelf. The first part of the book will cover the grain bill, hop additions, beer color, water, and yeast, all of which help to solidify techniques used to come up with your own homebrew recipes. The second part of the book offers information and descriptions about beer styles and its corresponding ingredients. All this information is presented in both text and chart format, making for and quick and easy reference when needed.
Modern Homebrew Recipes: Exploring Styles and Contemporary Techniques
by: Gordon Strong
Looking to advance your homebrewing techniques and recipes? Modern Homebrew Recipes will offer a clear and concise presentation on methods, recipe reading and understanding, and how to adjust them to your homebrew system and process. This great book also offers an abundance of tried and true homebrew recipes that are sure to produce delicious home brewed beer. Using what you read and learned from the provided recipes will help you formulate your own recipes, as well as help hone in your homebrew system, techniques, and processes. In turn, this will allow you to produce delicious homebrew time and again, and you will find yourself revisiting it often.
Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse
by: John Mallett
If you are a homebrewer looking to understand the underlying ideas, terminology, and techniques behind malt, this is a great book for you. This book is less of a homebrewing guide about malts and more focused on in-depth and technical subjects covering topics like malting process, maillard reactions, barley types, enzymes, etc. This book covers those topics particularly well and is written by a highly respected member of the craft beer industry. The book does fall short on tying those topics discussed back to homebrewing. However, it offers great value if you understand that going in and plan to learn and do your own research on malts and how they interact and affect your homebrew.
For The Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness and the Culture of Hops
by: Stan Hieronymus
For The Love of Hops is a book written to provide information and background on the history and lineage of hops, where they come from and what they are. This book is split up into two sections. The first section offers great detail and in-depth knowledge about essential hop oils, hops harvests, growing and cultivating, the different forms used in breweries and homebrewing, and the future of where are hops are headed. The second section covers all the technical aspects of hops including chemistry of hops, important calculations, bitterness and how its measured, and how to maintain hop quality and freshness. As with Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse, if you understand going in that this book does not directly relate to homebrewing techniques and recipes, you will enjoy it and learn a lot.
Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation
by: Chris White & Jamil Zainasheff
If you are looking to further your knowledge on yeast, Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation is a phenomenal book. This book provides knowledge about what yeast is, how they work, and how they react to the various conditions you might put them under. However, this book shines when describing yeast culturing, by explaining precisely how with step-by-step guides and amplifying information through illustrations. It covers in detail harvesting, washing, pitch rates, storage, slant and petri dish preparations, cell growth, and colony isolation. This is a must have book for every homebrewer, especially those looking at the other side of homebrewing aside from just making wort and delicious homebrew.
Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers
by: John Palmer & Colin Kaminski
If you are looking to wade through the waters and want an in-depth technical understanding of how and why water is used and affects your beer, Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers is the best resource. This book covers in-depth mash chemistry by explaining its water chemistry, minerals and alkalinity, and calculations. It helps you understand the importance of a water report and provides you with the knowledge to understand your report and how it will affect your recipes and homebrew. The book covers some basic math and chemistry to help you understand the topics covers, and provides helpful examples and illustrations.
American Sour Beers
by: Michael Tonsmeire
American Sour Beers is a fantastic book for both homebrewers and sour beer lovers. This book provides well researched and very informative topics covering every aspect of sour and wild beers. You will not only learn, in-depth, how to make delicious and amazing sour beers, but it will teach you why and how. The books covers in-depth techniques from both industry experts and award winning homebrewers. You will come back to this book over and over, learning something new each and every time. This is by far my favorite book and I cannot recommend it enough. If you are looking to start making sour beers, which seems easy once you have read this book, you definitely need to pick up this gem.
IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale
by: Mitch Steele
If you are a hop head like me, IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale is a must read book. The book covers the history of the IPA and follows it through to the present day. This book provides a knowledgeable overview of the different variations and types of IPAs in todays craft beer and homebrew movements, and their associated challenges and disparities. IPA ingredients are covered in-depth in both description and usage. That information then lends itself to the final section of the book that provides 48 different IPA recipes. The recipes don’t give amounts, instead it gives percentages requiring you to use the previous section to adapt the recipes to you homebrew system and efficiencies.
Experimental Homebrewing: Mad Science in the Pursuit of Great Beer
by: Drew Beechum & Denny Conn
Experimental Homebrewing is a fantastic book and should be in everyone’s homebrew library. This book covers experimental and adventurous techniques and processes from both authors unique perspectives. Full of highly useful and intelligent tips, this book covers interesting philosophies and reminds homebrewers that this hobby can be full of fun experiments. This book is not exactly for the new brewer just looking to start out, but it will get the creative juices flowing to all levels of homebrewers on how to experiment with their homebrewing hobby. A great book for yourself or as a gift, you won’t go wrong with Experimental Brewing.
Tasting Beer: An Insider’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Drink
by: Randy Mosher
A must have book for every homebrewer and beer geek, Tasting Beer: An Insider’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Drink is sure to be a favorite. This is a beautiful book full of illustrations and content other than just the in-depth text. This book covers in great details how to taste beer and homebrew, and how to accurately distinguish and describe its’ complexities, qualities and faults. This book also goes beyond just tasting beer and provides useful information about the history of beer, food and beer pairings, and beer style descriptions and examples. Another phenomenal book that makes a great gift for all beer drinkers and homebrewers, who will enjoy and come back to more than once.