In the wonderful world of brewing, there are a lot of amazing written resources in print to date. In this post, we’re highlighting ten of our favorites.
How to Brew
Fully revised and updated, How to Brew is the definitive guide to making quality beers at home.
This is the first book on brewing I ever read. If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t change that fact. It has proved to be an invaluable base of knowledge about brewing.
Every (and I do mean every) homebrewer ought to read it at least once. If that happened, it would be the end of the homebrewing subreddit.
How to Brew is also exceedingly useful as a quick reference for pretty much anything brewing. From water profiles to fermentation temps, John Palmer’s classic won’t lead you astray. If you’re weak on brewing fundamentals, it’s time to read How to Brew.
American Sour Beers
This book details the wide array of processes and ingredients in American sour beer production, with actionable advice for each stage of the process.
Written by Michael Tonsmeire a.k.a. The Mad Fermentationist. Michael is now one of the founders and brewers at Sapwood Cellars. In my earlier days of brewing, I spent a lot of time reading Mike’s blog and my brewing definitely benefited. He has a nice no-nonsense vibe and style.
American Sour Beers is to sour beer what How to Brew has been to homebrewing. It’s foundational. The pages are packed with great info on wild yeast, souring, fruit, barrels, and blending.
If you looking for solid info on sour beer brewing, read American Sour Beers. You’ll be educated, inspired, and elevated as a brewer.
For the Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness and the Culture of Hops
Stan Hieronymous has gamely teased apart the many threads of hops as best anyone can, lending credence where due and scotching unfounded claims when appropriate.
Stan Heironymus has a gift for telling stories. His knack makes dull science come to life in a memorable and humorous fashion. In “For the Love of Hops”, Stan tells us how our noses and palates function. He also relays tons of useful info about how to evaluate and use hops in brewing.
This is one of the core books on the four main ingredients in beer from the Brewers Association. It’s my favorite…but I’m deeply partial to Stans writing style.
I consider this book to be “required reading” for any serious homebrewer and an absolute must for any hop head. Because hop science is expanding at such a rapid rate, I’d start here with Stans book on hops and move onto Scott Janish’s new book covered below.
Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers
The book you need to bend your brewing water to your will.
If you want to brew the best beer possible, read this book. Water has got to be one of the most feared and overlooked ingredients in brewing. In “Water” you’ll find everything you need to understand everything from brewing water profiles to wastewater disposal and treatment options.
There is no doubt that this book is a tough read, unless you’re a chemist. That said, everyone ought to have it on hand, at least as a reference.
Get it. Read it. You don’t have to understand it all to apply the basics and start making better beer!
Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation
The end-all, be-all book on brewer's yeast and yeast management.
I’ve said this for almost all the books so far…but I’ll say it again. Everyone ought to read this. Ever wonder what the difference is between viability and vitality? You’ll find out. And you’ll know which one is more important for a healthy fermentation.
Understand pitch rates, yeast starters, yeast health, and everything else yeast! Yeast is one of the most critical ingredients in your beer. This book is one of the most critical books to add to your homebrewing repertoire.
Most off-flavors result from lackluster fermentations. Get what you need to know about yeast. Read “Yeast”!
Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse
An incredible book for learning more about malt "from field to brewhouse".
This book will clear up all those age old debates and misinformation about the differences between crystal and caramel malt. It will help you understand how to analyze the specs for any given malt.
Dive deep into malt and understand diastatic power and degrees of modification. You may even realize that you might not need to worry so much about DMS if you read “Malt”.
At the end of the book is a great “how to” on home malting. Following this has got to be one the most fun and hands-on ways to learn about malt. Give it a read and give malting a try for yourself…it will make you a better brewer.
The New IPA: Scientific Guide to Hop Aroma and Flavor
In the NEW IPA, Scott Janish scours through hundreds of academic studies, collecting and translating the relevant hop science into one easily digestible book.
Scott Janish has outdone himself. Ever wanted to have all the scientific facts about everything hops explained to you in plain English? Look no further. You’ll find the latest and greatest ideas for maximizing hop aromas and flavors in your beer.
Scott himself has admitted that this is a bit of a dry read. He has done the heavy lifting by distilling and “translating” hundreds of research papers about hops into a language you and I (simple layman) can understand. There is so much information to process in this book that I recommend taking it in small doses.
My favorite feature is the key takeaways at the end of every chapter. They further dumb down the science and give you exactly what you need to now to make better beer.
If possible, do give in to the urge to try out the amazing tips and techniques found within the book. You’ll be brewing your way to hoppy and hazy beer nirvana in no time.
Historical Brewing Techniques: The Lost Art of Farmhouse Brewing
With some brewing traditions facing near extinction, author Lars Marius Garshol set out to explore and document the lost art of brewing using traditional local methods.
Lars Garshol has been blabbing on and on (in a good way) about Farmhouse brewing for ages now. And we finally have an authoritative book on the subject from the expert himself. As the title indicates, this book is an effort to preserve historical brewing traditions and techniques. Especially those methods found in the Scandanavian region of the world.
Delve into the history and brew up some real authentic Farmhouse ales! Go beyond “Americanizing” kveik yeast and learn how to brew with them as they’ve been used for a hundred years before your last Voss NEIPA was even a twinkle in your eye.
If you endeavor to understand the rich history of beer, this is an absolute thrill of a book.
The Homebrewer’s Almanac: A Seasonal Guide to Making Your Own Beer from Scratch
Forget hops: The revolution in craft beer is taking place in gardens, farmer’s markets, and deep in the woods outside rural towns across the country.
This book is brought to you by the kind folks at Scratch Brewing. They’re an odd bunch of GABF (Great American Beer Festival) Gold winning brewers that bring you things like beers made from tree bark! This book is interesting, inspiring, and strange.
Tired of hops? Try mushrooms or nettles! “The Homebrewer’s Almanac” will show you the light and lead you to brew some truly delicious and unique beers. Mind you, these guys are just weird for the sake of being weird. The recipes in the book are really well balanced and subtle.
Know what to forage for in every season. Find out what you can grow in your backyard and use in brewing. Join in the celebration of beer that reflects a specific season and place.
Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew
In Brewing Classic Styles, Jamil Zainasheff shares his award-winning extract-based and all grain recipes.
If you’re itching to brew your way through beer styles, this is the book for you. It’s loaded with style descriptions and has recipes for both extract and all-grain brewers.
I’ve personally enjoyed using the recipes found in this book as a baseline when I set out to brew a certain style. Whether you’re into winning homebrewing competitions or just brewing great tasting beer, these recipes will take your brewing up a level.
The fact that every recipe is a “winner” gives credence to the idea that you’re going to end up with great beer. Speaking from experience, I can honestly say I’ve never been disappointed with a beer I’ve made following these recipes. As an added bonus, the stories associated with many of the recipes are hilarious.