In no particular order, below are our favourite books that we find ourselves going back to over and over. Bookmarks are everywhere trying to organize all the important bits of info!
The list has been separated into categories based on what brewing stage you’re currently in. Click on the links to take to you Amazon.ca for further reviews and/or purchase.
For the Beginner Brewer. Learn the Basics.
• Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew by Jamil Zainasheff & John Palmer
Award-winning brewer Jamil Zainasheff teams up with homebrewing expert John J. Palmer to share award-winning recipes for each of the 80-plus competition styles. Using extract-based recipes for most categories, the duo gives sure-footed guidance to brewers interested in reproducing classic beer styles for their own enjoyment or to enter into competitions.
• The Complete Joy of Homebrewing Fourth Edition: Fully Revised and Updated by Charlie Papazian
Fully Revised and Updated, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing is everything you need to know to brew beer at home from start to finish including new recipes, updated charts on hop varieties, secrets to fermentation, beer kit tips, and more—from the master of homebrewing.
The Complete Joy of Homebrewing is the essential guide to understanding and making beer, from stouts, ales, lagers, and bitters, to specialty beers and meads. Everything to get started is here: the basics of building a home brewery, world-class proven recipes, easy-to-follow instructions, and the latest advancements in brewing. Master brewer Charlie Papazian also includes the history and lore of beer, the science behind brewing, and tips on how to create your own original ale.
• How to Brew: Everything you need to know to brew beer right the first time by John Palmer
Author of the homebrewing bestseller How To Brew, John J. Palmer shares his years of hands-on experience to help homebrewers consistently make great beers while expanding their knowledge and experience with the hobby.
Intermediate: Stepping Up Your Game.
• Brewing Better Beer: Master Lesson for Advanced Homebrewers by Gordon Strong
All the insight is laid out for you in a comprehensive format that includes tips, hints, examples, techniques, recipes, analogy, and allegory. This is the one book experienced home-brewers need to up their game.
Part 1 of Designing Great Beers is a complete book in itself, focused solely on home-brewing ingredients and techniques. Ray Daniels proves himself the “techie” type, infusing his introductory chapters with as much brewing math as brewing lore. Yet, Daniels never hops off the deep end of beer geekdom. Instead, he complements this emphasis on data with the creative use of graphics; where one could get bogged down in the stats, there is usually a clear visual depiction to instantly summarize their meaning.
This focus on facts continues into part 2 of Daniels’s guide, where it backs an admirably pragmatic take on beer styles and their importance in home-brewing. Daniels devotes a chapter to each of 14 major style categories, detailing historical origins and modern brewing techniques. He lays a contemporary groundwork by compiling and analyzing the recipes of the National Homebrew Competition’s most successful beers.
Extreme Brewing is a must-have book for aspiring home brewers who are interested in making their own specialty beers at home. There is no in-depth science to absorb and all the recipes are easy to follow and malt-syrup based, with variations for partial-grain brewing.
This book expertly explains the nature of hops, their origins, and how brewers maximise their positive attributes throughout the brewing process. Stan Hieronymus starts with the basics of hop chemistry, then examines the important role farmers play and how brewers can best choose the hops they need. He provides fundamental information about and descriptions of over 100 hop varieties, along with 16 recipes from around the world, including from top U.S. craft brewers. Hieronymus explores hop quality and utilisation, with an entire chapter devoted to dry hopping. Throughout, Hieronymus research and accessible writing style educate the reader on the rich history of hops and their development into an essential ingredient in beer.
• Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse (Brewing Elements) by John Mallett
Brewers often call malt the soul of beer. Fourth in the Brewing Elements series, Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse delves into the intricacies of this key ingredient used in virtually all beers. This book provides a comprehensive overview of malt, with primary focus on barley, from the field through the malting process. With primers on history, agricultural development and physiology of the barley kernel, John Mallett (Bell’s Brewery, Inc.) leads us through the enzymatic conversion that takes place during the malting process. A detailed discussion of enzymes, the Maillard reaction, and specialty malts follows. Quality and analysis, malt selection, and storage and handling are explained. This book is of value to all brewers, of all experience levels, who wish to learn more about the role of malt as the backbone of beer.
Veteran brewer and creative genius Randy Mosher delivers an entertaining look at beer history and culture along with a no-nonsense approach to the art of innovative brewing. He combines a passion for good beer with a solid understanding of brewing science to give a practical guide to joyfully creative brewing. It will take you to places you never thought you would go!
Advanced: Perfect a Style or Fine Tune Your Brewing.
• American Sour Beer by Michael Tonsmeire
“Michael Tonsmeire has created an incredibly comprehensive account of American sour beer making today. As John Palmers How to Brew is to beer making in general, American Sour Beers is the defining work for homebrewers and professional brewers seeking everything from a rudimentary understanding of sour beer to guidance on advanced techniques and philosophy.” — Jeffrey Stuffings, Jester King Brewery Read this book. It will prove essential in helping you get where you want to get with your sour beers. Making great sours requires patience, conversing with other brewers, tasting, dumping from time to time, doing it again…yet sour beer is not a mystery. Our forefathers have done it for a few thousand years, and with this exploration of contemporary and innovative American souring techniques at your side, you can do it, too. — Peter Bouckaert, New Belgium Brewing Company
• Brew Like a Monk: Trappist, Abbey, and Strong Belgian Ales and How to Brew Them by Stan Hieronymus
This book delves into monastic brewing, detailing this rich-flavoured region of the beer world through detailed visits to the modern producers in both America and Belgium. Along the way, Stan Hieronymus examines methods for brewing these unique ales suited to commercial and amateur brewers ready to try their hand at these tasty treats.
• IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale by Mitch Steele
Stone Brewing Co. Brewmaster Mitch Steele has brewed at some of the largest and smallest brewers in the world since graduating from UC Davis with a fermentation science degree. Landing at Stone Brewing Co. in 2006, Steele has overseen the brewing and packaging operations as the brewery has grown from 48,000-barrel operation to 148,000 barrels in 2011. Steele is a long-time IPA fan and an avid homebrewer.
• Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers (Brewing Elements) by John Palmer & Colin Kaminski
Water is arguably the most critical and least understood of the foundation elements in brewing beer. Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers, third in Brewers Publications’ Brewing Elements series, takes the mystery out of water’s role in the brewing process. The book leads brewers through the chemistry and treatment of brewing water, from an overview of water sources, to adjusting water for different beer styles, and different brewery processes, to wastewater treatment. The discussions include how to read water reports, understanding flavor contributions, residual alkalinity, malt acidity, and mash pH.
• Wild Brews: Beer Beyond the Influence of Brewer’s Yeast by Jeff Sparrow
When brewers allow organisms other than Saccharomyces yeast to influence the taste of their ales, a new family of flavors enters the beer vocabulary. Wild Brews explores the world of Lambics, Flanders red and brown beers and American brews in a similar style. Beer lovers and brewers alike will find a detailed description of the brewing methods and fermentation procedures used to craft these distinctively flavorful beers as well as information on wood-barrel aging, blending and the use of fruit in wild fermentations.
• Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation (Brewing Elements) by Chris White & Jamil Zainasheff
Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation is a resource for brewers of all experience levels. The authors adeptly cover yeast selection, storage and handling of yeast cultures, how to culture yeast and the art of rinsing/washing yeast cultures. Sections on how to set up a yeast lab, the basics of fermentation science and how it affects your beer, plus step by step procedures, equipment lists and a guide to troubleshooting are included.
What are your favourites?
The above are our top picks for best homebrewing books. Let us know yours in the comments below!