If you have followed this website for any amount of time, you know that I love my homebrewing books. There is so much to gain from different authors’ takes on the brewing process. The following are my recommendations for the best homebrew books in 2021.
I wanted to put this article together to share some of my recommendations on homebrewing books. I have had the opportunity to read all but a couple of these (yes, I read a lot).
Best Beginner Homebrew Books
There are two homebrew books that I either buy or recommend for every new brewer:
The Complete Joy of Homebrewing by Charlie Papazian is an absolute classic at this point. It is the book that I recommend each new brewer to read right off the bat. It helps you to start off learning the right techniques in a very low-stress manner. Homebrewing should be fun. However, it is very easy to get bogged down in the details and start to feel discouraged. This book helps to teach you good habits without feeling discouraged.
How to Brew by John Palmer is the second book that I recommend to new brewers. It contains a bit more technical information, especially regarding water profiles, pH adjustments, etc. but still presents the info in an easy to follow fashion. By reading these two books, you start yourself off with a solid background in homebrewing.
For books dedicated to looking in depth at specific styles, look no further than the Classic Beer Styles series. There are currently 17-18 books in this series, each walking you through the history, ingredients, and techniques used to brew several different styles.
My goal is to collect and read each one in the series! However, my wife definitely doesn’t agree with the ‘collection’ part of the goal.
Below are some examples of my favorites in the series:
Oktoberfest, Vienna, Marzen by George Fix and Laurie Fix
Belgian Ale by Pierre Rajotte
Porter by Terry Foster
Best Book About Kettle Souring
Gose: Brewing a Classic German Beer for the Modern Era by Fal Allen is one of my favorite all-time homebrewing books. Not only does this book go into great detail about the technicalities and history about the gose style, it is the best resource book for souring beers that I have found. There are many different souring techniques discussed, but this helped me learn all that I needed to know to get started with kettle souring.
The Brewing Elements series is a collection of books about the brewing ingredients, each written by a different author. These books go into great technical depth about each of the four essential brewing ingredients one-by-one. These books are well-suited for the intermediate-advanced homebrewer or even the successful commercial brewer. A great deal of the technical information may be over your head as a beginner brewer.
The book, Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse, is written by John Mallet.
Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers is written by the illustrious John Palmer.
For The Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness and the Culture of Hops is written by Stan Hieronymus. This book has a wealth of information about beloved hops. It also functions as a great reference guide to choosing the right hops for your current brew.
Last, but definitely not least in the series, Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation is written by Chris White.
Best Book on Session Beers
I have to say that session beers hold a special place in my heart for two reasons. First being that I tried to learn as much as I could about low-alcohol beers while my wife was breastfeeding. Second, having lived in the state of Utah for about six months, I know how hard it is to obtain the anticipated flavor and mouthfeel of a stronger style when you’re limited to an ABV of 5%.
It impresses me to this day when a brewery can brew a solid stout or doppelbock, for example, while keeping its strength low.
Session Beers: Brewing for Flavor and Balance by Jennifer Talley gives great advice on technique and ingredients that you can utilize to make amazing session beer.
Best Book on IPAs (India Pale Ales)
Though there are likely more of this style on the market than any other, at least in the US, some IPAs certainly stand out from the rest. This book guides you through how to perfect your own delicious homebrewed IPA. I find that this book explains hop science in a much easier to follow fashion than the Brewing Elements series book does.
The New IPA: Scientific Guide to Hop Aroma and Flavor by Scott Janish.
Best Book on Lagers
I love New Brewing Lager Beer: The Most Comprehensive Book for Home and Microbrewers by Gregory Noonan. Though this book is a great resource for learning how to lager, it does not end there. Besides the book in the Brewing Elements series dedicated to malt, I think I learned more about grain in this book than any other that I have read.
Best Book on Wheat Beers
Brewing with Wheat is another great book by Stan Hieronymus.
When I was new to brewing, I thought I hated wheat beers. However, as I learned more, I found that many of the styles I was fond of, such as Gose or Berliner Weisse were brewed with a large percentage of wheat. I also learned about the benefits of using wheat to improve mouthfeel or head retention. This book discusses in detail how to utilize wheat in a beer successfully.
Best Books on Brewing or Making Mead
If you’ve read my mead articles, you know that there are two books that I recommend reading before making your first batch of mead. Though, I have read several good books on mead, these are the ones that have stood out to me. These approach the mead making process in very different ways, but both methods can produce delicious mead, which I find interesting!
You may recognize the author’s last name from one of the most well-known meaderies in the US, Schramm’s Mead. This book walks through every aspect of the mead making process in detail. Schramm’s book explains a more scientific method for brewing mead than the following book does.
Make Mead Like a Viking: Traditional Techniques for Brewing Natural, Wild-Fermented, Honey-Based Wines and Beers by Jereme Zimmerman explains how to make mead using less-modern technique. As it states in the title, he teaches more of the ‘traditional’ ways to make mead. As I stated earlier, I find it interesting that both of these methods can make amazing mead, but each get to the end result in much different fashions.
Bonus: Specifically for fruited mead, otherwise known as melomels, I highly recommend Let There be Melomels!: Fruit Meads designed to inspire your Imagination (Let There be Mead!) (Volume 2) by Robert Ratliff.
Best Book on Gardening for the Homebrewer
The Homebrewer’s Garden, 2nd Edition: How to Grow, Prepare & Use Your Own Hops, Malts & Brewing Herbs by Joe Fisher and Dennis Fisher is an easy read with great information on how to grow the essential brewing ingredients as well as herbs/spices often used in brewing. I haven’t gotten the opportunity to brew a beer using solely homegrown ingredients, but this helped me significantly with growing hops.
Obviously there are bound to be several more great homebrewing books out there. I wanted to present books that I had personal experience with and would highly recommend to others.
If you have homebrewing book recommendations, feel free to contact me on either Instagram or Facebook. I’d love to add your suggestions to this article as well.
I hope you enjoyed this article, thanks so much for stopping by!
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