Most people that get into homebrewing want to learn more about this fantastic hobby. There are several books out there, but which one(s) are right for you? Midwest has a book to offer any homebrewer at any skill level. Perhaps you’d like to start formulating your own recipes? We’ve got books that cover that. For the purposes of this article, we’ll discuss some of the books in 3 categories.
- Beginners: where we’ll assume you’ve got at least one or two batches under your belt.
- Intermediate: for brewers with 50+ batches brewed who’d like to learn more about advanced extract brewing techniques
- Advanced: being for those of you who’d like to start creating their own recipes or learn about all-grain brewing.
Books for Beginning Brewers
Charlie Papazian, master brewer and founder and president of the American Homebrewers Association and Association of Brewers, presents a fully revised edition of his essential guide to homebrewing. This third edition of the best-selling and most trusted homebrewing guide includes a complete update of all instructions, recipes, charts, and guidelines. Everything you need to get started is here, including classic and new recipes for brewing stouts, pilsners, porters, specialty beers, and honey meads. This third edition also includes sections on getting your home brewery together, ten easy lessons for making your first batch of beer, creating world-class styles of beer (IPA, Belgian wheat, German Kölsch, bock, barley wine, American lagers, to name a few), using fruit, honey, and herbs for a spicier, more festive brew, brewing with malt extracts for an unlimited range of strengths and flavors, advanced brewing techniques using specialty hops or the all-grain method or mash extracts, and a complete homebrewers glossary, troubleshooting tips, and an up-to-date resource section.
The definitive book on making quality beers at home. Presented in a clear, no nonsense style, this authoritative text introduces brewing, and home brewing equipment in a easy step-by-step review so that new brewers can be happy with their results starting with the first batch. Beyond the basics, Palmer provides an accessible reference to both intermediate and advanced techniques like all-grain brewing variations and home brew recipe formulation. Highly Recommended! 346 pages.
The Home Brewer’s Answer Book (Lewis):
Ashton Lewis, Brew Your Own magazine’s popular “Mr. Wizard,” supplies practical, easy-to-follow answers to the questions that bubble up frequently in the course of homebrewing. Fix the problems, understand the chemistry, and achieve the flavor and balance you want in all your craft beers with this essential reference to the magic of brewing. 432 pages.
Brew Chem 101 (Janson):
Now every homebrewer can make better beer simply by knowing the basic science behind the components of beer and fermentation. Do you need to have an advanced science degree to understand brewing chemistry? Certainly not! Any brewer, explains author Lee W. Janson, can understand the basic details of the life of a yeast or the careless steps that produce those annoying off-flavors and learn how to avoid them. Brew Chem 101 features non-technical language and a highly readable style, explanations of the chemical reactions at each stage of the brewing process and how to avoid potential problems, and a primer on beer tasting and judging. 117 pages.
Books for Intermediate Brewers
Brewing Classic Styles (Zainasheff & Palmer):
In Brewing Classic Styles, Zainasheff shares his award-winning extract & all-grain recipes to help other brewers enjoy the top-quality beers that the homebrewing hobby offers today. The 27 chapters cover the standard homebrew competition categories published by the BJCP, giving one recipe for each of more than 80 different sub-categories. To kick the book off, homebrewing expert John J. Palmer gives insight into beer ingredients and their selection along with tips on brewing and recipe adjustments. The combined expertise from these legendary homebrewers delivers a proven collection of recipes suitable for all who make beer at home. 317 pages.
Extreme Brewing (Calalgione):
Extreme Brewing is a recipe-driven resource for aspiring home brewers who are interested in recreating these specialty beers at home, but don’t have the time to learn the in-depth science and lore behind home-brewing. As such, all recipes are malt-extract based with variations for partial-grain brewing. While recipes are included for classic beer styles (ales and lagers), Extreme Brewing has a unique emphasis on hybrid styles that use fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices to create unique flavor combinations. Once their brew is complete, readers can turn to section three, The Rewards of Your Labor, to receive guidance on presentation, including corking, bottle selection and labeling as well as detailed information on food pairings, including recipes for beer infused dishes and fun ideas for themed dinners that allow the reader to share their creations with family and friends. 184 pages.
New Brewing Lager Beer (Noonan):
Completely revised and expanded to include more on craftbrewing techniques and more information specific to ale brewing. Author Greg Noonan, one of the best-known craftbrewers in America, guides you through an advanced discussion on how to produce high-quality beer every time you brew. This advanced all-grain reference book is recommended for intermediate, advanced, and professional small-scale brewers. New Brewing Lager Beer should be part of every serious brewers library. Greg Noonan, owner and brewmaster at the Vermont Pub and Brewery and founder of the Seven Barrel Brewery, is also author of Scotch Ale, the eighth title in Brewers Publications’ Classic Beer Style Series.
Dave Miller’s Homebrewing Guide (Miller):
The only book you need to brew great-tasting beer at home. If you can boil water and combine ingredients, you can learn skills to make top-notch beer. Dave Miller’s Homebrewing Guide is a simple yet complete overview for brewers of all levels. Brewmaster Dave Miller offers up-to-date advice on cutting-edge techniques and successfully guides you through the entire brewing process. Easy-to-follow instructions, helpful charts, handy illustrations, troubleshooting tips, comprehensive glossary, resource guide, equipment and recipes, sanitation and more. 358 pages.
The Brewmaster’s Bible (Snyder):
Master homebrewer Stephen Snyder presents the A to Z guide for producing expert homebrewing results every time. Everything there is to know about homebrewing is here: how to ferment, condition, bottle or keg, store, serve, and savor your homebrews. Providing easy-to-follow instructions with the zeal of a true believer, Snyder walks novice brewers through their first simple batches to more advanced techniques to the ultimate in formulating your own recipes. Topping it all off is a mind-boggling array of recipes collected from brewmasters around the world. It would take a lifetime to brew them all. For each beer type from India Pale Ale to the heaviest German bock, from fruit and spice flavored beers and Christmas beers to the blackest chocolate stout, Snyder includes endless variations and professional advice, making this truly the only brewing guide you’ll ever need. Highly recommended. 374 pages.
Books for Advanced Brewers
Radical Brewing (Mosher):
Lavishly illustrated and filled with fascinating tidbits of brewing lore, this is a brewing book unlike any other. From the arcane to the exuberant, the ancient to the futuristic, Radical Brewing encompasses the passion and vitality that makes the contemporary American brewing scene the envy of the world. With over 90 complete recipes and an abundance of useful information for the novice as well as the grizzled veteran, this book puts you in touch with some of brewing's most exotic and delicious brews. After a concise introduction to beer and how to brew, Radical Brewing moves on to the secrets for the great session ales, lagers and easy-to-brew Belgian beers. Then, it moves on to the next level: strong beers, adjunct beers, fruits, spices, smoked beer and more. The challenging Belgian styles are next, followed by a tour through the vast repertoire of beer through the ages and an introduction to mead and honey beers. Chapters on group brews and activities, equipment, and the art of enjoying beer & food complete the text. 350 pages.
With primers on history, agricultural development and physiology of the barley kernel, John Mallett leads you 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.
For the Love of Hops expertly explains the nature of hops, their origins, and how brewers maximize their positive attributes throughout the brewing process. Author 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 more than 100 hop varieties, along with 16 recipes from around the world, including from top U. S. craft brewers. Hieronymus explores hop quality and utilization 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.
Water, the third book in the Brewers Publications’ Brewing Elements series, tackles the topics of water chemistry and treatment from a brewer's perspective - everything from how to read a water report to residual alkalinity, malt acidity, and mash pH. This book will help to demystify the role of water in the brewing process and will give you the information you need, as a brewer, to manipulate your water so that you can brew the best beer possible.
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.
More than just a recipe book or merely another how-to manual, Designing Great Beers is an indispensable guide intended for brewers interested in formulating their own beers based on classic styles, modern techniques, and their own vision of the perfect beer. With more than 200 tables, Designing Great Beers offers brewers knowledge on the essence of various styles, giving them the needed insight to create their own beers including Six Steps to Successful Beer, Hitting Target Gravity, Pilsner and Other Pale Lagers, Yellow-Red Proportions of Beers, Malts and Caramels, and Common Hop Varieties and Their Typical Alpha Acid Levels. Designing Great Beers is must reading for every home brewer, microbrewer, and armchair brewer contemplating the perfect beer. 404 pages.
Brew Ware (Lutzen & Stevens):
There is nothing that quite matches the satisfaction of having just the right tool or equipment to perform a task. Brewing tools are no exception, especially when you’ve created or adapted them yourself. Authors Karl F. Lutzen and Mark Stevens offer great ideas, from home-sized versions of commercial brewery equipment to simple gadgets that make brewing easier or safer. To help brewers choose the best tools, they offer a balanced evaluation of the advantages and drawbacks of each. 272 pages.