I find that reading is a great way to broaden your knowledge of a topic. I don’t believe that brewing is an exception. Here are four of my favorite brewing books.
Charlie Papazian is arguably the father of home brewing in the United States. The first edition of his The Complete Joy of Homebrewing was published in 1984 and is considered by many to be the home brewer’s bible. I bought the second edition of this book on the day that I bought my first set of brewing equipment. The fourth edition is due out next year. Papazian divides this book into beginner, intermediate, and advanced sections doing a great job of giving you the information that you need to get started while also giving you more advanced information to help you improve. One of the things that I always liked about this book is that you can pretty much get the information you need to know to produce a decent batch of extract beer in the first ten or fifteen pages.
Once you’ve finished Papazian’s book, How to Brew: Everything You Need To Know To Brew Beer Right The First Time by John Palmer is a great place to go next. Palmer starts out simple as well but dives deep. There are a bunch of tables and formulas in this book to not only help you know what to do, but why. Don’t let this scare you away. This book is very user-friendly. It’s easy to skip over specifics in certain sections if you’re not ready for them yet. You can get the general idea and then refer back to them when or if you want to. I find myself re-reading sections of this book several times a year.
Designing Great Beers: The Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles by Ray Daniels is a phenomenal book for those interested in what makes up a given style of beer. Daniels starts out by giving a howto on creating your own recipes and then goes on to profile various styles. He also looks at the elements of a few commercial and non-commercial beers that are good examples of the style under scrutiny. Want to know if cara pils is a good grain to put in a barley wine? This book will tell you. It does a great job of allowing you to see what typically makes up a given beer so that you can make informed decisions when you want to follow a style or when you want to deviate from one.
Radical Brewing: Recipes, Tales and World-Altering Meditations in a Glass by Randy Mosher is my favorite brewing book to date. Mosher makes the case that brewing is a form of art in the introduction and goes on to prove it page after page. In this book you’ll find descriptions of common styles, uncommon ingredients, and elements of brewing lore. It’s an educational and fun read. It’s one of those books that you can pick up, turn to a page, and get lost in for hours.
What brewing books have you enjoyed?
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