The Brewer’s Life List of Brewing Texts
Below is a collection of indispensable brewing texts that I have grown to treasure.
How to Brew by John Palmer was the first brewing book I purchased, and honestly it’s perfect for that. The book truly covers everything you really need to know to start brewing, and is fairly accessible.
Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher was the first homebrew book to get me really thinking creatively about recipe formulation, and brewing as a whole. Randy does an outstanding job demonstrating just how much variation and artistry a brewer can put into their craft.
Yeast by Chris White and Jamil Zainasheff doesn’t get close to enough of the love it deserves. This book straight up revolutionized the way I thought about yeast. It covers everything from the biology to yeast starters to appropriate oxygenation levels of the wort. I promise, this book is absolutely indispensable.
Water by John Palmer and Colin Kaminski is the headiest in the brewing essentials series. It gets very scientific very fast, but the information is great if you can get your head around it. Understanding water chemistry goes a long way when you’re really trying to fine tune your homebrew abilities. You’ll notice that I don’t include Malt and Hops. To be honest they were pretty basic, and I only think you’d get value out of them if you’re a complete beginner.
IPA Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale by Mitch Steele is a must have for IPA aficionados. This book passes along an extensive amount of information on IPAs including the history, and some great brewing practices. This is where I first really learned about whirlpool hopping.
Brewing Porters & Stouts by Terry Foster is an outstanding eye opener for conquering these two styles. I love how much Terry goes into the history, but his recipes are where this book shines. I’ll be honest, this text inspired my best stout recipe. Pick it up, and see for yourself.
Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels is one of the best resources for coming up with recipe inspiration. It is definitely a classic for a reason, and one of my favorite go to’s when I’m drumming up a new beer.
Brewing Classic Styles by Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer is in the same wheelhouse as Designing Great Beers. It’s another book that I have close by when I’m looking for recipe inspiration, or some guidelines for brewing a style I haven’t touched before.
American Sour Beers by Michael Tonsmeire is where I was first exposed to the brewing practices for making decent sour beers. He also does a great job of delving into blending beers, and the bugs that help make outstanding sour brews.
Brew Like A Monk by Stan Hieronymus is a really great resource for understanding how to keep a beer big but light. It focuses on Belgian beers, but the uses of sugar and its impact is 100% worth noting.
Farmhouse Ales by Phil Markowski got me to finally settle down with my beer, and embrace that, “Life finds a way.” Beer has been brewed for a rather long time, and open fermentation isn’t always a bad thing. Honestly, this book really took the edge off of every time I came home to a fermentation vessel with the lid blown off — read Yeast and you can learn how make extremely healthy powerful fermentations that will blow your lid off as well.
Brewing Better Beer by Gordon Strong is a definite homebrew upper. I can’t say I completely agree with steeping your dark grains for smoothness in a stout — you can achieve that same “smoothness” by using less in your malt bill with a normal mash — but there is so much other amazing advice that the book needs to be on the list.
Brewery Operations Manual by Tom Hennessy may be full of typos, but honestly it is a fantastic resource for figuring out what all goes into opening your own brewery while keeping the overhead down. Tom does a very solid job of explaining the paperwork / bureaucratic / legal hoops you have to jump through. I’m currently implementing many of his pieces of advice as I drum up my future brewery business plan.
This list will definitely continue to grow, but I refuse to recommend books I haven’t personally read. If you can think of some other great texts message me here.
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