Fermentation Friday: the 5 homebrewing books I use the most

5 Favorite Homebrewing Books

  1. How To Brew by John Palmer.  This is my homebrewing bible and an absolute must for every homebrewer’s shelf in my opinion. John covers everything from extract brewing to decoction mashing to bottling in very readable and understandable manner.  I love his allegory for how mashing works.  I am still amazed at how much useful information this book contains every time I flip through it.  Highly recommended for every level of homebrewer.  The first edition of this book is available for free here but I think it’s worth purchasing the latest and more complete addition.
  2. Brewing Classic Styles by Jamil Zainasheff and John J Palmer.  I use this book in two ways.  The first is as a reference when I am formulating a recipe based on a particular style or two of beer.  It gives me a good idea of what base malts, hops and yeast I want to think about using.  The second is when I am feeling utterly lazy and want to brew to style – you can’t go wrong with any of these recipes.  Both extract and all-grain options are given for each style.  Highly recommended for beginner to intermediate homebrewers and those feeling lazy about recipe formulation.
  3. Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher.  While this is technically not a homebrewing book, it is a fantastic reference for any homebrewer.  I use this book every time I teach an off-flavors class – Chapter 3, Brewing and the Vocabulary of Beer Flavor, is invaluable for learning the flavors & off-flavors of beer.  Randy covers classic styles as well as new, history, beer & food, judging and much more in this book.  Highly recommended for every level of homebrewer.
  4. Brewing with Wheat by Stan Hieronymus. Covers the history of wheat beers, the styles and variations.  I mostly bought this book for chapter 14, Four Resurrected Recipes, which contains Kristen England’s recipes for a Berliner Weisse, Lichtenhainer, Gose and Gratzer.  I’ve made all four of these styles and the recipes and information in this book were extremely helpful in formulating my recipes and brewing the beers.  Honestly, I found wheat beers pretty boring before I picked up this book but Stan opened my eyes – there are a ridiculous number of interesting beers to brew with wheat.  Highly recommended for intermediate and up homebrewers.
  5. Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher.  This one is probably my favorite of the bunch.  This book has provided more inspiration for my beers than any other source.  Although Randy does include some recipes for basic styles, this book is all about the weird stuff.  There’s a lot included in this gem – historical recipes, types of sugars, a lovely chart of herbs and spices, alternative grains, honey and so much more.  This book is designed to spark your brewing creativity – highly recommended for intermediate and up brewers and anyone who likes to color outside the lines.

What homebrew books do you use the most?  Please share your recommendations in the comments.

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