10 Must-Have Beer Brewing Books: Savoring Knowledge

When I’m not making beer, you will often find me nose-deep in a book about the brewing process (accompanied by a pint of my latest brew, of course).

Books on brewing beer can be useful to novice brewers wanting to learn more about this process, teach more experienced beer enthusiasts advanced brewing techniques to improve their beer, and also be a resource for brewers studying for their BJCP exams.

Best for Beer Lovers
The Complete Joy of Homebrewing
Best for Homebrewers of All Levels
Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation
Best for Technical-Minded Brewers
Designing Great Beer
Image
The Complete Joy of Homebrewing Fourth Edition: Fully Revised and Updated
Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation (Brewing Elements)
Designing Great Beers: The Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles
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Author
Charlie Papazian
Chris White & Jamil Zainasheff
Ray Daniels
Publication date
September 30, 2014
October 16, 2010
January 26, 1998
Publisher
William Morrow Paperbacks
Brewers Publications
Brewers Publications
Language
English
English
English
Print length
496 pages
300 pages
404 pages
Dimensions
6 x 1.24 x 9 inches
6.1 x 0.79 x 9.02 inches
7.18 x 0.95 x 10.07 inches
Best for Beer Lovers
The Complete Joy of Homebrewing
Image
The Complete Joy of Homebrewing Fourth Edition: Fully Revised and Updated
-
Author
Charlie Papazian
Publication date
September 30, 2014
Publisher
William Morrow Paperbacks
Language
English
Print length
496 pages
Dimensions
6 x 1.24 x 9 inches
Best for Homebrewers of All Levels
Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation
Image
Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation (Brewing Elements)
-
Author
Chris White & Jamil Zainasheff
Publication date
October 16, 2010
Publisher
Brewers Publications
Language
English
Print length
300 pages
Dimensions
6.1 x 0.79 x 9.02 inches
Best for Technical-Minded Brewers
Designing Great Beer
Image
Designing Great Beers: The Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles
-
Author
Ray Daniels
Publication date
January 26, 1998
Publisher
Brewers Publications
Language
English
Print length
404 pages
Dimensions
7.18 x 0.95 x 10.07 inches

Let’s take a look at some of the best homebrewing books you can currently buy online, at your local bookstore, or even download to your Kindle.

From Prohibition To The Craft Beer Revolution: Remembering the Beers of Yesteryear
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Healey, David (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

The Complete Joy of Homebrewing (4th Edition) by Charlie Papazian

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The Complete Joy of Homebrewing Fourth Edition: Fully Revised and Updated
  • Papazian, Charlie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 496 Pages - 09/30/2014 (Publication Date) - William Morrow Paperbacks (Publisher)

For over 30 years, Charlie Papazian’s “The Complete Joy of Homebrewing” has been a beloved companion for countless homebrewers. Now in its 4th Edition, many consider this the bible for homebrewing. Charlie’s book is to the art of brewing and craft brewers what Julia Child’s “The Joy of Cooking” is to French food for your average home cook.

Charlie Papazian is one of the most recognized names in the craft beer scene, often referred to as the “godfather of craft beer” and started a “little” event known as The Great American Beer Festival way back in 1982, among many other accolades.

My 1st edition of this book is looking well thumbed now and I may need to upgrade soon – it’s a book you’ll never tire of reading!

This definitive guide emphasizes the joy and creativity of brewing, making it an ideal read for those seeking a more relaxed and fun approach to the craft.

Papazian covers all aspects of brewing from the basics to advanced techniques, including recipes, troubleshooting tips, and personal anecdotes. His infectious enthusiasm and reassuring tone make this book a delightful read that motivates the average homebrewer to experiment and embrace their own unique style.

In Charlie’s own unique way, this book also contains the best piece of advice anybody will ever give you: “Relax. Don’t Worry. Have a Homebrew!”

  • Recommended for: Everyone! Every home brewer should own at least one copy
  • Covers: Everything from beginner to advanced brewing techniques
  • Recipes: 40+ Extract, 10+ All Grain
  • Available Formats: Paperback

How to Brew by John J. Palmer

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How To Brew: Everything You Need to Know to Brew Great Beer Every Time
  • Palmer, John J. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 582 Pages - 06/01/2017 (Publication Date) - Brewers Publications (Publisher)

No list of homebrewing books would be complete without mentioning “How to Brew” by John Palmer. Widely regarded as the definitive book on homebrewing, John Palmer’s book serves as an excellent starting point for beginners.

This book covers the basics of brewing equipment and ingredients, providing a solid foundation for understanding the brewing process. From extract brewing to all-grain recipes, Palmer meticulously explains each step with clear instructions and helpful diagrams.

Furthermore, “How to Brew” also delves into the in-depth science behind brewing, helping readers grasp the technical aspects while remaining accessible to all skill levels.

As a reference book, How to Brew is a go-to resource that you will quite often refer back to as you refine your brewing skills and add new techniques or just need a quick refresher on procedures you may not have performed for a long time.

  • Recommended for: Beginner and Intermediate experience level Homebrewers
  • Covers: All aspects of brewing for novices to more advanced brewing.
  • Recipes: 20+, all grain and extract
  • Available Formats: Paperback and Kindle

Brewing Classic Styles by Jamie Zainasheff & John J. Palmer

Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Jamil Zainasheff (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

This book is highly recommended if you are considering brewing some classic beer recipes. John J. Palmer is the how-to guy while Jamil Zainasheff is the recipe guy. All the recipes in this book have been road tested in competitions, so it’s a great quick reference resource for anybody who wants to brew to BJCP standards in future competitions.

Although it may not be the most straightforward book for novice brewers, it does include a solid brewing basics section, including some useful charts, a guide to extract brewing, and choosing your ingredients.

The bulk of the book, however, focuses on the various classic beer styles, including the key brewing concepts and at least one or two recipes for each. Recipes can be extracted or a partial mash with an all-grain option included for the more advanced brewers.

Four appendices at the end of the book cover everything from yeast pitching rates and starters, steeping specialty grains, and stovetop partial mash techniques to the priming rates for bottling your beer.

  • Recommended for: Intermediate to Advanced brewers
  • Covers: basic brewing techniques, classic beer styles, brewing water and steeping grains, partial mashing, yeast pitching, and more.
  • Recipes: 80 partial mash or extract with all-grain options included
  • Available Formats: paperback and Kindle

Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher

Radical Brewing: Recipes, Tales and World-Altering Meditations in a Glass
  • Randy Mosher (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 350 Pages - 05/06/2004 (Publication Date) - Brewers Publications (Publisher)

Of all the brewing books on my brewing library shelf, Randy Mosher’s Radical Brewing is probably the most fun to pick up and leave on the coffee table for guests to flick through.

Randy Mosher was a graphic designer by trade and all his books have a flair for design. A fun two-color layout blends old prints and drawings into the body of the book, which is an enjoyable romp through the rich history of beer, brewing fundamentals, and radical specialty beer recipes.

The book briefly starts with a basic approach to brewing and traditional brewing ingredients before veering off to alternate ingredients and innovative recipes based on a classic style of beer.

Radical Brewing isn’t so much a gem of a brewing book when it comes to the usual suspects, but rather for its less mainstream brewing procedure portions such as brewing ales for Christmas, 12 ways to improve your stout, organic brewing, brewing ancient ales, cooking with beer, and the eccentric ingredients it covers.

There are precious few books that will push your brewing horizons and encourage you to try new things, an essential brewing tool for the more experimental home brewer.

(I tried my first hop-free brew using this book when living in a country where hops were not available, and it was delicious.)

  • Recommended for: Intermediate and more advanced brewers looking for more experimental beers.
  • Covers: Basics of brewing are briefly covered but delve deeper into an understanding of styles and brewing practices.
  • Recipes: 120 +, mostly all-grain but instructions are included for a partial mash or steeping process.
  • Available formats: paperback and Kindle

Homebrewing for Dummies by Marty Nachel

Homebrewing For Dummies
  • Nachel, Marty (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 448 Pages - 08/09/2022 (Publication Date) - For Dummies (Publisher)

There seems to be a “for dummies” book for everything nowadays. Although Homebrewing for Dummies may not be the most complete resource on homebrewing, it does come pretty close and is a valid addition to any brewing library – don’t let the word “dummies” put you off.

“For Dummies” books are known for their accessible writing style and ease of use, and Marty Nachel, a BJCP certified judge, covers a lot of ground in this book, which follows a logical order and approach to homebrewing.

For beginners, Marty covers the brewing basics, equipment, ingredients, techniques, and sanitation, all with step-by-step instructions. In the Intermediate stages, he describes steeping and partial mashing, specialty malts, and secondary fermentation conditioning techniques.

Marty finally wraps up with all-grain brewing elements, mashing procedures, and yeast harvesting. There’s even a chapter on bottling your beer and one on begging it.

Other sections include eco-conscious brewing, gluten-free brewing, troubleshooting your brew, and even DIY homebrew projects like building your own kegerator.

The recipe book section is broken down into three categories, including ales, lagers, and mixed styles, with each recipe rated beginner, intermediate, or advanced. There’s also a section for brewing cider or mead with recipes included.

  • Recommended for: Beginners to advanced brewers.
  • Covers: A thorough A – Z Guide to Homebrewing.
  • Recipes: 100+ both all-grain and extract
  • Available Formats: Paperback, Kindle, and Audiobook.

Designing Great Beer by Ray Daniels

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Designing Great Beers: The Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Daniels, Ray (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Although this may be one of the older brewing texts, Ray Daniels’ book is still many brewers’ reference book when it comes to beer recipe formulation. This is a more advanced book than many of the How-to-Brew books we have looked at, which focuses more on creating your next brew recipe rather than the how-to-brew-it methodology.

Crafting exceptional beers requires a deep understanding of beer styles and recipe formulation, and “Designing Great Beers” by Ray Daniels is an indispensable resource in this regard.

This book focuses on the process of designing and creating award-winning beers by exploring the different ingredients, flavors, and styles. Daniels provides valuable insights into historical brewing practices and shares the methodology behind recipe development, enabling homebrewers to develop their own signature brews.

With detailed charts, tables, and case studies, “Designing Great Beers” equips brewers with an accessible reference to brew beers that are both technically proficient and full of character.

The first section of the book takes an in-depth look at all aspects of recipe design, including the essential beer ingredients (malt, water, hops, and yeast) with calculations and tables to estimate the color, bitterness, and ABV of your brew.

Although some of the ingredients list are outdated (there are plenty more hop varietals now than there were in 1996), the information included is very sound.

The second part, which looks at several different classic beer styles, can also seem outdated at times too. Belgian beers are noticeable by their absence and sometimes the NHC (National Homebrew Competition) winners sampling can be brief.

But all in all, the armchair brewer will be hard-pressed to find a more in-depth base of knowledge for recipe formulation.

  • Recommended for: Intermediate and Advanced Homebrewers looking to design their own recipes
  • Covers: Recipe formulation
  • Recipes: No, make your own!
  • Formats Available: Paperback and Kindle

The Craft of Stone Brewing Co. by Greg Koch, Steve Wagner & Randy Clements

The Craft of Stone Brewing Co. isn’t really a How-to-Brew beer guide, but more the fascinating story of one of America’s most iconic breweries as told in the founders’ own words.

There are, however, some recipes included to create your own classic Stone beers at home, including some of their collaborative ales with other acclaimed craft brewers like Dogfish Head, Ballast Point, Brew Dog, and Firestone Walker.

This insider’s guide to San Diego-based Stone Brewing Company goes behind the scenes and recounts stories of how their unique lineup of beers such as Stone Ruination, Stone Smoked Porter, and the infamous Arrogant Bastard Ale came into being.

In addition to the recipes for over 15 of their ales, (my personal favorite recipe included is the Stone 4th Anniversary IPA), there are also recipes included from the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens.

Recipes such as the Garlic, Cheddar, and Stone Ruination IPA soup, BBQ Duck tacos with a Stone Levitation Ale bbq sauce, or even the legendary Arrogant Bastard Ale Onion rings are included for the next time you’re cooking up a storm with beer in the kitchen.

I actually purchased this fine read at a bookstore in Bangkok, but it’s now easy to find online or even with a visit to Stone Brewing Company itself (if you should be that lucky!).

  • Recommended for: Fans of Stone Brewing Co and advanced brewers looking for inspiration.
  • Covers: History of Stone Brewing Co and their iconic beers.
  • Recipes: 15+, all-grain recipes with advanced methodology. 20+ food pairing recipes.
  • Available formats: paperback, Kindle, and hardback (via the Stone Brewing Co store)

Mikkeller’s Book of Beer by Mikkel Borg Bjergsø & Pernille Pang Kindle Edition

Mikkeller's Book of Beer
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Borg Bjergso, Mikkel (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Another history of one of the craft world’s most beloved brewers, this Book of Beer from Mikkeller once again features many of the recipes that have previously been regarded as secret.

Mystery enshrouds the Mikkeller brewery as they are often referred to as a gypsy brewery with no physical home, as such brewing collaboratively with local brewers around the world instead.

Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, the man behind Mikkeller, offers his guide to the best beers. Discover how he got started in the business, and learn about the ever-growing Nordic beer revolution with its fascinating origins.

You will also find out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about this highly versatile drink with an in-depth look at various beer types and the intrinsic differences between them.

Drawing on his years of experimenting with tastes, textures, and techniques in the art of beer brewing, Mikkel offers you his own extraordinary insights into the processes behind your favorite beers.

Starting with the basics, discover how to make beer at home with easy-to-follow recipes that cover many of the sought-after brews that Mikkeller and his friends have become known for.

In addition, learn about how to taste beer and understand its flavors. With a chapter dedicated to food, Mikkel offers an alternative to wine with meals and teaches us which beers work best with what foods, as well as providing us with a few tasty recipes of his own.

  • Recommended for: Fans of experimental brews and Mikkeller Brewery. Basics covered for beginners.
  • Covers: History of the Mikkeller Brewing Co and a step-by-step guide for everything to become a great home brewer
  • Recipes: 25+ original Mikkeller recipes, including all-grain and partial extract.
  • Available formats: Kindle (Hardback is very rare but may be found at Mikkeller’s worldwide outlets).

For the Love of Hops by Stan Hieronymus

For The Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness and the Culture of Hops (Brewing Elements)
  • Hieronymus, Stan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 326 Pages - 12/16/2012 (Publication Date) - Brewers Publications (Publisher)

One of the acclaimed Brewing Elements series of reference books, For the Love of Hops by Stan Hieronymus is a captivating and comprehensive exploration of one of the most essential ingredients in beer production: hops.

Hieronymus takes readers on a journey through the history, cultivation, and utilization of hops, providing an in-depth understanding of their significance in the brewing process.

The book’s strength lies in its ability to strike a balance between being accessible to beer enthusiasts new to the subject while also offering valuable insights to seasoned brewers.

Hieronymus’s writing style is engaging and approachable, making complex concepts easily understandable. Whether you’re a homebrewer, professional brewer, or simply a curious beer lover, this book has something to offer.

The book doesn’t merely focus on the cultivation and biology of hops, but also delves into the chemistry and sensory aspects that make them a crucial component of beer.

Hieronymus provides an in-depth analysis of the different hop compounds and their contributions to flavor and aroma, making this guide an invaluable resource for brewers looking to create unique and innovative beers.

  • Recommended for: Homebrewers or hop heads interested in expanding their knowledge of hops.
  • Covers: A – Z of hops.
  • Recipes: 15+. all grain recipes “for educational purposes” from breweries such as Dogfish Head, Fullers of London, Brasserie de la Senne (Belgium), and Sierra Nevada to name but a few.
  • Available formats: paperback and Kindle.

Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation by Chris White & Jamil Zainasheff

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Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation (Brewing Elements)
  • White, Chris (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 300 Pages - 10/16/2010 (Publication Date) - Brewers Publications (Publisher)

“Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation” by Chris White and Jamil Zainasheff is an exceptional resource that explores the often overlooked yet critical role of yeast in the brewing process.

As a collaboration between two esteemed figures in the brewing industry, this book provides an in-depth understanding of yeast biology, propagation, and its influence on the flavor, aroma, and overall character of beer.

This book might not be everybody’s cup of tea, though (or should we say everybody’s pint of IPA!), as it can be quite technical with some sections that may require a basic understanding of microbiology to fully appreciate the content.

However, even without an extensive scientific background, readers can still grasp the fundamental concepts and practical applications presented in the book.

White and Zainasheff’s expertise and passion shine throughout the book, making it a valuable reference for both beginners and experienced brewers.

By demystifying the complex world of yeast and fermentation, this book empowers brewers to elevate their craft and create exceptional beers with well-managed and vibrant yeast cultures.

  • Recommended for: Advanced home brewers wanting a deeper understanding of yeast in the brewing process.
  • Covers: Yeast from A to Z
  • Recipes: 15 +, all-grain and partial extract
  • Available formats: Paperback and Kindle

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