Book Reviews  Et Cetra

Books that Should Be in Your Brewing Library

Chris Jensen · March 12


If you’re like me, once you dipped your toes in the homebrewing pool you wanted to do a triple lindy right in. But before diving in (or moving to the next platform), it’s a good idea to read up to get a feel for technique, equipment, and recipes.

Most brewers have a few go-to recommendations when asked about their book recommendations, so here are our top 3 must-have books for your brewing library:


1. How to Brew, by John Palmer. The simplicity of the title is apropos: Palmer offers some of the clearest and most accurate information available to the beginner and expert brewer alike. I first got this book while doing extract batches on my kitchen stovetop, and still consistently reference this book today with my ever-expanding all-grain homebrewery. In fact, this book was critical in helping me make the leap to all-grain. It covers the basics on the brewing process, ingredients, and equipment, but also gets more technical where relevant, including on brewing water chemistry, metallurgy, etc. If you own just one brewing book, this should be the one.

2. Brewing Classic Styles, by Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer. This is the ultimate recipe book for both extract and all-grain brewers. Written by one of the most decorated homebrewers of all time, BCS offers at least one recipe for all 88 BCJP styles of beer. The best part: each one of the recipes is award-winning, (including several Best in Shows), so unlike those found on the internet these are of guaranteed quality. Whenever I brew a style for the first time I use this book as a starting point for building my recipe. Need further proof? Take a look at the NHC winning recipes each year and you are likely to see several of Jamil’s recipes represented.

3. Designing Great Beers, by Ray Daniels. This is an outstanding book for brewers looking to design their own recipes. Ray offers detailed information on several major styles of beer, including historical information, style guidelines, and, best of all, brewing suggestions based on data collected from successful entries in the National Homebrew Competition. Our only wish is that Ray offered details on more individual styles, but then this book might not fit in the overhead bin.


Still thirsty? Good news! There’s no end to the number of great brewing books out there. Here are a few more of our favorites:

Radical Brewing , by Randy Mosher

Brew Like a Monk , by Stan Hieronymus

New Brewing Lager Beer , by Greg Noonan

The Brewer's Apprentice , by Greg Koch and Matt Allyn



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