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Time to Read: Open a Good Brewing Book

There are many great books about brewing and homebrewing. There are great how-to books, books on specific styles, books on ingredients, books about experimenting, and more. Here is a short guide of homebrewing-minded books. Disclaimer: There are many books I (Nate) just don’t know about. This list is what I know and recommend. I also have not read all of these but know of them by reputation and have many of them in the ever-growing to-read pile.

 

How To

How To Brew – John Palmer

The new “Bible” of homebrewing. Palmer goes into everything a new brewer needs very simply to know and gets technical enough for an experienced brewer. A must for any homebrewer and a new edition was just published (June 2017)

The Complete Joy of Homebrewing – Charlie Papazian

Perhaps the original homebrewing “Bible”. Papazian founded the American Hombrewers Association and wrote the original version of this book back in 1984 and has updates it multiple times. The classic.

The Homebrewer’s Companion – Charlie Papazian

The sequel to The Complete Joy of Homebrewing. Another great how-to with more information from Papazian.

Brewing Better Beer – Gordon Strong

A detailed and technical look at every aspect of brewing at home.

Experimental Homebrewing – Drew Beechem & Denny Conn

The impetus for their podcast, Beechem and Conn discuss how to experiment with your brewing. Try a new ingredient, test if that step really does anything, design your own experiment.

Homebrew All-Stars – Drew Beechem & Denny Conn

Beechen and Conn interview 25 of their favorite, well-known homebrewers. They talk about equipment, ingredients, and each gives a recipe. By grouping them into categories, you can find the homebrewers most like you and the ones that will challenge your style.

Radical Brewing – Randy Mosher

Mosher explores using unique ingredients and often the history behind them. If you are interested in experimenting with ingredients or making some of your own, this is the book for you.

 

Recipes

Brewing Classic Styles – John Palmer & Jamil Zainasheff

Palmer and Zainasheff explain each style and give an award winning recipe to brew it. The base recipes are given in extract with how to alter them for all-grain. This is my go-to book for great homebrew recipes.

Seven Barrel Brewery Brewer’s Handboook – Greg Noonan, Scott Russell, & Mikel Redman

A detailed book of recipes from an award-winning brewery. This book is often sighted by other professional brewers as a go-to for solid recipes.

Modern Homebrew Recipes – Gordon Strong

Strong, Grandmaster BJCP Beer Judge, describes how to brew over 100 beers to BJCP style, more than just recipes.

Designing Great Beers – Ray Daniels

A technical guide to formulating great beers. Includes detailed tables and formulas.

 

Styles – in-depth book on specific styles

Classic Beer Styles Books from Brewers Publications

Altbier – Horst Dornbusch

Barley Wine – Fal Allen & Dick Cantwell

Bavarian Helles – Horst Dornbusch

Belgian Ale – Pierre Rajotte

Bock – Darryl Richmann

Brown Ale – Jim Parker

Continental Pilsner – David Miller

German Wheat Beer – Eric Warner

Kӧlsch – Eric Warner

Lambic – Jean-Xavier Guinard *ebook only

Mild Ale – Dave Sutula

Pale Ale – Terry Foster

Porter – Terry Foster

Scotch Ale – Greg Noonan

Smoked Beers – Geoff Larson

Stout – Michael Lewis

Vienna, Marzen, Oktoberfest – George Fix

 

American Sour Beers – Michael Tonsmeire

Brew Like a Monk – Stan Hieronymus

Farmhouse Ales – Phil Markowski

IPA – Mitch Steele

New Brewing Lager Beer – Greg Noonan

Session Beers – Jennifer Talley

Wild Brews – Jeff Sparrow

 

 

 

Ingredients

Brewing Elements Books from Brewer’s Publications – Detailed, and sometimes technical, investigations into the four ingredients that make beer beer.

Hops (For the Love of Hops) – Stan Hieronymus

Malt – John Mallett

Water – John Palmer & Colin Kaminski

Yeast – Chris White & Jamil Zainasheff

Ancient Brews – Patrick McGovern

A historic look at the ingredients used in ancient beer and beer-like beverages. McGovern tells the story of the discovery of the ancient beverage, how to make a modern version, and how to match it with food.

Brewing Local – Stan Hieronymus

Brew with local, native ingredients and how distinctly American beer came about from these available ingredients.

Brewing with Wheat – Stan Hieronymus

How to and the history of brewing wheat beers.

Wood & Beer – Dick Cantwell & Peter Bouckaert

The history of storing, transporting, fermenting, and aging beer in wood. And how to get that wood flavor in your beer.

 

Tasting Beer & Food

Tasting Beer – Randy Mosher

Mosher tells you how to get the most out of tasting beer. Improve the beer you make by tasting beer better.

The Brewmaster’s Table – Garrett Oliver

Oliver, brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery, describes how to match beer to food and gives suggestions. Want to host a beer dinner, read this first.

 

Gardening

The Homebrewer’s Garden – Joe Fisher & Dennis Fisher

How to grow everything you brew with in your own garden.

The Hop Grower’s Handbook – Laura Ten Eyckj & Dietrich Gehring

Everything you need to know, and probably much more, to grow hops.

 

This should be enough to fill your bookcase, or at least get you started. I think it’s time to sit down with a cold beer and do some reading myself…

 

 

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Got a Brewing Question? Ask Homebrewing Forums

When you have a brewing question, who do you ask? You might have that friend who got you into brewing who still knows more, or seems to know more, than you do. But who do you go to when that source runs out? There are many books, but as Kanye West said, “they just be so wordy” and sometimes you don’t want to delve into them. We, at Duluth Homebrew Supply, have years of experience and are more than willing to answer your questions, but we even have questions we need answered. With modern technology, you can tap into hundreds of years of brewing experience by posting your question on a homebrewing forum. Of course, you may also receive hundreds of opinions back. Here is a short list of fairly active forum with good information, usually.

American Hombrewers Association Forum – www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/

The American Homebrewers Association is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the community of homebrewers. They organize various events for homebrewers and help work on legislation to enhance and protect the rights of homebrewers and homebrewing as a hobby. (Psst: If you are not a member of the AHA, there are great benefits including a discount at Duluth Homebrew Supply. You can purchase a membership in the store or online.) Part of this is to support an active forum of homebrewers.

HomeBrewTalk.com Forum – www.homebrewtalk.com/forum.php

HomBrewTalk is the largest homebrewing forum on the internet. Started in 2004, it now includes a facebook page and regular blog entries. Almost anything you would want to find about homebrewing will be here for all levels of brewers.

Reddit Homebrewing – www.reddit.com/r/Homebrewing/

Anything you would like to discuss is on Reddit somewhere. The homebrewing discussion is no different. There is a continuous discussion about anything and everything homebrewing. If you have a question, no matter how wacky of odd, someone will have an answer, somehow.

MoreBeer Brew Chat – forums.morebeer.com/

MoreBeer was founded as a homebrewing store in 1995 out of garage in the San Francisco area. Since then, MoreBeer and the entire MoreFlavor family has been an industry leader and innovator of equipment. Still privately owned by the original founders, MoreBeer is one of the largest nation-wide homebrewing retailers with multiple shipping locations. The MoreBeer Brew Chat Forum is a good resource for more than just MoreBeer customers.

Experimental Brewing Forum – www.experimentalbrew.com/forum

Started by authors and now podcasters Drew Beechum and Denny Con, Experimental Brewing was started to share their questioning of what is done in homebrewing. The forum is not large, but is not that old and Denny and Drew sometimes respond themselves.

The Brewing Network Forum – www.thebrewingnetwork.com/forum/

The Brewing Network is source for live internet radio and podcasts on brewing (see the article on brewing podcasts for more information). It also has a large following, the BN Army, that engage on their forum.

Milk the Funk – www.milkthefunk.com/forums/

Milk the Funk began as a Facebook group in 2013 focusing on alternative yeast and bacteria fermentations. It has since grown to include a wiki and an active forum about funky beers and alternative brewing techniques.

If you have a brewing-related question, take advantage of your resources, forums included.  No question is too simple or too odd (Wanting to make a meat beer?  There is a discussion about it.).

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Fill Your Ears with Brewing Knowledge

There are many resources available to improve your brewing knowledge. I, Nathan, have a library of brewing books but find it difficult to find time to relax and read with work and two young kids. To fill my need to absorb knowledge, I listen to a lot of podcasts. Many of these podcasts are brewing related. Here is a list of podcasts I enjoy listening to. Listen while brewing. Listen while commuting. Listen while doing yard work. Listen while getting exercise.

 

After Two Beers – allaboutbeer.com/podcast/

After Two Beers is a podcast put out by All About Beer Magazine. Each episode interviews a professional brewers and “other engaging beer experts” in a casual setting, after drinking two beers together.

Basic Brewing Radio – www.basicbrewing.com

Basic Brewing Radio started with audio and video podcasts back in 2005. James Spencer and other hosts explore brewing topics, often with guests, designed for the starting brewer. They have even made some instructional DVD’s for the beginning brewer. This podcast covers a wide range of topics presented clearly for any level brewer.

BeerDownload – www.beerdownload.com

“BeerDownload is the only podcast that pits beers heat to head in a tournament style competition to find out which beer reigns supreme.” BeerDowload started in 2010 with a tournament bracket of 256 beers that were drank and ranked by one of the hosts the previous year. Each podcast put two of the beers against each other in a taste test. The best beer that day moved one. The show was, and is, recorded in the Chicago area so the beer news is Chicago and Midwest focused. Currently, BeerDownload is recorded and broadcast out of WLPN Lumpen Radio and is running a smaller tournament.

BeerSmith Podcast – beersmith.com

The BeerSmith Podcast is an informational podcast hosted by Brad Smith. Brad is the creator of the popular BeerSmith Home Brewing Software. The Podcast explores topics and styles with interviews from brewing authors, brewers, and other industry experts. You don’t need to use BeerSmith to enjoy this (but the BeerSmith software is great).

Experimental Brewing – www.experimentalbrew.com

Homebrewers and authors Drew Beechum and Denny Con talk beer, homebrewing, and experiments testing what you thought you knew about brewing beer.

Master Brewers Podcast – masterbrewerspodcast.com

Published by The Master Brewers Association of the Americas, the Master Brewers Podcast explores topics for the professional brewer with interviews. Often the guests discuss an article published in the Master Brewers Quarterly. Even though the quests and topics are aimed at professional brewers, experienced homebrewers will find many of the discussions interesting and may find something to apply to their brewing.

The Beer Temple Insiders Roundtable – www.lumpenradio.com/beertemple

Owner of the Beer Temple craft beer store in Chicago, Chris Quinn, holds a weekly discussion about beer with brewers, distributers, bloggers, and enthusiasts; beer insiders. The guests often have a Chicago focus but the topics are those that interest the industry professionals around the country. The Insiders Roundtable is broadcast and recorded at WLPN Lumpen Radio.

The Brewing Network – www.thebrewingnetwork.com

The Brewing Network was founded in 2005 as an internet radio station focused on hombrewing and craft beer. All the radio shows are available live and through podcasts. The shows are produced in the Bay Area of California so there is usually more focus west coast beers. Also, many of the shows don’t hold back on the language, so listening with young or easily offended members is not recommended. The Brewing Network has a strong following known as the BN Army and the homebrew club of these members won multiple American Homebrewers Association Club of the Year Awards.

The Session – The Session is the original radio show the launched the network. The shows are usually over two hours and include discussions on styles, interviews with brewers, brewing nest, and random radio talk. Many well-known contributors in the homebrewing and professional brewing worlds can be heard on the Session including Mike “Tasty” McDole, Warren “Beardy” Billups, Nate Smith, Jamil Zainasheff, Sean O’Sullivan.

Brewing the Style – The third iteration of the show hosted by award-winning homebrewer and author turned owner/brewer of Heretic, Jamil Zainasheff. This show focuses on one style a week, usually with a taste test and cumulating with a recipe.

Brew Strong – Get geeky with Jamil Zainasheff and the author John Palmer. Brew Strong gets technical on brewing topics for those who want to dive deeper. Current shows often go in depth to answer a listener question about the technical side of brewing.

The Sour Hour – A show about creating wild and sour beers. The Sour hour is hosted by Jay Goodwin of The Rare Barrel and usually has in-depth interviews with other professional sour beer makers from around the country.

Dr. Homebrew – Dr. Hombrew bills itself as a live BJCP score sheet. Each show addresses two listener submitted beers by two master BJCP judges while discussing the scoring with the brewer.

Retired Shows

The Jamil Show – The original show featuring Jamil Zainasheff. Each show focused on one of the BJCP indicated styles at the time with a description of the style and recipe.

Can You Brew It – When The Jamil Show ran out of styles, Jamil brought in Mike “Tasty” McDole to attempt to clone their favorite commercial beers. Sometimes the clones were judged by the professional brewers.

The Home-Brewed Chef – Beer chef Sean Paxton hosted this show about cooking with beer and pairing food with beer.

The Brülosophy Podcast – brulosophy.com

The founders of Brülosophy discuss their beer experiments, xBmts, and analyze the results. This group of guys have been running scientific experiments on the result of brewing methods and ingredients for years. They have been publishing them on their blog web page. Now you can listen to them talk about one experiment at a time.

 

Well, there is a lot to listen to and there is so so much more that I don’t listen to. I hope you enjoy filling your ears with brewing knowledge as background or a way to escape what you are actually doing.