Here’s a list of my favorite, must-have homebrewing books. I own these books and have read them all, sometimes more than once.
Below you’ll find informative reviews of each book, including the most relevant info I think you’ll want to know about each book.
I’ve got books based on homebrewing techniques. Beer recipes. Beer styles. Ingredients. You name it.
And since I’ve read them all (and learned from them) I feel confident recommending them all to my fellow homebrewers.
So without further ado, in no particular order, here are some of my favorite homebrewing bibles!
Check out some great related gift ideas in my massive list of homebrew gift ideas!
By Tess and Mark Szamatulski
Beer Captured is a great homebrew book, filled with 150 clone recipes for some of the world’s most popular and distinctive beers.
I was given this one as a gift, and it’s a really unique and useful book, weighing in around 200 pages (in the paperback version I own).
The authors include some brief introductory brewing info for the newbies, which is nice. They explain some different brewing techniques, such as the differences between all-grain and extract brewing, partial mash, full volume, etc.
But the real value in this book are the recipes. Oh, the recipes….
What I like Best About Beer Captured
The authors did a ton of legwork here.
Each recipe includes a brief but interesting bit of information about each breweries and beer mentioned in the book.
Instructions are provided in three formats, which make them easy to follow whether you are an all-grain, partial mash, or extract brewer.
Helpful hints and tips are provided, and no matter what style of brewer you are, if you use good process you are likely to end up with a finished beer very close to the original!
In addition to being a great source for clone beers, you can also use these recipes as a handy tool to research classic examples of each style, which you can tweak a bit to make your own version.
At the very least, each recipe can serve as a fantastic starting point for building your own recipe for a given style.
A helpful index is provided at the end of the book so you can easily find a particular style or specific beer.
201 pages (paperback edition)
How To Brew:
Everything You Need to Know to Brew Great Beer Every Time
By John Palmer
This is probably one of the best known books for beginning homebrewers. All the bases are covered here.
John Palmer is widely recognized as an authority in the homebrewing community, and his classic How to Brew text has undergone a number of updates, and is currently in its fourth edition.
What I like best about How To Brew
Palmer takes brewers from the step-by-step basics of brewing terminology, ingredients and methods, into intermediate and advanced concepts.
This is truly a book that can benefit anyone from the first-time novice to the seasoned brewer with lots of batches under their belts.
Loads of tables, charts, and formulas provide quick reference, but the supporting materials make the hows and whys clear. This gives the brewer all the information they need both at a glance, and in detail.
This is truly a must-read for homebrewers who truly want to understand all of the factors that impact their beer.
This book was a great resource for my article on step-mashing.
Beginner to intermediate
347 pages (paperback edition)
Brewing Elements Series
Each volume in the Brewing Elements series specializes in a core component of brewing.
I personally own the Hops and Malt books, but the other two volumes (Yeast and Water) are on my “to-read” list.
What I like about the Brewing Elements Series
So far, I own and have read two of the Brewing elements series: For the Love of HOPS, and Malt: A Practical Guide From Field To Brewhouse.
The series also includes texts on the other two main ingredients of beer, Water and Hops. But for the purposes of this review, I’ll stick to the ones I have read personally.
Of course, based on the quality of these two books, I’ll make sure to update this review once I’ve read Yeast and Water as well.
Malt: A Practical Guide From Field To Brewhouse
Malt (by John Mallet)
An in-depth look at just about everything a brewer would need to know about that critical component of all beers as we know them today. Malted grains.
We are treated to a look at the history and agricultural impact of grains and malting, as well as a tour of a modern day malting house.
Information about varieties, how they are treated and processed, and how they are used in brewing is surprisingly interesting to read, if you are a beer nerd like me.
This book gives any homebrewer a great understanding of the role malted barley (and other grains) play in our beers, and how we can get the most out of them.
297 pages (paperback edition)
For the Love of HOPS
Hops (by Stan Hieronymus) is another outstanding publication.
Let’s face it. These days, hops are getting top billing when it comes to the modern craft beer scene.
Everyone is chasing hop nirvana when it comes to balancing bitterness, flavor, and aroma. But many of today’s most in-demand hops didn’t even exist not that long ago!
This book takes us through the history of how hops have been used and cultivated. We get an understanding of what the hop plant is, how it lives, how each variety impacts beer differently.
We get a look into modern hop cultivation, how desirable traits and new varieties are identified, encouraged, tested, and finally introduced into the market.
Everything you wanted to know about hops, but didn’t even think to ask!
321 pages (paperback edition)
Culture and Craftsmanship in the Belgian Tradition
By Phil Markowski
Being a nut for Belgian beer styles, I knew this book was a must read for me.
Author Phil Markowski has written an informative and educational journey through the history, traditions, and cultures that gave birth to the rustic, farmhouse ales that are making such a big comeback on the modern brewing scene.
What I like best about Farmhouse Ales
This book celebrates both the traditional and modern heritage of both Belgian and French farmhouse styles.
Special attention is paid to the culture and simple day-to-day life that gave birth to these near-forgotten styles and breweries. While paying homage to the past, modern examples are also given their due.
I especially love the respect paid to true farmhouse brewing, from the times where these beers were used not only for enjoyment, but for nurishment and a safe, stable source of hydration.
Keep in mind, in those days the alcohol in these rustic brews made beer more shelf stable than available drinking water in many cases!
Many of these brews were born of whatever was available to brew with at the time. Different ingredients, blending of batches, varied yeast strains, and other factors meant that the taste and quality could be quite different from one farm to the next.
Aside from the romanticism of all that, this book provides in-depth information on brewing two important styles from this culture and region. Saison and Bier de Garde are both highlighted, with a wealth of knowledge on methods, ingredients, and recipes.
198 pages (paperback edition)
Brewing Better Beer:
Master Lessons for Advanced Homebrewers
By Gordon Strong
Legendary homebrewer, master BJCP judge, and popular author Gordon Strong delivers a wealth of knowledge in this book of advanced techniques.
What I like best about Brewing Better Beer
Given the focus on advanced techniques, it’s a bit surprising that this book is not some boring textbook, nor is it overly technical.
Rather, it’s a comprehensive look into the journey and mindset of one of the most widely recognized brewers, judges, and authors in homebrewing today.
It’s fitting that the first chapter is entitled “The Philosophy of Brewing”. Because in addition to all of the valuable techniques, methods, and principles of brewing, this book is really more about the mental approach to brewing your own best beer.
Every brewer has a story. A path they followed that introduced them to homebrewing. Usually some mistakes along the way.
Gordon does a masterful and entertaining job of sharing his own experiences, thought process, and inspirations.
Of course, there is plenty of the important information and details you’d expect, along quite a few recipes. But this book will teach you just as much about how to think about your own beer and your own recipes as it will about how to brew them.
This book is about accelerating your journey to becoming a homebrewing master.
Brewing Up A Business:
Adventures in Beer from the Founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
By Sam Calagione
Anyone who is familiar with Dogfish Head beers knows there is something very unique about this brewery.
Author of this book and host of the Brew Masters TV series, Sam Calagione takes readers along on the brewery’s humble origin to being one of the most well respected craft breweries on the market today.
What I like best about Brewing Up a Business
Yes, it’s based in the beer and homebrewing world, but there are lessons here for almost anyone.
Brewers, small business owners, marketers, and entrepreneurs of all sorts can find something important to take away form this book.
It spans Sam’s homebrewing origins to his ballsy moves throughout the creation and growth of Dogfish Head.
I own the first edition, but the second edition provides purportedly offers more details and insight into growing the brewery through innovative social marketing, and differentiating DFH in a very crowded craft beer scene.
312 pages (paperback edition)
Each of these books has done a lot to improve my understanding and growth as a homebrewer. I highly recommend each of them. They are just as enjoyable to read as they are educational.
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