A selection of titles from the expanding brewing library of a homebrewer.
How To Brew – John Palmer
This is the go to book for beginners, and should ideally be read before starting out in brewing, as it lays out the process very well. Yet, still has nuggets of information for seasoned homebrewers. The real beauty is that an early edition is available free online (although has some slightly outdated theory in places) at http://www.howtobrew.com/
Tasting Beer – Randy Mosher
This isn’t really a brewing book, but a book about beer, containing all the history and theory behind a great beverage. For the brewer though, it has two great sections, one describing major flavour compounds (good and bad) and another giving a detailed style guide to beers from around the world.
Mastering Homebrew – Randy Mosher
I’m a big fan of Randy Mosher, his books are beautifully illustrated and informative, and capture his philosophy that brewing is both science and art. I find this book invaluable, as it builds on Palmers How To Brew and adds theory and creativity to the brewing process. When creating recipes it has all the information on what different grains, hops, yeast, adjuncts and other ingredients, offer to the brewer, and how best to utilise them.
Radical Brewing – Randy Mosher (other authors are available).
Although this book is punctuated with recipes, it really does encourage creativity and I’d be surprised if many readers recreate them as printed, instead they inspire experimentation. Doing it in a way that embraces historical recipes and also looks forward to modern styles, and being a little left-field.
I’m not a big fan of straight forward recipe books. Other than wanting to plough my own furrow, I struggle to make the mental connection between someone else’s printed recipe and envisaging how that beer will taste. Whilst I’m always getting inspiration from the beers I drink, I don’t have a real desire to ‘clone’ a particular beer.
Modern Homebrew Recipes – Gordon Strong.
I like this recipe book, though. I’ll never get to taste these beers, that were created from the homebrew recipes in this book, which doesn’t matter as the author does a great job of conveying the inspiration behind each recipe, the thought process behind there creation, how they smell, taste and drink and how they could be adapted. Like being back at school, it shows the working out, not just the final answer.
Mikkeller’s Book of Beer – Mikkel Borg Bjergso, Pernille Pang.
Penned by the man behind a world renowned Brewery (using the term very loosely), I like this book as it reminds me how simple the recipes are for some very good beers. Very grounding, when it is all too easy to over egg the pudding.
Designing Great Beers – Ray Daniels
Unique and also very useful book, this one. Want to create a recipe for a style of beer you’ve not attempted before? this has most of the information you need. The interesting thing about it is that information is based on an average of data collated from competition winning homebrew recipes and old brewery records, which leaves me wondering how much the styles are skewed by interpretation, even before I’ve added my spin to things.
Brew like a monk –
Being a fan of Belgian beers, I like this book. Probably not the most accessible for quick reference, it is however a book that rewards the reader with wealth of information for anyone wanting to brew Trappiste style beer. Yet despite its tag line ‘Trappist, Abbey, and Strong Belgian Ales and How to Brew Them’ it doesn’t really tell you how to do it, more leads you in the right direction through anecdotal evidence and the history behind your favour Belgian breweries and beers.
So what is your recommended homebrew reading? and why? Pop us a comment in the box below.