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Recommended Reading

Started by Beerdoh, March 13, 2013, 04:04:26 PM

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QuoteWhat about something for complete beginners aimed maybe towards kit and kilo rather than all grain ?

Palmer's "how to brew" covers quite a bit, first edition is free online

+1 for Palmers how to brew.

Also, brewing with beersmith seems to be a good read for rookies, although I'm only on chapter 3!

mr hoppy

I used Palmer when i started was able to do a decent enough extract APA after only reading the first chapter so I'd definitely recommend.

He's not so great on some more advance topics (lagering times and batch sparging for example) but I still use it as a reference.


QuoteI think library could be a good idea and may work well on a club level
I'm guessing you mean  at regional club level, not National.


I got

The Home Brewer's Recipe Database - by Les Howarth

I dont know the chap but its a huge or should I say HUGH list of recipes but they list rough ingredients and dont always list the percentages.

For example - for XXXB from Batemans (one of my favourite beers .. period)

it lists

OG 1048-49 - Malt 72-75% MO - 7-12% Crystal, 0-3% Wheat Flour - 15-18% Invert Sugar
Hops Challenger and Goldings - IBU 37 EBC 40

Now ..
Sooo no mash temp (68 i believe) - no mash time (60 mins) - no boil time - no timing on hops - or mention of the split
No mention of the yeast or the water profile or of the open top fermenters.

Its just too little information .. I would have preferred more research on say 30 recipes with extensive detail rather than 1300 (I can only estimate)  recipes all equally vague.

Just curious of what others make of the book.


Got my myself a copy of Clone Brews 2, some nice recipes in it. All recipes are in extract with detail for converting to AG. Great for brewers like myself
Lifes Too Short To Not Make Beer

Fermenter 1 - Turquoise Lunar Showing

Fermenter 2 - Vitalift Cider


Quote from: BrewRob on March 15, 2013, 08:12:04 AM
Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels is very good also.


I've just got through the first half which is a pretty good overview and am not using the second part as a reference book.


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

thought this was very good and easy to read.

For the Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness & the Culture of Hops by Stan Hieronymus

still only half way through it, a lot on the history of hops and hop farming.

next on the list, Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers by John Palmer and Colin Kaminski
going to assume there will be a malt one in the future too


Quote from: Tube on May 11, 2014, 10:05:46 PM
Quote from: beerfly on May 11, 2014, 08:40:42 PM
next on the list, Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers by John Palmer and Colin Kaminski
going to assume there will be a malt one in the future too

NoooOOOOoooOOOOoo! Finding a lot of contradictory stuff and misinformation in JP's work.

Could you be more specific?
-Martin Brugaard and AJ Delange did a LOT of editing on that book; they have published a list of changes that they'd make in a 2nd edition already on the HomeBrewTalk Brewing Science forums, but there's really not very many edits for the next publication.



Quote from: Padraic on March 14, 2013, 09:52:36 AM
If you want bjcp styles, brewing classic styles is the only book you'll ever need! If you like to listen to podcasts then there are some good style ones on the brewing network! These generally go through a recipe as well, like a fleshed out version of the brewing classic styles book!

But that said I'd recommend radical brewing as my favourite book! But there are a few good ones out there!

Most of the recipes are very good; they're definitely focused on more modern american home brewing recipes and are tweaked for american ingredients.  Personally, I would recommend looking up the styles that Jamil has won AHA gold medals (or any medal) on at putting a check mark before them in the table of contents and then get a second opinion on any styles that don't have a check mark on them.

Some of the styles he's mastered and is an expert on; other styles, he provides a recipe for, anyway.



July 24, 2014, 10:58:22 PM #24 Last Edit: July 24, 2014, 11:35:55 PM by biertourist
Quote from: Stitch on March 15, 2013, 08:12:04 AM
Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels is very good also.

It's good, if you know what you're getting.  It's very much focused on a limited number of styles and how those styles have changed over time AND what AHA NHC medal-winning recipes in the early to mid 2000s had in common.  -For Porter, Bock, and Oktoberfest/Marzen it's really great; I can't remember the other styles but there's plenty of styles missing.

This isn't a book that you read cover-to-cover in a sitting and this isn't an entertainment book, it isn't REALLY focused on brewing better beer, it's really about informing you a bit more on a number of styles and then focusing on the attributes of winning beers in those categories.  It's also very much gets you thinking about beer FLAVOR and how to put together your own recipe, or modify recipes to create custom beers that you like; this is it's primary value, IMHO.  Much of the book is very much a reference material; a good way to get exposure to a large number of styles, without buying the entire Brewers Publications style series (and some of those books aren't worth owning, anyway).

The ingredient recommendations for the modern recipes (%grist of each malt) are getting a bit dated these days and it would be GREAT to see an updated version of this book.  Personally this book should come with a link to a "E-version" of the book that is updated after every year's AHA NHC.



July 24, 2014, 11:01:27 PM #25 Last Edit: July 24, 2014, 11:17:55 PM by biertourist
New Brewing Lager by Greg Noonan should be on everyone's list, even if you don't care for lagers.

It's the closest thing we have to a "malt book" until this September.  It has great information on the over-all German Brewing tradition (how beer was made at different times in the German tradition), lager brewing specifically AND an invaluable section on reading malt reports and understanding how to translate the malt report into how you treat a particular malt to get the end result that you desire.

This book will make almost everyone a better brewer and focuses on subjects that just aren't talked about anywhere else (in English brewing literature, anyway).

New Brewing Lager sits squarely between a traditional home brew book and a professional brewing text book.  After you've owned a number of brewing books, you should strongly consider it.



If you are into Hefeweizens; the BP "German Wheat Beer" book(#7) is a must-have; it gives you all of the techniques necessary to coax the flavors that you like out of a hefeweizen. 

TONS of information from the big-named German Hefeweizen breweries with insights into their exact mashing and fermentation processes (and both matter in hefes). -Enables you to maximize banana or clove flavors if you want and control the balance between the flavors.



July 24, 2014, 11:09:45 PM #27 Last Edit: July 24, 2014, 11:52:19 PM by biertourist
Brew Like a Monk is also great if you're into Belgian Trappist/Abbey styles (as the rest of the Belgian brewing tradition doesn't REALLY fall into styles easily)  and its advice will help you learn how to better control the results of all fermentations.  As many Belgian recipes are actually insanely simple and the flavors are driven by closely controlling fermentation, it's a skill all of it's own.

-I really feel like the BP "Water" and "Hops" books help you to hone in on those skills, I feel like "New Brewing Lager" helps you focus on controlling what you get from malt, and obviously lager fermentations and Brew Like a Monk really helps you control fermentability of wort (via mash techniques / temp AND via sugar additions) and the flavors that you get from Fermentation ("German Wheat Beer", helps to understand how to control finnicky yeast strain flavors, too).

People talk about the Germans being the "technical brewers", but you quickly find that the Belgian brewers are SUPER focused on control and repeatability especially in fermentation (what the big breweries call "quality"); that's because those phenolic-producing yeast strains REQUIRE it, if you want to create the same beer every time.  How to dry out a strong beer so you don't end up with cloying sweetness is something you can also learn by "brewing like a monk"; something that is useful to know whether or not you like Belgian styles. (Take a 2nd look at West Coast IPA / Double IPA recipes after learning how to make strong, dry beers and note the similarities.)



July 24, 2014, 11:15:14 PM #28 Last Edit: July 24, 2014, 11:40:35 PM by biertourist
Gordon Strong's: "Brewing Better Beer: Master Lessons for Advanced Homebrewers" is an all-around great book that reminds you of the importance of things that you already knew, debunks a few common brewing myths, and helps you to identify the whole body of knowledge that is required to become a great brewer and helps you to fill in those gaps.

It's huge strength is just how well-rounded it is; some of the previous books I mentioned help to fill in your knowledge (and skills through application) in specific areas but Brewing Better Beer helps you to understand the whole landscape and tells you what's the most important in each of those areas.

Very well rounded book and I wish Jamil would've written something similar; I think this book would've been even better if Co-written / contributed to by Jamil.  Jamil is the only person to have more Ninkasi awards than Gordon Strong and this type of advice would've been more useful than just a recipe book ala BCS, IMO.

Gordon sets you straight towards always thinking about your beer and recipe and process in terms of FLAVOR; so many books *cough Palmer *cough get you thinking about a beer as science and statistics; beer should be about the FLAVOR -thanks for setting us straight, Gordon!

If you want to enter competitions, it has great value in getting you to think like a beer judge and to fill in the gaps in your knowledge and process to have the best chance of success. If you want to start entering AHA-sanctioned competitions, Brewing Better Beer combined with the medal-winning recipes from Jamil's BCS will give you the greatest chance at success. (assuming you've already got the basics down)



July 24, 2014, 11:21:39 PM #29 Last Edit: July 24, 2014, 11:56:22 PM by biertourist
The new Sour Beer book from Michael Tonsimere (The Mad Fermentationist) is the ONLY place you can go to get it's wealth of information.  It fills what's the biggest hole in brewing books today and it fills it with actual examples of techniques that work, the reasoning/science behind WHY it works, so that you know where it might be safe to improvise, and then provides practical examples including examples from HOME BREWERS.

It's a book that can give you the confidence to make sour beer and help you to be successful with what is a wild and rather uncontrollable thing otherwise.

This book is about taming the brewing "wild things"; the mysterious and magical ways of the sour beer brewers are now available to us and it's not so mystical and magical any more.  Even the professional sour beer brewers are reading this book and learning new and valuable things; it's a huge collection of knowledge gained from the experience of many different people trying to accomplish the same goals independently.  This is the book that helps you to learn from other's mistakes and successes to have a chance at brewing good sour beer without having to go through the pain of dumping batch after batch of beer that you've spent months/years fermenting.

Full Disclosure: I'm only 2/3rds done with this one right now.