Best beginner's book

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Tomahawk47

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After 30+ years of all-grain, I am totally out of touch with the basic books to teach a beginner. I like to brew alone but a guy in the neighborhood wants to see me brew a batch and learn how to brew. From experience, that not good for the beginner. Are there any new books that do a good job? I learned with Charlie's book. Later, for reference, John Palmer's book.
 
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Tomahawk47

Tomahawk47

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Thanks, guys. I wasn't sure if another book came along that people were using. I also remember Byron Burch had a booklet called Brewing Quality Beers. Can't find that in my bookshelf.
 

Coastalbrew

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I also have and like "home brew recipe Bible" by Chris Colby. It is much less detailed than palmer's book, but I like how he starts with simple extract brewing and progresses through extract with stepping grain, mini mash and then all grain. And in the last couple of chapters he goes into more complex beer styles and ingredients. Each section has recipes that are designed for the brewing method and or beer style being discussed. I've brewed a couple of the recipes and they were good. It's a good beginner book for getting your feet wet, without getting the PhD that you get from palmer's book.
 
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Tomahawk47

Tomahawk47

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I also have and like "home brew recipe Bible" by Chris Colby. It is much less detailed than palmer's book, but I like how he starts with simple extract brewing and progresses through extract with stepping grain, mini mash and then all grain. And in the last couple of chapters he goes into more complex beer styles and ingredients. Each section has recipes that are designed for the brewing method and or beer style being discussed. I've brewed a couple of the recipes and they were good. It's a good beginner book for getting your feet wet, without getting the PhD that you get from palmer's book.

Thanks, Coastal. That's what I'm looking for! Palmer's book is informative but very involved. Something more basic and can get someone up and running is the way to go. I've used Palmer's book as a reference in the past but I think it might be a bit intimidating for the new brewer. I'll check Colby's book out.
 

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I was in the same boat a couple weekends ago. I only brewed 5 gallons instead of 20, kept a simple hop schedule, and didn’t get into the minute details. He was curious about the pH meter and hydrometer though. I’ve lent out my 20 year old copy of palmers book numerous times.
 

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Depending on what his goals are, Speed Brewing: Techniques and Recipes for Fast-Fermenting Beers, Ciders, Meads, and More by Mary Izett outlines some good ways to get into brewing without laying out a bunch of cash up front.

It's comparatively short and very much not intimidating.
 

Coastalbrew

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Thanks, Coastal. That's what I'm looking for! Palmer's book is informative but very involved. Something more basic and can get someone up and running is the way to go. I've used Palmer's book as a reference in the past but I think it might be a bit intimidating for the new brewer. I'll check Colby's book out.
Yeah Colby's book might be the ticket for you then. It really simplifies things and let's you work into the hobby at your own pace. I think it pairs well with palmer's book as well. It gives you the simple side of things and gets you wanting to learn the nuance that palmer discusses in his book.
 
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Tomahawk47

Tomahawk47

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Yeah Colby's book might be the ticket for you then. It really simplifies things and let's you work into the hobby at your own pace. I think it pairs well with palmer's book as well. It gives you the simple side of things and gets you wanting to learn the nuance that palmer discusses in his book.

I think you have the approach. If this guy bets the bug, he'll be looking for more info. And Palmer's book would be a good next step.I have over 60 books in my library that I collected along the way. And I still would buy another if it had the right info I'm looking for.
 
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One of the other home brewing forums has an actively maintained FAQ/wiki which contains a page with one paragraph descriptions of recently published books.

Just one beginners book? How to Brew, 4e; skip howtobrew.com - unless you want to home brew like it's 1999 ;).

Starting with "all-grain": @Drewch mentioned Speed Brewing and I agree.
 
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I prefer HTB by Palmer as a second or third book. It can confuse first time brewers with the long chain short analysis and other in depth concepts. I would say read Dave Miller's Homebrewing Guide or Charlie P's Complete Joy first and brew a few batches. Then graduate to Palmer for in depth understanding. Just my opinion.
 

hout17

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John Palmer's 'How To Brew' has always been my go too. There are chapters that dive deeper in to certain subjects but there are also chapters specifically geared towards the beginner and brewing their first beer and what to do for all grain and extract.

4th Edition is the most current:

PXL_20211013_115110624.jpg
 

bwible

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I was in the same boat a couple weekends ago. I only brewed 5 gallons instead of 20, kept a simple hop schedule, and didn’t get into the minute details. He was curious about the pH meter and hydrometer though. I’ve lent out my 20 year old copy of palmers book numerous times.
Jeez, has it really been around that long? I’m old. I remember when Charlie’s New Complete Joy of Homebrewing was the book.
 

bwible

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Then after you get a few basics down you get Ray Daniel’s Designing Great Beers. My copy is folded, bent, beer stained, and has pages falling out of it. Well used and loved. When you look at my books you can tell what book I spent a whole lot of time with. Its a treasure trove of recipe design information
 
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jrgtr42

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One of the other home brewing forums has an actively maintained FAQ/wiki which contains a page with one paragraph descriptions of recently published books.

Just one beginners book? How to Brew, 4e; skip howtobrew.com - unless you want to home brew like it's 1999 ;).

Starting with "all-grain": @Drewch mentioned Speed Brewing and I agree.
I read through HowToBrew.com before I started brewing, and |I then got the updated version, whichever it was at the time, and read that through before I put pot to stove.
 
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I read through HowToBrew.com before I started brewing, and |I then got the updated version, whichever it was at the time, and read that through before I put pot to stove.
Back then, that may have been a reasonable way to start.

In 2021, there may be better starting points.

OP asked about books. If the topic is shifting to free overviews, the AHA web site is a good place to start.
 
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Tomahawk47

Tomahawk47

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skip howtobrew.com - unless you want to home brew like it's 1999 ;)

Good point. It appears to be an abbreviation of his first release. And, yes, to BrewnWKopper with the better starting points in 2021. CoastalBrew suggests an easy way to get started with Chris Colby's book. I haven't brewed with extract in years (decades) and would certainly scare the crap out of this guy if he thinks he has to start where I am at. He's seems to be hooked with the few samples I've given him so it's a matter of making it as painless as possible. I started in the 80's with Papazians book but didn't have anyone to explain things. I had a few dumpers to say the least.
 

Jim R

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Home brewing is not rocket science but it isn’t simple either to do it consistently well. Don’t be afraid to read and recommend higher level books like Palmers. You can save a lot of mistakes (and money) by starting out with a thorough textbook. All you have to do is read the daily questions in the forum to see people that should have read and studied more before they started.
 
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I haven't brewed with extract in years (decades) and would certainly scare the crap out of this guy if he thinks he has to start where I am at. He's seems to be hooked with the few samples I've given him so it's a matter of making it as painless as possible
Chapter 1 of How to Brew, 4e may be what you are looking for. Chapters 1 & 2 of Speed Brewing do the same thing for 2 gal BIAB.
 
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Tomahawk47

Tomahawk47

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Chapter 1 of How to Brew, 4e may be what you are looking for. Chapters 1 & 2 of Speed Brewing do the same thing for 2 gal BIAB.

Thanks, BrewnWKopper, I'll add that to the list for him to check out. If he is interested in going further, and he says he is, he'll have to commit to buying some books. Two good recommendations, now. And if I recall, I supplemented Papazians book with Dave Line, The Bid Book of Brewing, I think. Always good to have two different sources.
 

bwible

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I haven't brewed with extract in years (decades) and would certainly scare the crap out of this guy if he thinks he has to start where I am at. He's seems to be hooked with the few samples I've given him so it's a matter of making it as painless as possible.
Always good to go back to an extract batch now and then. Every time I do I am happy with a shorter and simpler brew day and every time I do I wonder why I don’t do it more. About as simple as it gets, especially with DME vs liquid. You don’t even have any cans to scrape out. Extract costs a little more but pays dividends in time saved. And very good beer can be made with extract. I think its like riding a bicycle, you never forget.
 
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Tomahawk47

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Always good to go back to an extract batch now and then. Every time I do I am happy with a shorter and simpler brew day and every time I do I wonder why I don’t do it more. About as simple as it gets, especially with DME vs liquid. You don’t even have any cans to scrape out. Extract costs a little more but pays dividends in time saved. And very good beer can be made with extract. I think its like riding a bicycle, you never forget.

I split up my brewing effort - mash one day, boil the next. I've built in so many little steps that it just makes it impractical (with my schedule) to do it all in one day. Two 5 hr sessions is more reasonable for me.
 
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