Best Brewing Books

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chs9

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I'm curious what you guys think are the best books on brewing - what are your favorite reference texts? What about best recipe (clone or otherwise) books? What about in depth texts on single styles?

In my own experience, Papazian's "The Joy of Homebrewing" has some great information, but because of the beginner/intermediate/advanced brewing division of the text it can be fairly difficult to find what you need. For example, we wanted to reference bittering hop utilization vs. boil duration last week. My roommate couldn't find it in the "intermediate hops" section because it was in the advanced somewhere. The index is a bit weak too, again making it difficult to reference. My last beef is that when he discusses some of the science, he's often incorrect about the "why", but the practical end of the science is spot on. That being said... it's loaded with good information.

One of my favorite is "Home Beermaking" by Charles Moore that came with my Midwest Supplies brewing equipment kit. Short, succinct, and covers all the basics. Not terribly in-depth or explanatory, but lets you know what you need to know. For the why's and how's you may need to look elsewhere. One of the best parts - I could get my roommate to read it. He's unwilling to read Papazian, which is a much longer text.
 

SumnerH

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Use the search function to find past discussions about this.

The common opinions seem to be that:
"How to Brew" by John Palmer is a more updated intro text; it replaces Papazian's book as far as the #1 book for beginners, but Papazian is still historically interesting and has a great attitude.

After that, "Brewing Classic Styles", "Designing Great Beers", and (if you do Belgians) "Brew Like a Monk" are great choices, with "Radical Brewing" getting almost as many votes.
 

Reno_eNVy

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C. Pap's classic is where I start and branched out from there.

Good books:
- "Brew Master's Bible" by Stephen Snyder- one of the lesser mentioned ones, good for a beginner/intermediate
- "Extreme Brewing" by Sam Calagione- cool book, lots of neat recipes, DFH clones... but TONS of errors, a few of which could create some confusion

Awesome books:
- "How to Brew" by John Palmer- great for beginners
- "Radical Brewing" by Randy Mosher- just picked this one up a couple weeks ago. It has some brew science, neat stories and some boundary pushing recipes/ingredients. Also, pretty dang funny. Overall a great read

Hope that helps a bit
 

seabrew8

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I'm pretty new to craft brew and have The Complete Joy of Home Brewing and its companion. I also have Brewing Classic Styles.

Brewing Classic Styles is an excellent recipe based book and The complete joy is informative. How to brew is free on the web buts its the original version. Still an excellent resource.
 

suprchunk

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"The Complete Handbook of Home Brewing" by Dave Miller is great. The companion to it is decent.

"Designing Great Beers" Ray Daniels

Any book by Noonan. This man did great things to further the craft beer movement, will be missed.
 

EricCSU

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How To Brew is the number one reference that I turn to again and again. No matter what level of homebrewer you are, you will learn something (if not a lot). I keep mine outside with me when I brew for quick reference.

Brewing Classic Styles is great for seeing a lot of different recipes to style. The best part is that you know all of the recipes are top notch.

Designing Great Beers is a good resource for recipe formulation, but it is limited to the styles that it covers. It really only covers about half the styles, which is unfortunate.

Eric
 
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chs9

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What about brewing texts - like university style textbooks? Does anybody keep any around? Has anyone gone to university for brewing and have suggestions for what's good and what to avoid?
 

mithion

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There probably aren't any brewing texts like you're speaking of. Centuries ago, knowledge about homebrewing was probably common. However, I'm willing to bet that when the responsibility of brewing shifted from the home to commercial brewing some times during the industrial revolution, all that knowledge and experience was either lost or taken by the big boys and kept from the people. As people are rediscovering homebrewing now, we're slowly relearning (and improving upon) the knowledge of the past.

The sum of the knowledge about how to make beer is probably contained in the few books that some of the pioneers of the homebrewing renaissance have written. Beyond that, you may find a lot of information from the scientific community who are attempting to quantify the complex chemistry and biology behind beer. However, if there is a text book on the subject, I would also like to know about it.
 

bosco_NJ

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+1 for
"Brew Master's Bible" by Stephen Snyder- one of the lesser mentioned ones, good for a beginner/intermediate
i was givin' this book when i first started brewing & i still use it quite often.
 

suprchunk

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There probably aren't any brewing texts like you're speaking of. Centuries ago, knowledge about homebrewing was probably common. However, I'm willing to bet that when the responsibility of brewing shifted from the home to commercial brewing some times during the industrial revolution, all that knowledge and experience was either lost or taken by the big boys and kept from the people. As people are rediscovering homebrewing now, we're slowly relearning (and improving upon) the knowledge of the past.

The sum of the knowledge about how to make beer is probably contained in the few books that some of the pioneers of the homebrewing renaissance have written. Beyond that, you may find a lot of information from the scientific community who are attempting to quantify the complex chemistry and biology behind beer. However, if there is a text book on the subject, I would also like to know about it.
Like "Brewing", "Brewing: Science and Practice", or "Handbook of Brewing"? I've had my eye on them for some time, along with many others, but the prices are out of reach right now. If you want a actual book used for academia, ask a graduate of the UC Davis program. Or the myriad other schools out there.
 

Newton

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How to Brew by John Palmer. I read that book before I bought a single piece of equipment. Jumped right into all grain on my first batch and everything has been going fairly well (7 batches so far) :)
 
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chs9

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There are definitely university level texts on the subject. I found a few going through my school library looking for Lutzen's Brew Ware book. The online catalog for my library is pretty weak, so I'll have to physically go back to find the titles and authors I was looking at yesterday, but I will as soon as this storm breaks.

Beer is a huge industry and as such, textbooks and peer reviewed literature are sure to be out there. Brewing was by no means a lost art without it's share of research and learning (well, maybe in America) before homebrewing picked up in popularity.

What I could find on the online catalog -
Beer and wine production : analysis, characterization, and technological advances / Barry H. Gump, editor, David J. Pruett, associate editor (This is a symposium volume with the papers on which the talks and presentations were given)

I'll post back later with the info for these books
 

suprchunk

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I've got Brew Ware, and really there are better equipment ideas and tutorials on the internet. Was there something specific that you were looking to glean from this book?
 
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chs9

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Nothing in particular, really. I'm aware there's a ton of good information online that almost makes this book obselete, but there's some useful information nonetheless. I like the discussion of building materials and the more schematic explanation of all grain brewing, which I have yet to try. Papazians explanation is too flowery, the scientist in me prefers something drier, straightforward, and including numbers.

Mostly, I need something interesting with fairly large type that I can read on the exercise bike.
 
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Homebrewing for Dummies

Straight forward book with easy to read print, charts, and graphs. It's easy to navigate and easy to understand the book is made with thick paper (for when you spill a little liquid) with wide pages so it'll stay open if you need it. It doesn't get overly technical, so if you move on you might want to broaden your scope with more books (just like every hobby or skill). If I had to buy one book for a friend to start brewing, who knew nothing at all, it would be this book.
 

Shooter

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Homebrewing for Dummies

Straight forward book with easy to read print, charts, and graphs. It's easy to navigate and easy to understand the book is made with thick paper (for when you spill a little liquid) with wide pages so it'll stay open if you need it. It doesn't get overly technical, so if you move on you might want to broaden your scope with more books (just like every hobby or skill). If I had to buy one book for a friend to start brewing, who knew nothing at all, it would be this book.
Agreed, I think this one gets overlooked quite a bit. How to Brew is a more comprehensive book and would be a fine book to start with, it's where I started. However, Homebrewing for Dummies is a very well done beginners guide. It has enough of the technical side, but it's not overwhelming.
 

patto1ro

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There probably aren't any brewing texts like you're speaking of. Centuries ago, knowledge about homebrewing was probably common. However, I'm willing to bet that when the responsibility of brewing shifted from the home to commercial brewing some times during the industrial revolution, all that knowledge and experience was either lost or taken by the big boys and kept from the people. As people are rediscovering homebrewing now, we're slowly relearning (and improving upon) the knowledge of the past.

The sum of the knowledge about how to make beer is probably contained in the few books that some of the pioneers of the homebrewing renaissance have written. Beyond that, you may find a lot of information from the scientific community who are attempting to quantify the complex chemistry and biology behind beer. However, if there is a text book on the subject, I would also like to know about it.
There are dozens of academic brewing textbooks that were written over the last 250 years. These are some of the more recent ones:

"Brewing: science and practice" by Dennis E. Briggs, Chris A. Boulton, Peter A. Brookes, Roger Stevens
"Malting and Brewing Science" by Dennis Edward Briggs, James Shanks Hough
"Technology Brewing and Malting" by W. Kunze
"Brewing: science and practice" by Herbert Lloyd Hind
"The principles and practice of brewing" by Walter John Sykes, Arthur Robert Ling

Yes, the most modern ones are pretty pricey. But you can pick up older ones like Lloyd Hind for pretty reasonable prices on Abebooks. The Sykes and Ling book is available on Google Books for free.
 

Marsdude

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Homebrewing for Dummies

Straight forward book with easy to read print, charts, and graphs. It's easy to navigate and easy to understand the book is made with thick paper (for when you spill a little liquid) with wide pages so it'll stay open if you need it. It doesn't get overly technical, so if you move on you might want to broaden your scope with more books (just like every hobby or skill). If I had to buy one book for a friend to start brewing, who knew nothing at all, it would be this book.
+1 on this book. I own "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing" and always reference Palmer's online edition, however the "Dummies" book is really good. My wife brought it home from the library a week ago as a joke. As I read through it I was amazed at how well the info was laid out.
 
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