Thursday, June 14, 2012

Recommended homebrewing books

When I started homebrewing, I was an assistant for my Dad. I would help move carboys, clean pots, bottles, the carboys, etc. I recall my Dad using the instructions in the kit boxes for instructions on how to brew. I do not recall seeing any homebrewing books in the early days.

While I have gotten back up to speed with my own homebrewing (during which I was the boss), I have found a great deal of value of having a few homebrewing books at my disposal for a reference before and during the brew day.

  • Designing great beers - Ray Daniels
    • The book itself is very approachable in that it does not talk down to you. It has been my primary reference when composing my homebrewing recipes. It provides info about past NHC recipes that have done well. Which, in-turn, provides a reliable basis for composing your own recipes. It also covers the qualities of a variety of styles ranging from barley wine and bocks to stouts, pilsener and scotch ales.
    • About the author - Ray Daniels is a veteran of the US beer industry and president of the Craft Beer Institute. He is also the founder of the Cicerone program. 
  • Brewing Better Beer - Gordon Strong
    • This has been a book that has become invaluable in that it builds upon what Ray Daniels' book provides, and spends more time explaining Gordon Strong's approach on how to brew better beer. It also goes into detail about various mashing types (infusion, decoction, and step mashes), beer hopping choices (first wort hopping, post-boil hopping), as well as advice on 'mastering equipment', and ingredients. In short it is an invaluable reference.
    • About the author - Gordon Strong is the current president of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP).
  • Yeast - Chris White with Jamil Zainasheff
    • This book is a great resource of information about yeast - cultivating, maintaining it, and keeping it happy. As well as information on how to create your own yeast lab at home (which is a project I want to undertake once more room is available). 
    • About the authors - Chris White started White Labs in 1995 after researching and developing a library of brewers yeast strains from around the world. He received an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of California, Davis, and a Ph.D in biochemistry from U.C. San Diego. Jamil Zainasheff is one of the most respected homebrewers in the country. He is also the founder of Heretic Brewing
  • Radical Brewing - Randy Mosher
    • This book is probably the most fun to read of all of the books listed above. It gets into the history of beer, funky ingredients (herbs, honey, etc), and it provides a bit of advice on how to put a spin on your beer and not end up with something you would not offer your newest friends. It also gets into the pairing of beer and food, and Mr. Mosher puts his own fun spin on things. It is a really fun read.
    • About the author - Randy Mosher is a nationally recognized author who is also the creative director for 5 Rabbit Brewing Company
I realize that Charlie Papazian's book was not mentioned, but the books above are the ones I use the most.

Do you have other homebrewing books that you like and reference every time you are preparing to brew? Let us know!

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