What is the best book for beginning home brewers?

** Please post 1 book per post, then the resulting votes will show what most people consider to be the best book.

12 Answers 12


I found How to Brew to be a very helpful book along with The Complete Joy of Homebrewing. I feel like it complimented Papazian's book well, and in some cases was a bit easier to read, or filled in any lingering questions I had. In the end everyone seems to go with Papazian's, but I think How to Brew was an easier read.

  • I like the complete Joy, but its a bit dated. How to brew gets my vote.
    – brewchez
    Commented May 19, 2010 at 22:31
  • 5
    They make a good pairing, actually. Palmer gives you lots of solid grounding. Papazian gives you the confidence that, whatever your errors, things will probably turn out okay anyway. Commented May 20, 2010 at 12:50

The Complete Joy of Home Brewing by Charlie Papazian


Without doubt, How To Brew, by John Palmer has been the biggest help to me in starting brewing. It is easy to start off with and then intriduces more complexity. A book I constantly go back to.


The Brewmasters Bible. I bought this book when I started out about 5 years ago. It was easy to follow then, having never brewed before, and I feel there is still a lot I can learn from the book now.

I don't have any other books to compare this too, but it served as an excellent starting point for me and I still find it to be a good reference.

  • I have this book and it is a great reference guide that has gone largely un-noticed. Good mention here.
    – brewchez
    Commented May 24, 2010 at 12:07

I am a big fan of Dave Miller's Homebrewing Guide. Had it since my first batch and still refer to it frequently.


Designing Great Beers- Ray Daniels

EDIT: This really isn't a great beginner book. But it IS the book to get after you read The Complete Joy and How to Brew.

  • Agreed.. not for beginners, but wow, what a great resource. Commented May 20, 2010 at 15:19
  • I agree as well. Excellent suggestion.
    – TinCoyote
    Commented May 20, 2010 at 15:33
  • Not trying to be funny, but I get down voted for suggesting a good book that I feel is right for a beginner, but this gets up voted when it's clearly not a beginners book... Can we please have a bit of consistency.
    – fatboab
    Commented May 25, 2010 at 10:50
  • All I can say is that I didn't upvote my post. If there were more people voting, maybe it would get down voted more to where it should be. I will say though that I would recommend DGB over radical brewing in the natural progression of book buying for beginners. Maybe the voting reflects that....
    – brewchez
    Commented May 25, 2010 at 12:35
  • Downvoted because it's definitely not a beginner's book. I enjoy it, and mine is dogeared as hell, Brewchez. If we have an intermediate brewing book thread, you'll get my upvote. Commented May 28, 2010 at 12:39

Well, most of the ones I would suggest are already here (and I did upvote them) - so I'll throw out one that hasn't been mentioned yet:

Extreme Brewing: An Enthusiast's Guide to Brewing Craft Beer at Home by Sam Calagione (of Dogfish Head, but I didn't need to tell ya that, right? lol)

Some may say this isn't a book for beginners, but I would disagree. It provides all of the basic info on process and equipment, and all of the recipes are extract with specialty grain. I bought it thinking it would be a compliment to Radical Brewing, and was actually a bit disappointed that it seemed more geared towards beginners.

While I wouldn't recommend it for someone making their very first batch, I think you could easily step into this book very early in your brewing journey and make some very cool brews.


Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher

  • I down-voted in the spirit of voting these books to a place we think they belong. I personally don't feel that Radical Brewing is a good learning tool for new brewers. Commented May 20, 2010 at 22:06
  • Then we'll have to agree to disagree on this one... ;-)
    – fatboab
    Commented May 21, 2010 at 8:56

Brewing Classic Styles- Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer.

This book has a forward by John Palmer with a little discussion about techniques and ingredients. The book is an extract recipe book and the authors focused on how to make great beer with extract.
They wrote it with beginners in mind.
They also took all the recipe styles and broke them down into beginner, intermediate and advanced catagories; which helps you gauge potential success against personal skill level.

Once you understand the basic process of brewing, this is probably a great book for a beginner.


The Homebrewers Recipe Guide- Patrick Higgins, Maura Kate Kilgore and Paul Hertlein.

This book has a forward by Charlie Papazian. Published by Simon and Shuster in 1992, it comprises mostly recipes but there are several great break out pages regarding Brewing Tips like converting extract to grain, starters, aeration, smoking and toasting malt, plus many more.

I have brewed several of the recipes and actually learned a lot about ingredients with this books.

I don't know if its still available, but I wanted to put it here, because I recommend it and loan it to a lot of people when they are just starting out.


The Home Brewer's Answer Book by Ashton Lewis.

I picked this up from the library. I think we should get as many of the questions onto this site for reference as we can.


I found How to Brew: Everything You Need To Know To Brew Beer Right The First Time to be a great book when I started homebrewing. Palmer did a great job describing everything I needed to know about this hobby in a very easy to understand format. I still continue to refer to this book everytime I brew a new batch. Cheers!

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