Beer Book Ideas for Christmas

by Reviews

The holiday season is upon us and you’re looking for beer gift ideas for your favorite beer lover?  Maybe you’re the beer lover looking for great book ideas for your Christmas list.  Here’s a selection of great beer books to consider.  All of these books are in my beer library.

beer books

There's many great beer books out there.

Beer Recipe Books

These are the books I refer to when I need a recipe for a style I’m not familiar with, or when I’m trying to replicate a commercial beer.

Brewing Classic Styles

This is one of the best recipe books out there, because not only does the book provide recipes for every BJCP style, the book also goes into why ingredients were selected and some history behind the style.  This gives the reader a deeper understanding about the style.  Brewing Classic Styles is a great book to learn more about how each beer style should taste.

Audience: Homebrewers
Rating: 9 of 10

Clone Brews

A friend of mine came back from a vacation claiming he had just tasted the best beer in the world and he wanted me to make 10 gallons of it.  The beer was Old Speckled Hen, and at the time I hadn’t tried it.  I wasn’t sure how to make a beer I’d never tried.  Luckily Clone Brews had me covered!  Clone Brews gives you recipes for 150 commercial beers.  Despite the fact it mentions the tongue map myth, the book is a good resource for beer recipes.  The recipes are all extract brews, but they give the all-grain equivalents in the sidebar.  Some of the better recipes are Chimay Red, Newcastle Brown Ale, and Duvel!

Audience: Homebrewers
Rating: 8 of 10

Beer Captured

Beer Captured is another good recipe book.  Again all of the recipes are extract, but it does include instructions for all-grain.  This book also has great reference material in the appendix for water modification, ingredient lists, and much more good homebrew information.  The book even has great food recipes using beer, including Chocolate Stout Cake and Belgian Beer Soup.  This book has recipes for Celis White and Chimay Blue.

Audience: Homebrewers
Rating: 7 of 10

Learn to brew beer books

If you are looking for a beer book for someone special who is interested in learning to brew, or even someone who is an advanced brewer, consider these books.

How To Brew

This is the best “how to brew” book available.  How to Brew is great for the beginner and for the homebrew expert.  No matter how much you know about making beer, you will find something you didn’t know in this gem.  You can find version one of this book online, but the print version is updated with much more information.  The book starts out with the basics of extract brewing, but by the end of the book you’re deep in the science of brewing!

: Homebrewers, Advanced Homebrewers
Rating: 10 of 10

The Complete Joy of Homebrewing

It is rare when a homebrewer doesn’t have this book on his or her shelf.  This is the standby included in almost every starting brew kit.  The how-to brewing book contains great references on different ingredients, do-it-yourself brewing equipment like building a mash and lauter tun, and many great beer recipes.  The reason so many beer kits include this book is because of the breadth of brewing information.

Audience: Beginning Homebrewers
Rating: 7 of 10

The Beer Business

Beer School

Ever wonder how you go from homebrewer in an apartment to major national beer brand?  This is the story of the Brooklyn Brewery and the challenges the authors met.  I laughed out loud when the author Steve Hindy discussed how he learned to homebrew in Cairo from a homebrew recipe book for Americans working in Saudi Arabia.  Since alcohol is illegal in Saudi Arabia, they couldn’t name the recipe book “How to brew beer”.  You’ll have to get the book to see what the name is.  Beer School has plenty of humorous stories, and it gives you insight on how difficult it is to start a brewery.  Making beer is the easy part, making payroll is a challenge.  I highly recommend the book if you want to start your own brewery.

Audience: Aspiring Professional Brewers
Rating: 10 of 10

The geeky side of beer

These are advanced books for the advanced homebrewer.  These books go beyond the “how to” and delve into the details of making beer.

Designing Great Beers

This is my favorite beer book.  This is an advanced homebrewer book which focuses on the history of many different beer styles, how the beer style originated and eventually how the beer style evolved.  Not only does the book provide great information about the different styles, it discusses how you can formulate your own recipes.  The author Daniels helps you understand how different recipes should be formulated by taking a statistical look at the recipes from past award winning recipes.  This is not a recipe book, however, and actually contains no recipes.  The purpose of this book is to help you understand every facet of a beer style, so you can craft your own award winning recipes.

Audience: Advanced Homebrewers
Rating: 10 of 10

Standards of Brewing

If you are ever considering “going pro”, you need to look at this book.  Producing the same beer consistently is not necessarily a goal for homebrewers, but it is important for professional breweries.  Standards of Brewing is an advanced book for brewers wanting to understand how beer goes through the quality assurance process.  The focus of this book is the best practices for producing consistent beer in a brewery setting.  As a homebrewer the scope of this book might seem overreaching, but you learn the tools you need to produce consistent results.

Audience: Professional Brewers
Rating: 9 of 10

New Brewing Lager Beer

This book is an updated version of a classic advanced brewing book.  If you want to learn the nitty gritty details of brewing beer, this is a must have book for your shelf.  This book goes into depth about every facet of the brewing process.  The title is a bit deceiving because it really applies to all craft beers, not just lagers.  The lager focus gives the reader a complete view of the brewing process.  Again this is an advanced book for the serious homebrewer or small-scale craft brewer.

: Advanced Homebrewers
Rating: 9 of 10

Brew Chem 101

Brew Chem 101 gives a brief overview of the chemistry involved in brewing.  It attempts to give the reader some understanding of the science involved in brewing, but not to the level where it scares away the reader.  The book glosses over many of the subjects, but is good for someone who wants to know how brewing works at a “cliff notes” level.  The book does give a thorough examination of what goes wrong in beer, and what chemicals are producing off-flavors.  The off-flavors section is one of the better descriptions of any book.  On the downside, it also describes the tongue map.

Audience: Advanced Homebrewers
Rating: 6 of 10

The Brewer’s Companion

Charts, charts, charts!  This book contains graphs for many different mash schedules, charts for the different hops, templates for carboy tags, and much more.  This is more of a reference book than a read cover to cover book.  It contains blank worksheets for recipe formulation and more.  Most of the stuff in this book is to make your life easier.  It is great for putting together a brew log for your own brewing records.

Audience: Homebrewers
Rating: 7 of10

The Homebrewer’s Answer Book

The Answer Book is written by Aston Lewis, a columnist for Brew Your Own magazine.  He collected many different questions from brewers and the answers he provided.  This book is a great reference for any homebrewer.  Each chapter contains several questions and answers for common homebrewing problems.  It’s fun to flip through the book and read each the different answers.  This book makes a great stocking stuffer!

Audience: Homebrewers
Rating: 8 of 10

Other Good Homebrew Books

The Complete Meadmaker

If you have ever thought of making mead, this is the book to get.  This is a very complete book on learning to make mead.  The book includes many different recipes.  There is a great section in the book on adding fruit to mead, including the different amounts of fruit to add to get the desired strength of flavor.  Whenever someone says they want to learn to make mead, I point them to this book.

Audience: Homebrewers
Rating: 10 of 10

Brew Like A Monk

At some point, every homebrewer becomes fascinated with Belgium beers.  Brew Like A Monk is the authoritative book on brewing Belgian beers.  If you are looking for a recipe book for Belgian beers, this is not the book you are looking for.  It does describe recipes for the different beers, and for some the author Stan Hieronymus does give grain ratios, but recipes are not what the book is about.  This book gives an in depth look at the diverse Belgian beers and their history.  He looks at the brewing process of many Trappist monks.

Audience: Homebrewers and Beer Lovers
Rating: 9 of 10

Radical Brewing

If you’ve ever homebrewed and wondered “what would it taste like if I added habañeros”, this is the book for you.  This book contains over 90 off-the-beaten-path recipes for homebrewers who think style guidelines are for sissies.  For those of you still concerned about the hop shortage, Randy Mosher includes tables with everything else you can use to bitter your beer.  He even lists the adjuncts which might kill you if you use in your beer, just so you know not to use them.  This book has recipes like Chocolate Mint Stout, rare meads like Islamic meads (which he calls “Call Me Al”), or a Chai Brown Ale.  On top of the recipes, he includes fascinating beer history and his beer brewing experiences.  This is a very fun book for homebrewers!

Audience: Homebrewers
Rating: 10 of 10

Beer & Philosophy

Every now and then when I’ve knocked back a few beers with friends, one of them tries to get philosophical on me.  You know the type.  They bring up topics like “How deep are black holes” or some silly discussion which makes sense only when you are drinking.  This book has nothing to do with making beer, but it has everything to do with the conversations after a few beers.  If you know someone (or are someone) who likes “getting deep” (or thinking you are) when you drink beer, then this is the book you are looking for.  This book is a series of thought provoking essays, with beer as the central theme.  One essay tries to determine (in true Socratic form) “is a beer good because people like it, or do people like the beer because it is good”.

Audience: Beer lovers
Rating: 8 of 10

The Secret Life of Beer

This is another great stocking stuffer.  The small book contains lots of facts and trivia about beer through history.  Some the history might be just lore, but the book is fun to read.  It has beer quotes, random beer facts, and short paragraphs on different facets about beer.

Audience:  Beer lovers
Rating: 7 of 10

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DJ Spiess

DJ Spiess

Beer buddy

I live in Denver, Colorado. This blog is everything about beer, wine, cider, mead and other spirits.
I am a avid homebrewer and winemaker. I’ve been making my own beer and wine for many years. I started making beer when I was in college (mostly because the drinking age in the United States is 21). My first few beers were horrible. The beers are much better now, and I often supply my neighborhood with free beer! It is a great hobby!