Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle Reading App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Author of the homebrewing bestseller How To Brew, John J. Palmer shares his years of hands-on experience to help homebrewers consistently make great beers while expanding their knowledge and experience with the hobby.
I borrowed, bought and read a few brewing books, but found "How to Brew" to be the best. The very first chapter gets you off to a running start should you find yourself with an unpacked brew kit, needing only the most vital information to start brewing immediately. The rest of the book is well written and provides a clear outlay of brewing from the basics to the esoteric. There are clear explinations, many recipies and a wealth of information regarding the process and ingredients.
There are a few other books that are good, but if you own just one brewing book, this is it.
Update:3/2008 Almost two years later, I have to say this book remains at the forefront of my now expanded beer library. If you are just starting to brew, if you are curious, if you're looking for a book for someone who is starting out or if you are a brewer looking for an A-Z guide, this remains the one to get. It will provide a foundation of knowledge that will serve you well in your brewing pursuits.
Update 2: 2/2010 All this time and this book still is indispensable. As I have learned more and become more experienced, How To Brew has been there. I thought that I would pick this book up less and less, but the more skilled I became and the more I learned, the more I reached for this book. My move from extract brewing to all grain was much less difficult and for now, it seems from my experience that John Palmer has written the final word on home brewing to date. (All due respect to Charlie Papazian)
Like most homebrewers, I started out with Charlie Papazian's book "The New Joy of Homebrewing". I had the second edition. It was a good book, but comparing it to this text, it seems hopelessly dated.
With the explosion of microbreweries across the country, lots of people got turned on to GOOD beer - and many of those looked into homebrewing. With so many people trying different methods and equipment, over time, brewing became simpler and much of what was deemed necessary in the earlier days was discarded. Many of the techniques and equipment listed here are the results of years of trial-and-error streamlining by other homebrewers. In addition, there's never been so many resources available via mail order and on the net. Homebrewing really is easy at this point.
This is the best basic brewing text I've found. You can start with it by making extract only beers, graduating to specialty grains in addition to extract, then to all grain brewing and making your own recipes and beer styles. The book is linear, presents the information as you need it and the information ranges from the most basic (like sanitation) to as technical as you could possibly want (water chemistry).
For years I've been an extract and specialty grain brewer. I never completely understood the process of all-grain brewing until I bought this text. It gave me the courage to build my own lautering tun and brew my first batch of beer made completely from scratch. It was a pale ale, nothing exotic, but man was it good beer. Check out the author's website and read the first edition online. The second edition is improved, so if you like the online text buy the hard copy book.
There are other good texts out there (the author lists many of them in the back of the book) but if you only want one homebrewing text, buy this one. It's a shame that Amazon doesn't carry it anymore. Track it down.
Was this review helpful to you?
Of all the authors who talk about homebrewing, John J. Palmer is by far the best writer. His prose is witty, entertaining and relentlessly focussed on clarifying the complexities and celebrating the simplicities of the small-scale brewing of beer.
There are probably three books that are genuinely helpful for the beginning homebrewer. Which one is right for you depends on how you approach techniques of dealing with things in the physical world. If the idea of doing anything physical scares the bejabbers out of you, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing Third Edition (Harperresource Book). This is a very simple, slow and reassuring book. The author sounds like the friendliest, least intimidating guy in the world. The style is very chummy in a post-frathouse kind of way that some people find very difficult to read and that others find relaxing. In this book you may see the ancestor of the Complete Dummies series. I believe that Papazian, who has made a carreer of coaching homebrewers, has been published on the topic for thirty years or so. If you're the sort of person who likes the idea of baking his own bread or wiring her own lamp, then probably The Complete Handbook of Home Brewing is right for you. The information is straightforward and well-organized and he allows for the fact that sometimes you want to make it fast and simple and other times you may want to linger over the details. There's a separate book of recipes ordered by beer style and also by degree of difficulty. If you love fundamentals, then Palmer is the book for you.Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
John Palmer was born and raised in Midland, Michigan. He was predominately a C student throughout high school and college with occasional spikes into the B range. Speaking on his success in life in general, he credits three critically important pieces of advice he got from two of his teachers and his father: 1. Things are only boring until you learn something about it. Knowledge makes things interesting. (Dr. Richard Hoy - they were discussing his lack of interest in History at the time) 2. Faith and Virtue are rewarded. (constantly uttered by his P-Chem prof, Dr. Leslie Leifer, probably in reference to improving the classes study habits, but still...) 3. Always say "Thank You". (Joseph Palmer)
John has always been intrigued by science and the way things work. This passion and a desire to work in the space program led him to Michigan Tech where he graduated with a degree in Metallurgical Engineering in the mid-eighties. A lucky break gave him the opportunity to apply for a metallurgical position at a failure analysis lab in Irvine, California, and he has been living in the LA area ever since. During this time he has helped design, build, and inspect hardware that is currently flying on the International Space Station, worked in research and development of orthodontic appliances, awarded two patents, and written two popular books on the brewing of beer. Future writing products will include two more brewing books and some steampunk.