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History of Brewing Styles

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  • History of Brewing Styles

    My beer story starts like I believe many others in the US do... I just got back from a week in Germany.

    So, I am a complete novice when it comes to brewing beer, and I'd like to learn everything I can. I know the steps and I know why it works, but I'm more curious to read a comprehensive story of how to brew any and all kinds of beers.

    Does anyone know of a resource like that? Something that would give me everything from the basics to the most minute details of how to brew various types of beer and what kinds of things make the different beers that exist today?

    Thanks for any help you can give me. I know many of you are professionals, and I'd like to get there, but I have to start from square one right now.

  • #2
    Start homebrewing and find a homebrew store in your area. There is a lot of literature out there, so you've got a lot of reading to do. Join up at and maybe find some people who enjoy your passion for beer near where you live.


    • #3
      I've always thought Noonan's "Brewing Lager Beers" was a good introduction to brewing science. Ray Daniels' "Designing Great Beers" presents a great overview of styles and the techniques used to brew them.

      Both these books are technical yet practical on the homebrew scale. Coupled with some avid homebrewing they'll do more than get your toes wet..
      Clarke Pelz
      Cynosure Brewing


      • #4
        Randy Mosher's Radical Brewing has a fun take on the history and some obscure styles as well as really good instruction on the process.


        • #5
          My best suggestion to you would be to find a forum like the one on the northernbrewer website. It's for homebrewers. Start homebrewing and find a local club in your area. Go to the meetings every month or whenever they are and find out what you need to do to make better beer. Ask lots of questions. Find the older guys and get basic information from them. After you get the basics, find someone young that isn't afraid of computers. These are the guys that have moved WAAAYYYY past papazians 1970's brewing techniques. Glean everything you can from them, but don't necessarily do it. Try some different things to see what you like. I'm going to give you the best advice that I have ever gotten. It came from a fellow homebrewer. His words were: "Do what works for you. Don't do it because that's what I do. Find out what works best for you and do it that way." If I have a question about brewing (I'm a homebrewer and club president) I ask him. I don't necessarily do what he says but I take it into consideration and go with it. ANyway, look me up on the northern brewer forum if you are interested. I'll help you all I can, and if you live in the Southern Jersey area, come out to one of our meetings.


          • #6
            Lots of good advice so far. I would add 4 things:
            1. John Palmer's How to Brew is a little technical for a pure beginner, but IMHO is the best overall homebrew instruction book out there. Covers all topics very well. I like Ray Daniel's Designing Great Beers but that would be a good second book, as you pretty much need to know the process to fully absorb it.
            2. For styles, and how to make them you can't beat Brewing Classic Styles by Palmer and Jamil Zainasheff. I wouldn't follow those recipes exactly but you get good background on what is needed in the recipe and why.
            3. Join It is a sister to this board. Lots of folks there with lots of varied experience and a VERY friendly community very willing to help with no flames.
            4. Check out The Jamil Show has archives on a whole show covering every style in the BJCP Guidelines. Brew Strong offers some great shows on a variety of fairly technical topics.

            Welcome to the addiction!
            -Lyle C. Brown
            Camelot Brewing Co.


            • #7
              Learn the technical aspects of brewing. Learn why things work the way they do. Brew a few batches from kits. Then, throw out all the recipes and make beer that is all your own!
              Clean out your garage, your bank account, your week-ends and go for it!
              All along, remember that no-one you know will understand the need, the hunger, the desire, the obsession!!!
              Except for your fellow brewers.
              We understand.

              Saint Somewhere Brewing
              Tarpon Springs FL