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Beer Tasting

The Home Brewer's Recipe Database

March 2002

Ingredient Information for Thousands of Commercial and Historical Beers

This is not a recipe book. It is a database of ingredient information that should assist the home or craft brewer in creating their own recipes in order to attempt the replication of commercial beers, many of which are no longer in production.

Instructions on how to convert the supplied ingredient information into recipes customised to the brewer's own equipment and technique are provided.

This book also provides inspiration to brewers wishing to experiment with different ingredients since it gives an interesting insight into how professional brewers have used them in their own brews.

Finally, this book should also be of interest to the discerning beer enthusiast who is curious about what goes into their favourite drink.

This book is currently in its third edition. See below for more information.

The Home Brewer's Recipe Database: Project

Editions of The Home Brewer's Recipe Database

This has become an ongoing project and I am continually researching new sources of beer ingredient data. I recognise that this will never be complete but my plan is to publish new editions whenever I have obtained enough new information to provide a significant upgrade for the reader. I have kept previous editions available as lower cost options for the home brewer to start their own recipe research. Cheers!





  • Countries: 15

  • Breweries: 338

  • Beers: 1,250

  • Recipes: 2,243

  • Countries: 60

  • Breweries: 907

  • Beers: approx. 2,700

  • Recipes: approx. 3,200

  • Countries: 64

  • Breweries: 1,095

  • Beers: approx. 4,800

  • Recipes: approx. 5,640

The Home Brewer's Recipe Database: Features
Beer Samplers


What They’re Saying

The Home Brewer's Recipe Database: Testimonials

First Edition Review

Homebrewers will be amazed at how simple some beers are, and also to find out about some “secret” ingredient that otherwise might go undetected-knowledge that might just take your beer over the top.

K. Florian Kemp

All About Beer

September 2002

First Edition Review

A craft brewer’s greatest thrill is to brew a beer they remember but can no longer buy. It won’t be easy to recreate beers we know and love; ingredients and techniques evolve all the time. Les has given us a record of what we are aiming for, which will never be lost again. It is now up to us to do the rest.

Clive La Pensée

Brewer’s Contact

October 2002

First Edition Review

Huge database of European commercial brews

This is a vast collection of recipes for European beers, mostly from the UK and Belgium. The depth of each recipes varies, but usually includes the type of malts and hops and the general specs, like gravity and bittering units. To clone a beer you will have to do some calculations to figure out how much malt and hops to use for your particular system and volume. 

Overall, a good resource for trying to clone English and Belgian ales.

Benjy Edwards

8 March 2007

First Edition Review

A worthy addition to the home brewer's library

As the author states in his introduction, the recipes are primarily intended for Full Mash brewers but many could be adapted for partial mashing or extract brewing. The book assumes the reader is already versed in the basic techniques of brewing, this is not a "how to brew" manual. That said, you don't need to have years of experience - pick a recipe and just give it a go.

Les Howarth has assembled beer recipes from almost 350 breweries, some of them long gone but many brewing today. He has collated the data from numerous sources, and it is a wonder that existing brewers divulge this information. The recipes do vary in detail: some specify the percentages of each type of malt that make up the grist, some even specify the ratio of hops to use. Others only list the malt and hop ingredients with no guidance to ratios. The book provides the original gravity figure and the bitterness in IBUs, and the home brewer must call upon his/her knowledge of brewing theory to calculate a suitable amount of malt and hops to achieve the desired result; there are some examples in the book to help. If you know the desired colour of the beer this can guide you in malt selection. Hop ratios can be chosen based upon the brewer's experience of their flavour characteristics. Specific yeast strains are not specified since these are unlikely to be available to a home brewer; use your judgement to choose a suitable yeast strain from those readily available, e.g. a fruity ester yeast for an Old ale, a neutral one for a golden ale. Given the vast amount of variable factors involved in creating a beer, one should expect to repeat a recipe more than once with minor tweaking before getting it just how you like it.

For me the major appeal of this book is trying to recreate beers I know and like. I tried brewing an old favourite for a good friend of mine, a strong bitter he used to drink often but sadly no longer available since the brewery was closed in the year 2000. The first attempt was slightly too dark (I guesstimated too much chocolate malt) but otherwise a very good flavour match. After quaffing several pints each we both agreed it was a superb brew!

I have made two attempts to replicate my personal all-time favourite bitter (also no longer available) and the second brew is a pretty close match; I am confident number 3 will be nearing perfection.

This book has enough brewing recipes to keep you going for life, and it is very satisfying to recreate the beers of one's youth and indeed those of today.

If you are an enthusiastic brewer I'd say this book is money well spent, and highly recommend it. For those of you who have not tried full mash brewing at home, how does top quality real ale for 35 pence a pint sound? Cheers!

Nick M

8 September 2007

Second edition podcast

It's not a book for newbie brewers necessarily, but for those who know their way around the mash tun it's a fun and useful book that's a peek into what goes into beers from around the world. I am intrigued about turnips. Will they mash?

Streaming mp3

James Spencer

Basic Brewing Radio

18 February 2010

Second Edition Review

Anatomy of a beer, any beer

I love British beer. Unfortunately you can not get much of a variety here [in the USA]. So I am forced to brew my own. This book, while covering beers from all over the world) is, to me, invaluable in trying to recreate a beer I had in Britain or create a similar beer. It is also very helpful in that it lists (mostly) malts and hops used in the various beers. This helps you understand what makes a beer you like (or dislike) taste the way it does.

I love this book and am grateful that I stumbled across it as it is not in your normal brewing references.

Sleepy Fox

29 May 2015

Second Edition Review

You buy this book for one reason only - to help with the formulation of beers past and present that you'd like to recreate. It focuses very strongly on British beers, with separate section for England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and even the Channel Islands! There's enough coverage of Canada, Germany, Belgium, and France to give a fair idea of the style of many of their beers, and some listings for almost every brewing country in the world.

But it's NOT a brewer's notebook. Sometimes two recipes are given (from different sources) and very often they conflict with each other. So you're given some clues, but... a lot more data is needed to work up a recipe.

I use this book in conjunction with the BeerSmith software package to make my recipes. And that works pretty successfully.

John Norman

18 June 2015

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