Jamil Zainasheff’s Homebrewing Biography (Pro Background & Influence)

Without the many books on homebrewing, learning to homebrew would be more difficult to start. While there are many authors out there, we owe some of that access to knowledge to Jamil Sainasheff.

Jamil Zainasheff is a self-proclaimed beer geek. He is an author, brewer, and podcast host. He has brewed nearly every beer style under the sun and won many awards.

Keep reading to learn what Jamil Zainasheff has done in the brewing world. Additionally, find out what he is up to these days.

Who is Jamil Zainasheff?

If you have never read anything Zainasheff has written or visited the brewery he founded, you may be wondering who this person is.

Jamil Zainasheff is a brewer of great skill. He has brewed every beer style in the BJCP style guidelines. He has won the Ninkasi award twice at the National Homebrew Competition. Using this experience, he started a brewery and hosts two podcasts.

He has been brewing in one form or another since 1999. From 1991 until 2009 his day job was in the software development industry. When he left, he moved on to running Heretic Brewing Company which he founded with his wife, Liz.

In 2021, Zainasheff and his wife sold their shares of the brewery to Craft Beverage Cooperative. They decided to do so due to health complications.

What is he up to now?

Since selling his brewery, Zainasheff returned to his roots in homebrewing. In addition to homebrewing, he is a consultant and writer. He also continues one of his two podcasts–Brew Strong.

Check out the latest episode of the Brew Strong podcast here!

When he was running Heretic Brewing Co., he did not have the time for personal homebrewing. Now that he does, he is back to brewing beer that he enjoys. He does not have to worry about what will sell or not.

Homebrewing Background

Zainasheff started brewing in 1999 with a homebrewing kit. This sparked a decade of homebrewing excellence. He regularly competed in homebrewing competitions, including the National Homebrew Competition. He won over 500 awards during this time.

His love for homebrewing showed through in his brewing choices. He brewed every style listed by the BJCP. Additionally, his podcast, The Jamil Show, covered his brewing experiences with each style, tips, and guest interviews. This podcast ran from 2006 to 2009.

His other podcast, Brew Strong, started in 2008 and is still going. This one covers everything related to brewing. Tune in to learn advanced techniques and the nitty gritty of brewing.

Professional Brewing Experience

In addition to homebrewing, Zainasheff has some professional experience brewing.

Jamil Zainasheff founded and ran Heretic Brewing Company for 11 years. He opened the brewery with his wife in 2010. They ran the company for the next 11 years until they sold their shares to Craft Beverage Cooperative. In June of 2022, Zainasheff was fired by the new owners.

During this time, Heretic Brewing Company grew to almost 50 employees. The brewery enjoyed enough success to eventually open a distillery.

Awards and accolades

As mentioned above, Zainasheff won many awards during his time as a homebrewer.

Zainasheff’s homebrews regularly placed in the top three for the style. In 2004 and 2007, he won the Ninkasi award, which can only be won by receiving the most points at the National Homebrew Competition. At this competition and others, he has won over 500 awards.

He placed in the top three in every National Homebrew Competition from 2002 until 2009. During this time, his beers also won Best of Show over 20 times.

Published Works and Media

Over the 23 years, Zainasheff has been involved in either craft or home brewing, he has published several great resources for brewers.

Books

Jamil Zainasheff has co-authored two books: Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation and Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew. The former was published in 2010 while the latter was published in 2008.

Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation was written with Chris White. It covers everything you might need to know about yeast from how to choose it to techniques for handling it.

Zainasheff wrote Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew with John Palmer. The book covers some of Zainasheff’s recipes that won him awards.

Podcasts

Zainasheff hosts two podcasts on The Brewing Network. They are The Jamil Show and Brew Strong. In both, he shares his brewing expertise with the world. Though The Jamil Show wrapped up in 2009 there are years of episodes. Brew Strong, however, is still running.

On The Jamil show, he dives into each beer style. He talks about recipes, advice for brewers, and other important facts about the style. In some episodes he is joined by guests.

On Brew Strong, Zainasheff goes over new techniques in brewing, fundamentals, and other hot topics in brewing. As with The Jamil Show, he is occasionally joined by a guest.