How to make beer at home Photo credit: Mat_the_W (via Flickr) 

Ready to jump into the world of home brewing? If you’re just starting out, you might be overwhelmed at the process that goes into beer making. What all do you need? What do you do? To answer these questions, we’ve come up with this simple guide to help make sure your first batch of beer is an experiment that ends in deliciousness.

First thing’s first: the supplies.

What you’ll need if you want to learn how to make beer at home for the first time:

 

1. A basic brewing kit

how to make beer at home brewing kit stl wine and beermaking

 

2. A brewing recipe kit (pick your flavor/style)

How to make beer at home Brewers Best English Brown Ale Beer Kit

 

3. Beer bottles + caps

How to make beer at home Beer bottles stl wine and beermaking

 

OR

a Kegging System

How to make beer at home kegging system wine and beermaking

 

Follow these 15 steps after you have your ingredients:

  1. Clean your equipment! Use your 1 step cleanser to thoroughly wash all of your brewing equipment, including pots and utensils that might come in contact with your ingredients. Failing to clean properly could affect the taste of your beer!
  2. Start to heat two and a half gallons of water, using a large uncovered pot.
  3. Take the crushed grains from your kit and place them in the grain bag. Tie a knot at the top of the bag, and when your water reaches 150 degrees Fahrenheit, turn the heat off, place the grain bag into the pot. Let it steep for about 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the grain bag and let liquid drip back into the pot. Congratulations, you now have wort!
  5. Bring the wort to a boil and add the liquid malt extracts, as well as the dry malt extracts and bring back to a boil.
  6. Continue to stir these ingredients as you slowly add your hops. The amount of time the hops boil will depend on their type, though if you are using a beer kit, it will tell you. Using the English Brown Ale kit as an example, the Brewer’s Gold Hops will boil for 45 minutes, followed by the 1 oz UK Golding Hops for 10 minutes, and then the 1/2 oz UK Golding Hops for 5 minutes.
  7. Fill your sink with ice water and transfer the pot of wort to begin chilling it to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Alternatively, you can use a wort chiller if you’d prefer. Then, pour or siphon your wort into the large plastic fermenter that came with your brewing equipment. Try not to transfer the heavy sediment at the bottom (known as trub).  If some makes it through don’t worry it’s not a big deal.
  8. Add clean water to the fermenter to bring the volume to about 5 gallons.  Note: at this point and onwards everything that touches your wort needs to be cleaned and sanitized.
  9. Stir vigorously
  10. Measure the temperature and use your hydrometer to record the specific gravity.
  11. Sprinkle your yeast over the top of the wort.  Do not stir it it.
  12. Secure the lid on your fermenter. Fill the airlock halfway with water and gently twist into the lid.
  13. Move this to a dark area with a cool, stable temperature (64-72 degrees).
  14. It’s time to ferment! Within 24 hours, the fermentation process will begin, and you’ll notice CO2 bubbles coming out of the airlock for about 4-6 days.
  15. Transfer the beer to a cleaned and sanitized carboy and fit with an airlock and stopper
  16. Wait 7 to 10 days to allow the fermentation to complete and some of the solids to settle.  The bubbles coming through the airlock should have definitely stopped.
  17. Use your hydrometer to again record things including the date.  The gravity reading should be close to the predicted final gravity (FG) mentioned in the recipe.
  18. Clean and Sanitize your bottles and caps.
  19. Prepare your priming sugar by using a small saucepan to boil about 2 cups of water and the priming sugar together for 5 minutes. You’ll then want to pour this mixture into your bucket (make sure it is clean!), and then siphon the beer from your carboy into the bucket.
  20. Stir gently to mix in the sugar solution.  You don’t want to mix air in at this point.
  21. Using your siphoning tools fitted with the bottling wand, fill the bottles up to about an inch from the top.  Note: when using the bottling wand the beer will fill the bottle to the point of almost overflowing, but when you remove it from the bottle it will automatically leave headspace.
  22. Use the bottle capper included in the kit to apply the sanitized caps to the bottles.
  23. Move the bottles back to the dark, cool area where your beer fermented. In about two weeks (which can vary based on the beer you are making), the beers will naturally carbonate, and will be ready for chilling and drinking.
  24. Drink your finished beer and enjoy! You’ve successfully learned how to make beer at home!

 

Remember, these are just basic guidelines for making beer. Certain steps and ingredients may vary depending on what you’re making. If you’re not sure what to do, don’t be afraid to just ask us!