The following is a very basic guide and is definitely intended for first time brewers. The beer that you will make following this guide will be easy to make, inexpensive to make, and will taste decent.
I say decent because it will taste as good as or better than the store purchased beers produced by the big commercial breweries, but it will not be quite as good as the craft beers on the market; BUT by brewing this beer you will be engaging in step one of learning how to make the really good tasting craft beers.
This guide or post is basically brewing beer made easy. And is pretty much stage one in your learning process.
Some people will like the beer and simplicity of brewing it at this stage and they will only ever brew using the following method, and that is great! This is an awesome hobby and it is all about YOU enjoying it.
There are lots of resources on this site to teach you how to make beer and improve on your abilities.
A great place to start is the following post => How to Home Brew
Beer Kits Will Make Your Life Awesome
Brewing beer at this stage is made easy due to the vast improvements of the beer kits that are on the market these days. These kits are not the beer kits from your Dad or Grand Dads brewing days.
They are pre-hopped malt extract kits and the taste and quality of them with the advances in technology have gone up significantly.
The great thing about these kits is they have removed the time-consuming process of mashing the malt. By doing so a brew day takes about 30 minutes instead of 6-7 hours. The time savings and the quality of the beer you get brewing this way definitely makes brewing with beer kits appealing.
Best Beginner Beer Brewing Kit and How to Make It Better
The Equipment You Need
The equipment to brew these beers is very basic.
All you need is:
1. A pot or kettle. It should be able to hold at least one gallon of water if not two. So basically just a big stew pot that can sit on your stove top.
2. A spatula or ladle. A big spoon basically. This will be used to obviously stir things! I recommend metal instead of plastic, as the ingredients will get hot and you do not want to melt the spatula.
3. A fermenter. This can be a 5 gallon pail that you modify into a fermenter, which basically means you cut a hole in the top of it to fit the air lock. However, I recommend you invest in a fermenter. They are inexpensive and are designed for giving you the best results from the fermentation process.
Here are reviews of two fermenters I recommend for starting out:
4. A hydrometer. This helps you know when the beer has stopped fermenting and also lets you determine the alcohol content of the home brew. A hydrometer comes with the coopers kit I just recommended.
5. A thermometer. Any food grade thermometer will work.
6. Beer bottles. You can use glass beer bottles that you and your friends have kicking around, but I don’t recommend it. If you go that route you are also going to have to buy a bottle caper and then every time you brew a batch of beer you will have to cap about 50 bottles, which is no fun.
Instead, pick up the 500ml plastic bottles. They hold more beer so there is less bottling to do. And the caps are plastic twist on which is a ton easier and less expensive than using metal caps and buying a bottle caper. Both kits I recommended above come with the plastic bottles.
Ingredients You Need to Brew Your First Batch
When it comes to brewing beer made easy and the ingredients you need to do so, this is as easy as it gets.
All you need is one can of pre hopped malt extract. People call these beer kits. All kinds of companies make these kits.
Inside the can is a gooey substance. Kind of looks like molasses. It is what is referred to as malt extract. These companies who make these kits have done most of the brewing work for you. They have taken the grains and hops in their natural form and have converted them into this extract.
Again there are lots of companies who make these kits, but the two tried and true companies are the ones I talked about previously, Mr. Beer and Coopers.
In my experience the beer their kits make turns out the best. And if you grab one of kits it comes with not only the equipment you need, but all of the ingredients including the Pre-hopped Malt Extract, but also:
- The yeast
- Sanitizer for sanitizing your equipment
- And the priming sugar for bottling your beer.
OK… onto the actually steps involved with making your batch of beer.
Your Brew Day Instructions
All of the kits will come with their own instructions. These instructions are very simple to follow after all this is brewing beer made easy. You will see that the process is very straight forward and pretty much the same for any of the kits. Having said that you will note that some of the kits do not require that you boil the contents of the can.
Step 1: Bring 1 gallon of water to boil on your stove. You can use your tap water. Water does affect the taste of the beer so as long as your water tastes fine you should be all set. If it is chlorinated water, you may want to buy water from the store OR let your water sit out overnight so the chlorine dissipates.
Step 2: Once the water has come to a boil, dump the can of malt extract into the pot, stir it well until the contents have dissolved. You do not want the malt extract to burn or scorch on the bottom of the pot.
Also, you will notice that there is still some malt extract left in the can. I always have some hot water ready that I heated in another kettle and I pour it the can. Give it a little stir and the rest of the extract will dissolve and you will be able to pour it into the kettle.
Step 3: Let the mixture in the pot boil for about five to ten minutes. Being sure to stir. Then take it off the stove. You now want to chill the wort quickly. It is best to have a sink with ice water in it ready to go. Let the pot sit in the sink. Get the wort down to about 70 degrees F.
Step 4. As you are chilling the wort. It is time to sanitize your fermenter and other equipment, like the air lock etc. Yes you can use boiling water, but I do not recommend this. You may end up melting some of your equipment and where it is plastic you might leach some plastic into the beer. Nobody wants to drink plastic! I recommend you use a good food grade sanitizer.
The following link is the sanitizer I recommend you use and I provide the exact instructions for sanitizing your gear. This is very very important when it comes to making beer as it is very susceptible to bacteria and you can lose a back to contamination if you are not careful.
Check that post out here => How to Sanitize Beer Making Equipment
Step 5. Once the wort is chilled you can now add it to the fermenter. After you have added it to the fermenter add water that is around 60 – 70 degrees F to the fermenter. Bring it the liquid level up to the level the recipe calls for. Typically, 5 – 6 gallons.
Step 6. Once you have reached the liquid level called for and you have confirmed the temperature of the liquid in the fermenter is between 60 – 70 F, you can add the yeast. Simply open the packet of yeast with sterilized scissors and sprinkle it around the top of the wort (liquid).
Take a sterilized spoon or spatula and stir the wort. This is allowing oxygen to get into the wort. This is the only time you want oxygen to get into your beer.
Step 7. Now put the cover on your fermenter. And if your fermenter has one put the airlock on the hole on the top of the fermenter. (be sure to fill the airlock up to its fill line with part sanitizer and part water). The air lock is basically a one way air vale that allows the fermenter to release the co2 gas it creates during fermentation. Some fermenters like the Coopers and Mr Beer fermenters I recommend do not have an air lock and the gas escapes from the lid itself.
Step 8. Now it is time to have some patience. Let’s ferment that wort and make some beer. To do so put the fermenter away in a dark space in your home.
You will want the temperature of the room or space to be between 60 – 66 degrees F. Leave the beer alone and let the yeast do its job. Typically, fermentation will be done within 5- 10 days. I typically leave my beer alone for at least 2 weeks and let it do its magic.
You can use the hydrometer to test the gravity and once it has reached the final gravity the recipe calls for then it is done fermenting. Or if it maintains the same gravity for 2-3 days it is also done.
But again this is brewing beer made easy and to me having to check the gravity is a pain in the butt; so I just let the beer sit for two weeks and it will be fully fermented. Also, letting a beer sit for a while allows it to age and condition which will result in a better tasting beer. So just have patience and wait.
Step 9. After the two weeks you are ready to bottle or keg your beer.
Bottling your homebrew is very straight forward.
I cover how to do so very thoroughly in this post => How to Home Brew
But the basics of it are:
- Clean and sanitize your bottles
- Add the priming sugar to the fermented wort
- Transfer the wort into the bottles with a transfer hose, being sure not to splash the wort as you do not want oxygen getting in.
- Put the covers on the bottles.
- Now you leave the bottles to carbonate. Put them aside for at least 2 weeks to make sure they are fully carbonated.
And that my friend is brewing beer made easy. It really is as simple as that.
If you have any questions put a comment in below and I will be sure to get back to you.
Happy homebrewing my friend!
Cheers Big Robb is out!