If you’re like most of us, there is a great chance that you need a nice break from all the madness that is going on in the world around us, so why not take some time for yourself and master the art of brewing your own beer with these home brewing instructions?
Learning to make beer is not as involved as most people assume, but you do need to know and understand the important steps associated with it.
It requires thorough cleaning and sanitation, careful grain steeping, the mixing and boiling of your base malts, adding in the right bittering hops, finishing hops and finings, cooling the wort, pitching the yeast, fermenting the brew, and finally priming and bottling your beer.
To help you get started we thought it would be a good idea to lay out the full process step by step in the simplest possible fashion.
The following process is an overview of what is referred to as partial mash brewing. It is one step up from brewing with the malt extract kits that most beginners start with and it is the step below all grain brewing that all of the craft beer brewers do. It makes very nice tasting beer and it is quite easy to do.
Follow these instructions, and you’ll be well on your way to brewing your own beer at home. Once you’ve mastered the process, you can refine it to your taste and make your very own beer recipe. Let’s start with a quick-glance overview of the 9 steps we’ll be covering:
• Cleaning and sanitation
• Steeping the grains
• Mix and boil the base malts
• Adding bittering hops
• Finishing hops and finings
• Cool the wort
• Pitch the yeast
• Ferment your brew
• Prime and bottle
Brewers Best Beer Kits
For your first couple of brew sessions using this method I actually recommend that you pick up a partial mash beer kit. It comes with all of the ingredients you need and step by step instructions.
I find that Brewers Best makes some of the better partial mash kits. You can check them out here if you like:
Brewers Best Kits – Why they are so great!
Home Brewing Instructions
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Before you get started, give these instructions a read-through and make note of all the equipment you’ll need. Yes, we could list everything here, but gathering gear with a knowledge of the process will be beneficial.
Remember that there are at least three ways to make beer at home. What follows is just one way, but it’s a good place for beginners and intermediate brewers to start.
Cleaning and sanitation
For starters, you need a clean, clear, and sanitary work area. When brewing beer, the flavor, character, and quality of your final product will depend very much on the air quality of the area you’re working in.
You should also make sure the area is clear of obstructions, because if you should trip over or knock your brew over, not only will you have wasted your time and materials, but it will make an awful mess.
Start with a clean cloth and mild soap and give the whole area a once-over. Make sure to remove all the soap. Now, it’s time to sanitize your fermenting bucket and all equipment that will come into direct contact with your ingredients.
Know, you can only kill 99.9% of germs and pathogens no matter how hard you try.
Go here to learn more about proper cleaning and sanitizing as well as the sanitizer we recommend you use:
After that, it’s a good idea to swirl near-boiling water in your equipment and give everything another once-over to make sure your brew doesn’t pick up the flavor or your sanitizer.
Steeping the grains
Now it’s time to make sure you get all the sugars out of your specialty grains before mixing them into the base malt and water.
Get a muslin bag and place just one pound of your grains into it- no more. If your recipe calls for more than one pound of grains, use another muslin bags. This part of the process is key to delivering the strength and quality you’re looking for.
Then heat two gallons of water to between 155 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Soak your grain bags for half an hour, stirring the water periodically without disturbing the grain bags.
It will then be time to remove your grain bag from the water and place it in a strainer on top of your pot. Now, rinse your grain bag with 1 cup of hot water allowing it to drip into the water to begin to create your “wort.” Wait until the grain bag stops dripping, and then proceed to the next step.
Mix and boil the base malts
Now add your base malt. This will be in the form of liquid malt extract (LME) or dry malt extract (DME). After the sugar mixture is dissolved in the water, you have your “wert,” or wort. Now, add more water to the pot and bring it to a boil.
Use an amount of water your stove can accommodate while boiling, If you want a number, use between 3 and 4 gallons.
Less water makes a darker and more bitter brew, more makes a lighter brew. Your recipe will tell you the exact amount of water).
Bring this to a boil with the lid on top to speed it up a bit. As soon as it reaches a slow roiling boil, remove the lid and leave it off. Watch out for boiling over as the wort rises.
Adding bittering hops
As soon as your wort is boiling slow and steady, it’s time to add the bittering hops.
Boil the mixture of hops and wort for 60 minutes, at minimum. Most recipes direct you to add your hops right when the wort starts to boil. The important thing is to boil the hops for 60 minutes.
So, if you put off adding the hops for whatever reason, just make sure that you boil the hops for sixty minutes.
If you step away for some reason after the wort begins to boil, before adding the hops, come back, and then add your hops- start the 60-minute timer when you add the hops and not before.
You want the hops to be rich in high-alpha-acids for Hefeweizens and similar types of beer that don’t need a lot of bittering hops. If this is what you’re going for, you’ll need “noble hops” instead of bittering hops.
Finishing hops and “finings”
Ordinarily, the finishing hops are added near the end of the boiling phase. This is due to the fact that we don’t want to reduce their bitterness more than intended.
We want the aroma and the flavor to develop and permeate to a degree that is proportionate with the type of beer you wish to make.
In most cases, they will be added within the final 15 minutes before the boil is finished. It is up to you to decide at what point during the 15 minutes you want to add them.
The longer they boil, the less aromatic and hearty the final product will be. Add them in two minutes before the boil is done for maximum flavor, and make a note of the timing you used.
Some recipes ask for clarifying agents such as Irish Moss for a clearer appearance and milder flavor. Others ask for additional liquid malt extract, to be added 20 minutes before the boil is complete.
Cool the wort
The best way to cool the wort is to do it as rapidly as possible. The reason for this is there are bacteria in there just waiting for the right conditions to begin blossoming.
They are most fond of warm temperatures, not hot or cold. So, we want to get the wort through the warm phase as quickly as possible to minimize the opportunity for bacteria to flourish.
Most home brewers plunge the wort into a bucket of ice and let it sit there for between 15 and 20 minutes. Sit with it and add new ice as it melts, moving toward the right temperature for the pitch.
The larger your wort, the longer it will take to cool down. This is why it’s a good idea to start with a smaller wort. If you want larger worts, try a copper coil chiller. Keep in mind, it will use a lot of water if you don’t recirculate it with a pump. You can go here learn about the top 5 ways to cool your wort.
Pitch the yeast
Pitching only means “pouring.” That’s why pitchers are called that- plus, it sounds better than “pourers.” When the wort has reached between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s time to pitch the yeast. Liquid yeast is recommended since it comes in handy “smack” packs.
It would be easiest to use a yeast starter at the start of the boil phase. Otherwise, just make certain that you have plenty of yeast to ferment your wort fully and properly.
Before pitching the yeast, make sure to aerate your wort. This can be done by pouring the wort between the pot and fermenting bucket back and forth two or three times. Then, go ahead and pitch the yeast.
Ferment the brew
Now, to ferment the brew, take a plastic lid with a hole drilled into it and an airlock built onto it. If you’re using a carboy, just get a rubber stopper with a hole in it and place your airlock over the hole.
If you’re not comfortable Jimmy-rigging this piece of gear, there are complete kits with fermenters and lids on the market that you can buy, here are our recommended top 7 best beer kits.
Now, for Ales, store your bucket at between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. For Lagers, you want to store it at between 45 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
The fermentation process will take between 10 and 14 days. Check the gravity reading on day 10. The fermentation process will only be complete when the proper gravity reading is obtained.
More details on how to ferment your beer correctly can be found here: How to ferment homebrew.
Prime and bottle
When fermentation is complete, you’re ready to keg or prime your beer and prep it for bottling. You will need a bottling bucket that can be fitted with a filler tube.
Before you transfer the beer from the fermenter, get your priming solution ready by mixing corn sugar in with about a cup of water, or enough to cover it. Then heat it up in a microwave.
When the solution is clear, add the syrup to the bottling bucket so that it will mix in when you fill the bucket with beer.
Now, grab a capper, clean and sanitize your bottle caps, and cap each beer as you fill each bottle. Go here for more details on bottling your beer.
Congratulations, in just two to three weeks from this point, your beer will be ready to drink.
For a more advanced step by step partial mash home brewing instructions go here.
Cheers my people!