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How to brew beer


A brief guide to get you started making your own home brew

Boil water
Bring 2 to 3 gallons of water to a boil in the brew kettle. If specialty grains are included in the recipe, you'll need to steep them rst.

Brew kettle For extract brewing, youll need something that holds at least 3 gallons of boiling wort. Got a turkey fryer? Youre in business. Large canning pots work well, too.

Malt Grains such as barley are allowed to germinate and then quickly dried. These malted grains provide the sugar for the yeast to feed on and ferment the beer. Whole grain Dried extract Liquid extract

Add malt extract A


Turn off the heat. Stir in extract until its completely dissolved.

Return to a boil
The wort will form foam and may easily boil over during this stage until it reaches a hot break, when the foam recedes. Grains are crushed and soaked to draw out the sugars. Extracts are the concentrated sugars extracted from malted grains.

Add bittering hops B

B Some recipes call for later hop additions.

Long-handled plastic or metal spoon

Hops The cone-like owers of a climbing vine; used to provide bitterness, aroma and avor to beer. They also act as a preservative. Whole Plugs Pellets

Boil for one hour

Add nishing hops, during the last 15 minutes (if called for by recipe). Thermometer Measures the temperature of your wort. Use the dial kind that clips onto your brew pot or a digital kitchen model. Avoid glass, which can break and ruin your batch.

Cool the wort quickly C

Immerse the kettle in a cold water bath and cool to between 65 and 90 degrees. C

Easy to strain from the wort; often used in dry hopping. These soak up more wort than pellets.

Pellets dissolve and are difficult to strain from the beer, but store fresh for a long time.

Pour wort into fermenter D
Pour vigorously, allowing it to splash, adding oxygen. Strain hops as you pour. Fermenter bucket Carboy Airlock Lets gases escape from the fermenting beer while keeping air out. The airlock ts into the lid of the fermenter bucket or a stopper in the carboy. Hydrometer Measures the gravity, or concentration of malt sugar in your wort. This allows you to monitor the progress of your fermentation and estimate alcohol content. Yeast Yeast is made up of microorganisms that consume sugar in the wort and emit alcohol and carbon dioxide. Yeast is sold in dry or liquid form.

Add water

Add bottled or boiled water to make a total of 5 gallons in your fermenter. D

Measure the gravity E

Use the hydrometer in a tall glass or test jar to determine the original gravity.

Pitch the yeast F

Pour liquid or rehydrated dry yeast into the fermenter. A plastic bucket or glass carboy can be used to ferment the beer. Some kits include a secondary fermenter, which gives beer extra time to condition and clarify before bottling.

Seal and store G

E F Seal your fermenter with lid or stopper. Put the airlock in place and ll it with clean water or sanitizer solution. Leave in a safe location where the beer can ferment undisturbed at a temperture between 65 and 70 degrees for up to two weeks.

Homebrewing glossary
Ale: Beer brewed from a top-fermenting yeast,
with a relatively short, warm fermentation. Hot break: The stage at which proteins coagulate and settle out during the boil.

Original gravity: The concentration of

sugar before fermentation. The nal gravity determines how much of the sugars have been converted to alcohol.

Trub (pronounced troob or trub):

The stuff that settles to the bottom of the fermenter; includes hops bits, coagulated proteins and dead yeast. Wort (pronounced wert): The malt-sugar solution that is boiled with hops prior to fermentation.

Kraeusen (pronounced KROY-zen):

The foamy head that builds on the top of fermenting beer. Lager: Beer brewed from bottom-fermenting yeast and given a long, cool fermentation.

Prepare priming sugar

Boil 2 cups of water with sugar and allow to cool. Pour into bottling bucket.

Siphon beer into bottling bucket

Use an auto-siphon or racking cane and tubing to transfer beer to bottling bucket; make sure not to splash.

Priming sugar Added before bottling to spark the secondary fermentation that gives the beer its zz.

Racking cane

For transferring beer from one container to another. An autoAuto-siphon siphon makes the job a lot less messy.

Bottle ller Spring-loaded opening allows you to easily ll bottles without overlling. Plastic tubing

Bottling bucket

Transfer to bottles
Fill bottles using the bottle ller attached to spigot on the bottling bucket (or use siphon if spigot not provided). Seal on bottle caps with capper.

Bottle capper

Bottle caps

Store bottles out of light at 65 to 75 degrees for two weeks.

Non-twist-off Grolsch-style Youll need 40 to 50 bottles, depending on the size, cleaned and sanitized. You can raid your neighbors recycling bins or buy new bottles. Swing-top Grolsch-style bottles are great as long as the gasket is intact.

Bottle brush

Source: How to Brew by John Palmer

Photos by KELLY JORDAN, Research by ED STANSEL, Graphic by ANNA BERKEN/The Times-Union