Midwest Homebrewing & Winemaking Supplies 5825 Excelsior Blvd. St.

Louis Park, MN 55416 952-925-9854 • 888-449-2739 www.MidwestSupplies.com

How to Make Beer From Malt Extract
Here is a checklist of everything you will need to make beer using malt extract:

A quality brew kettle

One Brewing Equipment kit

Dial Thermometer

A brewing recipe kit

2 cases + a six pack of empty, returnable-type bottles


A kegging system

Equipment Kits

The most important part of getting started in Homebrewing is choosing an Equipment Kit. All of Midwest’s equipment kits will provide all of the components needed to brew 5-gallon batches of beer. Read each of the descriptions to determine which equipment kit is right for you. Brewing Basics Equipment Kit: (MBEK1) This equipment kit has everything you need to start brewing beer at home except for bottles, ingredients and a brewing kettle. Our starter kit includes all of the essential equipment needed to start homebrewing and is an economical way to get started. If you are worried that brewing beer at home is complicated and difficult, don’t be. When you get your equipment and ingredients, just put your free homebrewing video/DVD in your VCR or DVD player and go. Just follow along as we boil it, bucket it, and bottle it. After 2 hours you’ll be surprised how easy brewing is. Our starter kit is designed to be expanded as your level of homebrewing progresses. Be sure to check our new upgrade options! *If you’re on a tight budget, this equipment kit along with a Midwest Recipe Kit will provide the basic components to get started. Brewing Starter Kit: (MBEK2) This is our most popular brewing equipment kit. This equipment kit provides the essential equipment for the aspiring brewer who wants to make the best beer they can from the start. This is accomplished through two-stage fermentation. Primary fermentation is the first step. During this 5-7 day process, most of the fermentation takes place and by the end of this period most of the particles and solids will settle to the bottom. The second step is transferring the beer in to the secondary fermenter. (7-21 days) Separating

the beer from the sediment will result in clearer beer and improve the characteristics of the beer. Beer can condition and clarify in the secondary fermenter for weeks or months depending on the style and strength of the beer. Transferring the beer in to a 5 gallon glass carboy or better bottle will reduce oxidation of the beer. This kit is highly recommended if you intend to brew any high alcohol or lager beers. *6 out of 10 customers purchase this equipment kit. Brewing Intermediate Kit: (MBEK3) We have revamped this equipment kit to incorporate Better Bottles. These are becoming more and more popular for their many advantages over glass. In addition, we have upgraded this equipment kit to include a Fermtech AutoSiphon, the easiest method of starting a siphon. The components of this kit represent a considerable savings compared to being purchased separately. This equipment kit is sure to keep you brewing for years to come. Everything Homebrewing Kits: (CPEK1, CPEK2) Midwest has conveniently included everything needed to get started in homebrewing in our Complete Package Equipment Kits. These complete packages are perfect for someone just getting into the hobby that wants to open the box and brew a batch right away. They include the equipment, beer ingredients, brew kettle and the bottles to make a first batch. Click here to browse all Equipment Kits.

Midwest Recipe Kits

Midwest offers a large selection of 5 gallon recipe kits. For first time brewers we recommend brewing an Ale recipe kit. Ales ferment at room temperature and are ready to drink faster than lagers. Some of our more popular recipe kits include: Liberty Cream Ale, Big Ben Pale Ale, Autumn Amber Ale and our most popular recipe kit, the Irish Red Ale. Check out our Light, Amber, Dark and Wheat beer recipe sections. Any of the recipes in these sections will be the perfect addition to our Equipment Kits. ****9 out of 10 gift givers will include a recipe kit with their gift****

Brewing Kettles

The brewing process requires the brewer to mix and boil the ingredients from our recipe kits in a stock pot. Many brewers might already have a stock pot in their kitchen that might work for this process. The pot must be at least 2-3 gallons in size. Stainless steel, Enamel and Silverstone coated pots will work fine. We do not recommend using aluminum pots. They can oxidize the beer. Midwest offers 4 and 5 gallon stainless steel brewing kettles for homebrewing. Our high quality pots have riveted handles and can be used for other things like boiling pasta or crab legs. *Including a new shiny stainless steel brewing kettle will complement any gift equipment package from Midwest.*


Five gallons of beer will require 52-56 twelve ounce beer bottles. Roughly two cases of 24 and a six pack. Shipping glass bottles can get expensive due to the shipping weight. Many homebrewers will collect empty 12 ounce as they drink them, rinse them out and use them for their homebrew. IMPORTANT: the bottles can not be screw off bottles. They must be pop top bottles. These are the bottles that are commonly found in the 24 bottle case returnable. The kind of bottle that requires a deposit when purchased. If all of that seems like too much work. Buy one or two cases of bottles when getting started with Homebrewing. *Most homebrewers who accumulate 10 case of bottles typically will have purchased 5 new cases and cleaned 5 used cases of pop top bottles. A kegging system is probably the number one thing you can purchase as a homebrewer that will greatly improve your quality of life. It’s far easier than bottling, you don’t need to use corn sugar anymore since you’ll be force carbonating with CO2, and you’ll be the envy of all your beer-drinking friends. Our Cornelius Keg System comes with everything you need to start kegging your beer at home. A used refrigerator can usually be found very cheaply through your local want ads or craigslist.

Kegging Systems

Before You Begin

1. Check to make sure you have all of the equipment and ingredients that you need. There is nothing worse than starting a batch of beer, only to find out that the spoon you use has gone missing. 2. Pour yourself a good microbrew or a mug from a previous batch of your own beer. This is almost a requirement when making your own beer.

Cleaning and Sanitizing

3. OK, now you want to clean and sanitize anything that is going to come in contact with the beer. This includes spoons, fermenting equipment, hydrometer, etc. Midwest recommends using a product like Easy Clean, One Step, B-Brite, or IO Star for you cleaning and sanitation needs. For more information on cleaning and sanitizing, click here. Now that you have all of your equipment ready, let’s get brewing!


5. Take your grains and place them in the muslin bag (if your kit comes with grains). Tie the top of the muslin bag so your grains don’t go floating all over the place in your brew kettle. 7. At this point you want to fill your brew kettle with water. You want at least 1 gallon of head space in your kettle to help prevent boil over. Or, at least allow you enough time to turn the heat down. Water is the great debate in brewing. We won’t go into all the details, but just know that what goes into your beer affects the overall quality of your beer. So if you have water with an odor, then you will end up with a beer with an odor. As a general rule, if your tap water is Crystal 50º - 60º L Roasted Barley good enough to drink, it’s good enough to brew with. 8. With the water in the brew kettle and your grain bag in the water, start heating it up. You do not want a boil! You want your water to be 152° F. A Dial Thermometer comes in handy for this step. Yes, you can be off by a few degrees here, but the closer to 152° F the better. Why 152° F you ask? Again, good question. Steeped grains will not add many fermentables to your beer (i.e. your original gravity will not increase much). Steeping grains, unlike mashing, does not convert the complex starches in the sugar into fermentable sugars, so only a small percentage of the steeped grain (< 10%) will ferment. However, since unfermentable proteins are added by steeping, the body of the beer will be increased with the use of specialty grains. Why would I want a sweet beer you ask? Sugar is what the yeast eats to create alcohol. So, more sugar = more alcohol. It really is as simple as that. But, beware; more sugar/alcohol does not always make a good beer. 9. You want to “steep” the grains (just like making tea) for 30-45 minutes. Some recipes may have you do this longer, but most call for about a ½ hour. Feel free to stir the grains if you like. 10. Once the ½ hour is up, you are ready to add the malt extract. IMPORTANT NOTE: You want to remove your kettle from the burner for this part. Liquid malt is very thick and will sink to the bottom of the kettle. If your kettle is sitting on the burner at this time, it is very easy to scorch the malt. This leads to a burnt flavor in your beer that most brewers try to avoid. Leave the burnt flavors to your grains, not the malt extract. 11. While you are adding the malt extract, stir it in well. Try to make sure you have it dissolved as well as possible before returning the kettle back to the burner. Once you feel the malt is stirred in well, place the kettle on the burner, and crank up the heat! You now want to bring all the liquid, or wort, up to a boil.

Hop Additions


(A) Leaf Hops (B) Hop Plugs (C) Pellet Hops

(C) (B)

12. Once you see the first bubble of a boil, you are ready to add your first addition of hops. These hops are called your bittering hops. The longer the hops boil, the more flavor, or bitterness, will be present in your beer. Check the directions for your beer on what hops are your bittering hops. Each style of beer will vary on the bittering hops. Some beer styles will use the same hops for bittering as well as the aroma hops, which we will talk about in a bit. 13. It is very common for the bittering hops to be boiled for 60 minutes. But, you might want to play with timeframe as you make more beers. If you boil the hops longer, you will get a bitterer flavor. If you boil shorter, a less bitter flavor.

14. Depending on what kit you bought or the style of beer that you’re making, the recipe may or may not call for a flavor hop addition. Just like it sounds, these are the hops that impart flavor to your beer. These are usually boiled for 30-40 minutes. Check your recipe or kit instructions for more details.

15. Let the wort boil, and just before you are ready to turn off the heat you are going to add your aroma hops. The aroma hops are added for just that, aroma. You are not going to get a lot of actual bitterness, but you will get the smell of the hops in your beer. Seeing that 75% of taste is from smell, this gives the impression of bitterness in your beer. Most recipes call for the addition of your aroma hops with 5 minutes left of the boil. 16. Once you are done boiling, you want to cool off the beer as quickly as possible. You can do this by using a wort chiller, cold water, or ice. If you don’t have a wort chiller, do not panic. Use ice instead. Here’s a little hint on how to cool the wort off quickly. Fill your sink with cold water and add the kettle to the cold water. When the water in the sink is hot, drain it out, and fill the sink again. Repeat this process. On the third time, add a ½ bag of ice either to your kettle or to the sink. Most ice is now filtered and rarely adds a flavor to the beer. But, if you are trying to be careful, then add it to the sink instead. This should be enough to drop the temperature below 80 degrees. You want to be below 80° F before you add your yeast because warmer temps can damage or even kill your yeast. When you are below 80° F, add your cooled wort to your fermenter. 17. You may need to top off your wort with water depending on how large your brew kettle is. Keep in mind that all Midwest Supplies Ingredient Kits make 5 GALLONS. Make sure you do not top off to more than 5.5 gallons (to allow for fermentation waste) of water in your fermenter because you are just watering down the beer. Isn’t the point of homebrewing to get away from watered down, tasteless beer? 18. When you have 5 gallons in your fermenter, you are ready to add your yeast. Follow the directions on your yeast packet on how to prepare and use your yeast. 19. Place the lid or stopper on your fermenter and add your airlock. You want the airlock to be filled halfway with water, sanitized water, or vodka. The airlock will allow the CO2 to escape, but prevents air from coming into contact with the beer. 20. Allow the beer to ferment. Within 12-24 hours, you will begin to see bubbles coming out of the airlock. This is a good sign, the yeast is doing its job! The yeast eats the sugar and gives off alcohol and CO2. The CO2 is what is escaping from the airlock, making the bubbles come up. Depending on the yeast you selected and the style you brewed, this process (initial fermentation) may take anywhere from a few days for lower gravity beers to a few weeks for high gravity brews. When you are seeing a bubble a minute or less coming out of the airlock, it’s done. From here you can rack the beer to a carboy for secondary fermentation (optional but highly recommended), or you can bottle or keg it.

More information:

“What is Two-Stage Fermentation and How Do I Do It?” PDF “How Do You Bottle A Beer?” PDF

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