There are three basic ways to make beer at home, all extract brewing, extract with specialty grains & fresh hops brewing, and all-grain brewing.
EXTRACT BREWING (Detailed Directions)
Most beginners start off with quick and easy extract brewing. Extracts come in liquid or powder form in a variety of beer styles, often including hop flavor to balance the natural sweetness of malted barley. We can help you select from dozens of extracts to make any style of beer.
Brewing with extracts is easy. Here’s a quick walkthrough of the steps: First, put the cans of extract in hot water (120F or higher) for 20 minutes or so to help the thick syrup run out of the can. Meanwhile, bring a gallon or more of water to a boil in a 16-quart or larger stock pot. Once boiling, remove from heat and stir in the extract until it is completely dissolved. Return to heat, bring to a rolling boil for 15-30 minutes.
Once boiled, cover the pot and cool to 70-80F by sitting in a sink filled with cool water and ice. Once the bottom of the pot is cool to the touch, pour into your fermenter. Add water to fill the fermenter to the 5-gallon mark. Put the stick-on thermometer on your fermenter to ensure that the temperature has cooled down to between 65F and 80F, then add yeast.
Let ferment until bubbling has stopped (about ten days), siphon into your bottling bucket, add priming sugar, and bottle. Let bottles sit for two weeks to carbonate. Enjoy.
EXTRACT BREWING WITH SPECIALTY GRAINS & FRESH HOPS (Detailed Directions)
This method uses extracts but borrows some of the raw ingredients from all-grain brewing to improve the flavor. Adding fresh hops and specialty grains such as roasted barley or CaraMunich malt can transform extract brewing into an award-winning beer.
Here’s a quick run-through of extract with specialty grain brewing, assuming you are familiar with extract brewing, mentioned above. While your cans of extract are warming, put your grains into a couple of muslin bags, approximately a half a pound per bag, and knot the end so the grains won’t spill out. Soak the grain bags for 20-30 minutes in your brew kettle with hot, but not boiling, water. Rinse the grain bag a few times to get most of the flavor out, then discard. Remove brew pot from heat, stir in extracts, bring to a boil. Once at a boil, add hops (also in a muslin bag), and boil for one hour, following the recipe’s directions for the timing of hop additions. Chill and ferment as above. Our box kits are a great way to get started because they come complete with precrushed grain, hops, liquid yeast, and specialty ingredients tailored to tried-and-true recipes. Most of our kits are under fifty bucks.
ALL-GRAIN BREWING (Detailed Directions)
Once you are familiar with partial mash brewing, it’s not such a big step to brew beer from scratch. And while creating your wort (unfermented beer) from grains will require a few more hours and few more pieces of equipment, the result is usually better beer. Properly used, fresh grains are less expensive and better tasting than malt extracts.