Basic Brewing Instructions
Before you start: If using liquid yeast, take it out of the fridge. If possible, pre-refrigerate 2-3 gallons of bottled spring water to top off your fermenter to 5 gallons.
1. Heat 2-3 gallons of filtered or bottled water (aka brewing liquor) in a 3-5 gallon pot to 160 degrees F. The more water you have room to boil, the better. Drop in your bag of grain (if your kit requires steeping grain) and maintain temp @ 150-158 degrees F for 45 minutes. Note: don’t let your bag scorch on the bottom of the pot. Stir frequently or place your kettle in the oven on low, which works very well.
Meanwhile: Sanitize your fermenter, funnel (if needed), air lock and stopper.
2. After the steeping process, remove the grain bag and bring your “grain tea” to a boil. Add your liquid and/or dried malt extracts, stir well till mixture is smooth (this will avoid scorching the extracts), and bring to a rolling boil. CAREFUL! When adding extracts, wort may try to boil over, so be ready to remove the pot from the heat!).
3. Set your timer for the appropriate boil time (a typical boil is 60 minutes, but will be longer for high gravity beer). Add hops as noted in ingredient list, or add them as you please. Note: it’s always a good idea to take notes on your temperatures, boil time, hops additions, etc. This way you can use these notes later to duplicate a recipe, compare with other homebrewers, or figure out where you can improve you techniques.
4. After the boil, immerse your kettle in ice water in your sink or tub with the lid on for 30-40 mins, (this helps chill the boiling hot wort), or use a wort chiller if you have one. Be careful to avoid contamination here – once the wort drops below 165°F, it should only come in contact with sanitized surfaces.
5. Pour your partially cooled wort into your sanitized fermenter, then top up to 5-5 ½ gallons with cold bottled water, which should get your wort down to 70-75°F. Shake your fermenter well to aerate wort (very important!), then add yeast to fermenter (be sure wort is in the 68-75 degree range). Shake again!
6. Attach your sanitized airlock and stopper, move to a cool dark place – 68-70°F for ales or 50-55°F for lagers.
7. Ferment for 7-10 days. Fermentation time will vary dependent on fermentation temperature and yeast strain (warmer temperatures generally ferment faster).
8. Bottle your beer. Sanitize your hose, racking cane, bottles and caps. Be especially careful that your bottles are completely clean. Boil ¾ cup corn sugar in 1 pint water, cool, then add to the bottom of your bottling bucket. You may wish to stir with a sanitized spoon. Transfer your beer from the fermenter to the bottling bucket using a racking cane and siphon hose. The simplest way to start the siphon is to fill the hose with water before attaching it to the racking cane. Discard the first cup or so to run the water out of the hose, and leave the yeast and hop sediment (trub) in the bottom of the fermenter. If you brew and bottle on the same day, you can repitch this yeast into your new brew. Fill bottles to one inch from the top, then cap.
9. Let bottles condition at room temperature for 2-4 weeks or longer, enjoy with friends and tell ‘em you made it!