How to Get Started Homebrewing

If you are a new homebrewer and you’re not sure where to start then this might be the right place for you. The following process is easy and requires little to no effort and equipment. You can make good-quality beer by brewing it with malt extract. Follow these steps:

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  1. Review

Before you start the process, read the whole recipe and each step thoroughly in order to make brewing beer easier and more efficient.

This particular tutorial is for German wheat ale, called Zaith Weizen. The tutorial will show you each step in the process of brewing. This applies to any extract-type brewing recipe. However, when it comes to other types of beer, processes of packaging and fermentation, the instructions might be different.

  1. Gather supplies

Get all that you need for brewing, including the ingredients and equipment. Use notes so that you wouldn’t forget anything

  1. Clean equipment

Before your start brewing, sanitize all that you’ll be using. Clean thoroughly using unscented cleanser. If the sanitation is improper, bacteria may spoil a whole batch of beer.

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  1. Heat water

Take the boil pot and fill it with a gallon of water, which equals 3.79 L of water. Bring the water to a boil.

  1. Add malt extract

When the water reaches boiling temperature, take the pot from the heat. That will prevent malt extract from becoming scorched. Start pouring the malt extract and stir it. You shouldn’t let it collect on the bottom. Keep stirring until it dissolves.

  1. Return to boil

After having dissolved, put the liquid back to the heat.

  1. Add hops

When you see the liquid achieves rolling boil, put in bittering hops additions. They usually contain a label that specifies how long they take to be boiled completely.

  1. Sanitize equipment

In order to prevent any bacteria from spoiling the batch, you should sanitize everything that might come into contact with wort after boiling.

  1. Chill wort

When the liquid has been boiling for half an hour it turns into wort — the unfermented liquid that will create beer.

Take the sanitized fermenter and fill it halfway with cold water. Let the hot wort sit for five minutes and then add it to the water.

After that, start pouring cold water to the fermenter, until it reaches five gallons. Then, you should leave the wort to cool down. The temperature needs to decrease to 70–75 F, which equals 21–24 °C.

Avoid using the glass fermenter as it might shatter. If you do, then do not add wort if its temperature is 100 F.

  1. Pitch yeast

After the temperature of the wort has decreased, clean the yeast package and add yeast. If you choose Wyeast smack pack, the yeast should be activated at least two or three hours before you pitch it into the wort.

  1. Seal fermenter

Use an airlock and bung that you cleaned and sanitized beforehand and seal the fermenter. You won’t need a carboy bung if you use the bucket fermenter. Fill the airlock with sanitizer that doesn’t require rinsing, or with alcohol.

  1. Shake the fermenter

When you sealed the fermenter start shaking it for a couple of minutes so as to bring oxygen to the yeast. Then, try to prevent splashing of liquid.

  1. Store fermenter

During the following week or two, the liquid will be in the process of fermentation. Under the influence of yeast, fermentable sugars will turn from the malt extract into CO2 and alcohol.

You should choose a place to store the fermenter according to the temperature that specific yeast requires. Also, make sure that wort doesn’t get any light and keep it away from splashing.

The temperature should be 65-75 F (18.3-23.9°C). Ideally, it needs to be at the lower end of this range for this particular recipe.

  1. Monitor fermentation

After 12-72 hours, there should be visible signs of fermentation. You would be able to see bubbles around the airlock. CO2 a byproduct of fermentation causes these bubbles. Bubbling might stop or decrease but that doesn’t mean that the process of fermentation is finished.

There might also be frothy foam forming on top of wort. This is called Kraeusen and it’s one more sign that fermentation is underway.

In order to find out if the process of fermentation is over, it’s best to use hydrometer.

  1. Boil water

You can finally package your beer after three or four weeks it spent in the fermenter. You need to prime the beer so that it would become carbonated. You can achieve this by adding dextrose in a small amount. In this way, the sugar will become fermented by the yeast. This will make CO2 in the bottle and make the beer carbonated.

So, fill the pot with two cups of water (473 ml). Bring the water to a boil.

  1. Add priming sugar

Add 5 ounces (141.7 g) of dextrose priming sugar  to the boiling water. Let it boil for ten more minutes. If you have less than five gallons to bottle (18.9 L), use one ounce of sugar per gallon you are bottling.

  1. Add to bucket

Let it boil for ten minutes and remove from the heat. You should prepare a sanitized and clean bucket, to which you should add the priming sugar solution.

  1. Transfer beer

The next step is to transfer beer from the fermenter to the bucket for bottling. Use a racking cane or an auto-siphon and make sure these are clean and sanitized well.

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The sugar should be equally mixed. To achieve this and avoid splashing, make a whirlpool in the bucket.

The bottom of the fermenter contains trub, the solid content, which you shouldn’t transfer into the bucket for bottling.

  1. Attach bottle filler

Before attaching bottle filler, ensure all the parts are thoroughly sanitized. Then, add it to the spigot of the bottling bucket. Use a small piece of food-grade tubing.

  1. Fill the bottles

Fill in clean bottles to the rim of the bottle neck and remove the bottle filler. Afterwards, the bottle should be filled about an inch from the top of it.

  1. Cap bottles

Carefully put the caps onto the bottles. Use clean bottle capper and caps.

  1. Store bottles

Bottles should be stored in room temperature so as to become carbonized. Store them at around 70 F (21.1 °C).

  1. Enjoy

Your beer can be enjoyed after it sat for about two or three weeks.

  1. Progress

Once you succeeded in making extract-only beer, try other more advanced recipes and further develop your homebrewing skills!