Homebrewing 101

I have been doing a selected homebrew each month, usually to commemorate the month in some way.  While some of the brews have been dismal failures, others have turned out quite tasty.  It occurred to me that some of my followers might want to try to make these brews, at least the good ones, but I haven’t given explicit directions for homebrewing. Thus, I will be doing a couple posts to help with that, going over basic homebrewing to more advanced homebrewing. Also, I will be using a couple extra recipes to do this, giving you a couple more choices when it comes to having a bit of good beer.

Good Beer Guild Class: Homebrewing 101, is now in session.

The first type of homebrewing I will introduce you to is a very simple method. To start, I learned much of what I know about brewing from Charlie Papazian in his book The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, 3rd Edition. If you wish to learn more, that would be a great place to go to find some more information.

The beginner homebrewer can make great beer using a very simple method. At your local homebrew shop, you can find hop-flavored malt extract, which is basically a beer kit in a can.  First, I will go over the materials and equipment you will need for your first batch, and then a short discussion on the ingredients for your first batch of beer, which will be a 5 gallon batch.


1 3-4 gallon stainless steel pot

1 5-gallon glass carboy

1 5-10 gallon new plastic food grade bucket

1 6-foot length of 3/8 inch inside diameter clear plastic hose

1 plastic hose clamp to fit 3/8 inch hose

1 fermentation lock

1 rubber stopper (size 6.5) with hole to fit fermentation lock

1 3-foot length of 1 ¼ inch outside diameter, I inch inside diameter, clear plastic hose

1 large plastic funnel

1 thermometer

1 beer hydrometer

1 bottle washer (optional)

Lots of bottle caps (new of course)

1 bottle capper

60 returnable 12 oz. beer bottles (anything other than screw top bottles will do)

You will also need a bottle of household bleach for sanitizing your equipment

Ingredients for your first batch:

5-6 lbs. hop-flavored malt extract or “beer kit”


3-4 lbs. hop-flavored malt extract, plus 1-2 lbs. plain unhopped light dried malt extract

5 gallons of water

1 package ale yeast

1 ¼ Cup plain dried malt extract

The basic Instructions:

1)      Combine and dissolve your malt extract in 1.5 gallons of water and bring to a boil for 45 minutes.

2)      Sanitize your fermenter with a weak household bleach and water solution. Later in the process, sanitize all equipment that comes into contact with the unfermented and fermenting beer: funnel, thermometer, hydrometer, hose, cork, fermentation lock, and all other equipment that touches the beer.

3)      Add 3 gallons of clean cold water to your clean and rinsed fermenter.

4)      Add your hot malt extracts and water mixture to the fermenter.

5)      When temperature is ideally below 75 degrees F (24 C), measure the specific gravity with your beer hydrometer and then add the yeast.

6)      Attach fermentation hose, and after initial fermentation has subsided, attach fermentation lock.

7)      Ferment for 8 to 14 days.

8)      Bottle and cap the beer.

9)      Age for 10 days (the toughest part of the entire process)

10)   Drink the Beer! And get ready for your next batch.

There is much more to it than just that, but for the simplest of descriptions this will suffice for the moment. If you have any further questions, please feel free to either comment below or send me an email to ask directly.

Again, this is from the book The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, 3rd Edition, written by Charlie Papazian, published in 2003 by HarperCollins Publishers Inc.


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