Beer Brewing for Beginners

Makes 48 bottles (12 oz each)


Brewing Ingredients

  • 2½ gallons tap water
  • 1 lb malt (caramel 40ºL suggested)
  • 8 lbs gold malt extract syrup
  • 4 oz hop pellets, divided
  • 2½ gallons tap water
  • 1 tube (35 ml) brewer's yeast (White Labs WLP001 California Ale suggested)
  • ⅔ cup priming sugar
  • 1 cup water

Brewing Equipment

  • 6 gallon fermentation bucket w/ lid
  • 6 gallon bottling bucket w/ spigot
  • 48 bottles (12 oz each)
  • 60 bottle caps
  • bottle capper
  • siphon tubing
  • acid-based, no rinse sanitizer (like Star San brand)
  • PBW (Powdered Brewery Wash) cleaner
  • racking cane
  • large, non-reactive stock pot (at least 4 gallon capacity)
  • cheesecloth sack
  • fermentation air lock
  • thermometer
  • spring tip bottle filler attachment & tubing
  • hydrometer


Prepare Equipment

  1. 2-3 hours before starting your brew, add cleaning solution (according to package directions) to fermentation bucket, and fill with hot water. Soak 2-3 hours
  2. Dump water and solution and rinse well. This step is particularly important if you have brewed previous batches of beer in this bucket — it kills beer-spoiling bacteria and wild yeast

Steep Grains & Boil Wort

  1. To make the "wort," (unfermented beer), start by attaching a thermometer to the side of your large stock pot. Bring 2½ gallons of water to 170º over high heat (this large amount of water make take 15-20 minutes to bring up to temperature)
  2. Meanwhile, add 1 lb malt to the cheesecloth bag. Tie bag in a knot to close
  3. Once the water is at 170º, shut off heat. Add the sack of malt (holding onto the neck of the sack), and stir to assure all of the grains are soaked and starting to steep in the water
  4. Drape the neck of the sack over the side of the pot, cover the pot and let the grains steep 30 minutes
  5. Remove bag of grains, allowing the water to drain off the grains well. Discard the grains
  6. Bring the wort back up to a boil. Once at a boil, shut off heat
  7. Add malt extract syrup and stir, then return the mixture to a boil
  8. Once at a boil, add 1 oz of the hop pellets, and boil the mixture for 40 minutes
  9. Add the second addition of hop pellets (1 oz), and boil 20 minutes
  10. Right before taking the wort off the heat, add the remaining 2 oz of hop pellets. Remove from heat, cover loosely with foil, and place in the sink. Start running cool water around the pot to take the temperature down to 70º (you can also fill the sink half full with ice, then run the water to speed up the process). Be sure that the running water is not pouring into the pot (hence the foil). Be sure that the foil is loose enough that it is allowing steam to release
  11. Meanwhile, fill fermentation bucket with cool water and acid-based sanitizer solution (according to package directions). Allow to sit 10 minutes, then dump. This solution is food-safe, and does not need to be washed out

Add Yeast & Ferment

  1. To the clean fermentation bucket, add 2½ gallons of tap water
  2. Add the cooled wort to the water and stir constantly for 10-25 minutes to oxyginate the mixture as much as possible before adding the yeast
  3. Shake the yeast vial and pour over top the wort
  4. Cover the fermentation bucket tightly and insert airlock (which allows carbon dioxide to escape during fermentation, without allowing anything into the bucket). Give the bucket a few shakes to distribute the yeast
  5. Set aside to ferment at room temperature for 2 weeks
  6. To test the fermented wort for alcohol content, a simple hydrometer reading can be used at this point (optional: follow manufacturer's directions)

Rack & Bottle

  1. 12-24 hours before bottling, elevate the fermentation bucket to a table or chair for siphoning (the movement will disturb the yeast and hops that have settled to the bottom of the bucket, and they will need time to settle again after being moved)
  2. Soak bottling bucket and siphoning equipment in the acid-based sanitizer (soak siphoning equipment in a separate vessel so that it can remain in there until it is time to use it). Let sit 10 minutes, then dump (again, it does not need to be rinsed)
  3. Bring 1 cup water to boil in a small saucepan. Add priming sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat
  4. Position the clean bottling bucket on the floor below the fermentation bucket. Connect siphon tubing to racking cane. Position racking cane into the fermentation bucket and hold siphon tubing upright so that none of the liquid sanitizer remaining in the tubing spills into the fermentation bucket. Pour the remaining sanitizer solution into a cup to discard
  5. Drop the drained siphon tubing into the bottling bucket below (gravity will draw the wort from the fermentation bucket into the bottling bucket). As it pours in, add the priming sugar mixture
  6. Once the wort has siphoned into the bottling bucket, elevate the bottling bucket to a table or chair (where you previously had the fermentation bucket), and allow it to sit for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, soak bottling tubing, bottling wand, the bottles, and the bottle caps in the acid-based sanitizer solution
  7. Connect clean bottling tubing to the bottling bucket's spigot (make sure the spigot is in the closed position), and attach bottling wand
  8. Press the bottling wand down into a glass to release any sanitizer solution that may be in the wand
  9. Move the spigot to the open position, and allow the beer to fill into the tubing and wand. Place the wand into beer bottle and press the spring tip down in the bottle to fill. Allow the beer to fill and overflow a bit, then remove the wand (allowing it to overflow forces out any unwanted oxygen that will spoil the beer)
  10. Remove a clean bottle cap from the sanitizer solution, place atop beer bottle, and clamp close with the bottle capper
  11. Repeat this process until all of the beer is bottled
  12. Store bottles between 70º and 75º for two weeks to allow the yeast to eat the sugar and create carbon dioxide (to carbonate the beer)
  13. Transfer bottles to refrigerator to chill before serving, and ENJOY your homemade brew!