Making Beer At Home With An Extract Kit

Learn about home beer making to brew good tasting beer from a simple malt extract kit and experience the pleasure of doing it yourself.

When making beer at home from an extract kit, the first step is to buy a malt extract kit at your local homebrewing supplies store. If no store is close to you, you can find numerous mail order stores by searching for "homebrewing supplies" on any good web search engine.

For simplicity, choose a simple ale kit with dried yeast. Lager dry yeast works poorly, if at all. Liquid yeast offers more variety but should be used in conjunction with a yeast starter and stepped-up yeast populations, adding to increased complexity.

Once you have a kit, find a large kettle with preferably at least five gallons in capacity. For starting out, six to eight gallon enameled canning kettles work very nicely. Boil 3-5 gallons of water in your large pot.

While the water is reaching a boil, place the plastic bag or can of malt in a sink or large bowl of hot water so that the malt flows better when

emptied into the kettle.

Remove the kettle of boiling water from the heat source and pour the malt extract into the kettle, stirring the extract, so that it doesn't burn on the kettle bottom, until the malt is fully dissolved. Return the kettle to the heat and bring extract solution (sweet wort) back up to a rolling boil.

When the wort begins to boil, there is usually some foam and a danger of boil-over. Adjust the heat so that the foam subsides. Thereafter, the risk of boil over is reduced. Continue to adjust the heat until a nice rolling boil is achieved.

Kits usually contain a hopping schedule. For a general rule of thumb, bittering hops should be boiled for about 60 minutes. Flavoring hops should be added with twenty minutes left in the boil. Aromatic hops can be added at flame-out (end of the boil). Hops offset the sweetness

of the malt extract (at this stage, called sweet wort).

After a sixty minute boil, place a lid on the kettle and put the kettle in a cold water bath (a filled bathtub works nicely). In cold climates, try placing the kettle on a level surface in the snow. Within an hour or two, the temperature of the sweet wort will be reduced to an acceptable level (75 degrees or less).

Most ales will ferment without off-flavors at about 70 degrees. Use a good thermometer to make sure that optimal temperatures are reached. You'll need a fermenting vessel at this stage. A seven gallon bucket with a tight fitting lid will work. Alternatively, purchase a glass carboy or plastic fermenting vessel with a spigot.

Sanitize all home fermenting equipment with a weak bleach/water solution. A couple of tablespoons of unscented bleach in five gallons of water will work fine. After using the bleach solution, rinse your equipment off with previously boiled water or tap water (if you trust it).

Prepare the dry yeast by following the directions on the packet carefully. Don't just dump your yeast into the wort. You may get acceptable beer, but the yeast were designed to be rehydrated in warm water, per the directions on the packet.

Pour the cooled wort from the kettle into your fermentation vessel. Do it slowly with lots of splashing so that maximum air enters the sweet wort. Starting yeast populations like oxygen. Add the rehydrated yeast and stir briskly with a sanitized (and rinsed) spoon.

Cover up the fermentation vessel with the tight fitting lid. Within eight to twenty-four hours, you should see signs of fermentation (yeast populations floating on the top or a foamy head).

Wait ten to fourteen days. Check the beer with a hydrometer to make sure that fermentation is complete. The reading should be unchanged in a twenty-four hour period. Buy a hydrometer from your homebrewing or mail order store. They are cheap and will save you the headache of

broken bottles with unfinished batches of beer.

When fermentation is complete, siphon the homemade beer into another large bucket. Some bottling buckets have spigots, which makes things much easier, if good sanitation practices are used. Boil a pint of water. Stir in three-fourths cup of sugar. Cool. Add to the beer in the bottling bucket and stir gently until it is well-dissolved.

Siphon or drain the beer into the bottles. Cap on the foam. Age beer for four to six weeks. The beer should now be carbonated and ready to drink. Consume your home brewed beer responsibly and with pleasure.

© High Speed Ventures 2011