Come on! Try it! It’s so much easier than it seems!
Want to make your favorite beer? Or just experiment with all the flavors you find yourself wishing were in a beer? Well, aren’t you ambitious.
Luckily, brewing your own beer is a hell of a lot easier than it sounds. All you need are a few supplies and a recipe.
The how-to below lists standard ingredient amounts for a basic ale, but it’s best to work from a recipe that has flavors you know and love — or try out some of the options that others love to see what piques your interest.
Once you get brewing you’ll be drinking your very own creation in three to five weeks. We know that’s a long time to wait, but if you’re desperate, maybe it’s time to finally drink that year-old 18 pack of Bud Light someone stuck in your fridge during the last SuperBowl instead.
What you need to brew your own brew
4 gallon (min.) Brew Kettle with Lid
5 to 7 lbs. Malt Extract
2 Ounces Hops
1 Package Brewer’s Yeast
5 gallon Carboy
Number 7 Drilled Rubber Stopper Airlock
Vinyl Siphon hose (6 feet)
2/3 cup Dextrose
5 Gallon Bucket
2 cases of Non-Twist-Top Beer Bottles Bottle Capper
Get your steps in (for brewing your own beer, dudes)
Fill a container large enough to accommodate your brew kettle halfway with water. Mix two capfuls of unscent-ed liquid bleach into the water. Use the water to disinfect your brew kettle and a large, stirring spoon in the solution. Rinse the brew kettle and spoon with tap water until you can no longer smell bleach.
Place the brew kettle on the largest burner on your stove. Fill it two-thirds of the way full with tap water. Turn the burner on high.
Add the amount of malt extract dictated by your recipe — usually 5 to 7 pounds — once the water is hot. Mix continually with your sterilized spoon until the malt extract dissolves and the water reaches a rolling boil. This boiling mixture is called the wort.
Stir in half of the recipe’s required hops — usually one ounce — into the boiling wort.
Leave the wort to boil, uncovered, for one hour.
Mix in the second portion of hops. Put the lid on the brew kettle. Turn the burner off.
Leave the lidded brew kettle to cool to 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a brew thermometer to check the wort’s temperature periodically. This will take several hours. To speed up the process, fill the sink with ice and place the brew kettle on the ice.
Disinfect the large funnel, air lock, carboy and rubber stopper according to the instructions in step one.
Pitch the wort. Place the carboy on a carpetless floor in a room that remains between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. Place the funnel into the mouth of the carboy. Have a partner hold the carboy and funnel still. If you used leaf hops in your wort, place a sterilized strainer over the mouth of the funnel first to strain the leaves out.
Place the rubber stopper on the carboy and shake it vigorously to introduce as much air into the wort as possible.
Remove the stopper. Sprinkle brewer’s yeast into the wort. Replace the stopper.
Pour water into the airlock until its bulbs are half full. Place the air lock’s bottom stem into the hole in the stopper.
Leave the yeast to ferment for four to seven days or until the wort clears up and bubbles pop up in the airlock only once every 30 seconds or so. Check the carboy daily and wipe up any bub-bled-over liquid.
Place the carboy onto a table. Leave it for 24 to 48 hours to allow the sediment to settle.
Bring the dextrose to a boil in a pot.
Disinfect and rinse the racking cane, siphon hose, bottles, caps and 5 gallon bucket according to the instructions in step one.
Place the bucket on the floor in front of the carboy’s table. Pour the boiled dextrose into the bottom of the bucket.
Remove the stopper from the carboy.
Push one end of the siphon hose onto the bent end of the racking cane to connect the hose and the racking cane.
Pinch the free end of the siphon hose closed with one hand. Pour water into the free end of the racking cane until both the cane and the siphon hose are filled with water.
Place the free end of the racking cane into the carboy. Extend the tip of the siphon hose into the bucket. Release the pinched tip of the tube. Water will pour out, followed by beer. Pinch the tip of the siphon hose closed once the beer starts to flow.
Have a partner empty the water from the bucket. Replace the bucket to its original position. Release the end of the siphon hose and allow the beer to keep flowing. Pinch the tip of the siphon hose closed again when you’re down to the bottom inch (or so) of the wort where the sediment and yeast lie. Move the pinched tip of the siphon hose to the sink and let the remaining sediment, yeast and wort drain there.
Add one carbonation drop to each bottle per 350ml of liquid that it is rated to hold.
Place the wort-filled bucket from step 21 onto the table near the sink.
Rinse the racking cane and hose. Then fill both with water as you did in step 20.
Place the free end of the racking cane into the bucket. Release the pinched end of the siphon hose and allow water to drain into the sink. Pinch the tip of the siphon hose again once the beer begins to flow.
Place the pinched end of the siphon hose into the first bottle. Release the beer until the bottle is filled to within one inch of its lip. Pinch the tip of the siphon hose closed. Use the capper to place a cap on the beer. Repeat for each subsequent bottle.
Slowly flip each bottle upside down and then right side up five times to activate the carbonation.
Store the bottles upright in a dark, dry place. Try the beer after 14 days. Beer’s flavor matures between 14 days and 3 months after bottling. Try a beer at regular intervals to determine when you reach peak flavor.
Making your own beer requires a significant time commitment, especially the first go-round. Free up a Saturday and take your time with each step. Follow the instructions carefully and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a beer master.