Homebrew Instructions

Before you attempt to brew your own beer, some background research is required. For in depth instructions, www.howtobrew.com is a good free resource. The following instructions are for after you have an understanding of the process, a beer ingredients kit, bottles and caps, brewing equipment, and someone else to drink the beer with. Following the detailed steps below should ensure that you don't make any mistakes as you brew.

Brewing day


  1. Read all of the brew day instructions.
  2. Buy 15 pounds of ice.
  3. Clean a large pot (not the brewpot) and use it to boil one gallon of water for twenty minutes, then remove from heat to cool. This water will be used for rinsing equipment.
  4. Clean the very large brewpot and use it to boil two gallons of water for twenty minutes, then remove from heat to cool. This will be added to the fermentor when it cools.
  5. Make sure you have all the necessary ingredients (including grain sock).
  6. Wash and sanitize all items listed.
    1. Use unscented dish soap to wash all equipement. Wash the fermenter twice to ensure that all residue from the previous batch is gone.
    2. Sanitize items by submerging in bleach solution (one tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water) for twenty minutes.
    3. Rinse with boiled water.
    4. Place sanitized items on a layer of plastic wrap for use later. Cover with another layer of plastic wrap.
    Item Clean Sanitize Done?
    Fragrance-free dishwashing liquid
    Brewpot and lid
    Stirring spoon
    Measuring jar for yeast
    Jar for holding malt for yeast
    Fermentor and lid
    Resealable freezer bag
    Plastic wrap
    Rolling pin
  7. Allow both batches of water to cool to around 90 °F.
  8. Rehydrate the yeast. If there are instructions on the packet follow those, otherwise:
    1. Boil 1 tsp of malt in a small amount of water. Allow to cool to 100 °F.
    2. Pour one cup of 95–105 °F boiled water into a sanitized jar.
    3. Pour in yeast and stir gently using the tablespoon, or any sanitized spoon.
    4. Cover with plastic wrap and wait 15 minutes.
    5. Unless the yeast is Lallemand/Danstar brand, proof the yeast by adding 1 tsp of boiled malt and stir.
    6. Cover and place in a warm area outside of direct sunlight. The yeast should revive within 30 minutes.
  9. Don’t continue until you’re confident the yeast is happy.

Making the wort

  1. Crush specialty grains in a large resealable freezer bag with the rolling pin.
  2. Put specialty grains in the mesh bag and tie off the bag as close to the top as possible.
  3. Transfer the two gallons of water from the brewpot to the fermenter.
  4. Begin heating three gallons of water in the brewpot.
  5. As you begin to boil, steep specialty grains as specified in the recipe. If the recipe does not offer instructions, steep for 15 minutes or until the water temperature reashes 170 °F.
  6. Remove and discard specialty grains.
  7. When water begins to boil, take off heat to add first dose of malt while stirring to dissolve and to prevent burning on bottom of pot.
  8. Bring back to boil and add any bittering hops.
  9. If you haven't bought ice yet, it's time.
  10. Add remaining ingredients at times provided by the recipe, watching for boilovers.
  11. When boiling is complete, move brewpot to icebath and cool to less than 90 °F as quickly as possible.
  12. Aerate the two gallons of water in the fermentor by shaking or rocking it for five minutes.
  13. Pour cooled wort through the sanitized strainer into the fermentor.
  14. Add wort to yeast starter jar at a rate of one tablespoon every five minutes until temperatures are equalized.
  15. Pour yeast into the fermentor.
  16. Take a hydrometer reading.
  17. Seal lid and insert airlock.
  18. Store the fermenter in a dark place that has a constant temperature acceptable to the yeast. Express dismay at how long everything took.

During primary fermentation

After inserting the airlock, allow the wort to ferment for a week or longer, depending on the recipe. During this time, monitor the fermentation. The airlock should bubble for a few days and remain clear. If the fermenter explodes, resist the temptation to dip socks into the beer.

Second fermentation day

Once the beer is ready for the second fermentation, transfer the beer to another fermenter. This removes some of the sludge from the beer, and allows fermentation to continue without it.

  1. Boil a gallon of water.
  2. Move the primary fermenter to a counter and let the beer settle again.
  3. Wash all items listed.
    Item Clean Sanitize Done?
    Secondary fermenter
    Short extra section of hose
    Tube with valve
    Elbow tube
    Clip for the elbow tube
    Waste bucket
    Plastic wrap
  4. Sanitize things:
    1. Attach the spigot to the second fermenter.
    2. With very clean hands, attach the elbow tube to the spigot (using short length of tubing as a male-male adapter), and the tube with valve to the end of the elbow tube.
    3. Fill the fermenter with bleach water.
    4. Open and close the spigot to let some bleach water into the spigot and all the hosing. Then put the tube with valve into the bucket to sanitize the outside of it.
    5. Put the hydrometer into the bleach water and let sanitize for 20 minutes.
    6. Cover a portion of the straight tube with valve in plastic wrap so that you can grasp it without contamination.
    7. Open the spigot and let the bleach water drain out through the hosing for a while, to further ensure that the hosing is sanitized.
    8. Dump remaining bleach water and rinse the hydrometer with boiled water, then it on plastic wrap.
  5. Rinse the fermenter and the tubing with boiled water by allowing boiled water to flow through the tubing. Then rinse the outside of tubing that will be submerged.
  6. Keeping the tubing filled with boiled water, detach it from the spigot and connect the elbow tube to the primary fermenter with the clip such that it is submerged in wort and nearly reaches the bottom of the fermentor.
  7. Cover the spigot with plastic wrap.
  8. Remove the lid from the primary fermentor and place it somewhere where it will not be contaminated.
  9. Siphon boiled water from inside the tubing into a waste bucket, and continue siphoning wort into the secondary fermentor. At first tilt the secondary fermentor so as to prevent splashing.
  10. Put the lid on the secondary fermentor orienting it so that the handle will not knock the airlock.
  11. Wash and sanitize the airlock before replacing it on the lid.
  12. Put the fermenter in a dark place that has constant temperature.

During second fermentation

Allow fermentation to continue for the time specified by the recipe (at least a week). While the beer ferments, prepare bottles for bottling day:

Clean bottles

  1. Beg, borrow or steal beer bottles with pop tops rather than screw caps. Bottles should ideally be dark colored, with no labels or easily removable labels, and no mold.
  2. Remove labels from bottles using a metal sponge or whatever is handy. It may help to soak the bottles in water for a while first.
  3. Clean the bottles:
    1. Pour in a small amound of dry rice or sand, dishwasher detergent or dish soap, and warm water.
    2. Cover the mouth of the bottle and shake vigorously. If there is mold, it may take a while break it all free.
    3. Pour mixture out of the bottle and rinse with water twice.
    4. Hold the bottle up to a light and look inside to ensure that all mold and dirt is gone.
    A bottle scrubber may prove useful.
  4. Leave bottle uncovered to allow water inside to evaporate, unless proceeding immediately to the next step.

Sterilize bottles

  1. Cover the top of each bottle with aluminum foil.
  2. Bake bottles in an oven using the time and temperature table below. After putting the bottles in, heat the oven slowly.
    338 °F60 minutes
    320 °F120 minutes
    302 °F150 minutes
    284 °F180 minutes
    250 °F12 hours (overnight)
  3. Turn off oven and allow bottles to cool slowly. Do not open the door until bottles are cool.

Bottling day

  1. Boil one gallon of water for rinsing.
  2. Clean and sanitize things following the procedure listed above.
    Item Clean Sanitize Done?
    Tube with valve
    Stirring spoon
    Bottle caps
    Measuring spoons
    Microwavable jar
    Bottle capper
  3. Prepare priming sugar:
    1. Pour the selected type of priming sugar in the jar and add an appropriate amount of water. Quantities depend on the sugar content of the priming sugar used (table sugar, brown sugar, corn sugar, molasses, honey, corn syrup, maple syrup, ...). It may be necessary to make a hydrometer reading to get the desired density of sugar solution.
    2. Boil the sugar solution in the microwave for 30 seconds or a minute.
  4. Attatch hose to the spigot of the second fermenter. Attatch tube with hose to the end of the tube.
  5. Clean bleach out of the hose and tube by pouring out a little beer.
  6. If the entire batch will be primed with the same type of sugar, add the priming sugar solution to the batch and stir slowly using the sanitized stirring spoon. Otherwise, add priming sugar to the bottles.
  7. If priming sugar was added to the beer, wait half an hour for sediment to settle.
  8. Take a hydrometer reading.
  9. Fill and cap bottles. Adjust the spigot to allow beer to flow slowly enough to avoid aeration, but quickly enough to avoid dying of old age. While filling bottles, check each bottle for mold or dirt, and check to see if the bottle has a screw top.
  10. Dump remaining sludge, or harvest its yeast.
  11. Place bottles in a dark place that has constant temperature. Do not refrigerate until bottles are ready to drink.