My Wine Fermentation Is Not Bubbling

Fermentation BubblingI made a batch of wine using concentrated grape juice. The fermentation is not bubbling, so I do not think it’s fermenting. I think it’s too cool in my basement. Can I add more wine yeast, or what can I do to save my wine?

Name: Glenn , beginner
State: WV
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Hello Glenn,

Thank you for your question, and sorry you are having such a problem with this batch of wine. I think that your assumption is probably correct. By far, the #1 reason for a wine fermentation to not start bubbling is because of temperature. Wine yeast is very sensitive to temperature… some strains more than others.

My recommendation is to keep your fermentation between 70° F. and 75° F. Getting out of this temperature range can cause your fermentation to not bubble. You can use a thermometer to keep tabs on the fermentation temperature. I prefer to use a liquid crystal thermometer. This is a plastic strip that you stick on the outside of the fermenter. The correct temperature will always illuminate. It’s very easy to use and very accurate.

The good new is that if the temperature is the reason your fermentation is not bubbling, then your batch of wine is in little danger of being ruined, and the solution is very simple — warm the wine up! You can do this by:

  • Moving the wine to a warmer locationShop Thermometers
  • Warming up the room the fermentation is in
  • Applying heat to the wine fermenter, itself.

Many beginning wine makers will instinctively run to the closet to get an electric blanket to throw around the fermenter. This is not a good idea. Every electric blanket I’ve seen, even on its lowest setting, is way, way to warm for this application. Unless your wine must is about to freeze solid, what you need is something much more subtle.

Fortunately, there are several products on the market for this specific purpose. We carry the one we think works best. It’s call the Brew Belt. Just as the name sounds, it’s a belt that goes around the fermenter and applies a gentle heat.

If temperature is the reason your fermentation is not bubbling, once you get the fermentation to the correct temperature range, you will see the fermentation start to bubble on its own. There is no need to add more wine yeast. The yeast that is already in the wine is just fine. It has just become inactive because of the cooler temperature.

Shop Heating BeltThe last thing I’d like to mention is that we are under the assumption that temperature is the reason why your fermentation is not bubbling, and I’d say that assumption is probably correct, but for the sake of completeness, I would suggest that you also take a look at the Top 10 Reasons For Fermentation Failure that are listed on our website. These 10 reasons cover well over 95% of the issues we run across when helping others — temperature being #1 on the list. See if any of the other 9 ring true to your situation.

I hope this helps you out.

Happy Wine Making,
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

How to Know When to Bottle Your Homebrew Beer

Homebrewer who knows when to bottle his beer.You’ve been waiting patiently while your homebrew ferments away in the closet and you can’t wait to try the beer you’ve worked so hard to create. But how do you know when it’s ready to bottle? How do you know when to bottle your homebrew beer?

First of all, let’s talk about why it’s important to bottle your beer at the right time. The main concern is that if you bottle before it has completely fermented, you run the risk of having excessive carbon dioxide in the bottle. The result: bottle bombs! Not only is this a safety hazard, but if your bottles explode, you lose that precious beer!

The best way to figure out when to bottle your beer is to take hydrometer readings. In the final days of the fermentation period, take a hydrometer reading every 1-2 days until there is no change in the reading. That’s how you know when fermentation is complete. (Note: Most homebrews finish in the ballpark of 1.010-1.020.)

If you’re using a fermenting bucket, hydrometer readings are pretty easy. Just open up the bucket, drop your sanitized hydrometer in the beer, give it a spin to dislodge any bubbles, and take your reading. (Don’t forget to correct for temperature!) Another method is to use a sanitized measuring cup to pull a sample out of the bucket, which you can then pour into a hydrometer testing jar to conduct your reading. Of course, a bucket with a spigot makes pulling a sample even easier!Shope Hydrometers

If you’re fermenting in carboy, taking a hydrometer reading is a little more tricky. You could drop the hydrometer into the carboy, but then it would be a challenge getting it back out. The easiest way around this is to use a sanitized fermentation sampler, sometimes called a thief, to pull a sample from the carboy. All you have to do is dip the sampler in the beer and pull it out again. A one-way valve will automatically lock in a sample of beer, then you can do your reading right in the tube! That’s about as easy as it gets!

Sometimes it’s tempting to pour the beer sample back in the fermenter, but I don’t think it’s worth the risk of contaminating your beer. If you choose to pour the beer back into the fermenter, just make sure you use impeccable sanitation. I’ll usually just use the sample for a taste test — a preview of what’s to come!

So, after a couple identical hydrometer readings you know the fermentation is done, it’s time to bottle your beer! Learn all about bottling your own homebrew on our post Bottling Beer at Home.shop_beer_bottles

Many homebrewers guess, but using a hydrometer is, by far, the best way to know when to bottle your fermented beer after fermentation. So, take some readings and bottle your beer at the right time.

Til next time…Cheers!
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David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.

Can You Increase The Alcohol In A Wine Kit?

Person who increased alcohol in his wine kitMost red wine kits give a finished wine with 12.0% to 12.5% alcohol. Is it harmful to add additional sugar to the wine kits (with Sp. Gr. control) to increase the alcohol to about 13.5%?
Thanks,

Name: H. Dalesponaugle MD
State: VA
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Hello Dr. Dalesponaugle,

By all means, you can increase the alcohol in a wine kit. It will not harm the wine in anyway.

All you need to do is add sugar to the wine during the fermentation. Make sure it gets dissolved completely and does not end up hanging at the bottom of the fermenter. For each pound of sugar you add to a 6 gallon wine kit, you are increasing the potential alcohol by about 8 tenths of a percent (0.8%).

But before you get all excited and run to the store to buy a few sacks of sugar, there are a couple of things you should know:

  1. There are limits to how much alcohol a wine yeast can ferment. Which means there are limits to how much you can increase the alcohol in a wine kit. As the alcohol level of a wine increases, the more the ability of the yeast to ferment is diminished. The ability of the yeast to ferment at higher alcohol levels is is known as the wine yeasts’ alcohol tolerance. Different wine yeast have different tolerances, so it is important that you do not shoot for an alcohol level that is higher than the wine yeasts’ tolerance. There are yeast profile charts are our website that will list the alcohol tolerance.
     
    With this in mind, you should have a specific target alcohol level for your wine kit in mind. Definitely use your wine hydrometer to help you do this. Hopefully, the hydrometer has a potential alcohol scale on it. This hydrometer scale will make it easy. You should also be using a wine yeast that can reach that target alcohol level without stalling out. If the wine yeast stalls out you could end up with a finished wine that is too sweet to drink.
  1. Increasing the alcohol in a wine kit will take its flavor out of balance. These winemaking kits are flavor balanced. They are tested and re-tested before ever going to market. One major component of any wine’s flavor balance is its alcohol. If you increase the alcohol in the wine kit by too much, the wine will taste hot and watery. The extra burn from the alcohol Shop Wine Kitswill reduce the tongue’s ability to taste, giving the wine this watery impression. It will also have less body. There’s another blog post that goes into the subject more thoroughly, Keeping Fruit Wines In Fruity Balance, but for now just understand that more alcohol means less flavor.
     
    Something you could do to experience this for yourself is to take a bottle of wine that you currently have to drink and slowly add measured amounts of grain alcohol to it as you drink it. This should illustrate more clearly what I’m talking about.

So, it is very possible to increase the alcohol in a wine kit. It’s simply a matter of adding sugar to the kit. The bigger question is do you really want to? These win kits are carefully balance. Increasing the alcohol will take it out of balance.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

An Introduction To Partial Mash Brewing

Mug Of Barley GrainSo, you’ve been brewing with malt extract and you’ve got your routine all figured out. The beer’s coming out pretty good, but you’re ready to take it to the next level. Enter: partial mash brewing. Partial mash brewing combines the simplicity of extract brewing with the slightly more advanced part of all-grain brewing called mashing.

The big advantage of partial mash brewing is that you get to learn how to mash without having to buy a lot of extra equipment. If you’re already brewing with malt extract, this is the only additional equipment you need to make the move to partial mash brewing:

shop_brew_kettlesUnlike steeping grains, as we sometimes do with extract brewing, what we’re going to do here is convert the starches in the grain into fermentable sugars. To do this, we’ll soak the grains in warm water for 30-60 minutes. Here’s the trick: for the naturally-occurring enzymes in the grain to break down the starches, we need to control two important factors: temperature and pH. To properly break down the starches, we want to hold the mash water at a temperature between 150-158F and a pH level between 5.0 and 5.5. That’s it!

Here’s are the basic partial mash brewing instructions. See how it compares with what you’re already doing:

  1. Clean and sanitize as you would normally. This something that should be followed, regardless of your brewing method.
  1. Add 1-1.5 quarts of water per pound of grain to your stock pot.
  1. Heat the water to about 170°F. Since the grain is at room temperature, we heat the water a little above the ideal mash temperature. When we add the grains, we should be right in range.
  1. Add the crushed grain to the stock pot. Stir well to avoid clumping.
  1. Check the pH of your mash. If it’s above 5.5, add 1/4 tsp. of gypsum and stir. If it’s below 5.0, add 1/4 tsp. calcium carbonate and stir. Adjust until you’re in the proper range.
  1. Check the temperature of your mash. Hold the temperature as close to 154°F as possible. If below 150°F, add heat and stir. If above 158°F, add a little cold water and stir.Shop Homebrew Starter Kit
  1. Mash for about 60 minutes, adjusting temperature as needed.
  1. At the end of your mash, pour the mash through a strainer into your brew kettle. Recirculate the wort through your grains as needed to clarify.
  1. Add water to reach your desired boil volume and proceed as if you were brewing with extract.

There you have it: basic partial mash brewing instructions. That’s not too hard, is it?

Partial mash brewing is an easy way for homebrewers to transition from extract brewing to all-grain. Once you master the mash technique, you’re ready to brew all-grain!

Questions? Feel free to ask in the comments section!

Til next time…Cheers!
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David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.

Not Sure How To Clean Your Wine Bottles? Then Read This…

Cleaned and sanitized wine bottles.Preparing wine bottles for bottling wine is sometimes glossed-over or minimized by some home wine makers. That’s not a good thing. That’s a bad thing! Starting out with clean and sanitized wine bottles is paramount to having healthy wine. The alternative can lead to a spoilage and embarrassment.

Cleaning Your Wine Bottle
Even if the wine bottles are new, out-of the-box they should be thoroughly rinsed to wash off any box dust that may have made its way inside.

If the wine bottles have been used then there is the dirt and grime to deal with as well. This can be cleaned off with regular dish soap. Clean the wine bottles as if you were cleaning the dishes. A wine bottle brush comes in very handy during this step. You may also find that it helps to have two wine bottle brushes to entice others to pitch in as well.

If the wine bottles are extremely filthy with dried crud and dirt, you may want to clean them in two steps. The first step would be to clean the pieces of dirt. The second, to clean the surface grime and rinse. Having this second bath of water will help to leave the serious filth behind.

Sanitizing Your Wine Bottles
Many beginning wine makers confuse “cleaning” and “sanitizing” to mean the same thing, but they are very different.

Think of “cleaning wine bottles” as getting rid of what you can see and “sanitizing wine bottles” as getting rid of what you can’t.

When you are sanitizing a wine bottle you are destroying the mold, germs and bacteria that may exist on the glass. You are making the glass as sterile as possible. Sounds serious, but it’s really very simple.shop_wine_bottles

There are several products that can sanitize your wine bottles with little effort on your part. Some that we recommend are: Basic A, One-Step and Star-San. You mix any of them with water to create a sanitizing solution. In addition to the wine bottles, these solutions can be used to sanitize gallon glass jugs, wine carboys, and even plastic fermenters.

All three products are oxygenating-type cleansers. What this means is that the sanitizing of the wine bottles is actually being done while the solution dries or evaporates from the wine bottle’s surface. And, no residues are left on the wine bottles.

What this means for you is that these cleansers are quick and require no rinsing. Just submerge the wine bottles and let them drain and dry. One product that works perfect for drying is a Bottle Tree. Just as the name sounds, it is a single column with pegs. Each peg holds a wine bottle. Not only is it handy it’s also a great space-saver.

It should also be noted that the traditional solution of sodium metabisulfite and water can be used for sanitizing wine bottles, but only if the wine bottles are new, or the wine bottles were washed right after being emptied. Cruddy, scavenged wine bottles with “questionable backgrounds” should always be treated with a cleanser similar to the three mentioned earlier, not sodium metabisulfite.
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Recipe of the Week: Amber Rye Ale

Glass Of Amber Rye Ale On TableSometimes a beer recipe can be better than the sum of its parts. This week’s amber rye ale beer recipe is a mash-up of two excellent beer styles that are great for fall brewing: amber ale and rye ale. The amber ale brings a malty flavor, medium to medium-full body, and a rich amber color, while the rye brings a distinctive spicy grain note. The hop flavor on this beer is noticeable with a spicy hop character, but the bitterness is balanced at just over 30 IBUs. It’s an American-style ale of moderate gravity that should make a balanced beer to enjoy throughout the fall season.

The beer recipe below uses a pound of rye malt combined with Munich malt, caramel, and chocolate malt for layers of malty flavor. Chinook hops provide the classic American citrus and pine hop profile that plays so nicely with the rye. A classic American ale yeast is used, Wyeast 1056: American Ale, sometimes referred to as the Chico strain. If you’d prefer to use dry yeast, try Safale US-05 or Mangrove Jack’s. There should be little to no yeast esters in this style, so do your best to keep fermentation temperatures in the recommended range for your selected yeast strain. Continue reading

Do Wine Kits Need More Ingredients?

I’ve been making wine using wine kits such as KenRidge for several years. These kits seem quite complete with all the ingredients needed – but reading many of the posts on your site causes me to wonder. Should I, could I, must I supplement the ingredients provided in these wine kits with other ingredient such as Yeast Nutrients, Acids, Tannins, Potassium Sorbate, Wine Conditioner? Should I add Campden tablets between bottling?

Name: Paul
State: New Jersey
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Hello Paul,

One of the great things about using one of these wine kits is that the all of these wine making ingredients have already been taken care of for you. This has either been done directly by including the ingredient in the grape juice, or indirectly by eliminating the need for the ingredient, all together.

As an example, you mentioned acid blend. This is typically included in a wine recipe to bring the wine’s acid up to the proper level. If a wine’s acid level is too low, it will taste flat and flabby. With one of these wine kits, however, the grape juice has already been adjusted to the correct acidity level.

Not only is it been adjusted to a proper range for wine, it is adjusted to the optimum level for each specific type of wine. This is done by bench-testing a batch-sample of the juice with an actual fermentation beforehand, then test-tasting the resulting wine for balance and overall character. The optimal amount of acid is determined, then applied to the all of the grape juice. And, all of this is done before the grape juice goes through any packaging into one of the wine kits.

The same can be said about the yeast nutrient and the wine tannin. Each are already in the grape juice at a level that will result in the best possible wine for that wine kit.

Another aspect to this is the speed at which the wine progresses through the fermentation, then the clearing, and then the bottling. The wine kits on the market today are set up to get in the wine bottle so quickly, that they do not have a need for sulfites such as Campden tablets to be addedShop Conical Fermenter along the way. It should be pointed out that most wine kits do include a packet of potassium metabisulfite. This is the same thing as Campden tablets, but they only recommend adding it if you plan on storing your wine for longer than 6 months in the bottle.

The last item I will mention is the Wine Conditioner. This is essentially a sweetener designed specifically for wine. It is something that can be added to taste before bottling, but only if you desire to change the wine kit manufacturer’s intended favor. If you decide to do so, proceed cautiously. You can always add more, but you can’t take it out.

If you would like to read more whether or not your wine kits need more ingredients, here is another blog post that continues on with this subject, Do Your Wine Juice Kits Need Adjusting? It has some additional info on this.

With that being said, don’t’ feel left out because you are not concerning yourself with all these wine making ingredients. Feel fortunate. Wine kits have come a long way toward making the process simple, and the results outstanding.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

7 Tips For Clearing A Homebrew Beer!

Clear homebrew BeerFor some styles of beer, such as the Bavarian hefeweizen and the Belgian witbier, cloudiness is to be expected. The average consumer, however, has come to expect beer to be crystal clear — or “bright” as it’s known among beer geeks and professional brewers. Clarity has more influence on aesthetics than flavor, but since the appearance of a beer is the drinker’s first impression, it’s an important factor in assessing beer quality. To avoid your friends raising their eyes at your cloudy homebrew — and to achieve better scores at homebrew competitions — it’s important to know how to clarify your homebrew beer.

 

What Makes Beer Cloudy in the First Place?

Before we can talk about clarifying or clearing your homebrew beer, it would help to understand a little bit about what’s making the beer cloudy. Cloudiness in homebrew can come from a few different sources:

  • Malt can contribute proteins, fatty compounds (lipids), and tannins to your beer. Excessive protein can result in “protein haze” or “chill haze”, which happens when beer is clear at room temperature, but becomes cloudy when chilled.
  • After being boiled in the kettle, hops can break down and leave behind debris.
  • Yeast, as it multiplies and feeds on the sugar in your wort, it becomes suspended in the beer.

All of these a common sources for potentially keep a homebrew beer from becoming its clearest.

 

Common Ways to Clarify Your Homebrew Beer

There are several different ways to clarify or clear a homebrew beer. Here are the most common:

  1. Whirlpool – At the end of the boil, and before transferring wort to the fermenter, give the wort a strong stir. Proteins, lipids, and hop compounds will collect at the bottom of the kettle and form a pile of “trub” in the middle, making it easier to draw off beer and leave behind most of the protein and hops.Shop Irish Moss
  1. Kettle finings – Clarifying a beer with clearing agents is very effective. Irish moss (a.k.a. “carrageenan”) is a type of seaweed that works as a coagulant. It’s added in the last 10-15 minutes of the boil and helps make the whirlpool more effective by aiding in the coagulation of proteins.
  1. Cold break – Rapidly cooling the wort, such as with an immersion wort chiller, helps proteins settle out after the boil.
  1. Secondary fermentation – Transferring your beer from a primary fermenter to secondary fermenter is an opportunity to leave behind trub and yeast that has settled to the bottom. The length of the secondary fermentation is also a factor – the longer the fermentation, the more settling will occur. Fourteen days is usually enough for ales; lagers tend to take longer.
  1. Fermenter finingsShop Wort Chillers – Some beer finings are added to the secondary fermenter. Gelatin is a popular one. It’s derived from animal collagen, so beer made with it technically isn’t vegetarian. Clearing a homebrew beer with gelatin is quick and easy.
  1. Cold crash – Dropping the temperature on the secondary fermentation helps yeast and other particulates settle out.
  1. Filter – Many commercial breweries filter their beer, and while there are some filters available to homebrewers, in most cases the above techniques will result in sufficiently bright, clear beer.

What methods do you use to clarify your homebrew beers? Have you ever used gelatin or other fining or clear agents? Let us know about your experience!

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David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.

What Is ‘Bench Testing’ And How Does It Apply To Wine Making?

A Bench Trial Of Red Wines.I understand the practice of using bench trials, but don’t know how to apply it to my wine making. I want to blend Cabernet, Merlot, and Sangiovese to produce an Italian Chianti style red. I’ll take a small amount of each and get what I want. How do I use this “formula” to make a large batch.

Name: Cos S.
State: PA
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Cos, thanks for a very good wine making question. For those of you who have never heard of bench trials, in terms of wine making, it is basically taking a small sample of a batch of wine and treating it in a specific way, and then evaluating the effects on that wine sample. If the results are favorable, you do the same thing to the rest of the wine batch. That’s basically how you go about using bench trials in winemaking.

As an example of using a bench trial, if some one has 10 gallons of wine and wants it sweeter, they can take 1 measured gallon of wine from the batch then add measured amounts of sugar syrup to the wine until it is the sweetness desired to establish a dosage. The best part is if you accidentally add too much sugar to the sample, you can add it back to the other 9 gallons and start all over with a new sample — without ever jeopardizing your wine. No risk to the entire batch.Shop Wine Bottle Corkers

Cos, in the instance of using bench trials to blend wines together, it is a matter of getting the ratios down for each wine. It’s all about the ratios. This means that you need to measure each wine before adding it to your blended sample. Once you know how much you used of each wine, you can then apply the formula in larger numbers.

Let’s say after playing around with different blends for a couple of days and several bench trials, you have determined that you like the blend of:

6 oz. Sangiovese
3 oz. Merlot
1 oz. Cabernet Sauvignon

You now have your ratio: 6/3/1. Right now it’s in ounces, but it could be in any measuring units that is convenient for you: mL’s quarts, gallons, barrels. If you wanted to create 10 gallons of the blend you would use:

6 Gals. Sangiovese
3 Gals. Merlot
1 Gals. Cabernet Sauvignon

If you want to only blend 5 gallons of wine it would be:

3 Gals. Sangiovese
1.5 Gals. Merlot
.5 Gals. Cabernet Sauvignon

shop_wine_barrelsOne fun activity you can do when using bench trials in winemaking is to do blind tastings. Have someone make several different variations without revealing which sample is which. Then you and friends can taste them and see which one you like best. Use the winner to change the rest of your wine(s).

I hope this clears thing up a bit for you. The key to using bench trial in winemaking is to get everything measured that goes into the test sample. That way if you like it, you have a clear recipe as to what to do with the rest of the batch of wine.

I also wanted to mention that there is an article on our website titled, “Blending To Improve Homemade Wines” that you may want to look over. It goes into the art and science of blending homemade wine in more detail and covers a little more about using bench trials, as well.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Complete, Step-by-Step Extract Brewing Instructions

Extract BrewingExtract brewing is the easiest way to brew your own beer. Many homebrewers begin with extract beer brewing and later progress to all-grain. Some even go back to extract brewing because it’s easier and much less time consuming than all-grain brewing.

So what is extract brewing?
Professional brewers extract fermentable sugars from barley malt through a process called mashing. When extract brewing you can skip this step by using malt extract, which is a condensed form of liquid wort. (Wort is the term for unfermented beer.) Malt extract is available as a liquid malt extract or dry malt extract (LME or DME), and LME is either hopped or unhopped. Much like malt, malt extract is categorized by color, ranging from Pilsen, Pale, and Amber, to Munich and Dark.

By using malt extract, beginning homebrewers can save easily an hour or more on brew day. Plus, they can still make perfectly good beer with significantly less equipment.

Further below you will find some extract brewing instructions. Here is the basic list of equipment you will need to follow those instructions (5-gallon batch):

Shop Home Brew Starter KitMost homebrew supply shops carry homebrew equipment kits with everything you need to get started. E.C. Kraus also carries extract brewing kits with everything you need to brew your first batch of beer. You can also find an extract brewing recipe, and purchase all the ingredients, à la carte.

Extract Brewing Instructions:

  1. Thoroughly clean and sanitize everything you’ll be using to make your own beer. Many homebrewers consider this to be the most important step!
  1. Heat your clean, chlorine-free water. If you can smell chlorine in your tap water, you’ll want to boil your water for 30 minutes first. Or, you can use bottled spring water from the grocery store. The exact amount of water you use isn’t critical for extract brewing process; shoot for 3 gallons or so. Give yourself at least a couple inches from the top of your brew kettle.
  1. Meanwhile, if using liquid malt extract, soak your canisters of malt extract in a large bowl or pot of hot water. This will make it easier to pour out the extract in the next step.
  1. When your brew kettle of water is hot (not boiling), turn off the burner (for gas stoves) or remove the kettle from the heating element (for electric).
  1. Slowly stir in your malt extract until completely dissolved, taking care that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of your brew kettle. Your water is now wort!shop_liquid_malt_extract
  1. Heat your wort to a strong boil. Keep a close eye on it to avoid a boil over!
  1. From the start of the boil, add hops depending on your extract brewing recipe. (If you’re using hopped extract, you may not need to add any hops.)
  1. At the end of the boil, turn off the heat, give the wort a good stir, and move your kettle to a nearby sink for an ice bath. Fill the sink with cold water and replace as needed. The idea here is to cool your wort so that you can add the beer yeast. Yeast is a living organism (and responsible for creating alcohol!), so you don’t want to kill it by pitching it into wort that is too hot.
  1. When your wort is at about 90°F or so, carefully pour the wort into a sanitized fermenter. If using a carboy, you may want to siphon it using a sanitized siphoning hose. If you added hops to the boil, do your best to leave those behind. It’s important from here on out that everything that touches your wort is thoroughly sanitized.
  1. Top off your wort with water to make 5 gallons. Fermenting buckets usually have lines on the side that show you your volume.
  1. Aerate the wort by stirring vigorously. This is to provide oxygen for the yeast to feed on. This is the only step in the extract brewing instructions where adding oxygen is desirable.
  1. Take a hydrometer reading, correcting for temperature if necessary. This will help you measure alcohol content after your beer has fermented.
  1. Add the beer yeast according to the packaging instructions. Give it a good stir with your spoon.
  1. Put the fermenter in a closet or other dark, temperature constant room.
  1. Close the lid with air-lock attached (if using a bucket) or close with a rubber stopper and air-lock (if using a carboy).
  1. Fill your air-lock about halfway with clean water and place it firmly in the drilled hole of the rubber stopper.

If you follow these extract brewing instructions, within 24 hours you should see bubbles coming out of the airlock. After a week or so, you’ll be ready to bottle your beer!
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.