Brewing is the process of mixing water, malt, and hops to create a sweet, sugary mixture called wort. When yeast is added, it consumes the sugar in the wort and ferments the wort into beer. As a beginner, you can brew very simply using hopped malt extract. All you need to do is mix the malt extract with water, add the yeast, and allow the beer to ferment for about two weeks. At that point the beer is ready to be bottled. Two to three weeks later, most low- to mid-gravity beers will be ready to drink.
Below, find step-by-step basic brewing instructions for creating your first batch of beer made from malt extract.
- Assemble your equipment – A Steam Freak Beer Making Starter Kit includes all the equipment you need to get started homebrewing. (I actually still use most of the equipment I bought over five years ago!)
- Choose a beer recipe – The Steam Freak Starter kit also includes your first recipe kit. Start with something you and your friends will enjoy drinking. Any of these can recipe extract kits also work well for a first batch. Dark beers are generally more forgiving, so I often recommend starting with a brown ale or Mexican Cerveza.
- Clean the equipment – You wouldn’t cook in a dirty pan would you? The same goes for brewing. Your equipment should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before brewing.
- Mix the ingredients – The exact procedure will vary depending on the recipe you’re starting out with – just follow the basic brewing instructions that come with the kit. Some recipes are boiled on the stove before fermenting, in which case you’ll need a brew kettle. Others (like the Munton’s Connoisseur kits) are just mixed with water, sugar, and yeast right in the fermenter. These are far and away the easiest way to brew.
- Allow to ferment for about 2-3 weeks – Just leave it alone at room temperature.
- Bottle – This is one of the more labor-intensive parts of homebrewing. Basically, you will mix about 4-5 oz. of priming sugar with a cup of water and place it in the bottling bucket (the one with the spigot). Then, transfer the beer from the fermenter to the bottling bucket. Next, attach a transfer hose and bottle filler to the spigot and fill and cap about 48-50 twelve-ounce bottles. Your beer recipe kit will come with instructions for how to do this. You might also check out this helpful video from the American Homebrewers Association.
- Wait 2-3 weeks and enjoy! – During this time, the yeast in the beer consumes the priming sugar and carbonates your homebrew.
That wasn’t so hard, was it?! Now you have several weeks worth of delicious, homemade beer!
Have any questions about these basic brewing instructions? Feel free to leave a question in the comments below!
David Ackley is a writer, brewer, and craft beer marketing consultant. He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.