Homebrew: How to brew beer from a kit

by Homebrewing

A beer kit contains all the ingredients you need to make beer, except sometimes sugar, so it's an easy place to start

The brewing process can take 2-4 weeks, so take a photo of the instructions in case you lose them

Place the can of malt extract in warm water while you're getting everything ready

Mix up some steriliser according to the manufacture instructions

It's important to sterilise everything that will come in contact with the beer to avoid infection

Set a timer according to the instructions, then rinse everything thoroughly

Repeat for the fermenting bucket, ensuring everything is covered by the steriliser, set a timer then rinse

Open the can with the sterilised can opener and pour the contents into the fermenting bucket

The kit instructions will tell you how much boiling water, cool water and sugar (if necessary) to add

If sugar is needed, you can also use beer enhancer or malt extract to add more body, otherwise use brewing sugar

Add boiling water as instructed (usually 3.5l) pour in the can first to get all the contents, use oven gloves!

Add the beer enhancer or sugar and stir well with a sterilised spoon, until everything has dissolved

Add cold water as directed, usually top up to 23l. If you plan to move the bucket, only add half as it will get heavy!

When the bucket is in its final location, add the remaining cold water and stir well

Draw off 80ml of liquid into a sterilised sample jar and use a hydrometer to measure the specific gravity

This lets you work out how much sugar has changed to alcohol during fermentation - beer starts around 1.035 - 1.055

If the sample jar and hydrometer were sterilised you can pour it back into the bucket, then add the yeast and stir well

Add some water to a sterilised airlock - this will ensure CO2 gas produced can escape, but nothing can get in

Put the airlock in the lid of the bucket and leave somewhere warmish (18-20C / 64-68F) for 1-2 weeks to ferment

Once the airlock has stopped bubbling, read the gravity every couple of days

When it stays constant below 1.010, the beer is ready for bottling