Return to main page. Beginner's Brewing Guide

So are you ready to brew your first batch of beer? Lee's Brewery recommends starting with a quality equipment kit and a couple of kit beer recipes. Your local home brew shop is the best source for these. To start with, here's a list of equipment you'll need:

Equipment

1-6 gallon plastic fermenter with lid & airlock 1-Brew pot, at least 3 gallon capacity Enough recyclable beer bottles to hold 5 gallons
1-6 gallon plastic bottling bucket w/spigot 1-thermometer 1-hydrometer
1-bottle capper 1-plastic racking cane 1-3 feet length of siphon tubing
1-bottle filler sanitizer large stirring spoon
Bottle caps    

Recipes

Rather than formulating your own or following someone else's recipe, Lee's Brewery recommends that you use all malt extract recipe kits for your first couple of batches. Again, your local home brew shop can assist you in choosing a simple kit.

The Brewing Process

  1. The first step in the brewing process is to sanitize everything that the beer will come in contact with. Completely sanitize the plastic fermenter, lid, airlock, and thermometer. You need not sanitize the brew kettle itself, but assure it is free of grit and grime. You can use B-Brite sanitizer, an iodine solution or a bleach solution to accomplish this. Note: Lee's brewery recommends using an iodine solution, as it does not require rinsing.
  2. Add three gallons of cold water to the plastic fermenter. If your water source is heavily chlorinated, you should pre-boil this water the night before to drive out the chlorine.
  3. Add two and half gallons of water to the brew kettle and heat to boiling.
  4. To the boiling water, add malt extract and bittering hops. This liquid is now beer wort! You should boil your wort at a hearty rate for approximately 60 minutes. Note: You will need to keep a close watch on the kettle during the boil, it will have a tendency to boil over. (A boil over is an awful mess to clean up!) Stir the wort occasionally and reduce heat if needed.
  5. 10 minutes before the end of the boil add the aroma hops to the kettle.
  6. After the boil, add the contents of the kettle into the plastic fermenter. Stir vigorously in order to oxygenate the wort. (This will help the yeast grow faster!)
  7. Using the thermometer, (A glass floating model is best) take a temperature reading of the wort.
  8. When the wort is 75F or below, add a sample of the wort (follow sanitary practices) to the hydrometer test jar and take a reading. This reading is your beer's original gravity. Refer to the Hydrometer "How To" page for detailed instructions on correctly reading the hydrometer and adjusting the reading for temperature.
  9. Add the yeast to the fermenter and stir vigorously.
  10. Securely place lid on fermenter, fill airlock with vodka and place in a cold dark place for fermentation.
  11. In the next day or two you will see bubbling activity in the fermenter's airlock. This means that the yeast are doing their job, eating sugars and producing alcohol and carbon dioxide. Fermentation will take approximately 1 week.

Bottling

  1. After the bubbling activity in the fermenter's airlock has subsided for a few days, it's time to bottle your beer.
  2. Sanitize your bottling bucket, racking cane, siphon tubing, bottle filler, and bottles using B-Brite, bleach or iodine solution.
  3. Sterilize the bottle caps by boiling them in water.
  4. Add a sample of the beer (follow sanitary practices) to the hydrometer test jar and take a reading. This reading is your beer's final gravity. Correct reading for temperature as needed.
  5. With the original and final gravity measurements use the Beer Calculator to calculate your beer's percent alcohol and calories per pint. As a beginner you need not worry about the other values displayed on the calculator.
  6. Boil 1 pint of water, add to it either cup priming (corn) sugar or 1 cup light dry malt extract. Boil for 5 minutes and pour the priming solution into the bottling bucket. This solution will give the yeast some extra food to eat while they carbonate your beer in the bottle!
  7. Let the priming solution cool for several minutes before siphoning your beer from the primary fermenter to the bottling bucket.
  8. To siphon, place the fermenter on a table and position the bottling bucket underneath.
  9. Attach siphon tubing to racking cane and fill with water.
  10. With thumb over end of siphon tubing, place racking cane into the primary fermenter and lower end of tubing into the bottling bucket.
  11. When you release your thumb from the tubing end, the siphon should begin. If not, you'll have to fill the tubing with water and try again.
  12. Monitor the siphon being careful not to transfer sediment for the primary fermenter to the bottling bucket.
  13. When the siphon is complete, remove the siphon tubing from the racking cane and attach the tubing to the bottle filler.
  14. Attach the other end of the tubing to the bottling buckets spigot and begin filling bottles. Leave approximately 1 inch of head space in the neck of each bottle.
  15. Firmly cap each bottle using the bottle capper.
  16. Age the beer in a cool dark place for 4 weeks before sampling.
  17. Enjoy the fruits of you labor! (Beer should be consumed within 6 months - usually not a problem for home brewers!)

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Revised: Sunday, December 21, 1997 22:18:52
Copyright 1996 by [Lee's Brewery].
All trademarks or product names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.