DIY Home-Brew Instructions from Brooklyn Brew to pair with our 1-Gallon Beer Recipes and Brew Your Own Tool Kit!
Additional Items Needed
3 Tablespoons Honey
Brewing Bottles (or recycled beer bottles and a Bottle Capper + Caps)
Sanitization is important, but it's nothing scary. When brewing, keep everything clean so that you give what you're brewing its best chance to succeed. So when preparing for brew day, wipe any crumbs off the counters. Move any clutter that might be in your way. Read through the rest of the instructions (at least through fermentation) so that you know what to expect. And have fun!
Dissolve about 1/4 oz of sanitizer with a gallon of water in a container like a bucket or your (empty) kitchen sink.
Soak everything you are going to use, and shake out the foam. Against your better judgement, DO NOT RINSE with water. Star San is a no-rinse sanitizer. All remnants dissipate, and do not affect your brew.
Keep the extra sanitizer in a container for now. Chances are you’ll want to re-sanitize something later.
STEP 1: THE MASH During The Mash, you're extracting all the sugars, color and flavor you can from grain. You're basically just steeping grain in hot water. It's a lot like making oatmeal.
Heat 2.5 quarts (2.4 liters) of water to 160°F (71°C).
Add grain (This is called “mashing in.” Take note of jargon. Or don’t).
Mix gently with spoon or spatula until mash has consistency of oatmeal. Add water if too dry or hot. Temperature will drop to ~150°F (66°C).
Cook for 60 minutes at 144-152°F (63-68°C). Stir every 10 minutes, and use your thermometer to take temperature readings from multiple locations.
You likely don’t need to apply heat constantly. Get it up to temperature, then turn the heat off. Monitor, stir, and adjust accordingly to keep in range.
After 60 minutes, heat to 170°F (77°C) while stirring constantly (“Mashing Out”).
STEP 2: THE SPARGE If you're familiar with brewing coffee, you should have an idea of how The Sparge works. During The Sparge, you put the grain in a strainer and pour hot water over it to draw out all those sugars you created during The Mash.
Heat additional 4.5 quarts (4.25 liters) of water to 170°F (77°C). (If possible, start this during The Mash to save time.)
Set up your “lauter tun” (a strainer over a pot).
Carefully add the hot grain mash to the strainer, collecting the liquid that passes through.
This liquid is called “wort” (pronounced “wert”). It will be your beer.
Slowly and evenly pour 170°F (77°C) water over the mash to extract the grain’s sugars.
You want to collect 5 quarts (4.75 liters) of wort. You will lose about 20% to evaporation later on, so you want to start with a bit more than you’ll end with.
Re-circulate wort through grain once.
STEP 3: THE BOIL The Boil is probably the easiest step to understand because it's as simple as it sounds. During this step, you're bringing your wort to a low, rolling boil and keeping it there for a period of time while adding things like hops or spices. It's a lot like cooking a soup or stock in that you'll add heartier or bittering ingredients toward the beginning and more delicate and aromatic ingredients toward the end.
In a pot, heat wort until it boils.
Keep boiling until you’ve hit the “hot break” (Wort will foam - you may need to reduce heat slightly so it doesn’t boil over.)
Stir occasionally. All you want is a light boil – too hot and you lose fermentable sugars and volume.
The boil will last about 60 minutes or more depending on the recipe. Start your timer and add in your hops, based on your recipe recommendations.
Twenty percent of the wort will have evaporated in this step leaving you with 1 gallon (3.8 liters) of wort. If your boil was a bit high, the surface area of your pot extra large, or you brewed on a really hot day, you may have less than the full amount. Don’t worry – you just reduced your beer a bit too much, but you can add more water in the next step.
STEP 4: FERMENTATION This is when your beer actually becomes alcoholic. During Fermentation, your jugs should sit somewhere out of the way (and out of direct sunlight) while ale yeast turns sugar into alcohol.
Place brew pot in an ice bath until it cools to 70°F (21°C).
Once cooled, place strainer over funnel and pour your beer into the glass fermenter. Yeast needs oxygen. The strainer helps aerate your wort and clarify your beer (as well as catch any sediment from going into the fermenter). Add filtered (or pre-boiled and cooled) water to bring wort up to 1 Gallon mark if level is low.
“Pitch” yeast. (Toss the whole packet in.)
Shake aggressively. You’re basically waking up the yeast and getting more air into the wort.
Attach sanitized stopper to bottle. Slide rubber tubing no more than 1” (2.5 cm) into the stopper and place the other end in small bowl of sanitizer solution. You’ve just made a “blow-o tube”. It allows CO2 to escape.
Let sit for two or three days or until vigorous bubbling subsides. This is when fermentation is highest. You may notice bubbles and foam at the top of the beer. After bubbling calms down, clean tubing and ready your airlock.
Sanitize, then re-assemble airlock, filling 1/3 of the way with sanitizer.
Insert airlock into hole in stopper.
Keep in a dark place at room temperature for two weeks without disturbing other than to show off to friends. (If beer is still bubbling, leave sitting until it stops.)
In the meantime, drink beer with self-closing swing tops, or ask for empties at a bar that has some. If you have a Bottle Capper + Caps, you can save two six packs of non-twist top beers instead. Or purchase Swing Top Brewing Bottles.
STEP 5: BOTTLING (2 Weeks Later) Once your beer's in bottles, it carbonates naturally with the help of just a little extra sugar. It wakes up your ale yeast (that went dormant during fermentation) to create just enough bubbles for some nice fizz.
Thoroughly rinse bottles with water, removing any sediment.
Mix remaining sanitizer with water.
Fill each bottle with a little sanitizer and shake. Empty after two minutes, rinse with cold water and dry upside down.
Dissolve 3 tablespoons honey with 1/2 cup water. Pour into a sanitized pot. You will be siphoning your beer into the same pot in the next steps.
Carbonation comes from adding sugar when bottling, so if you filled your jug with less than the full gallon in the last step, use less honey when bottling. Using the full amount can result in your beer being over-carbonated.
Siphoning (It all happens pretty fast. You may want to practice on a pot of water a few times.) To see it in action first, watch the How to Bottle video at brooklynbrewshop.com/instructions.
Our Tool Kit includes an Auto-Siphon and Bottle Filler for making bottling easy!
Siphon beer from pot into bottles.
Seal or cap your bottles.
Store in a dark place for 2 weeks.
STEP 6: ENJOY! (Two Weeks Later) You did it! You made beer.
Put beers in the fridge the night before you drink them.
Drink, share and enjoy!