How to Brew Beer From Kits

Here is a generic guide to show you how easy it is to make beer at home from our 40 pint beer kits. Each kit comes with its own specific instructions designed to ensure you get the best out of each different product. Its is best to follow the makers instructions until you have completed a few kits and are confident to experiment by varying the process or ingredients yourself. After selecting one of our beer kits, you will also require...

  • Fermentation container of at least 23 litre (5 gallon) – known as a 'bin' or 'bucket'
  • Stirrer – 18” Paddle
  • Hydrometer
  • Sterilising Powder
  • 2m Syphon tube, or bottling tube.

 

All of the above can be bought together in a brew2bottle starter kit.

Useful additions include a thermometer, trial jar and priming funnel and something to dispense your beer from, either a 23 litre pressure barrel to hold 40 pints or 40 beer bottles and caps.

 

General instructions for beer kits

 

1. Firstly you need to clean and sterilise your fermenting container (fermenter), your stirrer (paddle) and your Hydrometer. Mix your sterilising solution according to the instructions on the pack. It is usual place all your equipment in the fermenter with the solution and sterilise it all at the same time. After 10 to 15 minutes in the solution, empty the solution and thoroughly rinse the equipment to remove all traces of sterilising solution.

2. The can in the kit contains a concentrated solution of malt extract which can be quite thick, so place the can in warm water for 10 minutes to thin the contents and make it easy to pour. Open the can, you may find you need a large and robust can opener to do this, and then empty the contents of the can into your clean fermenting vessel and add between 1 and 3 litres of boiling water. Remember to rinse out the can and add this to the fermenter as well.

3. Now add the sugar which will vary according to the particular kit, but is usually around 1 kilo (more for higher strength beers). There are a number of options for sugar, so for a drier tastin beer use glucose powder or to improve the 'body' of the beer add spray malt or one of our specialist beer enhancers. Stir the mix using the paddle, to ensure the sugar is completely dissolved.

4. Top up the fermenter with cold water to make 23 litres (5 gallons) and stir to ensure an even mix. If you have a thermometer, check the temperature to ensure it is between 180 C. and 250 C and using the sterilised hydrometer, take a reading and note the Specific Gravity (SG). See How to Read a Hydrometer

5. Open the yeast sachet and sprinkle the yeast directly across the top of the beer, without stirring it in. Put the lid on the fermenter and place it in a room with a reasonably constant temperature, ideally between 20°c and 25°c. Fermentation will get under way within 24 hours, but you should leave the beer to ferment for between 5 and 7 days. A brewing heater can be used to maintain temperature.

After initial fermentation has ceased (shown by no rising bubbles) or a further hydrometer reading shows less than 1008, you can put your beer into its dispenser for its secondary fermentation.

6. Bottling - You need to clean and sterilise your syphon tube and 40 one pint beer bottles. Ensure you use bottles which will take the pressure of secondary fermentation. Prime each bottle with half a teaspoon of sugar or beer enhancer (you'll find the priming funnel makes this task easier)

7. Lift the fermenter above the level of the bottling area and ensuring you do not draw any sediment through the syphon tube, fill each bottle to leave a space of approx 25mm (1 inch) at the top. Cap each bottle firmly, shake to dissolve the sugar and place back in the warm room for two days before storing in a cool dark place until the beer has cleared which should take between 7 and 10 days.

NB – When drinking bottle conditioned beer such as this, be careful not to disturb the sediment when pouring. You may find it helpful to hold the bottle up to the light and pour steadily whilst watching for the sediment to to reach the neck.

8. If using a sterilised pressure barrel, siphon the beer in the same way, adding 90 to 100 grams (3 – 4 ounces) sugar or beer enhancer and fit and tighten the cap. Leave to stand for 2 days in a warm room before moving to a cool dark are to clear. Your beer will be ready to drink after about 7 to 10 days but will improve if left longer.