Brewing 101: A Simple Guide To Extract Brewing
Brewing your first batch of beer doesn’t have to be complicated. The key to a successful brewing session lies in planning and cleanliness. In fact, with simple equipment and a few short steps you can be enjoying your own homebrew within a couple weeks!
In your boil kettle, bring your water to a boil. If you have a large kettle, you may be able to fit all of your water needed for the whole batch. If you have a smaller kettle, fill it with as much water as possible but leave room for extract and hops.
Once boiling, add your liquid malt extract(LME) or dried malt extract(DME) to the boil. Stir vigorously as you add the extract, so as not to scorch it on the bottom of the kettle. Also, keep an eye on the kettle and make sure it doesn’t boil over, which won’t hurt your beer but make a stick mess!
Bring the solution (now called wort) back to a rolling boil, and add your first hop addition. This first hop addition contributes the most to the bitterness of your beer. From this point, we will be boiling the wort for a total of 60 minutes.
At 30 minutes into your boil, add your second hop addition. These are often called the “flavor” hops since they contribute the most hop flavor to your beer.
At 50 minutes into your boil, add your third and final hop addition. These hops are called the “aroma” hops, and will contribute to the hoppy aroma of your finished product.
At 60 minutes, turn off the heat to your kettle and wait for the wort to cool down to 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the time at which your wort is most vulnerable to contamination and infection. It is imperative that at this point forward you keep all things that touch the wort clean AND sanitized. This will ensure a great tasting final product. The cooling step can be sped up by using a cold water bath around your boil kettle, either in the bathtub or kitchen sink. You can even add ice to the surrounding water to cool it down faster.
Once the wort is cooled, transfer it to your sanitized fermenting vessel (glass carboy or plastic bucket). Using a strainer at this step will help you filter out any hops.
If you need to, top up the fermenter to 5 gallons with pre-boiled but cool water.
Add the yeast to the fermenter.
Put the sanitized rubber stopper and airlock on the fermenter.
That’s it! Your beer will be ready to bottle in 7-14 days.