Beginners Home Brew!

Written by Cricket

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This home brew isn’t from the garden, but once you master beer-making you can definitely add some of  your own botanicals. That will be the fun part for me. For now, it’s time for…

Beginners Home Brew

I’m using a kit from Brewer’s Best for Milk Stout (it’s one of Taylor’s favorites).

You can get this kit and all the equipment online or if you are in Scottsdale, Gilbert, or Tucson, at the Brew Your Own Brew store.

Here is a list of equipment you’ll need for this

  • 4 gallon pot
  • 6.5 gallon fermenting bucket
  • 5 gal glass carboy
  • airlock
  • Siphon
  • Long spoon
  • Hydrometer
  • Thermometer
  • Sanitizer (no-rinse or bleach)
  • 12 oz. beer bottles (about 53)
  • crown caps for bottles

The Ingredient Kit includes:

  • 3.3 lb Special Dark LME (liquid malt extract)
  • 3.3 lb Light LME
  • .5 lb Lactose
  • .5 lb Maltodextrin
  • 8 oz Caramel 120L
  • 4 oz Roasted Barley
  • 4 oz Dark Chocolate
  • .5 oz Magnum Hops
  • .5 oz Cluster Hops
  • 1 packet yeast

Here are the steps for Brew Day

(Derived from Brewer’s Best Recommended Procedures for this kit)

Step 1 Read

Read the entire instructions so that you have everything ready at the right time (I’m bad at this, so it is a good reminder for me).

Step 2 Sanitize

Have your sink, pan,  and/or bucket filled with sanitized water and all of your equipment soaking in it.

Think Ahead

Place the LME canisters in hot water to allow them to pour more easily in Step 4.

Step 3 Steep Grains (Making the Wort)

Pour 2.5 gallons of lean water into your brew pot and heat. Pour crushed grains into grain bag and tie a loose knot at the top of the bag. When the water is 150-166 F place the grain bag into the brew pot. Steep at that temperature for 20 min. Remove the bag without squeezing and allow the liquid to drain back into the brew pot.

Step 4 Start Boil

Bring your wort to a gentle, rolling boil. Add all of the included LME (Special Dark and Light liquid Malt Extract) to the boiling wort. Continuously stir the extract into the wort as it returns to a gentle, rolling boil. Make sure the extract does not sit on the bottom of the pan because it will burn.

Need a bigger pan!

Step 4.2 Pour Wort into BIGGER Sanitized pot

I Quickly grabbed my 23 qt pressure canner! Next time I’ll start there.

Step 5 Follow Brew Day Schedule & Record Times (60 minute total boil time)

Slowly sprinkle the Magnum hops (these smell SO GOOD) into the boiling wort. Be careful not to let the wort boil over the pot (missed that one). Record the time the hops were added to help keep your brew on schedule. Continue the gentle, rolling boil until for 50 minutes.

Add the Cluster Hops, record the time, and boil for 10 more minutes. Terminate the boil, record time.

Step 6 Cool Wort and Transfer

Cool the wort down to approximately 70º F by lacing the brew pot in a sink filled with ice water.

Pour or siphon wort into a sanitized fermenting bucket. Avoid transferring the heavy sediment from the brew pot.

Step 7 Add Water

Add enough clean water (64º-72º F) to the bucket to bring your wort to approximately 5 gallons. Thoroughly stir the water into the wort. Place a sanitized hydrometer in the bucket at about 4 gallons to monitor the while adding water to monitor the Specific Gravity. Be careful not to add a volume of water that will cause the wort to fall outside of the OG (original gravity) range specified in the Brew Stats on the front of the page (1.057 – 1.061).

Note: I didn’t realize I was supposed to put the hydrometer in the bucket to measure, so I used a testing cylinder. I got the OG out of range because I wasn’t watching.

Step 8 Pitch Yeast (Add Yeast to Wort)

Sprinkle the dry contents of the yeast packet over the top of the entire wort surface and stir well with sanitized spoon.

Step 9 Ferment

Firmly secure the lid onto the fermenter. Fill your airlock halfway with water and gently twist the airlock into the grommeted lid. Move fermenter to a dark, warm, temperature-stable area (64º-72ºF). After about a week it’s time to move to the secondary ferment.

After 1 week…

Step 10

Be sure to sanitize the carboy, funnel, racking cane, tubing, and hydrometer.

Step 11 Record SG with your hydrometer

This is more easily done in the bucket, but I used the testing cylinder again (just do it in the bucket next time). Make sure to sanitize the cylinder and the hydrometer.

Step 12 Rack (siphon) beer into carboy

Place your bucket in a location higher than your carboy and siphon the beer, making sure to not get the sediment in the bottom. I use a racking cane that prevents that. You can also get an auto-siphon to help start the siphon flow.

Step 13 Ferment another 2 weeks

Here it is fermenting next to my peach wine behind a curtain in the pantry.

Step 14 Bottling (next week!)

About the author


Welcome to my blog! I’m Cricket (yes, my parents named me that!) and I’m a natural homesteader. Growing up in rural Idaho with a garden, a horse, and lots of canned food, I like to bring those sensibilities to my suburban home in Phoenix, Arizona. Add a little dose of cottage garden flavor and permaculture tendencies, and you’ll see why GardenVariety.Life is a reflection of everything I do.

I truly enjoy sharing the skills that promote a meaningful and practical connection to our gardens and environment. Because so many residents of the metro phoenix area are transplants, I find that the area’s unique desert climate is often misunderstood and underestimated in terms of what is possible. That’s where the fun begins. Arizona is a burgeoning permaculture haven with homesteading written all over it, and there is nothing I enjoy more than encouraging others to jump in and give it a try.