Beer Brewing – Malt Extract Method

The simplest form of home beer brewing begins by using malt extract, only a few pieces of equipment, and some relatively simple ingredients. One only needs to obtain the proper supplies and to set aside a couple hours of time. For your convenience, I have created a short list of supplies you need in order to proceed with a simple home brew recipe. They are available at your local home brewing store and the people who work there are always willing to help someone get started in the home beer brewing hobby. I have decided to choose an India Pale Ale for the first recipe simply because it is not the usual mild pale ale that most brew instructors choose. I like to begin the instruction with a beer that has a little more body, alcohol content, and bitterness. You can, of course, substitute different ingredients if India Pale Ale is not what you want to make.

Beer Brewing Equipment

  • Stock pot of at least 4 gallons in size (16 quarts)
  • Long spoon to stir the brew
  • Fermenter (a 6 1/2 gallon food grade plastic bucket or glass carboy)
  • Airlock (available at your local home brew store)
  • A sanitizing agent (chlorine bleach, iodophor is better)
  • 1 muslin steeping bag
  • 1 brewing thermometer
  • A brewing hydrometer
  • 54 cleaned and sanitized bottles (non twist-off type)
  • Bottle caps
  • A bottle capper
  • Optional secondary Fermenter (a 5 gallon food grade vessel)
  • A 5 gallon food grade bucket for bottling
  • A brewer’s racking cane with hose (for siphoning beer)
  • Optional bottle filler

Ingredients For India Pale Ale (IPA)

  • 9.3 lbs Amber Malt Extract
  • 1 lb crushed Caramel/Crystal Malt 60L
  • 2 oz Fuggle Hops
  • 1 oz Centennial Hops
  • 1 oz Willamette Hops
  • 1 vial of pitchable White Labs English Ale Yeast
  • 1 teaspoon Irish Moss
  • 3/4 cup corn sugar

The Process

  1. The beer brewing day begins by making sure that all of your “tools” have been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. This means that every piece that will come in contact with your brew has been thoroughly cleaned and has been soaked in a solution of one tablespoon chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water for at least an hour. After everything has been cleaned, sanitized, and rinsed well, it is time to begin the brewing procedure.
  2. Make sure you allow the yeast you are using to warm to room temperature for at least 6 hours before you begin your brew.
  3. Bring 2 gallons of water to 150 degrees on your stove. Any water that tastes good will make good beer. You can use tap water, filtered water, or purchased bottled water to make your beer.
  4. Place your crushed Caramel/Crystal Malt into the bag and tie it shut. If your grains aren’t crushed already, you can coarsely crush them with a rolling pin before you place them in the bag. Put the bag in the water and let it steep for approximately 15 minutes. This will add color, flavor, and body to your beer. Remove the steeping bag and discard the grains.
  5. Bring the solution to a boil. Once it has reached a boil, turn off the heat and dump your Amber Malt Extract into the water. Use the hot water to soften the extract left in the container and dump the remains into the boil kettle. Make sure to stir the liquid (now known as wort) to avoid having your malt extract scorch.
  6. Place one of the one ounce Fuggle Hops packets into the kettle and begin boiling your wort. Make sure you pay attention, it is possible to have a sticky boil over when the boil begins. This wort boiling procedure will take exactly 60 minutes. During this time, the bitterness, flavors, and aroma of the hops will be extracted and the wort will be sanitized.
  7. 30 minutes into the boil, place the one ounce Centennial Hops packet into the boiling liquid.
  8. 45 minutes into the boil, place the one ounce Willamette Hops packet into the boiling liquid. At this time, also place one teaspoon of Irish Moss into the boil. This will aid in the coagulation of proteins and will result in a cleaner tasting final product.
  9. 55 minutes into the boil, place the remaining one ounce packet of Fuggle Hops into the boil.
  10. After the 60 minute boil process has completed, it is time to cool the wort to yeast pitching temperature. This means putting the boil kettle into your sink filled with ice and water. Frequently stirring the ice around the boil kettle will assist the cooling procedure. Also stir the boiled “beer” with a sanitized spoon in order to speed the process.
  11. Once the liquid has cooled to approximately 80 degrees, it is time to transfer it to your sanitized fermentation bucket or carboy. Use sanitized water to bring the final liquid volume up to 5 gallons. It is at this time that you might want to use your brewer’s hydrometer to measure the specific gravity of your beer (including the added liquid). Fill the hydrometer’s tube with the beer and allow the hydrometer to float in a container. Read the number that appears at the liquid line. It should be a number that looks something like 1.063. This number can allow us to determine the final alcohol content of our brew.
  12. Pitch your yeast into the beer and vigorously shake your fermentation tank. This agitation will help to increase the amount of oxygen in the beer. At this point, the yeast need a lot of oxygen in order to begin a healthy fermentation. Seal your fermentation vessel with the water-filled sanitized airlock.
  13. For most beers, fermentation will begin within 36 hours. Depending upon the style of beer you are making, the fermentation process will last anywhere between 4 to 7 days. If you have a secondary fermentation tank, it is at this time that you would siphon your beer off the yeast sediment in the primary fermenter and transfer it to the secondary. Fermenting beer that is treated in this manner and left in the secondary fermentation tank for at least 2 weeks will become much clearer and have a cleaner flavor. This process, however, is completely optional.
  14. Once fermentation is complete, transfer the beer to a bottling bucket. Add 3/4 cup of corn sugar that has been boiled with a cup of water. Stir the beer well to make sure the sugar solution is evenly mixed into the solution. Be very careful not to splash the beer at this point. Splashing can cause oxidation in the beer which can lead to off-flavors.
  15. The beer may now be transferred to the cleaned and sanitized bottles. It is also at this time that you should use your hydrometer to measure the final gravity of your beer. Place bottle caps on the bottles and allow them to sit in a warm place for approximately 14 days. You can enter your original and final gravities into the Beer Statistics calculator on my Calculator and Texts page in order to find out the alcohol content, calories per 12 ounces, and carbohydrate content of your beer.
  16. Enjoy your home brewed beer. Home brewed beer is best enjoyed in a clean glass. Pour all but the last quarter inch of beer from the bottle into the glass. This will leave behind the spent yeast cells that have finished performing their duties.