How to Make Beer

Picture of How to Make Beer
So, you've considered brewing your own beer but you're not yet willing to drop the cash for the entry level kit just yet. With a few simple pieces of equipment and ingredients here's how you can brew your own mini batch. In just a couple of weeks you can taste for yourself if homebrewing is a hobby you want to take to the next level.

Don't get me wrong, I think the entry level brew kits are a good value. They include some special equipment not used here that will make things easier. But, will you enjoy the beer or find the brewing process rewarding? I think so. This project will allow you to find out for yourself.
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Step 1: Equipment

Picture of Equipment
  • Brew pot - any large kitchen pot that will hold a couple of gallons of water with room to spare to avoid boiling over.
  • Kitchen strainer - to strain grains and hops before going to the fermenter
  • Kitchen thermometer
  • Large funnel
  • Rolling pin - for crushing the grain
  • 3 gallon container of bottled water - this will provide you with the water to make your beer and serve as your fermentation container
  • Bottling container - An empty container of at least 3 gallons...could be another empty water bottle or a clean, scratch-free, food grade plastic bucket.
  • 3 feet of 3/8" clear poly-vinyl tubing - for siphoning and fermentation air lock
  • Bottles - there are a lot of options here and I'll cover some of them in the bottling step later

Step 2: Ingredients

Most recipes for the homebrewer are written to make 5 gallon batches. I've simply cut the ingredient list by half for the 2.5 gallon batch here. You'll need to find a local homebrew supply shop or one of many such shops on the web from which to purchase the ingredients. (See resource list in Step 15)

Simple Ale
  • 3 lbs light dried malt extract
  • 8 oz crushed crystal malt
  • 1 oz Northern Brewer pellet hops
  • 1 pkg brewers yeast
  • 3/8 cup sugar for bottling
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lorn.menzies4 months ago

does it matter if you have only just over 1 gallon of boiling water?

rich.woods.565 months ago

Where can I get malt amphetimines?

abrar.burk5 months ago

hi! i have full grains of munich malt. you seem to have used a malt extract & a little bit of crystal malt. is it ok if i just use munich malt as my base malt without using any speciality grains ( like crystal malt ). If yes then what quantity of munich malt should i use for a 2.5 gallon batch? Also im guessing i must totally ignore step 4 if im not using any speciality grain right? thanks.

imarunner2 (author)  abrar.burk5 months ago

Using munich malt would require doing a "mash" step. Mashing is beyond the scope of this instructable but you can find many resources on the web. Search for brewing all-grain. Using malt extract takes advantage of the manufacturer having done the mash for you but mashing yourself gives you more flexibility in the final product.

TheWineBrewer7 months ago

Hey I got a great video here on bottling beer:

imarunner2 (author)  TheWineBrewer7 months ago
Kharabe3 years ago
easier way to carbonate your bottles is to add corn sugar to each bottle heres the chart
12 oz bottle 3/4 tsp
16oz bottle 1tsp
22 oz bottle 1 1/2 tsp
1 liter bottle 2 1/2 tsp
2 liter bottle 1 1/2 tbsp
3 liter bottle 2 1/4 tbsp

its that easy and you dont have any where near as much risk of to much or not enough sugar when bottling as you do using a sugaring solution mixed with the wort
Corn sugar? Is that High Fat Corn Syrup?
I know it's a year old, but this struck me as wrong and I've got that typical internet user's inability to let bad information just sit around on the internet willy nilly.  A quick hit to google told me that corn sugar is not the same thing as corn syrup.  In fact, the Corn Growers Association of America tried to get corn syrup renamed to corn sugar but the FDA denied them.  Probably because there already is such a thing as corn sugar, and it's a whole different beast than corn syrup.

Corn sugar is dextrose, which is a type of glucose.  High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is solution of roughly 50/50 (it varies by intended purpose) fructose and glucose in a small amount of water. Table sugar is sucrose (refined cane sugar), which is a combined molecule of fructose and glucose produced by sugar cane and sugar beats.

HFCS is a manufactured product, corn sugar and table sugar are refined natural products, which is why HFCS is cheaper.

Not a single one of them contains any fat at all.  They are 100% fat free.  They can, however, MAKE you fat.  Your body converts unused sugar into fat for storage.  Thus, sugar of any kind has no fat, yet eating too much is quite fattening.  
That's interesting (corn sugar vs. aggressively marketed high fat corn syrup). Corn syrup works good for making gummy bears, and fake pancake syrup, but it's absolutely awful in tea and many beverages. I wondered if you were using the corny syrup in your beer recipe. I've never seen a bag of "corn sugar" but it probably exists. Thanks.
frosh26261 year ago
If I wanted to make a fruit beer, at what point would I add fruit? Im assuming during the fermenting process? I'm just concerned as fruits have a natural sugar of course and could mess with the process.
did you get an answer?
imarunner2 (author)  ygorbulsky1 year ago
I haven't done many fruit beers but I know opinions are all over the board on when to add it, if and how to process it, and on and on. It also depends somewhat on exactly what you want out of the finished product. You duly note the sugars in fruit will be happily consumed by the yeast.

Like I said, there are lots of opinions and techniques for making fruit beers. As a general rule late fruit additions (after primary fermentation is complete) will lend more fruit flavor and aroma to the finished beer...much like late hop additions contribute more hop flavor and aroma.
frosh26261 year ago
If I wanted to make a fruit beer, at what point would I add fruit?
Octorobot1 year ago
I write for a beer blog ( and I've always wanted to start brewing. I didn't have enough space to try it until recently and frankly was a little intimidated by the process and thinking about all of the equipment that I thought I'd need.

Thanks for the post (and the comments)! It's nice to know that I can potentially brew a good tasting ale on the cheap with semi-MacGyvered equipment. I love that kind of thing!
jonnybo1112 years ago
This looks like a very detailed instructable but I wonder something about the taste.
Is it a wheaty beer or a plain beer or a dry beer soft beer and so on and so forth
as long as you use the correct strain of yeast for the type of beer you are brewing and make sure that everything post-boil is sanitized, there should be no problem with flavor...
Also, make sure that you pay very close attention to your temperatures especially when you pitch your yeast... if your wort is too hot the yeast will be shocked and die... if it is too cold, the yeast will remain dormant and not ferment either.
I have an Irish stout the I got from Midwest Supplies in bottles now and an American Pie Cream Ale from Homebrew USA in my primary fermenter now... Can't wait until I can open some bottles!

All in all, good instructable! One thing though that you should note...
While you can use a new plastic water jug as a fermenter, you may have a serious problem getting the flavor out of the plastic which is why most home-brewers use the glass carboy... it is much easier to clean and isn't porous so no bacteria can hide inside once it's been cleaned/sanitized...

One last thing... Star-San... this stuff is amazing... you definitely must get some and keep it on hand if you intend to brew much.

imarunner2 (author)  jonnybo1112 years ago
This Instructable is more about the brewing process rather than the recipe. You can make many different beers by varying the ingredients following this technique.
ssherard2 years ago
Would it hurt to place a spigot about a inch above the bottom in the bottle for the siphoning to the bottling bucket. Or would that disturb too much sedi?
Thanks Sandra, that guide is brilliant just what I was looking for. I can finally make tasty beer and save money at the same time. I'm a happy chappy!
nik142 years ago
u 'll not have to do any research to find out what causes chill haze

because i found it

u just have 2 put the beer bottles in the 'fridge.u will see after 36-48 hours it gets chill haze, remove it to room temp for another 24-36 hours and those proteins settle out leaving protein free clear beer behind!
I use the liter I saved to "re-pitch" before botteling, and it's not needed if you keg of course....

I hope this is usefull 4 u
madmedix4 years ago
Yes there is....use a cornelius keg (the old stainless steel kegs used to be connected to soda fountains), a tank of CO2 and a regulator. Get at least a 24" fridge. Get the draught tap. drill a hole through the door. NO MORE BOTTLING. and in about 2 days. NO SEDIMENT. It is worth every freakin' penny. No more bleach splashing in bottles, all that jazz. only have to sanitize the kegs, clean the lines (reasonably, about one a month) and you are golden....And in no shortage of friends to help you try it out either :-)
Oh know the name of the SS keg... "cornelius." THANK YOU!!!
YEAH kegging is where its at!...that being said its not for everyone. requires more space than is also a larger cash investment.
80391807 years ago
im limited to ingridients. there isnt a homebrew store around where i live. so i was wondering what can i substitute for the ingridients. things that i cud find at a market or grocery store or something. i was wondering about corn starch, and whole wheat flour, for my "barley" and cloves for my "hops." wud that work? if not please help me out. thank you.
Raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries!!! Fantastic flavors for beer!!

Shipyard makes a fantastic seasonal Blueberry Smash ale.... and I thought it was one of the fines beers I've ever tasted.
imarunner2 (author)  80391807 years ago
If I were you I'd consider trying to brew with something you DO have available. If you are able to get apples you might try brewing a hard cider or if you have honey available you might try brewing a mead. I've personally not brewed either but I've tasted some excellent samples of both from home brewers.
Yeah! There's lots that can be brewed without brewer's ingredients, but most of them aren't beer. From my limited knowledge, any combination of sugar and yeast in a liquid will produce some sort of alcoholic beverage. Look around on the net for recipes, and if you're technically inclined, there are for sure some demos out there on how to make moonshine from corn syrup or sugar. You'd just need to fashion yourself a little still, which would cost about $40 or $50 at your hardware store. (note this isn't legal everywhere)
sabetts 80391807 years ago
If you can't get malted grains and hops (and dont want to order it online), then you can always try making hooch! You'll need white sugar, molasses, some fruit juice, and bread yeast. Boil everything but the yeast with water. I believe the ratio is 5kg of sugar per 20L of water. The molasses and fruit juice add nutrients for the yeast since it can't live no white sugar alone. Cool it and transfer to your fermenter and pitch your yeast. The next step is to build yourself a still. I'd recommend a tea kettle still because its easy to make. You can find all the details online of course :).
mev6 years ago
If you have a turkey fryer, you may want to use the burner and boil outside. It's a little less convenient than brewing in a kitchen, but if you boil over, the mess is outside, not in your kitchen. A boilover is a real sticky mess!
BeerLover mev3 years ago
I LOVE that idea!!!!
eranox mev6 years ago
100% agreed! If you're married and experience a boil-over in your kitchen, expect to hear about it in recurring arguments for many years to come.
Is using hops necessary ? cuz i couldn't get any...and is there a replacement ?
You can substitue othe things for the hops like Sruce tips.

BeerLover3 years ago
This looks fantastic. I CANNOT wait to try it.
rug3 years ago
at what step would we add other flavors?
Munchys4 years ago
I am only 15 is this legal?
no. it's only legal if you're over the legal drinking age.
is it legal if it just made it?
jrh065 Munchys4 years ago
No, the law generally allows 100 gallons max per person that is 21 years or older with a limit of 200 gallons per household. Since you are not 21 then you are not allotted any gallons of beer. However if one of your parents were interested You could certainly help/watch. You may be allowed to consume within the privacy of your own home if a parent gives you permission and is present, but check your state laws. The state and your local municipality makes the law on most of that stuff. In general don't worry about drinking for a while. It can wait it's not that special really.
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