How to brew with beer kits

Brewing with a beer kit is a great way for beginners to start brewing beer at home

Beginners can easily make great tasting beer from the get go, and learn the principles of fermentation and sanitization!

Here is a general overview of the steps involved in brewing with a beer kit:

  1. Clean and sanitize all equipment: Before you start brewing, it's important to clean and sanitize all equipment that will be used, including fermenter, bottles, and other utensils. This will help prevent contamination and ensure that your beer tastes great.
  2. Prepare the ingredients: Beer kits typically come with a can of malt extract and a package of hops and yeast. Follow the instructions on the kit to prepare the ingredients. Some kits may require additional ingredients such as sugar or priming sugar.
  3. Make the wort: Add the malt extract to water and bringing it to a boil. You will also add the hops at the appropriate time. [you can actually skip this part and add the malt direct to the fermenting drum and add the required amount of water (usually 20 litres per kit)
  4. Cool the wort: After boiling, the wort needs to be cooled to a temperature between 60-70°F (15-21°C) before adding the yeast. This can be done by placing the pot in an ice bath or using a wort chiller.
  5. Add yeast: Once the wort has cooled, pitch the yeast in.
  6. Ferment the beer: Transfer the wort to a fermenter, and add water to bring it to the desired volume. Seal the fermenter and place it in a cool, dark place. The fermentation process typically takes 3-7 days, depending on the recipe.
  7. Transfer to secondary fermenter: Once the primary fermentation is complete, transfer the beer to a secondary fermenter or keg/bottle for conditioning.
  8. Bottle or keg: Once the beer has been conditioned for the appropriate amount of time, it's ready to be bottled or kegged. Be sure to use clean, sanitized bottles or keg, and add priming sugar if necessary.

Remember to always follow the instructions provided with your beer kit and always have patience, as brewing good beer takes time. As you become more experienced, you can start experimenting with different hops, yeasts, and other ingredients to create unique and delicious beers.

There are many more elements to consider when making beer, let's cover a few. 

brewing beer guide


How to properly pitch yeast:



Pitching yeast is the process of adding yeast to wort (unfermented beer) to begin the fermentation process. Here are some best practices for pitching yeast for homebrew beer:

  • Start with healthy yeast: Make sure the yeast you are using is fresh and has been stored properly. Old or poorly stored yeast can lead to off flavors in the final beer.
  • Rehydrate the yeast: Before pitching, rehydrate the yeast in warm water (around 104-108°F) for about 15-20 minutes. This will help the yeast to activate and start fermenting more quickly.
  • Aerate the wort: Before pitching the yeast, make sure to aerate the wort by shaking the fermenter or using an aeration stone. Oxygen is necessary for the yeast to carry out their metabolic processes.
  • Pitch the yeast at the right temperature: Yeast perform best at a specific temperature range, depending on the strain. For most ale yeast strains, the optimal temperature range is around 68-72°F. Lager yeast strains perform best at slightly cooler temperatures, around 45-55°F. If the water is too hot, the yeast will die and fermentation with 
  • Pitch the right amount of yeast: Pitching the right amount of yeast is important for a successful fermentation. Underpitching can lead to a slow or stuck fermentation, while overpitching can lead to off flavors. A general rule of thumb is to pitch about 1 million cells of yeast per milliliter of wort per degree Plato. If you have a packet yeast and using a 30 litre drum, use all the contents of the packet.
  • Temperature of wort is important because Yeast cells are sensitive to temperature, the optimal temperature range is specific for the yeast strain you are using, for example for most ale yeast strains the optimal temperature range is around 68-72°F, if the temperature is too high or low, the yeast will be stressed and ferment less efficiently.

pitching yeast correctly

How do I know if my homebrew beer is ready to bottle?

There are a few ways to determine if your homebrew beer is ready to bottle:

  • Gravity Reading: One of the most reliable ways to know if your beer is ready to bottle is to take a gravity reading. When the beer has reached its final gravity, it means that fermentation is complete and the beer is ready to bottle.
  • Visual Inspection: Take a look at your beer. If the beer has cleared, and there are no bubbles in the airlock, it's likely that the beer is ready to bottle.
  • Taste Test: You can also taste your beer to see if it's ready to bottle. If the beer tastes balanced and the flavors are stable, it's likely that the beer is ready to bottle.
  • Wait time: You need to wait at least a week after the gravity reading has stabilized before bottling or kegging. This time will allow the beer to age, and the yeast to settle out

How long should beer be conditioned in bottles for?


The length of time that beer should be conditioned in bottles will depend on the style of beer and personal preference. Generally speaking, most beers will benefit from at least a few weeks of bottle conditioning. This time allows the yeast to continue fermenting the beer and carbonating it naturally, improving the beer's flavor, aroma, and carbonation level.

For lighter beers such as lagers or wheat beers, a minimum of two weeks at room temperature and then refrigeration is usually sufficient.

For more complex beers, such as Belgians or sours, bottle conditioning can take several months. These beers require more aging to develop their complex flavors, and they may continue to change over time.

It's also important to note that not all beers need to be bottle-conditioned. Some beers, particularly those that are filtered or pasteurized, are best consumed fresh and should not be aged.

A good rule of thumb is to start sampling your beer after a week or two of conditioning and continue to check on it every week or so. Once it reaches the level of carbonation and flavor that you like, it's ready to be refrigerated and consumed.

It's always a good idea to label your bottles with the brew date and the date you plan to check them, so you don't lose track of time.

What are the best sanitization practices for home brewers?


The best sanitation practices for home brewers include:

  1. Cleaning: Before sanitizing, it's essential to thoroughly clean all equipment, including fermenters, hoses, bottles, and kegs, with mild detergent and hot water. This will remove any dirt, grime, and other debris that can harbour bacteria and other contaminants.
  2. Sanitizing: After cleaning, it's important to sanitize all equipment to kill any remaining bacteria or other microorganisms that could spoil the beer. There are several sanitizing solutions available specifically for brewing. Star-San is a popular option, which is an acid-based, no-rinse sanitizer that is effective and easy to use.
  3. Properly Storing equipment: Equipment should be stored in a clean, dry place to prevent contamination. Avoid storing equipment in damp or humid areas, as this can promote the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms.
  4. Use clean, filtered water: Water is an essential ingredient for brewing beer, and it's crucial to use clean, filtered water to avoid contamination. Avoid using tap water, as it may contain chlorine or other chemicals that can affect the taste and quality of your beer.
  5. Personal hygiene: As a brewer, you should always practice good personal hygiene, such as washing your hands frequently and avoiding smoking or eating in the brewing area.
  6. It's important to note that sanitation is critical throughout the brewing process to ensure that your beer is safe to drink and tastes great. By following these best practices, you can help prevent contamination and ensure that your beer is high-quality.

how to brew beer with a kit

How does water quality affect beer?

Water quality is an important factor in brewing beer, as it can affect the taste and quality of the final product. Different minerals and chemicals in water can impact the pH levels, color, and flavor of the beer.

Here are a few ways that water quality can affect beer:

  • pH: The pH levels of water can affect the fermentation process and the flavor of the beer. Water that is too alkaline can make the beer taste bitter and can also cause haze or other issues with clarity. Water that is too acidic can make the beer taste sour and can also affect the yeast's ability to ferment the beer properly.
  • Minerals: Different minerals in water can also affect the beer's flavor. For example, water that is high in calcium can make the beer taste crisp and dry, while water that is high in sulfur can make the beer taste metallic or medicinal.
  • Chlorine: Chlorine can also affect the taste of beer, and it is one of the main reason why tap water is not suitable for brewing. Chlorine can cause off-flavors in beer and can also kill the yeast, preventing fermentation.
  • Chloramines: Chloramines are a type of disinfectant used by some municipalities to treat water and it is also not suitable for brewing, as it can also cause off-flavors in beer and can also kill the yeast, preventing fermentation.

To ensure the best water quality, it's recommended that home brewers use filtered or distilled water, or they can also use a water treatment system specifically designed for brewing.

It's also important to consider the water source and the mineral content that is appropriate for the beer you're brewing. Water from different regions, can have different mineral content that might complement or clash with specific beer styles.

What are the best hops for brewing beer?

best hops with beer kits

There are many different hop varieties that can be used for brewing beer, and the best hops will depend on the style of beer you're brewing. Here are a few popular hop varieties and the styles of beer they are commonly used for:

  1. Cascade: A popular American hop that is known for its strong citrus and floral aromas. It is commonly used in pale ales, IPAs, and other American-style beers.
  2. Centennial: Another American hop that is known for its high alpha acid content and strong citrus and floral aromas. It is commonly used in IPAs, pale ales, and other American-style beers.
  3. Chinook: A strong, pungent American hop that is known for its high alpha acid content and piney, spicy aromas. It is commonly used in IPAs, pale ales, and other American-style beers.
  4. Saaz: A classic Czech hop that is known for its mild, earthy, and spicy aromas. It is commonly used in Pilsners, lagers, and other European-style beers.
  5. Hallertau: A classic German hop that is known for its mild, floral, and spicy aromas. It is commonly used in lagers, Pilsners, and other European-style beers.
  6. Willamette: An American hop, known for its mild and fruity aroma, it is commonly used in American ales, pale ales, and stouts.
  7. Simcoe: Known for its unique aroma, a combination of pine, fruit and earthy notes, is commonly used in IPAs, pale ales, and other American-style beers
  8. Mosaic: A newer hop variety, known for its complex aroma, with notes of tropical fruits, berries and earthy notes, is commonly used in IPAs, pale ales, and other American-style beers.
These are just a few examples of popular hop varieties and the styles of beer they are commonly used for. There are many other hop varieties available such as those grown in New Zealand.

What are some common home brewing mistakes new beginners make?

Home brewing can be a fun and rewarding hobby, but it can also be easy to make mistakes, especially for new beginners. Here are some common home brewing mistakes that new beginners make:

  • Not cleaning and sanitizing equipment properly: Cleaning and sanitizing equipment is critical to producing high-quality beer, and not doing it properly can lead to contamination and off-flavors.
  • Using tap water: Tap water can contain chlorine or other chemicals that can affect the taste and quality of your beer. It's important to use filtered or distilled water to avoid these problems.
  • Not controlling fermentation temperature: Fermentation temperature can greatly affect the final beer, and not controlling it properly can lead to off-flavors and other issues.
  • Not measuring original gravity and final gravity: Measuring the original gravity and final gravity of the beer is important to monitor the fermentation progress and ensure that the beer is ready to bottle.
  • Not being patient: Brewing beer takes time, and rushing the process can lead to problems with fermentation, carbonation, and overall quality.
  • Not following the recipe: Using the right ingredients and following the recipe is essential to brewing a good beer. Not following the recipe can lead to off-flavors and other problems.
  • Over priming: Over priming is when too much sugar is added to the beer before bottling, leading to bottles exploding or gushing beer when opened.
  • Not aging beer long enough: some beer styles require a longer aging period, not letting them age enough can lead to a lack of flavor development or carbonation.
By avoiding these common mistakes, you can increase your chances of brewing a high-quality beer. Remember to take your time, follow instructions, and enjoy the process. And always feel free to ask for help or advice from more experienced home brewers.

How to tell if your brew is infected by bacteria

infected home brew beer


An infected beer can have several signs of bacterial contamination, which include:

  • Off-flavors: An infected beer may have sour, rancid, or metallic flavors that are not characteristic of the style of beer.
  • Cloudy appearance: An infected beer may appear cloudy or hazy, even after proper clarification.
  • Off-aromas: An infected beer may have a strong, sour or vinegar-like aroma, which is not characteristic of the style of beer.
  • Unusual head: An infected beer may have a weak or no head, or a head that dissipates quickly.
  • Unusual or no carbonation: An infected beer may be either over or under carbonated.
  • Unusual sediment: An infected beer may have a thick, slimy, or stringy sediment that does not dissipate over time.

It's important to note that not all beers will have all these signs of infection, and the severity of the symptoms can vary. Also some of these symptoms can also be caused by other factors such as poor brewing practices or equipment issues (clean your gear people!).

It's important to follow good sanitation practices during the brewing process, and to be vigilant about monitoring your beer for any signs of infection. If you suspect that your beer is infected, it's best to discard it, as it is not safe to drink.

It's always a good idea to take notes and keep records of your brewing process and ingredients, so you can track down what went wrong and make adjustments for future batches.


Can I accidentally make methanol when home brewing beer?

methanol in beer brewing


Methanol is a toxic alcohol that can be produced during fermentation if certain conditions are present. It is a byproduct of the fermentation of fruits or grains that contain pectin, and it is not commonly found in beer. However, it is possible to produce methanol when home brewing beer if certain conditions are present.

Methanol can be produced when fermenting with fruits that contain high levels of pectin, such as apples or plums, or when using high levels of certain types of sugars, such as brown sugar. It can also be produced if the fermentation temperature is too high, or if the fermentation is not properly monitored.

To avoid the production of methanol, it's important to use ingredients that are known to be safe for brewing beer and to follow proper brewing techniques. It's also important to use proper sanitation practices, to avoid contamination by bacteria or wild yeast that can produce methanol.

It's also important to note that methanol can be present in very small amounts in some alcoholic beverages, and it is not a cause for concern in these amounts. It is only when consumed in large quantities that it becomes toxic and can cause serious health problems.

However, if you suspect that your beer might have a high level of methanol, it is best to discard it and seek professional advice. It is not safe to drink and should not be consumed.

methanol risk from home brew beer

Is there a risk of leaving beer in the primary fermenter too long?


The length of time that beer can be left in the primary fermenter will depend on the style of beer and the specific fermentation conditions. Generally speaking, most beers will benefit from 3-7 days in the primary fermenter before being transferred to a secondary fermenter or keg/bottle for conditioning.

During the primary fermentation, yeast will consume most of the sugars present and will produce alcohol and carbon dioxide. After 3-7 days, the yeast will start to settle and the beer will become clearer. This is the appropriate time to transfer the beer to a secondary fermenter, where it can continue to age and develop flavor.

However, it's important to note that some beers, particularly those that are high in gravity or have a high adjunct content, may require more time in the primary fermenter. For example, Belgian-style beers or beers that have a high fruit content can require up to 14 days or more in the primary fermenter.

It's also important to monitor the fermentation process and to take gravity readings to ensure that fermentation has been completed before transferring the beer to a secondary fermenter or keg/bottle.

When in doubt, it's best to follow the instructions provided with your recipe or consult with more experienced home brewers.

making beer with a kit

Can I use carbonation drops with beer kits?


Yes, you can use carbonation drops with beer kits. Carbonation drops, also known as priming sugar, are a convenient way to carbonate your beer after bottling. They are usually made from glucose or dextrose and are added to the bottle before capping. The yeast that remains in the beer will consume the sugar and produce carbon dioxide, which carbonates the beer.

Carbonation drops are a popular choice among home brewers because they are easy to use, and they allow you to control the carbonation level of your beer. However, it's important to use the right amount of carbonation drops based on the style of beer you are brewing and the desired carbonation level. Typically, 5-7 carbonation drops per bottle is a good starting point, but this can vary depending on the recipe and personal preference.

It's also important to note that you have to be careful when using carbonation drops with beer kits, as some of them are already carbonated, and you don't want to over-carbonate the beer. It's best to follow the instructions provided with your beer kit and consult with more experienced home brewers if you have any doubts.

Additionally, it's important to note that carbonation drops are not the only way to carbonate the beer, you can also use other methods such as force carbonation (kegging) or bottle conditioning (using a small amount of sugar added to the bottle for the yeast to ferment and carbonate the beer).


My beer smells a bit like rotten eggs?

If your homebrew beer has a smell like rotten eggs, it is likely caused by a compound called hydrogen sulfide (H2S). This compound can be produced during fermentation by certain types of bacteria or yeast.

Several factors can contribute to the production of hydrogen sulfide in beer, including:
  1. High fermentation temperatures: High temperatures can promote the growth of bacteria that produce hydrogen sulfide.
  2. Poor sanitation: Bacteria can thrive in dirty or poorly cleaned equipment, leading to the production of hydrogen sulfide.
  3. Using contaminated ingredients: Using contaminated grains, fruits, or other ingredients can introduce bacteria that produce hydrogen sulfide into your beer.
  4. Yeast strain: Certain yeast strains can also produce hydrogen sulfide during fermentation.
  5. Improper aeration: Proper aeration during the fermentation process is important to prevent the production of H2S.

To fix this issue, you should try to identify the cause of the problem and make adjustments accordingly. The first step is to ensure that all your equipment is cleaned and sanitized properly. You should also control fermentation temperature, use high-quality ingredients, and ensure that the yeast is healthy.

It's also a good idea to aerate your beer properly during the fermentation process, by shaking the fermenter to add oxygen to the wort.

If the smell persists, it's best to discard the beer and consult with more experienced home brewers for advice.

Final advice for new brewers using beer kits


Here are some general tips for new beer brewers:

  • When starting out, it's best to stick to simple recipes and styles of beer to get a feel for the brewing process. As you gain more experience, you can start experimenting with more complex recipes and styles.
  • Follow instructions: Be sure to follow the instructions provided with your beer kit or recipe closely. Small deviations can have a big impact on the final taste profile of your beer.
  • Clean and sanitize: Cleanliness and sanitation are critical to producing high-quality beer. Be sure to clean and sanitize all equipment and surfaces before and after brewing.
  • Temperature control: Temperature control is important for the fermentation process, so be sure to keep your fermenter in a cool and consistent place during fermentation.
  • Take notes: Keep a brewing journal to record your brewing process, ingredients, and results. This will help you track down what went wrong and make adjustments for future batches.
  • Be patient: Brewing beer takes time, and rushing the process can lead to problems with fermentation, carbonation, and overall quality.
  • Experiment: Don't be afraid to experiment with different hops, yeasts, and ingredients to create unique and delicious beers.
  • Join a community: Join a local home brewing club or online community to learn from more experienced brewers and share your experiences.

Remember, brewing beer is an art and a science. It takes practice and patience to master, but with the right techniques, you will have an amazing tasting beer!

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