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How To Brew Your Own Beer

Have you ever thought about brewing your own beer? Once you buy the initial supplies, you can save a lot of money. Scott DeFalco, from DeFalco's Home Wine and Beer Supplies, has the step-by-step directions for making the perfect brew.

Equipment Required and Ingredients:
  • 6 gallon primary fermenter w/lid 6 1/2 lbs. syrup (unhopped malt extract)
  • 5 gallon secondary fermenter w/stopper OR 1 pkg. Burton Water Salts
  • 6 gallon priming pail w/spigot 1 oz. Bittering hops ("B")
  • Fermentation lock 1 oz. Flavoring/Aromatic hops (1/2 oz. each-"F"/"A")
  • 54 beer bottles (12 oz.)
  • 1 pkg. top fermenting yeast
  • Large kettle (12 - 20 qts.)
  • 3/4 cup corn sugar (for priming)
  • Siphoning equipment 1 pkg. Bru-Vigor (optional yeast food-for tap water)
  • Bottle caps and capper

1. SANITIZE YOUR EQUIPMENT! This will save you the heartache of dumping out a contaminated batch of beer. Use Iodophor iodine sanitizer [1 Tbs. (2 capfuls)/5 gallon cold water]. An alternative is unscented chlorine bleach [1 oz. (2 Tbs)/gallon cold water] on equipment directly before use (and after), rinsing with hot tap water. Don't leave plastic in contact with bleach solutions for long periods of time or you will have bleach beer. Yuck!

2. Immerse the bag of syrup in a hot water bath in your sink to soften up the contents.

3. Bring two gallons of water to boil in an enameled or stainless steel kettle. Avoid aluminum, as it may leave a bad metallic taste.

4. Cut off one corner of the bag of syrup, and pour the contents into the kettle. Now add the water salts. Stir thoroughly. Undissolved malt has a nice habit of sinking to the bottom and burning.

5. Bring the mixture (now known as "wort") back to a boil. Add 1 oz. bittering hops. The mixture will foam up at first, so be careful and reduce the heat when it rises up. This will save you major stovetop cleaning.

6. Maintain a rolling boil for 40 minutes.

7. Add 1/2 oz. of the flavoring hops now and boil an additional 10 minutes.

8. Turn off the heat and add 1/2 oz. of the aroma hops. Cool the wort immediately by placing the kettle in your sink with 6-8 inches of cold water. Let sit about 20 - 30 minutes, if necessary change out the cooling bath after 10 to 15 minutes. A tray or two of ice in this second bath can help speed things up.

9. While the wort is cooling, sprinkle the dried yeast into 1/2 cup of body temperature water (94- 100). Cover with Saran Wrap or aluminum foil. Yeast should absorb water and foam up. This is also an excellent time to sanitize your primary fermenter (the pail).

10. Pour the cooled wort into the primary fermenter and add cold water to bring the volume up to 5 gallons. Stir well and take a hydrometer reading. The initial specific gravity (S.G.) should be about 1.045. To correct for temperature, add .001 for every 7 degrees above 60 degrees F. Write this down.

11. *When the wort is cooler than 85 degrees F (70 - 75 degrees is better!), add the yeast solution. If using tap water, sprinkle Bru-Vigor onto the wort. Snap on the airtight lid securely. Fill the airlock half full of water and fit into the black rubber grommet on the lid.

Brewing Instructions for American Pale Ale:

  • Double Stage Fermentation (6 Gallon Pail and 5 Gallon Jug)
12. Allow to ferment 3 to 4 days. Do not remove the lid during this period. Room temperature should be 60 degrees to 80 degrees (ideal is 65 degrees to 70 degrees). During initial fermentation a dense, rocky head will form, leaving a "scuz" line about an inch above the beer when it subsides. After the 3 - 4 days, if the rocky head has subsided, the beer is ready to be racked (siphoned) into the secondary fermenter. Check the S.G. with your hydrometer. It should read less than 1.020. After siphoning, insert the fermentation lock into the stopper and attach to jug. Allow to ferment and settle until the action has (virtually) ceased and the beer has clarified (usually 1 to 2 weeks). Check the S.G. once again: it should be 1.013 or less (write this down as well). If the gravity is greater than 1.015, call us BEFORE you bottle!

13. Pour the priming sugar into a small saucepan with a cup of water, and bring to a boil. An alternative is to place the sugar & water into a pyrex cup and microwave for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, sanitize your primary fermenter or your priming pail with spigot.

14. Siphon the beer into the primary/priming pail while slowly mixing in the sugar syrup. Stir well without excessive splashing.

15. Start the syphon once more, then clamp the flow off and attach the spring-loaded bottle filler. Release the hose clamp. No beer should flow until you push the filler down in the bottle, thus opening the spring tip. Fill the bottles to the brim, and when you remove the filler, it should leave the proper amount of head space in each bottle. Now cap the bottles.

16. Allow to age upright at room temperature for at least 15 days. Peak flavor is reached after 4 to 8 weeks, if you can wait that long.

17. Chill (upright) and serve. Pour carefully so as not to disturb the small amount of sediment at the bottom of the bottles.

Thanks to Saint Arnold Brewing Company. For more information visit

Scott DeFalco
DeFalco's Home Wine and Beer Supplies
(800) 216-BREW (2739)

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