Brewing 101: Step-By Step Instructions For Your First Brew

This guide will walk you through the basic concepts of the all-grain brewing process. Follow this process to make your own high-quality craft beer at home using your BrüBox home brewing kit.

This process is a scaled-down version of professional brewing that uses the same methods and raw materials as your favourite breweries. Each beer uses a slightly different process, but each BrüBox beer brewing recipe comes with it's own specific instructions.

 
 

Cleanliness - The Most Important Factor!

It may sound like a boring way to kick off your home brewing experience, but cleanliness is critical. The wort you create is very susceptible to bacterial infection, which could ruin your beer.

We make it easy to prevent this, by providing you with high quality, no-rinse sanitiser. Pour half of the sanitiser and 10 litres of water into a large bucket (Keep the rest of the sanitiser for bottling).

Place any vessel or utensil that will come into contact with your beer into this solution before use. There's no need to rinse or wipe - just dunk and go!

The Mash.

The first step of the process is the mash, which involves steeping the malts in hot water. This allows enzymes within the malts to cause break the malt down into sugars, which ferment into alcohol.

1. Heat 2.6L of water in a pan to 71°C.

2. Add the malts and stir. This should drop the temperature. 

3. Put  the lid on the pot and keep the mash between 63-66°C for about an hour. If the temperature drops below this,add heat for a 20-30 seconds.

4. This process creates a sugary liquid called Wort.


The Sparge.

Sparging involves rinsing the malts from the mashing process to remove any remaining sugars.

1. Heat 5L of water in a pan to about 75°C.

2. Using a sieve, drain the wort from the malts into the pan of water. Keep the grains. (If your sieve isn't large enough, you can do this in batches). 

3. Use a jug to run all this water back through the sieve containing the malts to remove all the sugars.


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The Boil.

Boiling the wort allows you to infuse flavour compounds from the hops.

1. Bring your wort to a rolling boil with the lid off. The wort shouldn't be bubbling.

2. Boil for an hour. Add hop pellets at various times (each recipe pack has specific instructions). Adding hops at different times allows you to control the flavour as some compounds in hops will evaporate away if added too early.

The Cold Break.

Using an ice water bath allows you to bring the boiled wort down to a safe temperature (below 28°C), where risk of bacterial growth is lower. It also causes the proteins to coagulate and settle, which makes a clearer beerThis is an optional, but highly recommended step. 

1. Add ice or ice packs to a large container of water (or use the sink).

2. Place your pot containing the boiled wort into the ice bath. 

3. Continually stir the pot and move it around in the ice bath until it reaches about 28°C. Make sure everything that enters the pot is well sanitised at this stage.

Primary Fermentation.

The sugary wort is the perfect food for yeast, which convert these malt sugars into ethanol aka Booze!

1. Sanitise your syphon, demijohn, airlock and bung. Also, apply some sanitiser to some scissors and the outside of the sealed yeast pouch. 

2. Using the syphon, add the wort to the demijohn. Add water if necessary to get the waterline to about 5cm below the neck of the demijohn.

3. Place the bung into the demijohn and place your finger over the hole. 

4. Shake the demijohn for about 3-5 minutes. This will allow oxygen to get into the liquid and will help the yeast.

5. Remove the bung and add about two thirds of the yeast into the demijohn. Add the bung and put some water into the airlock. Push the airlock into the hole in the bung. 

6. Leave your demijohn for 2 weeks, out of direct sunlight and in a room that isn't too hot or too cold. (Also, somewhere where you can clean up any spillages is helpful. In the first few days, the beer may 'fizz' over - this is perfectly normal. Just clean the outside of the demijohn and replace the airlock water.

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Bottling.

Bottling your beer not only allows you to store your beer, but also allows you to carbonate your beer, by making it create carbon dioxide.

1. Create another batch of sanitiser using the remainder of the sanitiser and 10L of water.

2. Sanitise everything! A large pan, sieve, syphon, bottles and caps.

3. Add a small amount of hot water into the pan and dissolve 3 tablespoons of honey or sugar into the water. We recommend honey.

4. Syphon the beer from the demijohn into the pan through the sieve. This should collect the hops.

4. Use the syphon to add this mixture to the bottles. 

5. Place one of the crown caps onto the bottle. 

6. Place the capper over the cap and use a hammer or similar to hit down onto the metal of the capper. Maintain a firm grip on the bottle. This should push the sides of the cap down and make a seal.

7. Leave your bottles for 2 weeks to carbonate. Although, you can usually crack one open to test after a week if you're impatient!

8. When ready, refrigerate the bottles standing up before drinking.

Further reading.

If you want to know more detail about brewing, we recommend a The Kitchn's Brew School, a great set of articles about brewing. 

Also, Brew Better Beer by Emma Christensen and Brew by James Morton are both great books.