Extract Brewing Instructions

Equipment Needed

Boil: 2.5 gallon or larger stainless steel kettle (not aluminum)
Primary Fermentation: Bucket or Carboy with airlock (6 gallon recommended)
Adhesive or other thermometer
Hydrometer (Optional)
Racking/Bottling: Racking Cane, Tubing
Bottling: Bottling bucket or other bucket or carboy
Springless filler
Bottles (2 cases, 48 bottles for 5 gallons)
Bottle Caps

Sanitation / Cleanliness

Sanitation, while not an ingredient of beer, is one of the keys to good brewing. Wild microbes can spoil the beer very easily. Infection will cause off flavors (ranging from medicinal/solvent to extremely sour). Every piece of equipment that touches the beer after the boil should be cleaned and sanitized thoroughly. Several non-rinse sanitizers are available that will effectively sanitize brewing equipment in two minutes without imparting any residual flavor to the beer (Star-San and Iodophor are the two most popular). Bleach can also be used as an effective sanitizer; however, care should be taken because residual bleach will affect the flavor of the beer. An effective level of bleach is 2 teaspoons of unscented bleach in 5 gallons of water. At this concentration sanitation will take 30 minutes, but the equipment will not need to be rinsed. A higher concentration of bleach will take less time to sanitize but will need to be rinsed afterwards.

Brew Day

  • Assemble all of the equipment needed for the brew:  Kettle, spoon, fermenter, airlock and siphon assembly or funnel.  Go ahead and sanitize everything except the kettle and spoon.
  • Look through the recipe and make sure you have all the ingredients and they are prepared (if necessary).   Prepare yeast if necessary: dried yeast takes no preparation, White Labs yeast should be removed from the refrigerator allowed to warm to room temperature during the brew, Wyeast packs need to be activated (follow instructions on back of yeast pack).
  • Add water to your brew kettle.  A minimum of 1 ½ – 2 gallons of water is needed, use as much water as possible while still leaving 1-2 gallons of head space in the kettle to help reduce the risk of boil-over.  If the kit does not contain specialty grains skip to next step.  If the kit contains specialty grains, then heat water to near boiling (160°-170° F), turn off heat. Put specialty grains in a muslin bag and tie shut.  Steep the grains in the water for 20 minutes.  Do not boil grains.
  • Remove grains.  Add malt extract (if the kit contains both liquid and dried extract, add both) and mix thoroughly.  Make sure extract is completely mixed in, pay careful attention to the bottom of the kettle.  Turn heat back on and bring mixture, now referred to as wort, to a boil.
  • As the boil begins the wort can foam significantly and boil-overs are very common.  Keep a close eye on the boil, be prepared to adjust the heat as needed.  Boil-over is also possible while making hop additions.
  • At the beginning of the boil start a timer for 60 minutes.  Add hops to the boil at the time specified on the kit inventory.  The time marked next to each hop is a countdown to the end of the boil (for example, if the inventory calls for 1 oz. of Cascade hop at 30 minutes, the hops are added 30 minutes before the end of the boil… hops that call to be added at 0 minutes are added immediately after the boil has stopped and allowed to steep in the hot wort until it cools). Any spices should be added at times indicated on the kit inventory.
  • At the end of boil, cool the wort to fermentation temperature as quickly as possible by placing the kettle in a sink of cold water (ice added to the water speeds this up).  Rapidly cooling the wort reduces the risk of bacterial contamination and aids in precipitating haze causing proteins out of the beer.
  • Once the wort is cooled, transfer to sanitized fermenter by either pouring or siphoning.  Leave as much of the hop sludge (trub) in the kettle as possible.  Bring volume to 5 gallons using filtered tap water.  Take a hydrometer reading, record it for comparison with final gravity.
  • Verify that the wort is at the desired fermentation temperature then add yeast and place an airlock filled with clean tap water on the fermenter.  Dried yeast should be sprinkled on the surface of the wort and allowed to hydrate for 5 minutes.  Shake fermenter vigorously to introduce as much oxygen as possible.


    • Place fermenter in an area that stays a similar temperature to the optimum fermentation temperature indicated on the kit inventory.  Avoid areas that receive direct sunlight.  Signs of fermentation (foaming and bubbling through the airlock) should be visible in 24-36 hours.  If bubbling through the airlock is not evident, check the seal on the fermenter.
    • Depending on the recipe, fermentation should be very active for 3-5 days at which point activity will slow.  Some recipes, particularly stronger beers, will remain very active for a longer period of time.
    • Let fermentation continue until the airlock bubbles less than once a minute or the gravity does not change from one day to the next (approximately 10-14 days).

    At this point the beer can be bottled or transferred to a secondary fermenter for further aging and clarifying.


  • Before bottling, sanitize every piece of equipment that will touch the beer (bottling bucket, siphon assembly, bottle filler, bottles and caps).  You will need approximately 48 x 12 oz beer bottles or 26 x 22 oz bottles and the appropriate number of caps.
  • Bring one pint of water to a boil, add priming sugar and boil for 5 minutes.
  • Pour priming sugar into bottling bucket.
  • If the kit contains fruit extract, add it to the bottling bucket also.
  • Siphon beer into bottling bucket, be careful not to splash the beer.  Any oxygen introduced at this point can lead to premature staling of the beer.
  • Attach tubing and bottle filler to spigot and fill bottles.  Fill to the top of the bottle, when the filler is removed, the level of beer should be about ¾ of an inch below the top of the bottle.
  • Cap bottle.
  • When bottling is complete, place bottles in a dark warm space (70 degrees).

Conditioning (carbonating) should take approximately 14 days depending on temperature and recipe.  If the beer is too cold, conditioning may be stalled.  If this happens, move the beer to a warmer area and rouse the yeast by turning all the bottles upside down for a few hours and then turning them back.

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