To make your home fermentable experience more enjoyable, experiment a bit. get out and try Local beers. Try different styles and types of beer, you're not going to like them all, and your going to run into situations where somebody likes a certain type of beer you can’t stand. Keep in mind by tasting different types and styles of beer. you will find yourself identifying the different flavors and what causes them before too long. Now that you have decided to Home Brew tells me you are already curious about the flavor of beer, so lets dive in!
Before we get started on your “First Born Pale Ale”, I’m going to cover a few simple things about the equipment in this kit, and what it is used for. Then we can start working this recipe together and learn as we go. Hopefully you can learn how to make great beer, and I can learn how to better teach this age old art of natural fermentation.
This Equipment kit comes with 1 - 6.5 gallon bucket and Plastic Lid with a Drilled Stopper in it, the “primary fermenter”, 1 - 5 gallon glass carboy, the “secondary fermenter”, and a bung to fit. Note: NEVER pour Boiling or HOT water into a glass Carboy or Container. 1 - 6.5 Gallon Bottling Bucket w/ spigot, we do not recomend fermenting in a bucket with a spigot. The large brush, a carboy brush, is for cleaning the carboy after fermentation.
The kit also comes with a what is referred to as a “winger” capper, it’s a double lever capper - hence the name “winger”. This capper will only work on standard beer bottles. It is quite simple to use. You simply take a cap and put it up in the bell. There is a magnet in the bell to hold the cap in place. Now just set the capper on the top of the bottle and pull the levers down. You will feel the cap crimp on the bottle. there is no need to apply too much force. It is probably a good idea to make a few practice runs on a few bottles before you get started with your bottling. “Beer Emergencies” can add thrill to the Hobby, but it can sometimes take the fun out of it all.
You also have what is referred to as a “Racking Cane”. The term “rack” means to transfer by siphon. The term “Cane” comes from the fact that it looks like a cane. It is a straight hard plastic tube with a bend at the top of it. On the bottom side of the racking cane is a Black Tip. This tip is important. It is designed so that liquid is first sucked down and then up as to not suck up the dregs in the bottom of your fermenter during the racking process. The 5’ siphon hose connects to the top or curved part of the cane. More on how to start you siphon later.
Next you will see the 15” bottle filler. It is a straight tube with a spring valve at the bottom of it. You will need to cut off about an inch of your siphon hose to connect the filler to the spigot on the bottling bucket. The filler is designed to fill the beer bottle from the bottom up as not to oxidate your beer. Once you have it connected to the spigot, open the spigot and run your bottle up the filler until the filler has reached the bottom of your bottle and opens the spring valve. Fill your bottle to the very top, when you pull the filler out of the bottle, the displacement of the filler will leave you the proper amount of head space to cap your beer. Again, it never hurts to practice first. More on this when we get to the bottling section.
Next we come to the air lock. The kit includes a airlock. Look at it. You will see a faint line in the middle of it. Fill the lock up to that line with clean, filtered water. Then set the cradle or middle piece over the stem and snap the plastic cover on. You then place the airlock in the drilled stopper. As the yeast ferments it puts off CO2. The airlock allows the CO2 to escape from the fermenter without allowing outside air and Bacteria to enter back in. From here out, we will refer to bacteria as “Wort Spoilers”.
Which brings us to the next piece of equipment included with this kit. The 4 Oz. bottle of Iodophor. Iodophor is a no rinse sanitizer. If you have internet access, please take a minute and go to brewersconnection.com and read the article entitled “Iodophor???” in the classroom section. It is extremely important to stay spoiler free throughout this entire process, Iodophor makes it easy. I always have a solution of it around me while I’m working with my beer. The solution is 1/2 oz to 5 gallons of cold water. You want a copper tint to the water, sort of like a Pale Ale.
Next is the Hydrometer. The hydrometer is an instrument used in measuring the approximate amount of sugar content in the Wort. This information can then be useful when calculating the potential alcohol content in your end product. After we get started we’ll discuss this more.
As for the last item on the list, instructions and tips, you’re reading them now.
Now we will get started putting your "First Brew" together.
The first thing you will need to do is place 2 gallons of R/O water (filter water ) into your pot. Next you will need to pour the grain from its packaging into the muslin bag. The Muslin bag is a cheese cloth looking bag. All of the grains will fit into it. After you have placed all the grain into the bag, tie it shut with a knot. Now add the Brew Saltz to your water and heat to 160 degrees. The Brew Saltz are minerals which will harden the water a tad and aid in the settling of suspended particulate matter. After the water has reached 160 degrees, turn off heat and add grain bag. Stabilize your temperature at 155 degrees while stirring gently from time to time for 25 minutes. It is not imperative to maintain exactly 155, you may fluctuate between 152 and 160. Never go over 165 degrees however to avoid sucking tannins from the husks in the grains. Doing this will add astringent flavors to your beer.
During the steeping stage of this recipe is good time to start sanitizing your fermenter. Fill your fermenting bucket full of cold water and add 1/2 oz. of the iodophor. Let soak during the brewing process. Throw your airlock into it as well.
After the steeping process is complete, remove and let drain. Do Not Squeeze Grain Bag! Again, you want to avoid leeching out any of the tannins from the husks of the grain. Think of it like making tea, it is improper to squeeze your tea bag. With that said, you will need to rinse the grains slightly. You can do this by pouring 1 cup of HOT tap water slowly over the grain bag. If you have a kitchen strainer, just put it over the pot and rest the grain bag in it while rinsing into the pot.
So now you have 2 gallons of Wort... pronounced “VERT”. Now with the heat off, add the malt extract. The Malt Extract you will be using in this Recipe is Plain Light Dry Malt Extract. Dry malt extract, sometime called spray malt or DME, is created with a process where as malted barely has been mashed and converted to wort. Then that wort is cooked down to a thick syrup and spray dried to a powdered form. As you add it to your wort, it will clump up. After you have added the DME, turn the heat back on and while stirring, bring to a boil. As the wort begins to boil, justs start to break the surface, turn the heat off and add the first ounce of Cascade Hops.
This addition of hops is known as your Bittering Hops. When boiling, you create a condition that allows a chemical reaction know as “isomerization” to occur. Alpha acids, or bittering resins are not very soluble in water. This isomerization allows these resins to become soluble and mix with sweet wort. Hopefully creating a refreshing and delicious bitter sweet flavor.
Turn heat back on and while stirring, bring back to a boil. Make note of the time in which your boil starts. Make sure your boil is a calm boil. Do not boil too hard. Be ready to turn you heat down as the surface of the wort begins to roll. Be careful not to “Boil Over”. Remember, the main ingredient in this recipe, DME, has already been cooked once before. You want to avoid scorching or caramelizing any of the malt sugars. These sugars will become unfermentable for the yeast.
After 55 minutes of boil, you will need to add the remaining ounce of Cascade Hops along with the Irish Moss. Irish Moss, basically sea weed, is a clarifying agent. It works on the ion principle. Irish Moss introduces a negative ion into the wort. the proteins in the wort carry a positive ion and therefore attract each other and then become heavy enough to drop out of suspension. Boil 5 more minutes and turn of heat.
At some point in time while you preparing your wort, you will want to fill the 6.5 gallon “primary fermenter” with cold water. Add 1/2 to 1 oz. of Iodophor to sanitize.
This final addition hops is know as the aroma or finishing hops. They impart flavor and bouquet. This comes from the hop oils within the lupulin gland, and is soluble in water. They are very volatile, their essence will boil away. This is why they are added at the very end of the boil.
Now that you have finished preparing the wort, pour the Iodophor solution from your fermenter, saving some of it in a bucket. This will be used to sanitize your air lock and bung, the lid to the fermenting bucket, as well as to dip your hands in and anything else which may come in contact with the wort as we proceed. There is no rinsing needed. It is extremely important that everything that comes in contact with the wort from this time on be sanitized. Now pour 3.25 gallons of COLD water into the “primary fermenter”. Pour the wort on top of the cold water. You will loose about a quarter gallon during the boil process. This should leave you at about 5 gallons. The reason you want as cold of water as possible is to cool the wort to below 80 degrees as soon as possible. You may even consider using some ice as long as it is the clean filtered water type ice. The sooner you can get the yeast in the wort, the less possibility of Wort Spoilers getting at it. Remember, it is extremely important that everything that comes in contact with the wort from this time on be sanitized, including the thermometer you are checking the temperature with. Make sure you dip or soak everything that comes in contact with the wort in your Iodophor solution.
Now that you have your wort in the fermenter, Splash the inside of the lid well with the Iodophor solution. Place the lid on the bucket and place your thumb over the hole in the stopper and shake vigorously. Now you are ready to get a sample for you hydrometer reading so you can determine the original gravity.
The best way for you get your sample is to use a small glass or a measuring cup. First soak the glass or cup in your Iodophor solution for at least 5 minutes. It is extremely important that everything that comes in contact with the wort from this time on be sanitized. Now open the fermenter and reach in and get your sample. Put the lid back on and prepare to pitch the yeast. If your temperature is still above 80 degrees, another method for cooling your wort is place your plastic fermenter in a tube of cold or ice water.
Adding the yeast to your wort is referred to as “pitching the yeast”. There is no need to rehydrate the yeast. Once you have gotten your wort to cool to 80 degrees or lower, sprinkle the yeast on the top of the wort. Replace the bung and place your thumb over the hole in the stopper and rock back and forth vigorously. After this, add Iodophor solution to the airlock up to the line, put the plastic cap on the top and place the airlock in the drilled stopper in the lid.
Now, lets see how you did. Lets check your specific gravity. If you look at the hydrometer, you will see 3 scales. Look for the Specific Gravity scale or “SP -GR.” scale. It is the scale that starts with .999 on the top and can go as high 1.170 on the bottom. The hydrometer measures the density or the thickness of liquids relative to water. The Specific Gravity of water at 60 degrees is 1.000. The Specific Gravity, or O.G. for this recipe should be about a 1.054. Place your Hydrometer into the hydrometer test jar and pour the sample you pulled out earlier into it, as it fills you will see the hydrometer float. Fill to the top. Where the level of the liquid is on the hydrometer specific gravity scale is your reading.
The Alcohol Scale measures the approximate amount of alcohol expressed as a percentage that will be present in the beer when fermentation is complete. Two readings must be taken. You now have the one before the yeast is pitched, or the Original Gravity ie.. O.G. Then you will take another reading when fermentation has ceased. This reading is referred to as the finishing gravity, or F.G. With this recipe the F.G. should be 1.010 - 1.012. So while holding your hydrometer, lets go through this example:
Your 1rst reading, O.G. is 1.050, if you rotate the hydrometer clockwise, you will see the Potential Alcohol By Volume Scale. the corresponding reading to 1.050 is 6.5% alcohol by volume. The second reading, F.G. is 1.010, rotate the Hydrometer clockwise and the corresponding reading to 1.010 is 1.5% alcohol by volume. We take 6.5% - 1.5% = 5%. Alcohol by volume is approximately 5%.

As mentioned above, most hydrometers are calibrated to read accurately at 60 degrees. If your wort is not at this temperature, you'll need to adjust your readings according to the correction figures below. Example, if the temperature is 77 degrees you add 2 points. 1.050 + 2 = 1.052.
Specific Gravity Corrections:

Temp in degrees F: Specific Gravity Correction:
40 degrees Subtract 1   50 degrees Subtract 1/2
60 degrees Add 0   70 degrees Add 1
77 degrees Add 2   84 degrees Add 3
88 degrees Add 4   95 degrees Add 5
100 degrees Add 6   110 degrees Add 8
Over 120 degrees Give
up
and guess
Now that we have covered the hydrometer, what is next? Fermenting your beer properly. Fermentation temperature is important. To keep it simple, I'll explain it like this. An ale yeast is a top fermenting yeast and tends to produce a fruity flavor to the end product. With ale yeast, the ideal fermenting temperature is 66 - 75 degrees. Where as a Lager yeast is a bottom fermenting yeast and ferments ideally between 48 - 56 degrees. The flavor Lager yeast produces tends to be smoother, cleaner as some beer geeks would say. I personally prefer ales over lagers because of the many different flavors an ale has to offer. Not to mention, they are much easier to brew. An ale is what we are brewing so we will be looking for a temperature range of 66 - 75 degrees.
If the temperature is lower than the yeast’s ideal range, the yeast will ferment slow and sluggish. It could even get stuck and go dormant before it is done fermenting. If the temperature is too warm, the yeast will ferment rapidly. And just like human beings, when the yeasts works hard and is warm, it becomes stinky and sweaty. These off flavors can be described as a buttery flavor as well as in mouth feel.
Just as the proper fermentation temperature is important, so is constant temperature during the fermentation process. Yeast doesn't much care for drastic changes. One should try to stay within 3 to 4 degrees of the same temperature. Once again, this could lead to stuck or improper fermentation and this can lead to hazy beers and gushers.
By now you are probably wondering where do I ferment this stuff? The ideal place to ferment is either in a basement or a root cellar. However, since these are few and far between in today's world, several different methods have evolved. In Arizona, even though it is hot, we have relatively low humidity. By placing the fermenter in a tub of water you can gain on the average 4 degrees. Put your fermenter in a tub of water with an old T-shirt or towel wrapped around it and gain up to 6 degrees. Now if you put a small fan blowing into the tub of water with the T-shirt wrapped fermenter you can gain up to 8 degrees. You can use a fountain pump in that tub to keep the T-shirt or towel wet, with a fan blowing on it you can gain up to 16 degrees. The water helps to keep a constant temperature as well. If you have any further questions on this, feel free to stop by the Brewers Connection and allow our staff to show you different Ideas to help you.
With that all said, I hope you now have the fermenter in an ideal spot. So now what is going to happen? After 24 hours , and you did everything right, you should have activity in your airlock. By then the yeast should be active and producing CO2. The CO2 should be escaping through the airlock. The airlock should be bubbling. after four to five days, you will want to “rack” or transfer the beer to your secondary fermenter. the 5 gallon glass carboy. Start by santizing the same as you did with your primary fermenter. After you have racked the beer into secondary, you will let it finish out for five to six more days. The next paragraph covers starting a siphon.
Let us practice getting a siphon started. Start by connecting the siphon hose to the racking cane as described on page 2. Fill your bottling bucket about half full of water. Set the bucket up on a counter top. Now, while holding your racking cane upside down.. ie, the black tip is up in the air, fill the siphon hose and racking cane with hot tap water. Put your thumb over the open end of the siphon hose. Now put the end with the black tip in the bucket of water. Lower the other end and release your thumb from the siphon hose and let the siphon start. The most common problem beginners have is air in the hose where it connects to the racking can. Just pinch the hose in the air pocket a few quick times and it should go away. One more tip, always take your siphon hose off the racking cane when you are not using it. Otherwise the hose with dry on the cane and you will be unable to get off.
Now it is bottling time. First you will need 54 - 12 Oz. bottles. Make sure these bottles are clean. You should be able to look up into the bottles and see no solids. If you have a automatic dishwasher, load the bottles on the bottom rack. Add 1 capful of household bleach to the dishwasher and run it on it’s hottest cycle where it heat dries. If you don’t have a dishwasher, then you will have to soak your bottles in Iodophor solution.
Now you need to make sure the area in which you are going to do this in is clean and free of things like dirty dish, open trash or left out food. Even though your beer is fermented out, it still has some residual sugars in it such as caramel malts and is vulnerable to the Wort Spoilers. It is extremely important that everything that comes in contact with the beer from this time on be sanitized. You will need to get your equipment that is going to be used during this process sanitized. Fill your bottling bucket with cold water and add 1/2 Oz. of Iodophor. Put the Racking Cane and siphon hose in the bucket as well. Put the bottle filler in the solution, holding the spring valve open to allow it to fill with the solution. You will also want to sanitize a glass or cup for a sample to get your F.G. with.
Once you have everything soaking in Iodophor, gently lift your fermenting bucket onto a counter top. Now you will need to prepare your priming sugar. Measure 2/3 of a cup of dextrose. ..( dextrose is corn sugar ) Now in the same measuring cup add water until the dextrose is covered in water. microwave the mixture for 2 minutes or until the mixture is clear and see some steam rising from it. If you do not have a microwave, you can do this on your stove top. Dump the Iodophor solution out of your bottling bucket, saving some for using on things like sanitizing your caps. Pour the dextrose mixture into the bottling bucket. Remove the lid from your fermenting bucket. Now assemble your racking cane and siphon hose. Holding the racking cane upside down, black tip in the air, fill with HOT tap water and start your siphon into your bottling bucket on top of the dextrose mixture. Make sure you remember to pinch any air pocket in the hose to make them go away. As I explained above, the Black Tip is important. When you place the racking cane into the fermenter, put it in one spot and do not move it. When the level gets down to where the dregs are, the siphon will stop. The remaining is waste by product and can be thrown away. As you siphon into the Bottling Bucket, set you hose off to one side of the Bottling Bucket so that a gentle swirling action is created. This will allow your dextrose mixture to mix in with the beer evenly. Fill the small glass or cup you have sanitized up from your siphon for your sample.
After you have transferred your beer to the bottling bucket, the dishwasher should be finished. Move your bottling bucket to the counter top. Gently stir with sanitized spoon. Pull the bottles out of the dishwasher while still warm and begin filling. Remember to fill to the very top of the bottle, when you pull the filler out of the bottle, the displacement of the filler will leave you the proper amount of head space to cap your beer. Have your caps close by and in an Iodophor solution. This way you are sanitizing those fingers every time you reach for a cap. It is extremely important that everything that comes in contact with the beer from this time on be sanitized. I can’t stress this enough! Iodophor used in the right strength will become your best friend in the hobby of natural fermentation.
Store bottles at room temperature for 7-10 days, then chill bottles as needed and enjoy.
So what was the purpose of adding the dextrose? By adding the dextrose, you introduced a small amount of fermentable sugar into the beer. This will spark the yeast back to life long enough to consume the dextrose thereby creating CO2. this will carbonate the beer or as it is called, Bottle Condition the beer.
In closing, the staff here at the Brewers Connection is here to help you as much as we possibly can. If you follow these directions as they are written, you can’t hardly go wrong. Feel free to call us if you have any questions. I have tasted the beers made from this kit from first timers. It is easy. Just remember the key things, Sanitize, Sanitize, and Sanitize! Oh yea... and have fun!