Brewing Your First Beer

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Brewing Your First Beer

Brewing at home for the first time? This simple guide takes you through your first batch of beer including what's needed, how to brew and how to bottle. A short guide for the new homebrewer on how to brew your first extract beer!

Equipment Needed

You don't need a large set of fancy and expensive equipment to brew your first batch of beer. Many brewing supply stores sell starter kits for $75 or less. It can cost much less if you can borrow some or all the equipment from a friend. Here's a quick summary of what is needed:

  • A Large Pot - at least 3 gallons in size, though a larger one will generally result in fewer spills
  • Tubing & Clamp - to siphon the beer - most is 3/8" ID food grade plastic tubing. Clamps are available at your brew store.
  • An Airtight Fermenter - a 5 gal plastic bucket with lid, or a glass carboy. If you can afford it, purchase a glass carboy as they are easier to clean and don't leak. If you get a carboy you may need a large brush to clean it
  • An Air Lock and Stopper - sized to fit your fermenter
  • A Bottle Filler - available from your homebrew supplier - should be sized to fit your tubing
  • A Thermometer - with a range of 0-100 C or up from 32-220 F
  • Bottles - You need just over 2 cases in 12 oz bottles to bottle your beer. Do not use twist off bottles - get the bottles that you have to pry the lid off.
  • Bottle Brush - While not absolutely required, you usually need a good brush to get your bottles clean
  • A Bottle Capper - a hand driven device to cap your bottles
  • Bottle Caps - New bottle caps sold at your brewing supplier - you need about 50 caps for a 5 gal batch
  • A Sterilizing solution - Household bleach can be used, but it must be thoroughly rinsed to prevent contamination. Your brew store may also have other alternatives such as iodophor and starsan that also sterilize well.

Ingredients Needed

The list below assumes you want to brew 5 gallons of a simple ale. You can use BeerSmith to formulate your own recipe or download recipes from our recipe page if you are looking for a different style.

  • 6 lbs of Unhopped Pale Malt Extract - Usually this comes in cans that are 3 lbs each. Malt provides the sweet base that the yeast will feed on to make alcohol. Available from various manufacturers.
  • 2.25 Oz of East Kent Goldings Hops - Hops add bitterness to your beer. Pellets are most common and easy to store.
  • 1 Package of Wyeast American Ale liquid Yeast (#1056) [ or White Labs California Ale #WLP001 ]
  • 2/3 cup Priming Sugar - such as corn sugar. Also available from your brew store or grocer.