Guide to brewing home brew beer from a kit
So, you are a beginner and are interested in brewing your own beer… We will talk you through some of the options of where to start and get you on the road to enjoying your new hobby. Depending on the time you have to spend on brewing, your budget, and interest there are different ways and techniques you can follow to get started.
Brewing from a Kit
Brewing from a brewing kit is exactly how we recommend you start. It involves purchasing some basic brewing equipment such as a Fermenting Bucket, Sanitiser, and your dispensing equipment – whether that’s bottles or a keg.
Brewing from a kit is the simplest method of homebrewing, it’s also a way to brew very good beer very easily and for a good price. We sell various brands of home brew kits; Woodfords Wherry is a pleasant amber ale which we sell for around £30 – this works out at only 75p per pint! We stock lots of kits from Youngs which are significantly cheaper however sugar is also required.
The steps required in order to brew a home brew kit vary slightly depending on the kit. We will explain how to brew the Woodfords Wherry to give you an idea of how simple it really is!
Brewing the Woodforde’s Wherry Amber Ale Beer Kit
A Supreme Champion Beer of Britain! Mighty fresh and zesty, our award-winning, rich amber ale enjoys floods of flavours, as sweet malts clash with grapefruit hops and big floral aromas in a sensory strike. Set sail on an epic taste adventure.
- Fermenting bucket Required
- Airlock for Fermenting Bucket Required
- Brewing Sanitiser – Chemsan Required
- Pressure Barrel or Beer Bottles* Required
- Siphon Tube Required
- Stirring Spoon Recommended
- Hydrometer Recommended
- Thermometer Recommended
*Beer Bottles will also require a Bottle Capper and Crown Caps
Why not try one of our kits which includes everything you need here:
- Clean and sanitise all equipment using Chemsan. To use, add 10ml of Chemsan to 5 litres of tap water, and apply to the surface. We recommend adding to a spray bottle and save for future use. As with all chemicals, it is important to take sufficient safety precautions to avoid contact with the eyes, etc.
- Stand the cans in hot water for 5 minutes, this is to soften the concentrated wort so it can be easily emptied. Pour the can contents into your sanitised fermenting bucket. Some beer kits require you to add sugar however with the Woodforde’s Wherry this is not required. If your kit requires sugar you can buy some here. If you are unsure if sugar is needed, feel free to give us a call (whether you are a customer of ours or not, we will be glad to help)
- Add 3.5 litres (6 pints) of boiling water into the bucket, you can use the hot water to rinse out the cans to get every last bit! Then top up to the 23l mark with cold water and mix thoroughly with your stirring spoon. It is important to follow these volumes carefully as it ensures the optimum temperature for pitching your yeast. If the yeast is too hot, or too cold, it will cause the enzymes to be denatured which will mean your beer will not ferment.
- Sprinkle the yeast sachets onto the beer; attach the lid and fill up the airlock with Chemsan up until the first bubble mark. Leave this to stand for 7-10 days in a warm place between 18-20°C.
- With this particular kit, no dry hopping is needed. If your kit requires a dry hop simply place your hops in a Muslin Bag and submerge into your fermenter. It is important to freeze your hops and place the cloth in boiling water prior to use to reduce the chance of introducing bacteria.
- You will know when fermentation is complete by taking a sample using the tap and testing it with a hydrometer. When the gravity remains constant below 1014° you will know it is ready. Avoid opening the lid on the fermenting bucket if possible, the carbon dioxide trapped inside helps produce a protective layer that reduces the risk of bacterial infection. You can also check its ready by observing the airlock activity. When the airlock no longer produces bubbles, there is no more carbon dioxide being produced and hence the fermentation is complete.
- Now it’s time to decide how you would like to serve your beer. There are lots of different options for this. Depending on your preference and budget we will list some of the most popular methods.
For bottles, add half a teaspoon to each bottle and 100 grams for a pressure barrel. Allow beer to stand for a further 10 days before serving.
Dispensing method of your homebrew beer
Here we will only discuss 3 basic methods of dispensing beer. We are working on a blog to go into more depth about these so please keep checking back.
Bottles are probably the easiest way for beginners to serve their first pint. Simply sanitise the bottles and crown caps using Chemsan, prime with half a teaspoon of sugar per bottle and cap using a bottle capper. Store for at least 10 days for the bottles to condition.
Basic Pressure Barrel
This is the cheapest barrel system. You will need to purchase some CO2 Bulbs and a CO2 injector. We sell Barrels for around £30.
Top Tap King Keg
This is a much more advanced and higher quality than the basic pressure barrel, it makes use of a floating dip tube which ensures minimum sediment is pulled through the system. You will also need CO2 Bulbs and a CO2 injector for this product. We sell King Kegs for around £50.
Cornelius Keg Advanced – not recommended for beginners
Cornelius Kegs (Often referred to as Corny Kegs) are a fantastic way to serve a pint but unfortunately require the most investment, time and money to set up. As well as the Cornelius Keg, you will also need a CO2 Regulator, a SodaStream bottle, a tap to dispense from and the beer lines. You can buy everything you need for this here. We sell this whole set up for around £150.
You can purchase your Cornelius keg setup here: