A few dozen grams (a couple of ounces) of hops will be added to most recipes. Again, there are as many types and brands as there are sites devoted to brewmaking. Check some sites and experiment. Goldings and Fuggle are two popular brands. Don’t get sucked into the ‘whole is better than pellets’ debate at this stage. Either will do.
Two packets of dried brewers yeast. There may well be more types and brands of yeast than there are malt or hops. There are also liquid preparations, but wetting the yeast is part of the fun. Make sure not to pick up wine or bread yeast by mistake.
Step 1. Boil 18 litres (4.5 gallons) of water.
Step 2. Turn off the heat and mix in 2.4kg (5.25 lbs) of malt extract, until the powder is fully dissolved.
Step 3. Return the mixture to a boil and monitor to watch for boil-over. Lower the heat as needed. Boil for 15 minutes, then add 42 grams (1.5 ounces) of hops.
Step 4. Boil for another hour, then cool. Check to ensure the temperature is around 21∫C-24∫C (70-75∫F). While waiting for the liquid to cool, wet the dried yeast with warm, sterile water.
Step 5. Stir the cooled wort clockwise and allow the hops to settle in the center, then siphon off the wort into the fermenter.
Step 6. Add wet yeast and stir vigorously. Extract a few milliliters (a couple of ounces) for measuring the specific gravity using the hydrometer. The number desired will vary around slightly over 1. Check the package. Then seal.
Now for the most important steps: fermentation!
Step 7. Between a few hours to a day, bubbles should appear in the airlock. If there’s no sound and no sight of bubbles within a couple of days, your yeast is probably dead, but there are dozens of other possible causes. If you still don’t see any activity, wait a few days, then start over.
Step 8. Allow the wort to ferment for 5-7 days. The time will vary with recipe, with environment, yeast and several other variables. You’ll need to experiment. Don’t be too disappointed if you don’t get it perfect the first time.
Step 9. Siphon into the secondary fermenter, stored in an area several degrees cooler. 10∫C/50∫F is a good starting point. Cooler for lagers, warmer for ales. Allow to sit for another seven days.
Step 10. After fermentation, some recipes call for 120-175 ml (1/2 – 3/4 cup) cane sugar or corn sugar, though many consider this optional or even undesirable. Experiment to taste. Pour into bottling container then siphon off the top. Fill each bottle, leaving ample space near the top. Store 2-3 weeks at room temperature, then chill.
Now for the best part. Decant, serve and enjoy!