Beer Kits - FAQs
Do I need anything else to make the beer kits?
All beer kits will require basic home brewing equipment.
You will the following:
Fermentation bucket + lid (at least 25 litre)
Syphon - for moving the beer off sediment into bottles/barrel
Hydrometer - for checking the gravity/alcohol contect
Steriliser - for sterlising all equipment
Spoon/paddle - for mixing the kits
Our starter kit here contains all of the above.
Extra sugar may be required dependant on the kit. In general the cheaper single can kits require 1 kg of brewing sugar and the more expensive boxed kits don't require additional brewing sugar. Malt extract (spraymalt) can be used instead of sugar at the same rate and will give the beer more body and a rounder mouth feel.
All kits will require a small amount of priming sugar (around 80-120g) for priming the bottles/barrel, which will give the beer a slight carbonation but any sugar can be used for this.
All kits come complete with yeast.Read more
How can I increase the alcohol in my beer?
The simple answer to this is to add more sugar. The yeast eats the sugar and that produces more alcohol. Most brewers will use dry malt extract as their sugar source because it will add more alcohol to the beer, but doesn't add a lot of sweetness to the beer like table sugar will. Keep in mind the yeast can only handle so much alcohol, so be careful on how much DME you add.
As the alcohol level rises in the wort, the fermentation begins to slow down. Adding yeast nutrients to the wort can give the yeast new food allowing for an extended fermentation period. Yeast nutrient also helps to create stronger cell walls, which make yeast less susceptible to alcohol death. Another way to increase the alcohol level in the beer is to add yeast with a higher alcohol tolerance towards the end of fermentation.
Recipe Kit add-on ingredients
- 500g. DME will add about .5% alcohol
- 1kg. DME will add about 1% alcohol
- 500g Brown Sugar will add about .9% alcohol
- 500g. Maple Syrup will add about .7% alcohol and will add flavor
- 1kg of honey will add about .7% alcohol and will add flavor
Any additional sugars should be added before the yeast is pitched.Read more
How long does the beer take to make?
Once the wort (unfermented beer) has been made up as per the instructions (most kits take around 15 minutes) yeast is added and the fermentation takes place. There are many factors which will effect the time this takes, temperature, amount of sugars which need fermenting (ie strength of the beer) and type of yeast but you can expect most fermentations to be complete between 7 - 14 days.
Once fermentation is complete then the beer is ready to be stored in bottles or barrel and a small amount of sugar is added (known as priming) which will then ferment again but this time the Co2 produced cannot escape and will dissolve in the beer giving the beer a slight carbonation.
Then the beer is left to clear. Again the time this takes will depend on quite a few factors - type of yeast, temperature (cooler the better) and type of container to name a few but you can expect the beer to be clear and ready to drink with a few weeks (4 - 6) and the beer will continue to mature and improve for a few months after this.Read more
My starting gravity seems lower than expected?
Okay, there are 3 things which are the likely cause.
1. Adding too much water. If you have added the correct amount of water then this will not be the problem.
2. Not stiring after adding all the water. This will leave all the sugars at the bottom of the fermenter which will cause the gravity to be low at the top.
3. Measuring the gravity when the pre fermented wort is too cool. Hydrometers are calibrated at a set temp, usually 20c so if you measure the gravity and the wort is cooler or hotter than this then this will effect the result as liquids become less dense at warmer temperatures.
Its more than likely that one of these is the cause. If you still have issues after checking the above then please give contact us.Read more
What is extract brewing?
Extract brewing uses the same basic techniques as kits but you prepare the wort from ingredients rather then using kit concentrate. Water, malt extract and hops are boiled for approx 1 hour before cooling then adding yeast as above. This method requires a large pan (10 litre minimum) and strainer in addition to the basic equipment required for kits. You choose and buy packs of extract, hops and yeast then follow a recipe. There are lots of different recipes to follow and you can add herbs and spices to create unique blends. There is also a huge range of hops which all have there own unique flavour. This method works out about the same cost as using a Premium kit but you have the flavour control and satisfaction of creating your own recipes. We have a constantly expanding range of extract recipe packs to make things easy and get you going.
Our full range can be found hereRead more
What temperature should I ferment at?
18 -22 c is the ideal temperature range. Most households will be at around this but if you location is cooler then you may need a heater.Read more
Is there a simple formula for determining alcohol content ?
All you need to determine alcohol content is the original or starting gravity and the final gravity. Just drop the decimal points, subtract the smaller one from the bigger, and divide by 7.5. For example, If your starting gravity is 1.055, and your final gravity is 1.010, you would have 1.055 - 1.010 = 45 divided by 7.5 = 6% alcohol.Read more
What is dry hopping?
Dry hopping is the process of adding hops, usually in secondary, to a beer to add more of a hop aroma to your beer. Traditionally the technique is used for beer styles like pale ales and I.P.A.’s, but people are doing this process in many other styles as well. You aren’t extracting any of the oils from the hops because you would need to add heat to do that, but you are adding aroma. Being that almost 75% of human taste comes from smell, then you can see why people take this extra step with their beers.
Dry hopping methods vary, so find which way gives you the best results:
- We prefer to add the dry hops with 3-5 days left before you plan on bottling, or kegging, the beer. The reason for this is because the idea is to have the hop aroma infuse with the beer without having the aroma fade. By adding the hops only a few days before bottling, you get the freshest hop aroma throughout your beer without much loss of taste.
What type of hops are the best for dry hopping?
Most of us prefer the use of leaf hops, as they are easier to deal with when you transfer, but pellet hops will work as well. As far as the type of hops itself, that is up to you. Most brewers will use the same type of hops that they used in making the beer and many modern ales use American citrus style hops like Amarillo and Cascade for interesting aroma additions.
Be careful of the quantity of hops that you use because you can easily overpower a beer by using too much. Also avoid leaving the hops in the beer for too long as grassy flavours can develop. Usually, around 25g - 50g is all you need. Start with 25g, and then see if you need to add more the next time.Read more
Does Household sugar make weaker beer than using dextrose or malt extract?
In theory yes as it will be harder for the yeast to ferment but this will depend on the particular strain of yeast.
We would always recommend using brewing sugar or malt extract for adding in bulk (ie more than 500g) in any beer kit or recipe.Read more
How can I make a beer kit 1% weaker without using more water?
Reduce the malt or sugar.Read more
Is my tap water okay to use?
It really depends on the region you live in as tap water quality will vary locally. If it taste/smells nice then its probably fine to use. Adding 1/2 a crushed campden tablet / 25 litres of water will remove any chlorine from the water which can help improve taste.
Alternatively most supermarkets offer own brand bottled water in 5 litre containers at a very reasonable price.Read more
Will you ship to France?
Yes we do. Our shipping rates can be found here - http://www.brewuk.co.uk/need-to-know-deliveryRead more
How do I know my beer is fermenting?
When the beer starts to ferment a thick foam will normally form on the top. This is quite normal and will protect the beer during fermentation. This should form within 24 hrs of the yeast being added. If nothing has happened within this time you may need to check the temperature of the room as it may be too cold. If the temperture is okay, leave for a bit more time. If nothing has happened after 48 hours then you may need to add yeast nutrient but have patience before taking this step.
The foam should die down after a couple of days, after which you should take a hydrometer reading. Bottle or barrel when the hydrometer readings have remained stable for a couple of days.
If I am bottling my lager into 500ml bottles how much sediment is produced in them?
It really depends on how clear the beer is before you bottle it. The clearer you can get it the less sediment will be collected in the bottles as more will be left in the fermenter.Read more
How can I make a beer kit of 5% abv down to 4% abv.
Increase the volume of water by around 25%.Read more
how can i decrease the alcohol content of my beer kit?
Increase the water or reduce the malt/sugar content.Read more
i have followed the instructions to the letter and have been very careful to purify and cleanse all equipement but my bitter is cloudy when i pour it from the barrell, what should i do?
If its been less than 3 weeks and it smells and tastes okay then just leave it a bit longer. You can also try moving it somewhere cooler which will also helpRead more
My husband is a fan of Old Speckled Hen ale and I see you have an ingredients kit. I was wondering what brew kit I would need to accompany it. We're home brew virgins so any help would be appreciated!
Hi there, Old Speckled Hen is a extract recipe pack so you will need a large pan (10 litres min) and a strainer. You will also need basic brewing equipment such as fermenter, syphon, hydrometer and steriliser.Read more
will my beer ferment quicker if i make it with less sugar?
Lower starting gravity should mean a quicker fermentation but fermentation time will also depend on other factors like the type of yeast and temperature.Read more