West Coast Brewer Home Brewing Blog

Month: August 2015

Guide on how to make beer at home. A beginners how to on brewing beer with an extract home brewing kit.

Instructions for brewing beer at home.

How to guide on how to brew beer at home.


Over the last several years, both craft beer and homebrewing have become very popular.  Every day new home brewers are born as they attempt to brew their first batch of beer at home.  This guide on how to brew beer at home covers the basic instructions on how to brew beer with a extract home beer brewing kit and goes over the basics beer brewing rule of thumbs so that you can create a great batch of beer your first time out!


Lets start with the what you will need to brew your first batch of beer.  I would recommend staring with an extract home beer brewing ingredient kit and one of these homebrewing equipment starter kits.   Click on the image below to pick out a home beer brewing equipment kit if you have not already purchase one:


Homebrewing Equipement Starter Kit Includes most of the basic equipment you need to brew beer at home

Homebrewing Equipement Starter Kit


Next you will want to pick out the extract home brewing ingredient kit that you will want to brew. These beer brewing ingredient kits include all the ingredients that you will need (except the water) to brew your first batch of beer, including the hops and grain extract.  Make sure that you select an appropriate yeast and priming sugar if your will be bottling your beer.  I choose to brew an American Wheat beer for my first batch and had allot of success with it, but I recommend you choose one of your favorite beer styles for your first batch.  MoreBeer offers a great selection of home brewing beer recipe kits, click the beer image to view their starter kit selection.


Home Beer Brewing Ingredient Starter Kits

Home Beer Brewing Ingredient Starter Kits


Optional equipment that you will want to consider to help your first home beer brewing session go as well as possible are as follows.  I would recommend if you are brewing a 5 gallon batch of beer that you purchase a stainless steel 8 gallon home brewing kettle.  This will provide you with some additional head space in the kettle and help you avoid a boil over during the boiling process.  A great economical brew kettle would be this 8.5 gallon stainless brewing pot. Click the image for additional details and to order one.


8.5 gallon stainless home brewing kettle

8 gallon stainless home brewing kettle


Another item that I would recommend is a stainless steel home brewing wort chiller.  A home brewing wort chiller is important because after your beer has boiled it is concentrated with sugar and very susceptible to infection by bacteria or wild yeast strains.  A wort chiller helps cool your beer down rapidly after the boiling process has completed so that you can move it over to a sterilized fermenter to begin to fermentation process as quickly as possible and diminish to probability of an infection occurring.  Here is a great wort chiller for 5 gallon home beer brewing batches.


Stainless Steel Wort Chiller

Stainless Steel Wort Chiller


The last set of equipment that I would recommend if you can fit it in your budget is a home brew beer kegging system.  Cleaning, sanitizing, priming, filling and capping your beer bottles is a serious pain in the butt and a kegging system helps you avoid just about all of that.  Not to mention it allows you to control your carbonation level and is much safer since an over carbonated bottle can explode! Here is a great home beer brewing keg system that I would recommend. Please click the keg system image for more details and pricing options.


Home Beer Brewing Keg System

Home Beer Brewing Keg System


Alright, now that we have all of that out of the way, we can get down to business!  Here is a basic guide on how to brew beer at home.  If you have any questions on one of the steps you can always feel free to reach out to me and I will do my best to give you good advice.


Step #1:
Review your beer brewing recipe and make sure that you have everything that you will need to brew your batch of beer.  Set your yeast out so that it will acclimate to room temperature. Begin heating the water in your brewing kettle or large pot. Once the water is heated to the desired temperature add your flavoring or steeping grains if included with your home brewing ingredient kit. Place the grains in a mesh bag and allow them to steep for approximately 30 minutes at 160F or the temperature your beer recipe states. Once the grain steeping is completed, press against the grain bag with a spoon to release as much as the flavor as possible and then remove the grain bag and bring the mixture to a boil.


Home Beer Brewing Ingredients

Home Beer Brewing Ingredients


Step #2:
Once your water has reached a boil, reduce the temperature just slightly and add in your liquid malt extract and or dry malt extract. The malt extract is composed of sugars that have been extracted for you from beer brewing malts and grains. Stir the mixture which at this point in the home beer brewing process is known as wort. Stir you wort vigorously, making sure that it does not clump or burn on the bottom of the kettle or home brewing pot. Slowly increase the temperature until the kettle until it reaches a boil. At this time you will want to closely monitor your home brewing kettle closely to avoid a boil over.  A kettle boil over is most likely at the start of your boil than at any other time.  If you notice a large head of foam begging to form, reduce the temperature of the kettle and rapidly stir the wort until it subsides. Once your wort has been boiling for 5 minutes, begin your boil timer for hop additions.


Home Beer Brewing Hops

Home Beer Brewing Hops


Step #3:
Once your wort has achieved a strong rolling boil you will want to add in your first timed hop addition. Hops are what adds the bitterness to your beer and much of the aroma. Typically your bittering hops are added early in the boiling process and much remain in contact with the boiling beer for an extended period of time (usually 60 minutes) to transfer all of their bittering potential to the beer; so keep in mind that the longer that your hops are exposed to the boiling wort, the more bitter the finished beer will be. Once you have added in your first hop addition, you will want to set a timer for your next hop addition.


Step #4:
Once you have finished boiling your wort and making all of your hop additions including any final 0 minute aroma hop additions; turn the heat off and cool the wort as quickly as possible.  This is the time when you would want to utilize your wort chiller if you decided to purchase one.  The wort chiller will allow you to cool your wort rapidly. If you do not have a home beer brewing wort chiller available then I would recommend soaking your beer brewing kettle or pot in an ice bath while stirring the wort to help it cool down more quickly. Make sure that the spoon that you stir your wort with is sanitized, because from this point forward your wort will need to remain as sterile as possible to help avoid a contamination in your beer from bacteria or foreign yeast sources.


Step #5:
Once you have cooled your wort to approximately 70 F (for an ale or 50 F for a lager), you will transfer your home brewing beer wort to a sanitized carboy, stainless steel ferenter or fermentation bucket. It is important to make sure that the fermentation vessel and any tubing the wort comes in contact with has been cleaned and sanitized! Try to splash the wort around while transferring it as that will help to oxygenate the wort. The yeast utilizes the oxygen for its initial reproduction phase of the fermentation process. Once the wort has been transferred to the carboy, add your home brewing yeast into the fermenter and seal the fermenter with an airlock. The home brewing airlock will permit CO2 to escape while not allowing in any outside contaminants or oxygen. Allow the beer to ferment at approximately 68 F for an Ale or 52 F for a lager, until the fermentation process has completed. The fermentation process typically takes between 2 to 3 weeks to complete depending on the potential alcohol level of the beer, the yeast and the fermentation temperature.


Step #6:
Once the yeast has completed fermenting your beer, which typically takes 7-21 days; then either transfer the beer to a keg or add an appropriate amount of priming sugar to the beer and then bottle it. The beer should carbonate condition for about 2 weeks for best results. If you are using a keg and CO2 tank to carbonate your beer, the process can go much quicker. Keep in mind that if you are bottling your beer you will want to let the beer carbonate and condition at approximately 70 F so that the sugars can be fermented into CO2 to properly carbonate the beer.  Once completed, your beer is ready to enjoy!


For home beer brewing equipment and supplies I highly recommend MoreBeer.com.


West Coast Brewer Session Pale Ale

West Coast Brewer Session Pale Ale


Homebrewing.org Adventures in Home Brewing Sale of Homebrewing Clone Beer Kits




Thinking about brewing up your next hombrew batch but you are not too sure what to brew?  Maybe you want to test your metal and see how your home brewing skills compare to the big craft brewers out there?  Well this might be a great time to see how you compare and save yourself a few bucks at the same time.  For a limited time, the guys at Homebrewing.org or Adventures in Homebrewing are having a promotion where you can save 10% off of many of their home brewing clone recipe kits, and we are talking some really good clone beer kits.  Just some of the clone recipe kits include, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Clone, Two Hearted Clone Recipe Kit, Three Floyds Gumballhead Clone Home Brewing Recipe, Russian River Pliny the Elder Homebrewing Kit, Blue Moon Beer Recipe Kit, Summer Shandy Homebrewing Recipe Kit and Fat Tire Clone Recipe Kit.  There are many more to choose from.


No promo code or coupon code is needed to take advantage of this sale, just click the following link for a full listing of the available homebrew clone kits!

Homebrewing Recipe Kits 10% Off

Which is the best home brewing cleaner?

Homebrewing Cleaner

Homebrewing Cleaner



There are several home brewing cleaners on the market today so which one should a home brewer use?  Well first off lets get down to the basics.  Any home brewing gear that comes in contact with your wort or beer post boil should first be cleaned and then sanitized.  Home brewing cleaners and home brewing sanitizers perform different rolls and it is important to understand the difference. A homebrew gear cleaner such as PBW is great at cleaning gear but is not an effective sanitizer as it should be rinsed from your gear after use.  Saniclean is a great sanitizer but it is not an effective cleaner as it does not do a great job of breaking down solids and even if it did, you would not want allot of crud left in your fermenter prior to transferring your wort to it.  A cleaners roll is to remove the solids, dirt and grime from your gear so that it may be sanitized.  A sanitizer kills any remaining living organisms such as bacteria, fungus and yeast so that the yeast you pitch can ferment the beer as opposed to what may have been living on the surface of your fermenter or transfer tubing.


So which is the best home brewing cleaner out there?  In my opinion it is difficult to beat PBW or Powder Brewery Wash. PBW is a non-hazardous, buffered alkaline brewery cleaner. It is cleaner of choice for many breweries where it out performs many hazardous caustic chemicals, yet is much safer to use. It will not corrode soft metals and is safe to use on plastics and stainless steel. If there is dried or caked on material in a kettle or fermenter, I will often let the PBW stay in contact with the item over night and it is just about always as clean as a whistle in the morning with very little needed scrubbing if any. It is also a cost effective cleaner and runs about $6.25 per LBS.


Click here for a list of available home brewing cleaners and sanitizers


Save 10% On IPA Home Brewing Kits Promo Code

Save 10% On IPA Home Brewing Kits Promo Code


Save 10% On IPA Home Brewing Kits from MoreBeer.com

Save 10% On IPA Home Brewing Kits from MoreBeer.com


In celebration of IPA day, you can save 10% on IPA Home Brewing Kits at MoreBeer.com.  This deal is good for all MoreBeer IPA recipe kits including Pliny the Elder.  Use MoreBeer promo code IPADAY15 to take advantage of this offer.

Click Here for the Deal!


Home Brewing Poll – What Home Brewing Method Do You Use?

The results from the West Coast Brewer home brewing style survey poll are in!

Homebrew Rig

Homebrew Rig


I asked the viewers of WestCoastBrewer.com, “What method of home brewing do you use?” and 3,491 home brewers responded and here is the breakdown.


What method of home brewing do you use?


Extract 942 (26.98%)
BIAB – Brew In A Bag 514 (14.72%)
All Grain (Non BIAB) 1476 (42.28%)
Mini Mash Grain Mash & Extract 559 (16.01%)


Total votes: 3491


It looks like All Grain Home Brewing is the most popular, making up 42% of the total home brew population with Extract Home Brewers coming in 2nd at just shy of 27%. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the poll.


Please contribute to our most recent home brewing poll “How many years have you been home brewing for?”


The Poll Is Available On The Main Page By Clicking Here



Oktoberfest is near, time to start brewing!

Oktoberfest is almost upon us, time to start brewing!

Oktoberfest is almost here, time to start brewing!

Oktoberfest is almost here, time to start brewing! – Images from Pinterest



I know that it may not feel like it with how hot most of the country has been this summer, but October is just around the corner. If you are like me and like to celebrate Oktoberfest or appreciate a good German lager during that time of the year, you are probably going to want to heat up the kettle, cool down the fermenter and get your brew on because you do not have that much time left!


For those of you who have not brewed beer at home before, I would recommend that you start with an extract home brewing kit before you attempt to tackle all grain home brewing. There are several inexpensive home brewing starter kits available that will allow you to try your hand at it and see if you enjoy the hobby as much as myself and a growing number of other home brewers do.  You can click on the home brewing starter kits image below for a list of available homebrewing equipment kits that will help you brew your first batch!


Home Beer Brewing Starter Kits

Home Beer Brewing Starter Kits


Once you have your home beer brewing kit picked out, you are going to want to select a great beer recipe kit to brew for Oktoberfest!  This will really depend on your personal beer preferences but I will give you a couple of suggestions to consider.  First off, you will want to keep in mind how much time that you have before your batch of beer has to be ready to serve.  This is important because a lager may take 6 to 8 weeks to ferment and condition and opposed to certain ales which may be ready to drink in 3 weeks or even 2 weeks if you are really pressed for time.  Another thing to consider is that if you are having an all day or night event, you may want to opt for a lower alcohol beer so that your friends can put back a few with out getting too tipsy!


Here is a great listing of home brewing recipe kits that would go well with any Oktoberfest party.  I personally like to brew up a Munich lager and an American Hefeweizen so that there is a little variety available but you really can not go wrong with any of these home beer brewing recipe kits.  All of these beer ingredient kits are available in both extract and all grain versions.


Home Beer Brewing Ingredient Kits

Oktoberfest Lager Beer Kit – Estimated ABV 5.6%


Munich Helles Lager Home Brewing Ingredient Kit – Estimated ABV 5%


Dopplebock Oktoberfest Home Beer Brewing Kit –  Estimated ABV 9.1%


Vienna Lager Oktoberfest Beer Kit – Estimated ABV 5%


German Oktoberfest Hefeweizen – Estimated ABV 4.5%


American Hefeweizen Oktoberfest Home Beer Making Kit – Estimated ABV 3.8%


All of the above listed Oktoberfest home beer making kits are fantastic and should fit the occasion well. Just let me know if you have any questions on any of them.  Happy brewing!




Home Brewing Fermenters!

Home brewing stainless steel conical fermenters!

Homebrewing Fermenters

Stainless Steel Conical Homebrewing Fermenters


Back in my day, if you were a home brewer and wanted to ferment your beer, you only had a few options. You could ferment in a bathtub, plastic bucket, glass carboy or perhaps if you liked to hang out at the Renaissance Faire a bit too much you might ferment your beer in a wooden barrel.


Renaissance Faire Beer

Image courtesy of Angelfire


But now a days with home brewing growing so rapidly in popularity we have it easy and there are a variety of fermenter options we can choose from! So wipe that mascara and tears from your eyes pirate man, because home brewers can now brew with small scale versions of what pro brewers use and for relatively low prices. As a matter of fact, right now you can pick up a 14 gallon stainless steel conical fermenter for $495. Click here for more details. These are not some piece of junk fermenter either, they are the real deal, constructed from Food Grade 304 Stainless Steel.  Here are some specs on the stainless conicals:


  • Rotating Stainless Steel Racking Arm
  • 60° cone for yeast harvesting and cleaning
  • Weldless thermowell included
  • 1.5” Tri-Clamp Fittings on the lid, side and bottom
  • Molded Silicone Gasket for airtight Lid seal.
  • Pressure relief valve included
  • Spring-Loaded Lid Clamps hold Lid in place
  • The fermenter is pressurizeable to 5 PSI for beer transfers
  • Electrically etched (not painted) gallon markings


Stainless Steel Homebrewing Fermenters

Stainless Steel Homebrewing Fermenters


You can pick up a 7 gallon version of this stainless steel conical fermenter for just $395, but I would recommend the 14 gallon version which is currently $495 and is perfect for 10 gallon beer batches. Even if you are not brewing 10 gallon batches now, you may be down the road, so it is something to consider.


Click here for a full list of available fermenters

West Coast Brewer featured stainless steel home brewing fermenters

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