Brewing FAQs

Brewing at You Brew It

Yes, but since the amount of work is the same, most brewers end up staying with five gallon batches or even moving to larger size batches. And the shelf-life of a homebrewed beer is actually longer than most commercial beers. The beer will still be quite drinkable as much as year after you’ve brewed it.

You can control the amount of alcohol and bitterness in your beer, making as little or as much bitterness and/or alcohol as you desire.

The ideal temperature for making ales is around 65oF. But you can obtain acceptable results with temperatures as high as 78oF. More important is that the temperature be stable, staying within 3-5 degrees over the course of the day. Usually a basement or an inside closet (one with no walls common with house’s exterior) is not only the coolest place in the house, but also the most stable.

You’ll spend about 3 hours on brew day brewing and cleaning up (this will get shorter as you gain experience). Then the beer will ferment for about 2 weeks. Then you’ll spend 1 hour bottling the beer and it will be another week before it’s ready to drink. The total elapsed time will be 3-4 weeks.

While it is possible to brew almost any style of beer at home, ales are the easiest. Lagers are not really harder to brew, but since they take an extended period of cold, temperature-controlled fermentation, the investment in equipment and space is much higher. That is not to say that you can’t make a light tasting beer, you’d just make it as an ale rather than a true lager. Only an experienced beer expert could tell the difference.

No. Basically if you can boil water, you can brew beer.

The kits you buy from us come with detailed instructions for you to brew at home BUT we strongly recommend that you make your first batch on You Brew It premises.

We will help you through the initial brew, ferment your batch in a controlled environment and help you bottle it when complete. You can either take this knowledge back to your home and brew to your heart’s content OR come back to You Brew It and brew with us anytime.


Brewing at Home

Experience has shown that the typical customer that buys our kit, a brew pot and ingredients ends up spending approximately $190.00 including tax (if applicable).

Not really. The fermenter takes up about a 2 foot by 2 foot square and is about 2.5 feet high. You’ll also need space to store the bottles. The amount is up to you, but 2 cases would be the minimum. Only a few need to be in the fridge at once.

Brew with us at You Brew It and you can make (and clean up) the mess here. You will get oversight and help from a You Brew It brewmaster, we will store the fermenting batch and then help you bottle the product when finished. The first time your kitchen will see the beer is when you unpack the bottles into your refrigerator.

Yes, but since the amount of work is the same, most brewers end up staying with five gallon batches or even moving to larger size batches. And the shelf-life of a homebrewed beer is actually longer than most commercial beers. The beer will still be quite drinkable as much as year after you’ve brewed it.

You can control the amount of alcohol and bitterness in your beer, making as little or as much bitterness and/or alcohol as you desire.

The ideal temperature for making ales is around 65oF. But you can obtain acceptable results with temperatures as high as 78oF. More important is that the temperature be stable, staying within 3-5 degrees over the course of the day. Usually a basement or an inside closet (one with no walls common with house’s exterior) is not only the coolest place in the house, but also the most stable.

You’ll spend about 3 hours on brew day brewing and cleaning up (this will get shorter as you gain experience). Then the beer will ferment for about 2 weeks. Then you’ll spend 1 hour bottling the beer and it will be another week before it’s ready to drink. The total elapsed time will be 3-4 weeks.

While it is possible to brew almost any style of beer at home, ales are the easiest. Lagers are not really harder to brew, but since they take an extended period of cold, temperature-controlled fermentation, the investment in equipment and space is much higher. That is not to say that you can’t make a light tasting beer, you’d just make it as an ale rather than a true lager. Only an experienced beer expert could tell the difference.

No. Basically if you can boil water, you can brew beer.

The kits you buy from us come with detailed instructions for you to brew at home BUT we strongly recommend that you make your first batch on You Brew It premises.

We will help you through the initial brew, ferment your batch in a controlled environment and help you bottle it when complete. You can either take this knowledge back to your home and brew to your heart’s content OR come back to You Brew It and brew with us anytime.


For the Experienced Home Brewer

There isn’t enough space here to detail all that could happen to cause off flavors. Most brewing books have a trouble-shooting section – check your symptoms for the likely cause. Most likely you have an infection. Check around the bottle neck. If there’s a ring, that’s usually a sign of infection (but can also be caused by priming with DME). Review your sanitation procedures. It may be an isolated case (we all make a batch of “dumper-brau” once in a while) but if the problem persists you probably have a hidden place in some of your equipment you’re not getting clean and sanitized.

Several things could have happened. You could have used too much priming sugar. You might not have waited long enough and the beer was still fermenting when you bottled. And you could have an infection that is fermenting things that beer yeast doesn’t. Or it could any combination of three.

Yes. There should be a thin layer of sediment at the bottom. This is the yeast that grew which caused the beer to be carbonated. If you have a thick layer, then you probably didn’t let the beer clear long enough before bottling or you picked up a lot of sediment from the fermenter when you transferred to the bottling bucket.

Most likely the beer has been kept too cold since bottling. The beer should be held for a week or so at a temperature of at least 55oF. Move it to a warmer place. Another problem may be that you didn’t use enough (or any) priming sugar. The usual amount is 1/2 to 3/4 cup in 5 gallons. Your caps may also be leaking. This happens when you use “twist-off” bottles or when you boil the caps to sterilize them. Boiling can destroy the integrity of the cap’s seal. Sanitize with iodophor (properly diluted). If you use bleach, a chlorine odor can be retained by the cap liner, and this will affect your beer’s flavor. It may also be that you left too much sanitizer in the bottles. Let the bottles air dry upside down before bottling.

Put the packet in the refrigerator. It will be fine in the swelled up state for several weeks if kept refrigerated. You could also take this opportunity to make a starter if you have the equipment.

Put the packet in the refrigerator. It will be fine in the swelled up state for several weeks if kept refrigerated. You could also take this opportunity to make a starter if you have the equipment.

Not if the packet swelled up. That’s a sign of healthy yeast. Your beer will eventually start fermenting.

It’s possible your yeast was dead. This happens a lot with yeasts packaged with imported “canned kits” or you could have left too much sanitizer in the fermenter. Go ahead and pitch another 10-14 grams of properly rehydrated dry yeast. Be sure to aerate the wort again. A lot of brewers like to keep some dry yeast on hand for such an emergency.

Not usually. Sometimes a fermentation can happen very quickly (a matter of hours) and you’ll have missed it during the night. (This can happen with some dry yeast and especially if you didn’t cool the wort enough before pitching.) Look for tell-tale signs that you had some activity – usually there will be a ring of scum an inch or so above the level of the liquid. You can also take a hydrometer reading. Also see the above two answers.

If the weather is warm and with some strains of yeast (usually dry yeasts) it is not uncommon for beers to ferment very quickly. Take a hydrometer reading and record the value (don’t forget to apply any temperature correction). Wait three days and take another. Compare the two readings. If they are the same (and in the proper range), your beer is done fermenting. You could bottle the beer now (we know you’re anxious!) but we advise you to wait a full two weeks to allow the beer to settle and clear. If your hydrometer reading is still high, then your fermentation may be stuck. Some dry yeasts (not the ones we sell, however) are known to do this, but the most common cause is insufficient aeration of the wort when you pitched the yeast. It can also be caused by a highly flocculent yeast strain that dropped to the bottom before it was done. In either case, you can usually get your beer going again by “rousing” the yeast. Do this by stirring up the yeast sediment with your sterilized brewing spoon.

See the answer above. It may also be that your fermenter lid is not on tight and the CO2 has found another way to get out of the fermenter rather than through the airlock.