Your yeast has started rehydrating and has a nice creamy head. Tick.
You are now ready to make beer. Here’s how...
Bring water to boil
In your pot, bring half a gallon (2 L) of water to the boil.
Dissolve malt extract in the pot
Don’t pre-warm the tin as suggested by the kit manufacturer. It’s not necessary when premixing in a pot.
Take the pot off the burner before you mix in your malt extract. Malt will drop to the bottom of the pot and scorch easily if the heat is on.
Open and tip in your tin of homebrew concentrate and dry malt extract.
Stir in gently until dissolved. Return to the burner and bring back to just before the boil.
The purpose of this step is to both dissolve the malt and kill any microbes that will cause infections.
Cover the pot and move into a sink of ice water.
Change the cooling bath water until the pot’s side is cool enough to comfortably touch.
Boilovers. Don’t do it.
Carefully watch and stir your wort while bringing to the boil. It can get very messy if it boils over.
Keep a spray bottle nearby filled with cold water. Spray any boilovers to quickly control.
Take the pot off the heat when mixing in extract.
Can I skip this step?
You may be wondering if it’s necessary to mix the extract in a pot. Why not mix everything in the fermenter like the kit instructions tell us?
There are a few reasons why I recommend pre-mixing malt extract in a pot with hot water:
It’s less awkward than leaning over a fermenter.
You have less splashing of hot wort, which leads to quick beer staling.
You are effectively pasteurizing the malt ingredients in case any microbes are present.
If you don’t have a pot or the time for this step, it’s not essential. Mix the malt in the fermenter as suggested by the kit manufacturers. The pot trick will make your life easier though and your homebrew better.
The final act
Fill your fermenter with five gallons (19 L) of cool, clean water. If you are using a jug to fill, be sure to clean and sanitize it as well.
Create a vortex by stirring the water quickly with your sanitized spoon. Tip in your cooled wort concentrate. It will mix by itself.
Check the temperature and if within your yeast’s working range, tip in your now rehydrated yeast.
If not, you may need to sit the fermenter in hot or cold water to adjust.
Seal your brew
Seal quickly with plastic wrap and a rubber band.
Sterilize a pin with a flame and prick the plastic wrap.
You can also cover with a sanitized pot lid or similar for extra cover.
You should see signs of fermentation within 24 hours (hopefully less).
Homebrewing With Kits—The Beginner’s Guide
To help you master homebrewing with kits, I’ve put together a guide based on my experiences over the last two decades.
This is the information I wish I had when I started brewing. I hope it helps you make awesome homebrew.