Brewing Tips

Home-Brew 101

Winemaking Tips
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Basic Ale Recipe -  for a 5 Gallon Batch

Using a 4-5 gallon stainless or enamel pot, bring 3 gal. of water to a boil.. (Do not use chlorinated water. For one's first brew we suggest bottled spring'll need about 6 gallons. ) In a separate pot, soak Can(s) of malt in hot water to soften contents. When brew water is boiling, add can of malt and other malts and stir well. 
Boil 20 min. Add finishing hops in muslin bag, and boil for 5-10 minutes more. (depending on type of hops and desired flavor). 
Sterilize fermenting bucket, lid and airlock.(follow instructions on BIO-SAN or IODOPHOR containers) Pour 1 gallon COLD water into fermenter bucket. When boil is finished, discard hops, pour liquid (now called Wort)into bucket, & top off with additional water to 5 gal. mark. 
Take hydrometer reading and record the Specific Gravity.(referred to as Original Gravity - O.G.; probably around 1.040 - 1.050) Affix lid and airlock. 
DO NOT Add Yeast until wort has cooled to 75 deg. F!! 
(Put bucket in sink of ice-water to speed cooling.) 
When WORT temp is at 75 deg., add yeast. Hold temperature at approx 70-75 degrees until yeast becomes active. Airlock should be active(bubbling) within 24 hours. Then ferment at 65-75º.Beer will ferment and clear normally within 10-12 days. 
If you have a carboy, siphon into it after the airlock has almost stopped "glugging". 
Fill hydrometer tube while siphoning, and take hydrometer Final Gravity reading.(referred to as Final Gravity - F.G.; probably around 1.010 - 1.016) 
Boil 3/4 cup priming sugar in 2 cups water for 2 min, pour into sanitized bottling bucket, then siphon beer into bucket using racking cane. 
Use bottle wand to fill bottles to 1/2" of top of neck and cap. Use only sanitized, (put them in the dishwasher without soap, rinse cycle only and heat-dry cycle)brown, non twist-off cap bottles. 
Condition YOUR beer @ 65-75 deg for 14 days.

ENJOY!!! - 
Beers improve with further aging @55-65 deg. (we know its a long wait... but if it was easy, anybody could do it!) 

(by now, your second batch will be ready to bottle!) - 

The basics of "World Class" home brewing & winemaking.

First - Cleaning

Sterilization is not usually necessary in any brewing or winemaking project. There are exceptions to this but we will not discuss these at this time. Good sanitation practices will be sufficient for most of your brewing and winemaking needs.

Clean & sanitize all your brewing and/or winemaking equipment, including the can opener or knife used to open bags of malt and juice. Use only an approved cleaner & sterilizer such as Bio-Clean and Bio-San. Follow the cleaner instructions. These are environmentally safe, and easy to rinse.

  • Bio-Clean works great on glass, plastic, stainless, and party kegs! Takes beer and wine labels off in a snap. No heavy scrubbing is required. It is non-caustic, easy mixing, friendly to the environment, and has a yellow tracer. It has proven itself superior in side-by-sidetesting with other brands.
  • Bio-San sanitizes fast and rinses fast. It contains a green tracer to insure complete rinsing. Both a light duty cleaner and a fantastically quick oxygenating sanitizer.

Second - Dry Yeast Rehydration

Rehydration of dry brewing and winemaking yeast is recommended by every manufacturer of yeast. Placing a yeast directly into a wort or must will cause a significant loss in yeast viability by forcing the yeast to ingest unwanted, and sometimes harmful, substances such as hop acids and various other naturally occurring chemicals.

Rehydrate your yeast in a shallow glass pan or dish with about ¼ to ½ cups of warm (98°F to 104°F) water. It is best to boil the water and then let it cool in the pan or dish with a cover over it. A clean piece of aluminum foil will serve as a great temporary cover. The water temperature may be measured with a properly sized thermometer but using your wrist (like checking a baby's bottle temperature) will be of sufficient accuracy for any rehydration process.

It is best to sprinkle the yeast uniformly over the surface of the water to insure the least amount of clumping occurs. Clumping can cause the yeast to only partially rehydrate and result in damaged yeast cells and off flavored beverages.

Allow the yeast to rehydrate for about 10 minutes. After ten minutes the yeast should be gently stirred and added to a well aerated wort or must. Never aerate the must or wort after the yeast is added and never leave a yeast in the rehydration water more than fifteen minutes without adding some sort of yeast food (malt, sugar, starter mix, must, etc.) - yeast can starve after fifteen minutes without food.

Aeration can be accomplished by forcing the must or wort through a nozzle to cause a fine spray or mist to fill the fermenter, injecting pure oxygen through a small porous stone, shacking violently, or stirring with a passion. A large quantity of oxygen is required by the yeast for the first few minutes of its new life cycle. All the air you place into the must or wort will be gone in about the first half hour of the cycle.

Third - Fermentation Temperatures

Like each person, each yeast prefers its own specific temperature to do its best work. Typically the following guide lines can apply to most yeasts.

  • Wine Yeasts
    • Red Wines - 60° to 85°
      examples: LalVin RC212, 71B-1122, & K1V-1116
    • White Wines - 60° to 85°
      examples: Red Star Cote des Blanc
    • Rose Wines - 50° to 85°
      example: LalVin ICV D-47
    • Champagnes - 45° to 95°
      examples: LalVin EC - 1118
  • Beer Yeasts
    • Dry Ales (Normal) - 65° to 75°
    • Dry Ales (Special) - 60° to 75°
    • Dry Lagers (Normal) - 50° to 70°
    • Dry Lagers (Special) - 45° to 65°
    • Liquid Wyeast - Temperatures given in appropriate Tables
      See -  WYeast.

Fourth - Fermentation Times

Fermentation times are usually very easy to approximate.
When brewing beer allow 1 week of fermentation time for each 3.3 pounds of malt extract syrup or 3 pounds of DME used in making up the wort. If brewing with any sugars or honey, allow 2 days per pound of sugar or honey used.
When fermenting wine allow one week for each four (4) percent of potential alcohol of the must.
All fermentation times are based on the beer or wine being fermented within the specified temperature range of the yeast.

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