Equipment Glossary Acknowledgements

Site Map
Section 1
Brewing Your First Beer With Malt Extract
1 A Crash Course in Brewing
2 Brewing Preparations
3 Malt Extract and Beer Kits
4 Water for Extract Brewing
5 Hops
6 Yeast
7 Boiling and Cooling
8 Fermentation
9 Fermenting Your First Beer
10 What is Different for Brewing Lager Beer?
11 Priming and Bottling
Section 2
Brewing Your First Extract and Specialty Grain Beer
Section 3
Brewing Your First All-Grain Beer
Section 4
Formulating Recipes and Solutions


How to Brew DVDs


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Chapter 2 - Brewing Preparations

2.3 Record Keeping

Always keep good notes on what ingredients, amounts and times were used in the brewing process. There are several brewing spreadsheets and software programs available over the Internet that can be a big help. A brewer needs to be able to repeat good batches and learn from poor ones. If you have a bad batch and want to ask another brewer for their opinion, they are going to want to know all the brewing details. They will want to know your ingredients and amounts, how long you boiled, how you cooled, the type of yeast, how long it fermented, what the fermentation looked, what the temperature was, etc. There are so many possible causes for "it tastes funny", that you really need to keep track of everything that you did so you can figure where it might of gone wrong and fix it the next time. Chapter 21 - Is My Beer Ruined?, will help you identify possible causes for most of the common problems.

Write up a recipe form that will allow you to be consistent. See the example on the next page.

Example Recipe Form: Cascade Ale
Recipe Volume: 5 gal
Yeast: Cooper's Ale Yeast (re-hydrated)
Malts: Amount Type
1. 2 lbs. Northwestern Amber malt extract (dry)
2. 4 lbs. Cooper's Pale malt extract (liquid)

Calculated Original Gravity = 1.045

Hops: Amount Time Type % Alpha Acid
1. 1.5 oz 60 min. Perle 6.4%
2. 1/2 oz 30 min. Cascade 5%
3. 1/2 oz 30 min. Willamette 4%
4. 1/2 oz 15 min. Cascade 5%
Calculated IBUs = 40


Boiled 3 gallons of water, turned off heat and stirred in extract. Returned to boiling. Added first hop addition. Boiled 30 minutes and added Cascade and Willamette hops. Boiled another 15 minutes and added final addition of Cascade. Turned off heat and chilled the pot in an ice water bath to 70F. Added the 2.5 gallons of wort to 2.5 gallons of water in the fermentor. Aerated by shaking fermentor for five minutes. Pitched yeast.


Fermenter is sitting at 70F and started bubbling within 12 hours. Bubbled furiously for 36 hours then slowed. After 4 days, bubbles had stopped completely. It remained in the fermentor for two weeks total. Racked to bottling bucket and primed with 3/4 cup of corn sugar (boiled). Bottles were allowed to condition for two weeks.


Beer is Good! Strong hop taste and aroma. Perhaps a little too bitter. Tone down the bittering hops next time or add more amber malt extract to better balance the beer.

Liddil, J., Palmer, J., Ward Off the Wild Things: A Complete Guide to Cleaning and Sanitation, Zymurgy, Vol. 13, No. 3, 1995.

Palmer, J., Preparing for Brew Day, Brewing Techniques, New Wine Press, Vol. 4, No. 6, 1996.

Talley, C., O'Shea, J., Five Star Chemicals, Inc. personal communication, 1998.

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Brewing Preparations
The Road to Good Brewing
Cleaning Products
Cleaning Your Equipment
Sanitizing Your Equipment
Record Keeping
Real Beer Page

Buy the print edition
Appendix A - Using Hydrometers
Appendix B - Brewing Metallurgy
Appendix C - Chillers
Appendix D - Building a Mash/Lauter Tun
Appendix E - Metric Conversions
Appendix F - Recommended Reading

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All material copyright 1999, John Palmer