If you are a beginner, or just want to play it safe, start with a good kit. I love Coopers Kits, as you can tell. For your initial brews, choose a kit plus 500 grams of light malt.

Tip 1: Never use dextrose or cane sugar – always use malt.  Light malt (powdered or liquid) is a good start, but just remember that malt ferments less than dextrose, so you may want to work on about 25% more than the recommended sugar quantity.

Tip 2: Don’t be tempted to put in too much malt. Because it does not fully ferment, it will leave the beer sweeter. Too much and the sweetness to bitterness ratio will be out and you will need to compensate by adding more bittering hops.

Brewing Equipment

I recommend using the following brewing equipment:

  1. Fermenter x 2 with bottom taps
  2. Thermometer stickers x 2 on fermenter
  3. Bench capper
  4. large stirring spoon (plastic)
  5. air lock
  6. bottle filler
  7. Clear hose (2 meters), diameter to tightly fit over bottom tap
  8. Scales
  9. Plastic 2 litre measuring jug
  10. Crown seals
  11. sterilizer – Sodium Metabisulfite
  12. Bottle Washing Power
  13. Abrasive sponge
  14. Optional heat belt (if you are fermenting lower than 13 deg C., and using Ale yeast)


Quite simply, you can’t skimp on preparation, but these are the main things you need to do to make sure your brew is successful.

Tip 3: One day before, scrub the fermenters with an abrasive spunge, using the bottle washing powder, rinse, then place 1cm water in the bottom, and sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of the sterilizer in.  Now throw in the airlock (washed) and the stirring spoon (washed) in one and the hose in the other.

Warning: Sodium Metabisulfite can be vicious – don’t get it on your skin or breathe it in!

Starting the Wort

Are you ready to brew? Is it too hot or cold? Ales are best brewed around 15-20 degrees Celcius. Don’t be tempted to brew when hotter than 24 degrees, and use a heat belt if lower than 13 deg C.

Boil the kettle, and fill the sink with hot water. Place the beer kit into the sink to soften the malt, so it will pour easily.

If you are using dry malt, place itin the plastic jug, and put in as little hot water from the kettle as you can get away with. Stir with a steel spoon until it is de-solved.

Now, while the hot water is doing its job, you need to thoroughly rinse one of the fermenters – the bathroom with the exhaust fan running works well.

Tip 4: Leave the stirring spoon in this fermenter, as it will stay clean

Put the airlock to one side.

Now fill the fermenter to just under 20 litres with tap water.

Open the beer kit and pour into fermenter. Use the large stirring spoon to clean out the can, then add a little boiled water to get the rest out. Pour in the malt. Now stir the wort well for about 1 minute.

The temperature of the wort MUST be below 30Deg C before you add the yeast. If it is not, pu the fermenter lid on and wait! Otherwise,while the wort is still spinning, sprinkle the powdered yeast you got in the beer kit onto the surface of the wort. Don’t mix it in.

Take the spoon out, place the lid and airlock on. (airlock should ideally be filled with a little pre-boiled water.

Go to How to Make Beer – Part 2