Have a go at simple AG

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Jun 2, 2013
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If you've made a few kits and/or extract brews, why not have a go at a simple AG brew, to see the difference it makes? A small batch of AG beer is not difficult and you will discover the difference and feel the joy and pride of making it from scratch. All you need for 5 litres is 1kg of Maris Otter, or other pale malt, a packet of hops, and a sachet of yeast. You just need a thermometer, a decent sized pan and something to strain the grain from the wort. A big sieve, or a piece of cloth in a colander. A bag that fills the pan and,drapes over the sides and holds the grains, made from muslin or voile, is ideal. You also need a hydrometer to check the gravity before and after fermentation.


  • 1kg Maris Otter (about £1.50)
  • One packet of hops (any you like - EKG, Citra, Amarillo, Galaxy, Fuggles, First gold etc) (About £3-4, but you will only use 15g of the 100g, so cost is around 50p)
  • One packet of yeast, 3g dried yeast is enough. (50p ish)


1. Heat 3 litres of water to 75C in big pan.
2. Pour in the pale malt while stirring - get rid of lumps.
3. Check temp is 65-70C - adjust if necessary with cold or boiling water.
4. Wrap a thick towel round the pot and leave alone for one hour.
5. Strain into a bucket or other vessel through sieve, or colander lined with cloth.
6. Heat another 4 litres of water to 80C and add the grains back to it. Leave 10 mins, stir, and strain the liquid to your bucket. You should have about 6 litres, which will reduce when you boil it for an hour.
7. Dispose of grains, add wort to pan and bring to boil.
8. Add 5 grams of hops when boiling point is reached.
9. 55 Mins later add 5 to 10g of hops, depending on your hoppiness requirements, boil another 5 mins and switch off.
10. Cool the wort in sink, with lid on, add to sterilised FV/demijohn via sterilised sieve to catch hops, and top up the level to 5 litres if necessary. Pitch yeast at around 18 - 20C.

[Measure the amount of water added if you top up the FV, and add this amount to the sparge water next time you brew]

You should get 8 or 9 x 500ml bottles of lovely beer for about £2.50. It takes me about 3 hours start to finish, making 10 litre batches in this way (see below).

10 Litre option: You can just double all the quantities and make 10 Litres, which is what I do most of the time, it's a good amount of beer. About 18x500ml bottles, or 27x330ml bottles. You just need a 15ish litre pot.

If you've never made an all grain beer it's really worth giving this a go.
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Good post, Clibit. It strips it right down to the bare essentials and shows just how simple it can be. I will be doing something very similar myself soon as my first AG brew - a nice simple SMaSH (single malt and single hop).
I decided to do something similar for my first beer. I made up a grain bill of 1 kg. Wacked it in a stocking and into water at mash temp. One boil and one aroma hop addition.

Had my first bottle last night and I am very pleased. I've definitely got the bug. A SMaSH as you suggest will be next. And I've bought a paint strainer bag to improve my efficiency. Get into it people.
I'm keen to try this clibit. One question though, how long for initial fermentation? Is it the same as a 20L? I've only got room for one fv so this would slow down production dramatically. Could get two 15L fvs but havent really got space to store everything when not in use.

Presumably you could do a 10L by doubling all quants, same boil time etc?

Fermentation time isn't dictated by brew length i.e the smaller the brewlength the faster the fermentation.

If you need to ferment fast use S04 yeast. It can ferment out fully in as little as three days. Also the lower the OG the faster the ferment as there's less sugars to consume. So if you stick to brews around 4% using s04 you can get it in and out the fermenter in 3 or four days
I'm keen to try this clibit. One question though, how long for initial fermentation? Is it the same as a 20L? I've only got room for one fv so this would slow down production dramatically. Could get two 15L fvs but havent really got space to store everything when not in use.

Presumably you could do a 10L by doubling all quants, same boil time etc?

Fermentation time is not substantially different, I usually allow two weeks, sometimes more.

Yes you can just double the quantities for 10 litres, an amount I often make.

I use some large 5 and 10 litre yoghurt containers for short length brews. Picked them up from a take away, saw them behind the counter and asked...
Another trick to speed up fermentation is to over pitch. Ideally you want to pitch the correct amount of yeast but everything I've read suggest that's it's actually really hard for HBers to over pitch and cause significant adverse affects. This is more a problem for commercial brewers.

I've over pitched (not on purpose) two or three times. The last time was on saturday with my cultured up brakespear strain. I figured I had cultured up way more yeast than I needed plus I was pitching it into a 3.1% target abv beer so the gravity was quite low too but I pitched it all anyway, just to make sure as it took me nearly three weeks to culture this up from bottle dregs. It started off after about two hours and I measured the gravity this morning and it's hit the target FG already after just 2 days.
so I am going to give this a go this weekend.

i've got 2kg of Maris Otter and a bag of Cascade. I'm going to double up for 10L
but one point - I have a 20L pan. Will heat loss be more of an issue with the larger air space above the 6L+grain for the mash?
Heat loss , and evaporation, vary from one pan/heat source to the next. Just wrap it up well, keep it on the stove which will stay warm for a while. Aim for 68 as your mash temp and it shouldn't drop below 63 ish on an hour, I was amazed how well it keeps its heat. It shouldnt drop more than 3C I reckon, and hopefully less.

Fancy brew kettles have sight glasses so you can see the quantity of wort in them throughout. I just estimate, but I should have made a stick with litre marks on it to dip in, so I can keep a check, and top up as required. I often have to top up a bit in the FV with cold water.
Could someone recommend a thermometer that can stay in the pan while heating and while mashing?

Could I boil the water in the kettle and then add to the pan. Then once cooled to the correct temp add the grain?

I love how this has been made simple for the simple/new brewer!
I've done kits and a few extracts and definitely need to get onto this. Next time I have a few days at home I might do a different one each day so I can do a mega bottling session at once. Need to check what malt my local health/hb shop has as I already have 1kg or random hops.
Am I right in thinking I can just quarter most AG 20L recipes and use your method clibit? I assume high gravity beers would need some amending or could they be done this way too?

I have an 11L pot so 5L in the FV is probably a realistic aim.
Yes you can divide recipes. If you divide any recipe ingredients by the number of litres the recipe makes, and multiply by the number of litres you want to make, it works.

For example, a recipe for 19 litres may call for 4200g of pale malt and 200g of Crystal. You may want to make 7 litres, so...

Divide 4200 by 19 = 221g
Multiply 221 by 7 = 1547g pale malt

Divide 200g by 19 = 10.5g
Multiply 10.5 by 7 = 73.5g Crystal

Same with the hops.
Ok cool, got that worked out, the mash volumes, are they worked out similarly and are they usually stated the same as the hops and grains? Sorry for being incredibly lazy as I could find it out myself I'm sure!!!
A lot of recipes don't provide mash volumes. I'm pretty sure you can calculate them the same way if they do. I actually enter recipes into Brewmate, a free software download, which allows you to change recipe volume, tells you mash volumes, everything you need basically. And stores the recipes you enter.
I'll start looking out future recipes if this one goes to plan.

I've got these hops kicking about so I'm sure I can come up with something drinkable.

Hop Weight Alpha
Chinook 80g 12.40%
Nelson Sauvin 100g 12.56%
Centennial 100g 10.30%
Goldings 70g unknown (2012 I think)
Citra 50g 14.70%
target 100g 11.50%
amarillo 100g 7.90%
mosaic 100g 11.30%

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