After many years of drinking beer I finally decided to take a spin at making it myself so I went out and got myself a 5L brew kit

Homebrew kit contents

For my first ever homebrew I stuck to using a 5L pale ale recipe which although a prepackaged kit still got me to go through the entire process.


  • 80g grain
  • 540g malt extract
  • 2x 20g hop pellets packet
  • 1/2 campden tablet
  • 15g sodium percarbonate
  • 5.5L tap water


  • Sterilise pot, carboy, bung and airlock using sodium percarbonate solution
  • Add half a campden tablet to some warm water in a cup and crush
  • Add this solution to 5.5 L of cold water and sit for 10 minutes

  • Take 1L of the water and heat to 70 degrees
  • Add grains to the water and cover for 30 minutes
  • Strain out spent grain and add back to the remaining water
  • Add 180g of the malt extract
  • Bring the liquid to a gentle boil


  • Add first hop packet (Start a timer here)
  • After 50 minutes add the remaining malt extract and the second hop packet
  • After 60 minutes remove from the boil and add to a sink of cold water
  • When the liquid has cooled add to the carboy
  • Make sure the temperature is below 25 degrees
  • Add yeast to carboy
  • Cover the bung and gently invert a few times
  • Add sanitising solution to the airlock and put in the bung

The colour came out looking a little bit brown and not exactly appetising but I’m hoping that this improves after bottling

Ready to ferment

It certainly didn’t start to look any better once fermentation started


Bottling 29-02-2016

End of fermenting

Siphoned out of the fermenter using just a hose into 12 330ml bottles. Added a measure of castor sugar to each bottle. At 1.020 the final gravity seemed way too high but it had been fermenting for 2 weeks so there wasn’t much else to do. If bottles start exploding I’ll simply have to uncap and recap them.

The beer tasted a little bit sour and lacking much malt or hop flavour. I’m thinking #1 could be a failure and may end up way too fizzy. Will have to wait 2 weeks to find out

Tasting 4 /10

  • Opened my first bottle on 07-03-2016 and it wasn’t as bad as I thought. It smells better than when bottled but still has a slight sour/cider smell. Luckily this doesn’t affect the taste much. The malt flavour is a bit strong for my liking and there’s very little hop profile is missing. It’s a little more bitter than I would like but it’s not too bad.


  • 14-02-2016 21:00 Fermentation has started
  • 15-02-2016 09:00 The temperature was at 27 degrees which is hotter than I wanted it and it’s bubbling rapidly. Added some ice to the bath to try and bring the temperature down
  • 16-02-2016 09:00 Fermentation has slowed considerably, adding ice bricks yesterday has pulled the temperature down to 25.
  • 16-02-2016 09:00 Temperature holding at 25
  • 19-02-2016 09:00 Temperature is down to 22. Fermentation seems to be complete
  • 23-02-2016 20:00 Temperature is holding at 24. Somehow fermentation is still going. Letting the temp increase a bit to hopefully speed it up.