Intermediate Instructions for Brewing Great Beer

In recent years there have been substantial changes in the way amateur brewers view intermediate brewing. The old standard (generally found in any book published before 2002) called for mixing all the ingredients together in a 1-2 gallon pot, and then aggressively boiling for 60 minutes. This procedure virtually guarantees that your beer will come out dark and cloyingly sweet. In the late 1990’s some brewers began experimenting with different methodology. Eventually these experiments, and subsequent discussions among the experimenters, led to publication of an influential article by Steve Bader, “ Boil the Hops, Not the Extract”, in Brew Your Own Magazine (Vol. 8, no. 6, pg 40). Unfortunately, old habits die hard, and even today many publications and “experts” continue to expound on brewing methods that are inappropriate. We at the Coopers Brewery are far less interested in maintaining orthodoxy, and far more interested in good beer!

Our instructions here may seem radically different from directions you get from a book or other source. The basic premise of Steve’s article is that following old methods cannot help but create beers that are dark in color and very sweet in flavor. I like the example of cooking white granulated sugar. Try this out: Take a cup of white sugar, put it on a cookie sheet and bake it for 5 minutes at 400’F. The sugar comes out melting, dark, sticky and considerably sweeter. In short, it is caramelized. Just like what happens when you put all the ingredients for 5 gallons of beer into 1-2 gallons of water and boil it for 60 minutes. So, enough with the theory, here’s our Intermediate Instructions for Brewing Great Beer.

The first thing you will need is a pot capable of holding 1.5-2 gallons. Then you will need some good water. If you generally drink water from your kitchen tap, you can use it for brewing. If you don’t, bottled water may be preferable.

If you are using tap water, bring 2 quarts (or liters) of regular tap water to a boil for 5 minutes to precipitate out any chlorine. Bottled water may be used to eliminate the pre-boil step.

If your recipe calls for use of specialty grains, cool your water to <180°F. (about 5-10 minutes). Put your steeping/specialty grains into an oversized nylon bag, tie off the bag and steep grains for 15-20 minutes at 150-180°F, then remove bag. You can squeeze bag to remove any extra color and flavor if you wish.

Bring your brewing water back to a boil and add your first addition of hops. Your total boiling time will be 30 minutes. Add any other hops at the times called for in the recipe.

After 30 minutes turn off the heat and remove your pot from the heating element. Mix in the malt concentrates, additional sugars and/or Coopers Beer Kit called for in the recipe. Be sure to mix very well, ensuring that none of the ingredients are lurking, unmixed, at the bottom of your pot.

After mixing, cool your wort to <120-130°F (cool to the touch). This can be done effectively by placing your pot in the kitchen sink and changing the water periodically. Add your wort to 1 gallon of pre-boiled, cold water already in your fermenter. Top up fermenter to 5 gallon mark with more pre-boiled, cold water. Bottled drinking water can be used instead of pre-boiling and chilling additional water. Mix contents of fermenter well. Using a sanitized turkey baster, or "wine thief" remove enough wort to take and record hydrometer reading. When the temperature of your wort is <75’F, add ("pitch" in brewing parlance) 7-15 grams of Coopers Brewery Beer Yeast, or yeast called for in recipe. Fermentation should commence within 12-16 hours.

When fermentation is done and you are ready to bottle refer to our instructions on bottling.

One caveat to using our methodology for beermaking. It only produces good beer if you start with high quality malt concentrates and beer kits that are specifically designed for making beer. Do not try this with bargain basement brand beermaking products! For more in depth discussions on beer making please feel free to contact us at

"Taking the Homebrewing World by storm! And making your brewing easier! Read Exploding the Orthodoxy."
-Mark Henry
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