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1. Beginners

1. 1 What do I need to start?

To get started in home brewing, you will need a fermenter, priming tank, hydrometer, thermometer, bottle capper, caps, bottles (48 twelve oz. pry-off beer bottles or equivalent for a 5 gallon batch), 4' of siphon tubing, sanitizing solution, basic guidebook, and ingredients for your first batch, usually a brewing kit. Check out our Home Breweries (page 3 of our paper catalog, or our website) for a package deal on what you need to get started.

1.2 What type of beer is easiest?

Easiest to brew are ales, wheat beers, stouts, and porters. All of these use hardy ale yeast, which can ferment at warmer temperatures (60° - 75° F.), and mature faster than the fussier lager beers. Ales can be ready to drink 5 weeks after the start of the brewing process. Lagers are the hardest to brew because they require refrigerated fermentation and aging for an authentic flavor. A lager should be brewed at 51°- 55° F., and aged at 40° F for at least 6 weeks after bottling.

1.3 Can I make beer without alcohol?

It is extremely difficult to make beer without alcohol. We have tried fermenting beer, and then boiling it for an hour to remove the alcohol, but found that a 4% beer still had over 2% alcohol in it after an hour boil. The problem is, when you boil beer that is fermented, you also boil some yeast cells, which give the beer an unpleasant cooked yeast flavor. Commercial breweries use advanced centrifuges and filters to remove alcohol without damaging heat, equipment that is not available to the home brewer. It is possible to make a low alcohol beer (under 3%) beer at home, by using a low amount of fermentable malt extract (4 lbs. in 5 gallons), although the beer will have a correspondingly weaker flavor than a beer made with 6 lbs. of malt extract or more.

1.4 How long does it take to make a batch?

For our Beginner Kits, allow 5 weeks from starting the yeast pack to drinking your first bottle. For Intermediate Kits, allow up to 3 months for extended refrigerating aging if they are lagers or pilsners, and 5 weeks for ales. Our William's Mead Kit requires about 6 months from start to finish.

2. William's Brewing Kits

2.1 What is the difference between a kit rated beginner and one rated intermediate?

A William's Brewing Kit rated beginner is designed for the first time brewer, and does not require strict temperature control, two step fermentation, or other steps. Keep in mind that a kit rated beginner can produce just as good a beer as a kit rated intermediate, the only difference is that the kit rated intermediate is a more difficult style of beer to brew.

2.2 My kit says to use a single fermenter. Can I use a primary and secondary fermenter instead?

Although you can use a two stage fermentation method with any of our kits, we specify a simple one step fermentation because it is easier for the first time brewer. If you are just starting out, brew the kit with the specified one step fermentation, as there is less chance of bacterial infection because the beer is handled less. If youve brewed a few batches, go ahead and use your usual two-stage method.

2.3 My William's Brewing Kit says to wait 14 days before I can bottle. Can I bottle sooner?

It is best to wait the full 14 days before bottling, even if the finishing gravity has dropped to or below the recommended level. This is because there is still yeast in suspension, which would lead to a heavy yeast sediment in the bottles if bottled too soon. There is also the danger that the beer may still be fermenting, and if bottled too soon, even if the recommended finishing gravity has been reached, it may continue to ferment and lead to dangerously over carbonated bottled beer.

If you are concerned that the yeast sediment in the fermenter may taint the beer (more of a concern in 75° F. + conditions and with light flavored beers), transfer the beer to a secondary fermenter and wait until the 14 day fermentation period is over. Keep in mind that you still need to take two hydrometer readings before bottling: the first after 12 days or so to determine if the finishing gravity has been reached, and the second a couple of days later to make sure the gravity has stopped dropping and the beer is safe to bottle.

2.4 How long will William's Brewing Kits last before I make them?

If refrigerated upon arrival, figure 6 months as the normal shelf life. If stored at room temperature, figure 2 months as the normal shelf life. The yeast is the most perishable part of the kit, and should be refrigerated for long term storage.

2.5 Can I get the formulation for a William's Brewing Kit?

Kit recipes are proprietary and are not released. Released details are limited to the paper and web catalog kit descriptions. If you are looking to formulate a specific recipe, additional help can be found from our Customer Support Department. William's Customer Support is available to all current customers. For information on formulating your own recipes, we suggest a good recipe book, as listed in our paper and web catalog in the book section.

2.6 What are the hops in my William's Brewing Kit?

Like all formulated products, kit recipes are proprietary and are not released. Released details are limited to the paper and web catalog kit descriptions. If you are looking to formulate a specific recipe, additional help can be found from our Customer Support Department. William's Customer Support is available to all current customers.  For information on formulating your own recipes, we suggest a good recipe book, as listed in our paper and web catalog in the book section. 

3. Ingredients

3.1 Malt extract or grain mashing, which method should I use?

Malt extract is used by the majority of brewers because it saves a lot of time, but brewing direct from grain is definitely the way to go for the brewer who wants maximum control over his or her beer. Outstanding beers can be produced with today's improved malt extracts, so we recommend that you start with malt extract (the malt extract manufacturer has done the mashing for you). After you get a feel for the brewing process, try an all grain batch, which requires more time and specialized equipment.

3.2 Syrup or dry malt extract, which is better?

Malt extract is available in two forms, syrup and dry. Both are capable of producing excellent beers. Syrup malt extract is generally less expensive per pound, and more varieties are available, making it the first choice of most brewers. It is subjected to less heat during processing than dry malt extract, and can make a lighter colored beer if an excellent quality lighter grade is selected. Dry Malt Extract, on the other hand, is easier to measure out than syrup, and is 20% stronger per pound than syrup malt extract, because it does not contain water.

3.3 How long will William's Malt Extracts last, and how should I store them?

William's Syrup malt extract will keep for a year or longer if kept in a cool place (although it darkens over time), and should be refrigerated if the package has been opened. We have heard of customers using sealed pouched that were stored for 2 or 3 years, although the beer will of course not be as fresh flavored as if the malt was fresher. If you have opened a pouch and squeezed out some of the extract, seal it back up by rolling up the corner of the bag and sealing with a large paper clip. Put it in the refrigerator and it will keep for up to a year.

William's Dry malt extract will keep for several years without darkening if protected from moisture, although if a bag is left open to the outside air, the dry malt will quickly harden into a sticky lump as it absorbs humidity.

3.4 How long will whole and crushed grains last?

William's malted grain, in either whole or crushed form, will keep for up to 2 years if stored in the original 1 lb. oxygen barrier package. This is because, unlike coffee, grain has no oils to evaporate when crushed, so the crushed form keeps just about as well as the whole form. The whole form has a slight edge when bought by the sack, however, as our sacks do not have oxygen barrier liners, and the grain has more of a chance of moisture getting in and degrading the flavor. Figure that whole grain in sacks will last at least a year, and crushed grain in sacks will last at least 7 months. Storage in a cool dry area is best.

3.5 Are your grain malts fully modified?

All grain malts sold by William's Brewing are sufficiently modified to fully convert in a simple one-temperature infusion mash at 152°-158° F. You may still want to do a multiple temperature rest decoction mash to reduce the likelihood of protein haze in the finished beer, although it is not required.

3.6 How do I use flaked ingredients? Do they have to be mashed?

Flaked ingredients like flaked barley, corn, rice, and oats must be mashed with pale malt to convert their starches to sugars. To do this, mix the flaked adjunct with an equal amount of crushed pale malt, mix in ¼ gallon of 170° F. water for each pound of grain mix, and hold for 1 hour at 155 F°. before sparging to remove the grain sugars from the husks. You will need some basic mashing equipment to do this. Merely steeping them before the boil will impart some flavor, but is not good brewing practice, as the grains will become quite gummy, and starch haze may form in the finished beer.

3.7 What is toasted malt, and how do I obtain it?

Toasted malt is just common pale malt (crushed or whole) that has been heated on a cookie sheet in an oven at 350° F. for 20 to 30 minutes before using. This heat imparts a slight nutty flavor to the grain. You can do this with any two or six row pale malt, in whole or crushed form.

3.8 What is Carapils® malt?

Carapils® malt is a brand name for a light form of crystal malt (lovibond 12-19) sold by Briess Malting. For a recipe calling for Carapils® malt, you can safely substitute any 12° to 19° lovibond rating crystal (also known as caramel) malt.


3.09 How do I grow hops from hop rhizomes?

Click on this link for a copy of hop growing and care instructions in word format.

3.10 Pellet, whole, or plug?

Any form of hop can be used to make good beer. We sell the most pellets because they are easy to measure and use, and have a longer shelf life than whole or plug hops. Pellet hops also impart more flavor per ounce than whole or plug hops, as their smaller particles allow for more complete hot wort access than larger hop petals during the boil. Accordingly, when substituting whole hops in a recipe specifying pellet hops, use 15% more by weight (assuming the alpha acid content is the same in both forms). When substituting hop plugs for pellet hops in a recipe, use 10% more by weight assuming the alpha acid is identical.

Whole hops, on the other hand, are preferred by some brewers because they are completely unprocessed, and whole hop flower cones may also help coagulate protein matter during the boil, the soggy cones providing many surfaces for the churning malt proteins to thrash against. Unlike pellet hops, whole hops must be strained from the wort after the boil (pellet hops settle out and are removed with the trub sediment in the boiling pot).

Hop plugs are a convenient hybrid of whole and pellet hops, and consist of whole hop cones that have been compressed into plugs that weigh approximately ½ oz each. Originally developed in England as a convenient form of hop for dry hopping 31 gallon casks of ale, hop plugs preserve much of the cone and petal structure of the original whole hop, and are easy to measure. Like whole hops, hop plugs have particles too large to settle out of the boil, and should be strained from the wort before fermentation. All hop plugs (even U.S. varieties) are currently produced in England.

3.11 How do I convert a recipe using pellet hops to whole hops or plugs?

If you are going to use whole hops, use 15% more by weight, assuming the alpha acid is the same. If you are going to use plug hops, use 10% more by weight, assuming the same alpha acid.

3.12 How do I convert a recipe using whole hops to pellets?

To use pellets in a recipe specifying whole hops, use 15% less by weight, assuming the alpha acid is the same.

3.13 How long do hops from William's last, and how should I store them?

If stored in the original oxygen barrier packaging (or a glass jar), our hops will last 1 year if stored refrigerated, and longer if frozen. For freshest flavor, use within 6 months of receiving, and always store refrigerated and away from light, which can react with compounds in the hops. At room temperature in our original oxygen barrier packaging, figure a 2 month shelf life if stored in a dark place.

3.14 What is dry hopping? How is it done?

Dry hopping is a term that refers to adding hops after the boil. This is done to avoid the evaporative effect of the heat on hop aromatic oils. Beers that are dry hopped exhibit a strong hop aroma.

Dry hopping can be done at any point after the beer is boiled, using ¼ to 1 oz. of a hop chosen for its aromatic characteristics, like Cascade or Hallertau. This can be a bit of a mess, as the hops can either be added loose or tied in a muslin sack and added to the secondary fermenter. The problem with putting them in a muslin sack is that they swell when wet, and can be hard to remove from the narrow mouth of a 5 gallon carboy secondary fermenter.

To achieve a strong, clean hop aroma in beer, we prefer a modified version of dry hopping, which is adding a large amount (1/2 to 2 oz.) of aromatic hops during the last 2 to 3 minutes of the boil. This imparts a strong hop aroma, reduces the chance of bacterial infection, and is easier to clean up, as the hops will settle out in the trub and primary fermenter if in pellet form, and will be strained out along with the boiling hops if loose or plug.

3.15 What are AAU's, HBU's, and IBU's?

The first two abbreviations stand for a way of measuring the bittering power of hops, and the third measures the bitterness of the finished beer. AAUs (Alpha Acid Units) was the original home brewing formula, HBU's (Homebrew Bittering Units) are another name for this same measurement, and IBU's (International Bittering Units) are the most precise, as they account for variations in hop utilization, and are extensively used by commercial brewers.

Alpha Acid Units (AAU's) are a simple way to measure the potential bittering power of a given quantity of hops. One Alpha Acid Unit is represented by 1% of alpha acid in one ounce of hops. For example, if you have 1 oz. of hops with an alpha acid rating of 4%, you have 4 Alpha Acid Units. If you have 2 oz. of 4% alpha hops, you multiply the number of ounces (2) by the alpha acid of the hops (4) to get 8, which is the total AAU amount of the 2 oz. of 4% alpha acid hops. Conversely, if you have a recipe that calls for 8 alpha acid units, divide the Alpha Acid Units required (8), by the alpha acid rating of one ounce of the hops you intend to use (4) to get 2, the amount in ounces of the 4% alpha acid hops needed to achieve 8 AAU's. Homebrew bittering units (HBUs) are just another name for AAU's, and there is no difference between the two.

International Bittering Units (IBU's), are more precise than AAU's, because they take into account the varying effects of boil length and wort density on the extraction of hop bitterness. For a good simple formula for IBUs, see William Moore's Home Beermaking book on page 41 (see this link). 

Liquid & Dry Yeast

3.16 Liquid or dry yeast, which should I buy?

The strain of yeast used, and its purity, greatly affect the flavor of the finished beer. Differing strains can impart flavors ranging from dry to sweet, spicy or smooth, and affect the body of the beer by attenuating (reducing) the wort to varying final gravities. The purity of the yeast is even more important, as yeast infected with even a small amount of bacteria will add a yeasty or sour flavor.

Yeast in liquid form is generally more pure than dried yeast, as it does not have to withstand the process of drying. Liquid yeast is also available in a great number of strains, giving the brewer more choice over the beers final flavor, and is consequently the most popular form of yeast for the serious brewer. Liquid yeast does have the disadvantage of being perishable in hot or freezing weather, and costs more than dry yeast. In addition, it must be started several days in advance of brewing.

Dry yeast, on the other hand, will withstand greater temperature variations during shipment and storage, and is very easy to use, as it does not have to be started in advance of brewing like liquid yeast. The main disadvantage of dry yeast is that there are very few good strains available, and they are all ales. We have not found a dried lager yeast that can compare with a liquid lager yeast.

3.17 Will my yeast be okay in shipping?

We ship yeast all over the country at all times of year, and have relatively few problems with the more perishable liquid yeast showing up dead on arrival. To minimize problems, try ordering your liquid yeast, particularly the more sensitive lager strains, in months that are not extremely hot (yeast can freeze for a limited time in shipment and still be okay).

Keep in mind that all liquid yeast ordered from William's is guaranteed to start. If a package of William's Liquid Yeast does not swell within 7 days of breaking the incubator pack, call the special toll-free number on the pack between 8-5 weekdays Pacific Time, and we will send you out a new pack via First Class Mail. You can also use our website warranty replacement form (click here).

3.18 How long will my yeast last in storage?

Upon receipt of your dry or liquid yeast, refrigerate it for longest storage life. Refrigerated, William's Liquid Yeast will last 5 months from the date of shipment. Refrigerated, our dry yeast will last 9 months from date of shipment.

3.19 My liquid yeast arrived frozen. Will it be okay?

Our liquid yeast can withstand brief periods of freezing. The only way to know if it is okay is to thaw it out and break the incubator pack. If it does not swell within 7 days, go to this link for the warranty replacement form. 


3.20 Why use corn sugar instead of household cane sugar?

Corn sugar (also known as dextrose) contains 100% glucose and is the most popular sugar in home brewing, as it leaves a minimal taste in the finished beer. Household cane sugar can also be used, although it contains fructose, a more difficult to ferment sugar which must be broken down by the yeast before fermentation. This break down process tends to leave a 'hot' sharp taste in the finished beer. Accordingly, most home brewers stick to the more expensive, readily fermentable corn sugar.

3.21 Can I use corn sugar to increase the alcohol content?

Yes, you can bolster the alcohol content by adding more fermentable sugar to the wort. In a typical 5 gallon batch, adding 1 lb. of corn sugar to strengthen the alcohol content will add approximately ¾ of 1 percent of alcohol content by volume to the finished beer, which can be quite a bit. For example, a beer made with just 6 lbs. of malt extract will have a starting gravity of 1.040, and finish at 1.012, with a resultant alcohol content by volume of 3.6%. Add a pound of corn sugar, and the starting gravity rises to 1.046, while it still finishes around 1.102. This leaves an alcohol content by volume of 4.4%. Adding more than 1 lb. of corn sugar will tend to distort the flavor of the beer slightly, and adding more than 2 lbs. will tend to bring on a cidery flavor.

3.22 How much sugar can I use before my beer tastes cidery?

When the total wort fermentables from sugar exceed 20%, you will tend to get a cider like flavor in the beer, particularly in the aftertaste. Keep in mind Belgian styles can use 30% sugar or more, to lighten their flavor while maintaining a high alcohol content. Belgian styles may or may not have a bit of a cidery taste, which is often masked with spices and yeast strains that produce unique flavors.

3.23 What is lactose used for?

Lactose is milk sugar, and is largely unfermentable, which means it leaves a residual sweetness in the beer. This is usually desirable in stout or porter styles, although a very small amount of lactose (4 oz. in 5 gallons) has the subtle effect of making the flavor seem smoother and the body fuller. Beers containing lactose should never be served to people allergic to milk.

3.24 Can I use brown sugar in my beer?

Brown sugar can be used in small amounts as a malt supplement. If used in quantities over 1 lb., the same hot flavor as imparted by cane sugar may be noticed in the finished beer. Brown sugar will not add much flavor to the finished beer, but sometimes it is fun to use it for priming. Use the same amount by weight as when using corn sugar.

3.25 Can I use maple syrup in my beer?

Maple syrup can be used in beer, and is generally best in darker styles. Unfortunately, it is very expensive, and you will need to use at least a gallon to get any noticeable flavor in a 5 gallon batch. Add it halfway through the boil, so it boils for at least 30 minutes. When formulating a beer using maple syrup, keep the hopping rate low (under 5-8 AAU's) to give the delicate maple flavor a chance to be tasted.

3.26 Can I use honey in my beer?

Honey is frequently used in beer, to lighten the taste and give a slightly honey accent to the flavor. The best honeys to use are lighter flavored varieties like clover, as stronger flavors tend to mar the flavor of the beer. In a 5 gallon batch, honey can make up to 35% of the total fermentables without causing a stuck fermentation (unlike malt extract, honey lacks yeast nutrients). Add the honey halfway through the boil. Honey, depending on its density, contributes approximately the same amount of fermentables per pound as syrup malt extract.

Flavorings, Spices, and Fruit

3.27 When do I add William's Fruit Flavorings?

William's Natural Fruit Flavorings are best added at bottling, stirring in to taste. We like to start with half the recommended amount (see our catalog), and then stir in a little at a time between tastings. Or, you can add several drops to a glass to individually flavor each beer. This is because every beer is different, and adding too much flavoring can lend a soda pop or wine cooler effect to the beer. Also, the flavors vary in strength from batch to batch slightly, depending on the fruit crop used. They contain no sugar and will not affect priming rates.

3.28 When do I add spices, and how much do I use?

Spices vary tremendously in potency and effect on the finished beer. For dried powdered or granulated spices like cloves, cinnamon, bitter and sweet orange peel, allspice, pumpkin pie spice, and ginger, we generally recommend you use ¼ oz. or less total by weight per 5 gallon batch. It is better to use not quite enough than too much when it comes to spices! Add the spices during the last 5 minutes of the boil, and they should not be strained out when the wort goes into the primary fermenter. For fresh ginger root, grate it and use 1 to 2 ounces per 5 gallon batch, and add it during the last 5 minutes of the boil.

3.29 When do I add real fruit, and how much should I add?

Real fruit, in fresh or frozen form, should be added at the start of the primary ferment. If the fruit you are using is fresh, the skins will need to be broken first to allow the yeast access to the sugars (frozen fruit has already broken skins, due to the freezing process). To really taste fruit in a 5 gallon batch, you will need to use about 5 pounds. This can be quite a mess, so it is a good idea to line your primary fermenter with a large straining bag (click on this link) before you add the wort or the fruit, so you can just remove the bag when it is time to transfer to a secondary fermenter.

It is a good idea to make up a yeast starter when using fruit, as the yeast occurring naturally on the fruit will compete with the brewing yeast strain you select, so it is helpful to have a lot of healthy yeast at the start. You can minimize this problem by adding the fruit to the hot wort in the fermenter after you turn off the heat (ideally when the wort is about 170° F.), to help kill the wild yeast. This will degrade the aromatic character of the fruit slightly.

Once the primary ferment is done in 5 to 8 days, remove your straining bag and transfer the beer to a secondary. Discard the remains of the fruit at this time.

Beer Clarifying Agents

3.30 Helping the trub settle in the boil with gypsum and Irish moss

Irish moss is a form of dried seaweed that becomes gelatinous when mixed in the boil, helping to coagulate protein matter into clumps which readily settle out when the wort cools. The wort is then siphoned off this flock like sediment into a fermenter, leaving the proteins behind. Irish moss will not help remove yeast from the fermenter, or remove chill haze, but it will help coagulate proteins in the boil so they can be readily removed, leading to a cleaner-flavored, more stable finished beer.

Irish moss works best in water that has at least 200 PPM total hardness, so it is a good ideal to add 1-4 teaspoons of gypsum to an extract boil, which will raise the hardness by approximately 160 PPM for every teaspoon added. To use, add ½ teaspoon per 5 gallons halfway through a one hour boil. There are also refined Irish moss products available like Supermoss from Five Star Chemical that can do an even better job of protein removal.

3.31 Removing yeast from the beer with Instant Isinglass

Made from dried fish stomachs (don't worry, it does not affect the flavor or smell of the finished beer!) Instant Isinglass is a very effective agent for settling yeast out of beers, particularly ale yeast. It should be added to the secondary fermenter after the beer has finished fermenting and is in its settling period. For the very best results, transfer the beer to a clean carboy before adding Instant Isinglass.

To use William's Instant Isinglass, mix ½ teaspoon with one cup of water at room temperature, and use an egg beater or blender to thoroughly stir. Wait 15 minutes, stir again, and mix gently into your beer in the secondary fermenter. William's Instant Isinglass takes about 2 days to completely settle out before bottling, and is even more effective if the beer is chilled slightly (say from 65° to 55° F.) after adding.

3.32 Removing chill haze with Silica Gel

Chill haze is the haze that forms in refrigerated beer, and then disappears when the beer is warmed. It does not harm the beer or its flavor, but can be unsightly, especially in pale lagers. It can be removed naturally by settling, which requires beer to be kept cold for 4 to 6 weeks to allow gravity a chance to pull the protein haze out of the beer, or you can absorb most of the haze with Silica Gel to speed up the process.

Silica Gel is a form of silica mixed with sterile water that has a honeycomb structure with each cell approximately the same size as the proteins that cause chill haze. When added to fermented beer, Silica Gel absorbs most of the chill haze producing proteins before settling out of the fermenter or bottle.

Silica Gel is usually added a day after fining with Instant Isinglass, using ½ ounces (by weight, approximately ¼ cup), per 5 gallons of beer. The Silica Gel is sterile and is stirred into the beer directly without boiling. Allow 2 days for the silica to absorb the haze causing proteins and settle out of the beer before bottling or kegging.

4. Recipe Formulation

4.1 How do I predict the initial starting gravity?

To determine the approximate starting gravity of your own recipe, add up the total degrees of extract (see chart below) of all the pounds of extract producing ingredients included, and divide by the number of gallons you intend to brew. For example, a 5 gallon recipe calling for 6 lbs. of syrup malt extract (34 degrees per pound, multiplied by 6), and ½ pound of crushed crystal grain (16 degrees per pound, divided by 2) has a total of 212 degrees of extract, which, when divided by 5 (gallons), yields an approximate starting gravity of 1.042.

Average Extract

Average specific gravity produced by adding 1 pound of the ingredient listed below to 1 gallon of water.

Granulated Cane Sugar 1.042
Brown Sugar 1.042
Corn Sugar 1.040
Dry Malt Extract 1.040
Syrup Malt Extract 1.034
Rice Extract Syrup 1.034
Honey 1.029-1.033
Pale malt (mashed) 1.025-1.028
Steeped Crystal malt 1.016
Steeped Roasted malt 1.016

4.1a How do I convert a malt extract recipe into a grain mashing recipe?

To determine how many pounds of crushed grain equal the amount of extract in the recipe, look at the average extract table above, and calculate the estimated starting gravity for the extract recipe. Drop the first two constant numbers before calculating (example: 1.042 becomes 42).   For example, the extract recipe below:

Extract Recipe to be converted:

6 lbs. American Light Syrup Malt Extract              (34 degrees of extract per pound * 6 =  204 total degrees of extract)
1 lb. Dry American Light Malt Extract                    (40 degrees of extract per pound * 1 = 40 total degrees of extract)
1 lb. 40 L. Crystal Malt (steeped before the boil)    (16 degrees of extract per pound * 1 = 16 total degrees of extract)
2 oz. Flavoring Hops                                                      (total degrees of extract = 260 divided by 5 gallons = 52, or 1.052 starting gravity)
1 oz. Aromatic Hops
4.5 oz. Corn Sugar for carbonation

The total degrees of extract for this recipe is 260, when divided by the gallons brewed (5) gives you 52, or a starting gravity of 1.052. Now to convert this to grain (substitute  crushed pale malt for the American Light and Dry American Light), divide the  total amount of extract needed (244)  by the average extract per pound of mashed pale malt (28) to get 8.7 pounds, the amount of pale malt needed to replace the 6 lbs. of American Light and 1 lb. of Dry American Light. There is no need to convert the 40 L Crystal Malt, just use 1 lb. of 40 L Crystal Malt (or any other steeping grain) in your mashed recipe.

4.2 How do I predict a final gravity?

Unlike starting gravities, finishing gravities are difficult to calculate with a reasonable degree of accuracy, because different malt extracts contain varying amounts of unfermentables, and some yeast strains eagerly consume malt sugars others find unpalatable. Although impossible to calculate precisely, a rough rule of thumb can be given to help establish some idea of the approximate finishing gravity of an all-malt beer made with William's Malt Extracts. Divide the starting gravity of the beer by 3 (drop the first two constant specific gravity numbers, for example, 10.42 becomes 42). To illustrate, an all malt beer with a starting gravity of 1.042 (42), when divided by 3, has an estimated final gravity of 1.013 (13.3).

As this estimated finishing gravity can be as much as 20% lower or higher than the actual final gravity, depending on the ingredients used (many brands of malt extract are less or more fermentable than William's) and fermentation conditions, it is useful only as a rough guide. Taking two readings with the hydrometer three days apart before bottling is still necessary to be certain the beers specific gravity has stopped dropping and it is safe to bottle.

4.3 How do I measure the alcohol content of the finished beer?

To determine the approximate alcohol content of your finished beer by volume, subtract the finishing gravity from the starting gravity (dropping the first two constant numbers: 1.042 to 42), and multiply the resulting gravity drop by .129.    For example, an ale with a starting gravity of 1.042 (42) and a finishing gravity of 1.015 (15) has a gravity drop of 27.  Multiply this by .129 to get 3.48, the approximate alcohol by volume of the finished beer. 

4.4 How do I know how to use the right amount of hops?

This is a complex subject, as it depends on your taste, style of beer, and the type of hops used. A light lager may use only 1 ounce of a mild hop like Hallertau, while a strong pale ale may use 3 ounces or more, and include stronger hops like Columbus or Northern Brewer. For more on this, consult your recipe or see Bill Moore's Home Beermaking book on pages 39-42.

4.5 How do I convert syrup malt extract recipes to dry malt extract?

Dry malt extract is 20% stronger per pound than syrup malt extract, so use 20% less by weight when using dry malt in a recipe originally calling for syrup malt extract.

4.6 I need 8 pounds of malt extract and you have a 6 pound pouch. How do I get 8 pounds?

You can do this two ways. The easiest is to buy 2 pounds of dry malt extract as a supplement to the 6 pound pouch. If you want to be really precise about the 8 pounds, use 1.6 pounds of the dry malt to get the fermentable equivalent of 8 pounds. of syrup malt extract. Or, buy an extra pouch of malt extract, cut off a corner, and squeeze out 2 pounds. The remaining 4 pounds can be stored in a refrigerator (roll up the cut corner and clip to seal).

4.7 How many cups are in 1 pound of your William's Dry Malt Extract?

Approximately 4 to 4 ¼ cups, depending on how you pack it. This is approximate, and it is always best to use a scale.

4.8 How many cups are in 1 pound of your corn sugar?

Approximately 3, depending on how you pack it. It is always best to use a scale, as volume measures can vary.

4.9 How many cups are in 1 lb. of your whole or crushed grain?

Three to four cups, depending on variety and how you pack it. We recommend you use a scale for measuring grain, as it is much more accurate.

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