The instructions in my kit advise not to remove the bucket lid during fermentation but the hop sachet says to add after day 7!?

Good spot, the hop sachet is a recent addition to the kits and a few batches of kits have been released containing the old instructions - sorry! You should, as the sachet says, add the hops after 7 days by briefly lifting the lid and springling on the surface of your beer then place the lid back on to the bucket as it was before. As the lid is only removed briefly there is no risk of infection to your beer. 

Can I buy these products online?

Yes, Make Your Own products are available online exclusively through the Range website here.

At the bottling stage what type of sugar should I use?

You are fine to use either Sucrose (standard table sugar) or Dextrose with no noticeable difference in taste or carbonation levels

I bought a 'Make Your Own' Beer kit and equipment starter kit. Can this be used for brewing anything other than lager?

Yes, one of the advantages of the 'Make Your Own' system is that it can be used to brew any of our beer, wine & cider kits using all the same equipment.

Why is cleaning & sterilization so important?

Because spoilage bacteria are everywhere and will ruin your beer.

The instructions advise I use Dextrose sugar in making my beer, can I also use ordinary white sugar instead? What differences will I get?

Both options will give you good quality beer but using dextrose will give you a cleaner beer. Using ordinary white sugar increases the amount of acetaldehyde produced by the yeast promoting a slight fruity aroma and flavour.

What temperature do you have to keep the fermentation at?

The perfect temperature is 'warm room temperature' between 20-25C constant day and night. If the temperature drops too low then fermentation will slow down and perhaps even stop completely. If the room temperature is above 25C beer quality will be reduced (especially lagers). Above 30C can kill the yeast. Good temperature control and thorough sterilization are the two golden rules to homebrewing.

My fermentation bucket is full of foam, is this normal?

All brews will foam to some degree especially during the first two days of fermentation. If the brew does foam out of the lid then wipe with disposable tissue and push the lid down but DO NOT SEAL. Always place fermenter on a washable surface in case of foam over.

Why is it taking so long to ferment?

Providing you used 3 litres boiling water at the start, the only reason for a slow fermentation is where the temperature dropped below 20C at some time during the fermentation period. Check room temperature especially first thing in the morning and make sure the fermenter is not standing on a cold floor.

I have brewed the beer in the fermenter for the fourteen days specified in the instructions. How do I know if it is ready to transfer to the beer bottles?

As long as you have followed the instructions and kept the beer at the recommended temperature then your beer will be ready to bottle. Its important to taste the beer - it should taste dry and not taste sweet. Also there should be no bubbles rising to the top of the brew. If in doubt, leave it to ferment for an extra few days.

What do I do if I disturb the sediment when trying to syphon from the bucket to my bottles?

Just carry on! The sediment will resettle in the bottles.

I have made a batch of 'Make Your Own' beer but will be away from home for some while, how long will the beer keep in the bottles?

For best results we reccommend drinking within 3 months of making, however it's perfecty safe to drink up to 6 months after making. In fact if left for 4 weeks before drinking, the taste improves!  

My beer, tastes like vinegar. What have I done wrong?

You have found the most common problem that can occur when brewing your own beer. Your beer has become contaminated by bacteria. Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done to save this batch, please throw it away. To avoid this problem it is vital that great care is taken to sterilize all equipment used during the brewing and bottling processes and to ensure that the fermenter lid is not removed during the first 10 days.

Why is my beer flat when I open the bottles?

Assuming you did add the correct amount of priming sugar into each bottle then it will be because the temperature was too low during the first week of bottle storage. If this happens then move bottles back to a warm place for a further week and re-suspend the yeast every couple of days by giving each bottle a sharp twist whilst inverted.

Why does my beer gush when I open the bottles?

Most likely because primary fermentation had not finished in the bucket or you added too much sugar at bottling. If this happens then chill remaining bottles to 2C, open bottles gently to release pressure then re-seal when warmed to 10C.

How should I store my Beer?

Store your beer in a cool dark place in an upright position.

If I want to transfer my beer into a barrel rather than bottles, how much sugar should I add to it?

We advise that If using a pressure barrell we would recommend adding 80g of sugar per 5-gallon barrel (approx 22.5L) if making a lager or cider, or 60-70g if you are making any of the other beers. For this you can use ordinary granulated white table sugar (sucrose). Dextrose brewing sugar can also be used for this purpose but is not essential.

Are the beer kits suitable for vegetarians?

Yes all of the beer & cider kits are all suitable for vegetarians

What are the ideal serving temperatures for the 'Make Your Own' Beer kits?

We'd suggest that for the Premium Lager kit serving at 8C is ideal and for the Nut Brown, Bitter & IPA between 12-14C. If you don’t have equipment to measure the drinks temperature we would recommend enjoying the lager straight from the fridge after chilling overnight, and for the Nut Brown, IPA & Bitter kits, store them in the fridge overnight and then leave them out for an hour at room temperature before drinking them - this hour out of the fridge normally gets them between the 12-14C range without letting them warm to room temperature.

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Got another question? Email us at info@makeyourowndrinks.co.uk.