Homebrew Step by Step: Cream Ale Extract Kit w/ Specialty Grains


I just recently got into brewing my own beer at home and I've decided to document my third brew.

Cream Ale Extract Kit w/ Specialty Grains


I am brewing with an extract kit, which is recommended for beginners. An extract kit means that all of the fermentable sugars has been extracted from the grains already. So, the kit gives me six pounds of Pilsen malt syrup. I could extract the sugars myself, but I don't have the equipment to do it.

For my third brew, I am going to create a yeast starter. The starter will generate more yeast cells for fermentation. Yeast has a lot to do with the flavor of beer, much more than any other ingredient. So, healthy yeast makes for healthy beer.

I plan on brewing four days from now. This will give enough time for my yeast cells to replicate and then settle out.

So, let's get started with the starter....

Here is what you need

  • 1000ml erlenmeyer flask with foam stopper (you guys should know what this is)
  • 1/2 cup of DME (Dry Malt Extract, 1lb shown in photo)
  • Sauce Pan
  • Liquid yeast
    • 650 ml of water

Put 650 ml of water in to a saucepan and bring to a boil

White Labs Yeast
While the water is coming to a boil, get your yeast ready.

Be very careful when opening this type of yeast vial. Open it very slowly. Turn it just until you hear some hissing, then immediately close it. Give it a good shake, then twist the cap until you hear hissing, then close again. It might take a good 10 minutes to open it up, be patient with it.

There is another liquid yeast that comes in a smack pack. It's a foil pouch where you give it a good smack to release yeast nutrients then wait for the pouch to inflate. Be sure to read the instructions, you'll want to give it a good day to incubate before you actually use the yeast.

Add in DME

Once your water comes to a boil, slowly add in the DME and stir. It has a tendency to foam up, and it can make a mess. Essentially, what we are doing is adding in enough fermentable sugar to allow the yeast to replicate.

Boil DME for 15 min

Once all the DME has been added, bring it to a steady boil for 15 minutes.

Star San

In the mean time sanitize your flask. Star San is a concentrated no rinse sanitizer. One ounce of the stuff can be diluted into 5 gallons of water. What I like to do is add a bit to a spray bottle and use liberally to anything that comes in contact with my beer.

Sanitized flask

This flask is ready for the wort (beer without yeast). Notice all the bubbles inside, that is what you want.

Pre yeast flask

So here is the flask just before the yeast is added in. We lost a good 200 ml of water during the boil, but isn't a problem

Cool wort

The wort is too hot for the yeast to be added in, and it needs to be cooled down. You can make a little ice bath and plop in the flask for about 20 to 30 minutes. The flask was floating in the water, so I put a vase over the flask and that provided just enough weight to make it sit down.

Add in yeast

Pour in the yeast then give it a good stir.


There we go, the starter is starting. I'm going to give it a good 3 days before I crash cool it (which will make the yeast sink to the bottom)

I've left it on my kitchen counter, and I'll give it a good stir every now and again to aerate it.

And that's it for now, I'll post updates when it's time to brew.