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Brew in the bag


Brew in a bag Instructions


These instructions assume that you have already made beer from kits and now are ready to try your hand at all grain brewing.


Kits contain concentrated malt extract with hop extract added. You are now going to take control of this process by extracting the malt yourself (this is called ‘Mashing’) and by adding the hop bitterness, flavour and aroma in something called ‘the boil’.


Brewers traditionally use 3 vessels to perform these tasks but it can be done successfully using just one large pot and a few other bits of equipment.


  1. A 36l stainless boiling pot with a lid (HIRE FROM BREWMONKEY)

  2. A ‘mashing’ bag with a mesh base for draining and a drawstring to fix it in place in the pot.(AVAILABLE FROM BREWMONKEY)

  3. A stainless draining grid to support the bag as it drains back into the pot. (HIRE FROM BREWMONKEY)

  4. A copper cooling coil for rapidly cooling the wort after it has been boiled. (HIRE FROM BREWMONKEY)

  5. A brewing thermometer. (AVAILABLE FROM BREWMONKEY)


You will also need your brewing grains, kettle finings and hops and finally yeast when you come to start your fermentation. You can either buy these as an all-grain kit or buy them seperately if you have a preferred recipe such as those in Graham Wheeler’s book ‘Brew Your Own British Real Ale’.


Finally you will need the fermenting vessel just as you have used before when brewing from kits.





  1. Clean all equipment. You don’t need to sterilise the boiling pot or the bag because later the wort will be boiled and this will sterilise it. Everything that touches the beer after it has cooled will need to be sterilised in the normal way. (Beer paddle, thermometer, brewing bucket etc.)

  2. Fit the mash bag securely in place in the pot by fastening the drawstring.

  3. Add the correct amount of water to the pot as stated in your recipe or kit. Even though you are aiming for 5 gallons to go in your fermenter you will need to start with more. Some of this extra water will be left in the grain after it has drained and some will evaporate during the 90 minute boil. Your recipe should already have accounted for this.

  4. Begin to heat the water.

  5. After about 10 minutes of heating add the grains to the mashing bag by spinkling them evenly over the surface of the water. When it is all in give the grain a stir taking care not to damage your bag. This should prevent the grains from clumping together.

  6. Continue to heat until your target temperature is reached. Switch off the heat and put the lid on the pot.

  7. If the temperature drops to more than a couple of degrees below the target turn the heat back on low and gently stir the grain until the correct temperature is reached then turn the heat off again.

  8. Hold your grain at this temperature for 90 minutes.  Once this time has elapsed give the grains a final stir.

  9. Unfasten the bag’s cord and lift it carefully out of the pot so that the malty liquid runs back inside. Place the grid over the pot and set the bag on it to drain.

  10. Clearer wort can be obtained by recirculating the wort from the pot back over the grain with a jug and letting it drain again. In this way the grain acts as a filter, removing small particles. This step is not essential. Don’t try to squeeze more out of the grain than drains out naturally. This will cause hazy beer that may have a bad taste.

  11. Once the wort has stopped dripping back into the pot take the bag away and use the spent grain as animal feed or compost it.

  12. Turn the heat back on and bring the wort to a good rolling boil. Star timing

  13. If you are using a kit there will be one or more vacuum packs of hops marked up with the times each should be added to the boil. Add these at the correct time and continue the boil.

  14. 15 minutes before the end of the boil add kettle finings (Protoflok tablets or Irish moss) to help the beer clear.

  15. 5 minutes before the end of the boil immerse the copper wort cooler in the hot wort to allow the heat to sterilise it.

  16. At the end of the 90 minutes switch off the heat and turn on the flow of cold water through the copper cooler. This should cool your beer to around 25oC. Check the temperature with a sterilised thermometer.

  17. Vigorously swirl the wort around in the fermenter for about 5 minutes to allow it to absorb oxygen. The yeast will need this at the beginning to multiply.

  18. Check the wort is around 22oC then add the your yeast to the wort. Put the cover on the fermenter loosely and place it in a warmish place. (around 18oC to 20oC). Keep the temperature as constant as you can to avoid the yeast becoming stressed.



BREWMONKEY HOMEBREW SUPPLIES   23 HIGH STREET  CRADLEY HEATH  WEST MIDLANDS  B64 5HG         Tel: 01384 620238  Email:  Online shop:



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