The American Homebrewers Association has excellent tutorials for getting started with brewing with malt extract, a great way to practice the craft before getting to more complex “all-grain” batches. Below are extract-brew recipes from local homebrew clubs and shops to get you on your way. If it all looks foreign to you, worry not: You’ll need some equipment from one of these local shops, where the staff can give you pointers. Some shops offer classes, too.
Each of these recipes makes a five-gallon batch and will take around one to two weeks for the initial fermentation, plus another one to two weeks to carbonate after bottling. By using a simple and inexpensive tool called a hydrometer, you can measure the specific gravity—the ratio of sugars to liquid—of your homebrew. As the yeast converts sugars to alcohol, the specific gravity will lower until it’s in the neighborhood of around 1.010. Once your specific gravity stabilizes and no longer changes, the yeast has done its job and converted all the sugars, at which point you can move on to bottling or kegging your finished brew.
Malibu Brown Ale (provided by Culver City Home Brewing Supply)
Inglewood IPA (provided by Culver City Home Brewing Supply)
Dead Simple Hefeweizen (from The Everything Homebrewing Book by Drew Beechum)
Shout It Out Oatmeal Stout (provided by the Home Beer, Wine, and Cheesemaking Shop)
Drew’s “Saison Ete” (provided by the Home Beer, Wine, and Cheesemaking Shop)