Home Brew Starter Kit


Ready to start your brew?

Your first brew at home can be daunting, but our goal at Mangrove Jack’s is to provide the equipment and the ingredients that you need to confidently make delicious, full-bodied beers, in just a few simple steps.

So how does extract brewing work?

The process of extract brewing uses malt extract (a concentrated wort). This means that the technical and time-consuming stages of the brewing process, such as converting grain into wort, have already been taken care of. This gives brewers more time and freedom to experiment in the fermentation stages, and of course there’s more time that can be spent taste testing.

Extract brewing can be simplified into five simple steps:

1. Sanitisation

This is the most important part of the brewing process as it gives the beer the best chance possible from the get-go. All equipment should be properly sanitised before and after use to avoid contamination and spoiling batches of beer.

2. Mix malt and sugars or enhancers together with water

The malt extract, sugars or enhancers and boiling water are added to a fermenter and mixed until dissolved. Cold water is then added to create a less concentrated wort. Dextrose and enhancers help develop the flavour of the beer, and enhancers take brews to the next level by improving the body and mouthful of the beer. In some cases, they can even increase the level of alcohol to produce stronger brews.

3. Add yeast

To begin the fermentation process, yeast is added to the fermenter. The yeast converts the sugar in the wort into alcohol and CO2. Important flavour compounds are also created at this stage.

4. Fermentation

Now this is the hard part, waiting. The brew is then left to ferment and should stay at the same temperature consistently for the length of time required by the recipe. Depending on the style of beer brewed and the temperature during fermentation, this usually takes around one week. A hydrometer can be used to determine when fermentation is complete.

5. Bottle and add carbonation

Once fermentation has finished, you can choose to bottle or keg your beer. Bottling is generally simpler and a good place to start, whereas kegging tends to provide more consistent results and takes less time. During bottling, carbonation drops are added before sealing the bottles. Then there’s generally another 14 days to wait until the beer has finished conditioning. After that it’s time to chill, serve and drink.


What should my SG reading be?

The Specific Gravity or 'SG' is a key measurement in determining when your beer or cider has completed the fermentation process and is, therefore, ready for bottling. The most commonly used tool to measure this is a 'Hydrometer' which is provided in all our Starter Brewery Kits or available separately.

Find your target SG Reading here

How to read a Hydrometer

The standard gravity readings on a hydrometer are denoted by numbers, starting with 1.000, and incrementing by 10, 20, 30, and so on. These numbers represent 1.010, 1.020, 1.030, and so forth.

The point where the liquid level meets the hydrometer scale is your reading. For example, if the brew is at the spot where the arrow is pointing on the hydrometer below, your reading will be 1.040. 


ABV Calculator

Estimate your alcohol content

If the SG started at and finished at
Your ABV is
% alcohol



Temperature control

It is important that a brew is kept within the stated temperature range written either in your instructions or stated on your yeast packet. Temperature fluctuations can negatively impact fermentation, leading to undesirable flavours, aromas, and even contamination by unwanted bacteria. Too high a temperature can cause the yeast to ferment too quickly or die, producing off-flavours and aromas, or incomplete fermentation. On the other hand, fermenting at too low a temperature can cause the yeast to become inactive, leading to a slow and sometimes incomplete fermentation process.

There are a few simple techniques you can employ to help keep your fermentation within the correct temperature range:

If brewing in cooler temperatures, try:

  • Using a heat belt or pad. These electric heating devices are easy to use and provide steady warmth to the fermenter.
  • Keep the fermenter in a warmer area of your house and wrap it in blankets or a sleeping bag to keep it warm.
  • Place the fermenter in a cardboard box.

If brewing in warmer temperatures, try:

  • Keep the fermenter in the coolest part of your house – if you can keep it in an air conditioned room, even better!
  • Wrap the fermenter in a wet town and use a fan to help keep it cool.
  • The fermenter can be placed in a shallow pool of water with the towel overhanging so it remains damp. You can also add ice packs to this water for further cooling.


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