How to Brew Beer in a Coffee Maker

So I’ve written a lot of posts about small batch brewing, and will continue to focus on it going forward. But I wanted to share a method to making a micro batch of beer in your coffee maker.

Why would I make beer in a coffee machine? For one, it lets you be super experimental without the risk of having to dump too much beer if it does go wrong. Second, cleanup is a breeze as is the process itself. And third, it’s a very small/informal intro to all-grain brewing without investing in new equipment. Fourth, it makes for great bar conversation.

What you’ll need

  • A standard drip coffee maker with hot plate
  • A coffee filter or one of those micro-metal ones
  • 2-qt sauce pan
  • 1-qt canning jar with lid
  • 6-inch square of cheesecloth
  • 2 rubber bands
  • Small funnel
  • About 3” of small tubing that fits on the bottom of the funnel
  • ½ gallon of water
  • About 1 and ¼ cups of grains
  • 5-7 hop pellets
  • Yeast

How you’ll make it

Before you begin: SANITIZE everything as best you can. I run my sanitizer mix through the machine a few times. I have a separate coffee machine so I don’t have to worry about scrubbing out coffee grinds when I use it. If you’re using your existing machine, make sure you really get in there and get any coffee residue out.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Compose a grain bill for a full 5 gal batch and downscale it to 1 quart (1/4 gallon) in size. If you want to go really basic, use 1 cup of 2-row and ¼ cup of specialty malt
  2. Add your grains to the coffee pot, add 2 cups of water into the machine’s reservoir and turn it on like you would for a normal pot of coffee. Let the grains steep for an hour in the pot.
  3. After an hour, turn off the coffee maker. Put the filter over the reservoir to catch any grain particles and pour the wort back into the machine’s reservoir. Add an additional cup of water to the wort and run the coffee maker again. Leave the grains in the pot.
  4. Repeat this process adding another cup of water each time till you have a full pot of wort. This should take about 4-5 times. You don’t need to let it wort sit after the first cycle, just filter and start the next round.
  5. With a full pot, empty it into the sauce pan and bring to a boil. Use a filter to keep the grains out. After 20 mins add the hops and boil another 30 mins.
  6. Stir to create a whirlpool (try to leave and sediment behind) and pour the wort into the canning jar. Fill it up, but leave about 2 inches at the top. Be careful, the jar will be hot, so use some oven mitts. Once the wort is in the jar and it to an ice bath (of just cold water) in your sink.
  7. Once the temperature gets down to 68, screw on the lid and shake like crazy to aerate the wort. Then add your yeast. You won’t need much. Here’s a great pitch rate calculator from Mr Malty. Also if you have a frozen yeast bank, you can propagate from there as well.
  8. Put the cheesecloth over the top of the jar and secure with the rubber bands. Place in a cool, dark location. In 5-7 days, fermentation should be complete.
  9. Now get yourself a few Grolsch beers or any other with swig tops. Enjoy them, rinse them out and sanitize. Do the same with the funnel and tubing. Add about 1/8 tsp sugar or a few drops of honey to each bottle, insert tube and funnel, pour beer into bottles and seal the tops. Try not to get any of the sediment from the jar into the bottles
  10. Place the bottles in a dark place for 2-3 week and then enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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