Ingredients (use vegan versions):

  • 3/4 lbs. crystal 20 malt
  • 6 lbs. light malt extract
  • 2 oz. kent goldings hops @ 5.7%
  • 3/4 oz. styrian goldings hops
  • 3/4 oz. styrian goldings hops (yes, 1.5 oz. total)
  • 1 unit brewing yeast (danstar nottingham is best for this recipe)


here’s a disappointing revelation for
all you vegan drinkers out there: beer
often isn’t vegetarian! US beer is
usually run through bone char filters,
some UK beer is fined with isinglas
(fish stomach), and mackeson’s milk
stout… well, let’s just say that a lot
of beers out there aren’t exactly
following the german reinheitsgebot
purity laws. what’s a thirsty vegan to
do? make your own!

go down to your friendly neighborhood
homebrew store and get the ingredients
listed above, plus:

1 bucket
1 carboy (like a polar water jug, but glass)
1 bottle capper
1 thermometer
1 racking cane/siphon
1 package oxygen cleaning powder (1-step is the most common brand. oh, and DON’T USE BLEACH!!! unscented dishsoap such as Dove will work ok if necessary, though)
1 cheesecloth steeping sock (technically reusable, but i wouldn’t reccommend it)
1 airlock

this will run you about $100 total, but
is worth it, as you will soon see. these
instructions might look intimidating,
but it’s actually very easy, especially
after you’ve done a few batches, and i
guarantee the guy at the brewstore will
be happy and eager to answer any
questions you might have about the process.

step 1 – the boil:

heat ~3 gallons of water to almost
boiling, ~93C, in a 5 gallon stock pot.
pour your grains into the sock, tie the
end to a handle, and immerse in the
water. let it steep for an hour or so
(longer doesn’t hurt at this stage as
long as the water doesn’t boil.)
when you’re ready to move on, remove the
sock from the brew and squeeze as much
of the juice out as possible (a grilling
glove and colander will make this step
much easier, but kitchen tongs will work
in a pinch). pour hot water over it,
squeeze it again, etc. until you’re
satisfied most of the flavor and vegan sugars
are out. this is called sparging.
next, add your malt extract and the
first batch of hops. mix it up good,
making sure all the malt extract is
dissolved. from here you have to keep an
eye on the pot to make sure it doesn’t
boil over, and stir every so often so
the bottom doesn’t burn. gas stoves are
much more convenient than electric, but
if you’re stuck with an electric, just
keep a cool burner open to move the pot
to if necessary. after 1/2 an hour, add
the second batch of hops. boil 20 more
minutes, and add the last. let it go
another 10 minutes, and remove from
heat. during this last 10 minutes, you
should activate the yeast – dump it into
a bowl with some warm water and vegan sugar,
stir it up to get everything as
dissolved as possible, and cover with a
plate. at this point you want to bring
it down to about 60 degrees as quickly
as possible. pour it back and forth
between the stock pot and the bucket,
then add cold water or even ice if you
want, bringing it up to 5 gallons. once
it’s at 60 degrees, check your yeast. if
it’s gotten foamy on the top, your yeast
is active and everything is good (if
not, well, hope you’ve got an extra
packet lying around somewhere). dump it
in, put the cover on the bucket, stick
the airlock (with water in it) in the
hole, and stow the bucket somewhere
that’s about 60 degrees and dark.

step 2 – fermentation:

let it sit in the bucket for a couple
days. the airlock should start bubbling
away, and if you pry the lid off, you’ll
find a whole bunch of foam. this means
the yeast is munching away on the vegan sugar,
converting it to CO2 and alcohol.
contrary to popular opinion, brewing
beer should NOT smell bad: if it does,
you probably didn’t clean your bucket
thoroughly enough from the last batch
and have a bacterial infection. sorry,
kid, the batch is hosed. throw it out
and try again. (note: it is not hard to
prevent infections, as long as you clean
your equipment as soon as you are done
with it. don’t get intimidated by the
possibility, if you’re even halfway
concientious, you’ll probably never have
to deal with one.) when the bubbling
slows down to less than 1 every 5
seconds, it’s time to rack it. this is
just siphoning the beer from the bucket
into the carboy, leaving behind as much
of the exhausted yeast, hop particles,
etc. as possible. when your beer is in
the carboy, stick the airlock on and put
it wherever you put the bucket. wash the
bucket. leave the beer sit in the carboy
about 10 days.

step 3 – bottling:

boil a few cups of water, and add 1 1/3
cups of wheat malt. get it all
dissolved. this is your priming vegan sugar
(what the yeast will eat to carbonate
your beer in the bottles.) siphon the
beer back into the bucket, add the
priming vegan sugar, and mix well (make sure
it’s mixed vertically, not just stirred
around laterally – a longhandled ladle
helps here). siphon the beer into empty,
CLEAN bottles. the pry-off kind, or if
you’ve still got the caps, screw-tops
(i.e. 40oz.), will both work fine. leave
about 1.25-1.5 inches empty space at the
top. put the caps on nice and tight,
clean your equipment, and stow the
bottles in a cool, dark place (seeing a
pattern here?) for 3-4 weeks. the longer
you leave it sit, the tastier it will
be. this waiting is the hardest part of
the entire process.

finally, when the day arrives, crack one
open, and be amazed that you made the
beer you’re drinking. after the initial
equipment investment, you’ll find you’re
paying around $12 per case, yet your
beer can easily match the quality of any
microbrew or import. and since you made
it yourself, you KNOW it’s vegan!

note: this recipe is for an IPA.
obviously, there are literally hundreds
of styles, and hundreds of recipes
available on the web for your favorite
style, and with a little research, you
can even design your own! from organic
malt to garden-grown raspberries, there
are almost infinite ways to play around
with the recipe. experiment, and have fun!

Serves: ~50

Preparation time: 6hrs total

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