Brewing Real Ale
Brew in small quantities, with simple equipment and natural ingredients. Make tea, add sugar(s) and yeast. Cover with an airlock.

   Preparation, or things to have on hand 

Sugar syrup

Make a sugar syrup by boiling 2 parts sugar to 1 part water. You can use plain sugar or unrefined sugar. (Making it into a syrup will make brewing in individual bottles in small amounts a lot easer and quicker, but is not absolutely necessary. Use plain sugar in a ratio of 1 cup per quart.)

Barley Malt Syrup, also referred to as Malt Extract or Barley Malt Extract

In this recipe I use a malt extract syrup that I have made with half malt extract and half boiling water. Malt extract is very thick and difficult to work with, so it is a good idea to prepare it by mixing it half and half with boiling water so it is easier to spoon out (see pictures below). I have also used dry malt extract and that is very good and as easy to use as sugar.

Raw Beer if you would rather use raw, sprouted barley to make your ale.]

Mix malt extract/syrup with boiling hot water to make it easier to handle.

Put half a jar of malt extract into an empty jar of the same size. Pour half the malt extract into the empty jar. You may have to scrape it out with a knife. Fill both jars up with boiling hot water. Stir until thoroughly mixed and then cover both jars and refrigerate. Unless refrigerated, this watery malt extract may start a mild fermentation from airborne yeast after a few weeks. If that is something you want, you can just leave the jars on the shelf.

Tea or other liquid
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Water brewed with regular, decaffeinated or herbal tea and herbs, spices and other plants such as dandelion, clover or elderflower.

[Pictured: hawthorn leaves and two green tea teabags]


Brew enough herbal and/or regular teas of the flavor of your choice and let it cool down You can use wild-harvested tree leaves as well as herbal or regular tea. Oak, sassafras, birch and hawthorn leaves all lend a pleasant flavor to your ale.

Yeast Starter
Make a yeast starter or harvest your own airborne or Wild Yeast


Airlocks can be store-bought or can be as simple as piece of plastic cut out of a plastic grocery bag with an elastic band to secure it. (Do not use biodegradable plastic.) Their purpose is to keep out bugs while allowing gas to escape from the bottles.

A measuring jug

Plastic soda pop bottles


   Making the Ale

Measure the amount of tea  you will be using.

For every 700 mls (about 1 1/4 pints or 24 ounces) you will be using, add a total of 100 mls (6 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons) of whatever sugar syrup(s) you are using. (I will be using my invert sugar syrup and malt extract, you could also use maple syrup,  honey or molasses.)

Add 60 mls (4 tablespoons) of sugar syrup to the tea for each 700 mls of tea that you have measured and will be using.

Add 40 mls (2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons) malt extract syrup (malt extract and water mixed together half-and-half) to the tea for each 700 mls of tea you started with.


How much sugar = how much alcohol

The amount and types of sugar syrup you use can vary with how much alcohol you want your ale to have, how sweet you want it to be or what flavors you want it to have. (That's why there are many different types of ale in the world). Other sugar syrups you can use are: maple syrup, golden syrup, honey or corn syrup. You could even use chocolate syrup and make a chocolate stout. You can use the recipe given here when first learning how to make your own ale, and then change it to suit your own tastes afterwards. The more sugar you add, the more alcoholic your home brew will be. The Longer you let it ferment and carbonate in a capped container, the fizzier it will be.

The more sugar syrup/less malt extract you use, the more your ale will taste like soda pop, the less sugar syrup/more malt extract you use, the more it will taste like beer, except, of course, that it is not hopped. Also, the more sugar or malt extract you use, the more alcoholic your brew can be made. Because this home-brewed ale does not have hops to act as a preservative, it should be drunk fairly soon after it is made and fully carbonated as it will not keep all it nutrients and vitamins for very many days.

See Adjusting Alcohol.

   Making Ale By The Bottle

Put an ounce of ale starter into pint-sized clean plastic soda pop bottles (pictured here). If you are using larger bottles, use 1/4 cup starter for each liter or quart of tea and sugar syrup mixture you will be adding.

Pour the mixed tea and sugar into the plastic soda pop bottles into which you have put the yeast starter. Fill the bottle to a couple inches from the top, leaving the space the top for air.

I am putting 350 mls of tea and sugar into each of these 1 pint soda pop bottles (about 1 1/4 cups).

Cover the bottle(s) with an airlock and leave standing at room to warm temperature for 3-5 days after signs of fermentation have begun.

(3 days = tastes sweet
4 days = less sweet, more alcohol
5 days = most alcohol)

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This process can also be done in a large glass jug or carboy covered with an airlock if desired.

After ale has fermented for 3-5 days (depending on how much alcohol you want it to have), cover the bottle with a cap and screw on tightly.

When ale has carbonated so that bottle cannot be squeezed, put in the refrigerator to cool and drink within a few days.

This bottle can still be squeezed and is not ready to drink yet.


Malt Beverages
To make a malt beverage, substitute malt extract for some of the sugars in the recipe, or add some malt extract, or sprout barley and add some of the ground sprouted barley into either the grain or sugar part of the ferment.

Lacto-fermented Malt Beverages
To make a lacto-fermented beverage, substitute yogurt whey, kefir whey or cold milk culture whey for some or all of the starter. How To Make Whey

Cream Ale
Add vanilla at some time towards the end of the process. For a strong "cream" flavor, you can add the vanilla when it is being served.

Wild Fermentation
by Sandor Katz. 
Full Moon Feast by Jessica Prentice
This is a good book if you like learning about indigenous customs and following natural cycles. Includes using coconut oil, a rootbeer recipe that calls for only 2 tablespoons of sassafras and easy and delicious corn fritters.
Truly Cultured Rejuvenating Taste, Health and Community With Naturally Fermented Foods
Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers by Stephen Harr Buhner

My e-Books


Site-Related Products Available For Sale Online
Bucket, 5 Gallon

Sorghum Syrup
1 Gallon Glass Jug
Yeast for Brewing

 Site-Related Products Available For Sale Online in the U.K.  
Malt Extract
Barley Sugar, Malted
Palm Sugar
Bucket, 5 Gallon
Glass Bottles

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