I am an absolute beginner; I've merely helped my brother brew once. I purchased a beer brewing kit and want to get started.

John Palmer's bible suggests that I should throw out the directions that come with any beer kit and follow the general guidelines he lays out.

The back of the can (it is "Black Rock" from New Zealand, their Nut Brown Ale package) suggests to throw the malt extract with water and suger into the fermenter and have at it (well, not that simple, but there's no wort boil step). When I made beer previously with my brother, we boiled the wort -- but we were also hopping the beer.

This malt extract is pre-hopped -- so is there a specific need to boil the wort first? Will this have any impact on the flavor and fermentation of the beer?

Please help! I was hoping to brew tomorrow!

  • I am trying a 20 min boil with a tablespoon of molasses in a hopped extract kit that only called for warm water.
    – user3273
    Mar 24, 2013 at 19:16

5 Answers 5


Boiling serves a few purposes in beer. Mainly it is done for the dual purpose of extracting bitterness from hops while also killing any wild yeast or bacteria that were on the brewing ingredients.

In the case of hopped malt extract, the bitterness has already been extracted for you, and the extract itself is totally sterile as its already been boiled down to a concentrate.

HOWEVER, the water that you add to the extract, plus the extra sugar (if any) might very well have contaminants in them which could cause off flavors in your beer. If you don't want to do a big boil, here's what I would recommend:

Buy sealed "drinking water" jugs from the store (I'm assuming you can get water by the gallon in a pre-sealed container in Japan). Sealed water jugs for drinking are going to be virtually devoid of any spoilage organisms, and are safe to use without boiling.

Mix a small amount of water (1 liter maybe) into the extra sugar you are going to add and bring that to a boil on the stove. That will nuke any bugs that are hanging onto the sugar.

Pour the extract into a sanitized fermentor, then dump the boiled sugar water in, then pour in the water from the jugs that you just opened. You are going to have to shake the holy heck out of the fermentor to get the malt extract to mix in to that room temp water and it won't be easy, but don't worry too much, the yeast should be able to plow through the extract even if its not perfectly distributed right away. Pitch the yeast in after you stir the mix up as best you can and you should be good to go.

  • 2
    Nice answer. I like that you didn't go all ZOMG BOIL EVERYTHING on him :)
    – JoeFish
    Jan 6, 2012 at 16:09
  • @Graham, thanks! Wort is in the fermentor at 30 degrees C, yeast is pitched, and I need a beer.Hope it goes well, I'm sure I'll be asking more questions, and someday, answering them, on this site :).
    – makdad
    Jan 7, 2012 at 12:21
  • 30 degrees C is very hot for a fermentation, you generally want to keep below around 19 degrees C for an ale. Jun 25, 2014 at 19:39

When I brew with an extract I boil 4 cups of water, then take it off of the heat, and add my Hopped Malt Extract to the hot water and stir. Once the extract has dissolved into the hot water it gets added to a gallon of chilled water in my fermentor, and then another 4 cups are added to that. Basically, the instructions for my Mr Beer 2 gallon brewing kit.


I boil all the water before I add the malt extract hopped or un-hopped bottled water or tap water I then bring it to a quick Boil again sometimes add extra hops stir it until I get a creamy froth on the top. I then put the entire sterilized covered boiling container in a sink full of ice and salt. Then pour it into the fermenter put that in the fridge till the temp drops to 70 then pitch the yeast. I have never noticed ruined hops and never get cidery ale or off flavors.

Adding cold water to the wort has ruined many batches of my ale.

I am only doing 2 gallon batches though so this is easy to do. It was not easy in the 6 gallon buckets I used to use.


Just seen an old monks recipe that in contrary to modern methods boils the malt and then adds the hops later to boil again, does this method release unwanted flavours?

  • This is an interesting find, but I'm not sure this is related to the question - which is about malt extract, whereas it sounds like the monks were boiling the actual malt. Adding this as a comment to this question may be more relevant - homebrew.stackexchange.com/questions/10213/…. And if you have a link, please include it.
    – mdma
    Nov 29, 2013 at 14:40
  • Boiling the malt sounds like some form of decoction.
    – Mr_road
    Jul 16, 2020 at 8:48

If you have a can of extract that is pre hopped you do not want to boil it or it will destroy the hops. If you do boil it you'll need to add some fresh hops. But boiling serves no purpose.

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