Brewing Questions

Here at William's, we pride ourselves in maintaining the best customer support staff in the industry for our valued customers. Our support staff has many years of home brewing, winemaking, mead making, and coffee roasting experience to share with you. When you submit your question, we are here to help!

If your question is urgent, call our Support Department directly at 800-759-6025 (and then press 4) between 8 - 5 weekdays and Saturday 8-2 Pacific Time for an immediate answer.

Please check our Frequently Asked Questions section below to find the answer to your question. If you cannot find it, please fill out the form below the Frequently Asked Questions list below to submit a support question. We try to answer all questions via return e-mail within 1 working day of receiving them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click a link below to get to the start of the list of questions on one of the following topics. If you do not find your answer under one heading, it is a good idea to try another, or scroll through the entire list of questions in this section. If you can't find the answer to your question here, submit a question to our Customer Support Department ( scroll to the bottom of this page).

1. Beginner Questions

2. Questions on William's Brewing Kits

3. Ingredient Questions

4. Recipe Formulation Questions

5. Brewing Process Questions

6. Equipment Questions

7. Questions On Beverages Other Than Beer

1. Beginners

Beginner Questions

1.1 What do I need to start?
1.2 What type of beer is easiest to make at home?
1.3 Can I make beer without alcohol?
1.4 How long does it take to make a batch?

2. William's Brewing Kits

William's Brewing Kits

2.1 What is the difference between a kit rated beginner and one rated intermediate?
2.2 My kit says I should use a single fermenter. Can I use a primary and secondary fermenter instead?
2.3 My William's Brewing Kit instructions say to wait 12 days. Can I bottle sooner?
2.4 How long will William's Brewing Kits last before I make them?
2.5 Can I get the formulation for a William's Brewing Kit?

3. Ingredients

Malt & Rice Extract

3.1 Malt extract or grain, which should I use?
3.2 Syrup or dry malt extract, which is better?
3.3 How long will William's Malt Extract last, and how should I store it?
3.4 How long will whole and crushed grain last?
3.5 Are your malts fully modified?
3.6 How do I use flaked ingredients? Do they have to be mashed?
3.7 What is toasted malt, and how do I obtain it?
3.8 What is Carapils malt?


3.9 How do I grow hops from hop rhizomes?
3.10 Pellet, whole, or plug?
3.11 How do I convert a recipe using pellet hops to whole hops or plugs?
3.12 How do I convert a recipe using whole hops to pellets?
3.13 How long do hops from William's last, and how should I store them?
3.14 What is dry hopping? How is it done?
3.15 What are AAU's, HBU's and IBUs?

Liquid & Dry Yeast

3.16 Liquid or dry yeast, which should I buy?
3.17 Will my yeast be okay in shipping?
3.18 How long will my yeast last in storage?
3.19 My yeast arrived frozen. Is it okay?


3.20 Why use corn sugar instead of household cane sugar?
3.21 Can I use sugar to increase the alcohol content?
3.22 How much sugar can I use before my beer tastes cidery?
3.23 What is lactose used for?
3.24 Can I use brown sugar in my beer?
3.25 Can I use maple syrup in my beer?
3.26 Can I use honey in my beer?

Flavors, Spices, and Fruit

3.27 When do I add William's Fruit Flavorings?
3.28 When do I add spices, and how much should I use?
3.29 When do I add real fruit, and how much should I add?

Beer Clarifying Agents

3.30 Helping the trub settle in the boil with gypsum and Irish moss
3.31 Removing yeast from the beer with Instant Isinglass
3.32 Removing chill haze with silica gel

4. Recipe Formulation

Recipe Formulation

4.1 How do I predict the initial starting gravity?
4.1a How do I convert a malt extract recipe to a grain mashing recipe?
4.2 How do I predict a final gravity?
4.3 How do I measure alcohol content of the finished beer?
4.4 How do I know how to use the right amount of hops?
4.5 How do I convert syrup malt recipes to dry malt extract?
4.6 I need 8 lbs. of extract and you have a 6 lb. pouch. How do I get 8 lbs.?
4.7 How many cups are in 1 pound of William's Dry Malt Extract?
4.8 How many cups are in 1 pound of your corn sugar?
4.9 How many cups are in 1 pound of your whole or crushed grain?

5. The Brewing Process

Liquid Yeast

5.1 My William's Liquid Yeast arrived already swollen. What should I do?
5.2 I made my wort, but my yeast has not swollen. What should I do?
5.3 My William's Liquid Yeast was popped 4 days ago and hasn't swollen. Is it okay?
5.4 My William's Liquid Yeast was popped 7 days ago and hasn't swollen.
5.5 My William's Liquid Yeast has only risen 3/4 of an inch. Should I use it?
5.6 My William's Liquid Yeast is swollen tight and I cannot brew today. How long will it last?
5.7 Should I make a yeast starter, and how should I do it?
5.8 Can I use yeast in a bottle of home brew to make another batch?

Dry Yeast

5.10 I added dry yeast two days ago and nothing is happening. What should I do?
5.11 I pitched my yeast at 100° F. Will it be okay?


5.12 How should I set my malt mill when crushing grain?
5.13 I am taking an iodine test and it keeps changing color. What is wrong?
5.14 When do I take a pH reading when mashing?
5.15 Does it matter what pH my sparge water is?
5.16 When do I add gypsum when mashing?
5.17 Single temperature or multiple temperature rest?
5.18 How do I do a partial mash?

Malt Extract Brewing

5.19 I want to use specialty grains like crystal malt with malt extract. When and how do I add them to the pot?
5.20 When making a malt extract beer, how many gallons should I boil?
5.21 Should I add all malt extracts, dry and liquid, at the start of the boil?
5.22 Should I worry about pH when using malt extract?
5.23 When do I add gypsum when using malt extract?

Boiling the Wort

5.24 Why boil for 1 hour? Why not just boil a few minutes?
5.25 How can I avoid a messy boilover?
5.26 I live at a high altitude. Should I do anything different when boiling?

Cooling the Wort

5.27 Do I need a wort chiller?
5.28 How do I get the wort off the sediment and into a fermenter?
5.29 What happens if some of the sediment gets into the fermenter?

Yeast & Fermantation

5.30 I added the yeast two days ago and nothing is happening. Is this normal?
5.31 Do I need to add yeast nutrient?
5.32 My liquid yeast pack smells like rotten eggs when opened
5.33 I added the yeast 4 days ago and nothing is happening. What should I do?
5.34 My airlock bubbled for a day or two and then stopped. Is something wrong?
5.35 My fermenter has overflowed the airlock. Is the batch bad?
5.36 My house gets warm in the summer. How can I brew good beer?
5.37 What temperature range can I ferment ale yeast?
5.38 What temperature range can I ferment lager yeast?
5.39 My airlock has been bubbling for 3 weeks. What should I do?
5.40 When do I take a hydrometer reading?
5.40a My starting gravity (hydrometer) reading is way to high or low. What is wrong?
5.41 There are things floating in my beer. Should I worry?
5.42 There is a fine white dusty film on the surface of the beer. What is this?
5.43 My beer smells like sulfur. What is wrong?
5.44 When should I transfer my beer to a secondary fermenter?
5.44a Should I use one fermenter or a primary and secondary fermenter?

Bottling & Kegging

5.45 How do I know if my beer is ready to bottle?
5.46 Do I need to sanitize bottle caps?
5.47 How do I artificially carbonate keg beer?
5.48 Will the yeast sediment in my keg beer be a problem when dispensing?


5.49 How much corn sugar should I use for a bottled batch?
5.50 How much corn sugar should I use for a kegged batch?
5.51 I am putting half the beer in mini kegs, and half in bottles. How much sugar do I use to carbonate both?
5.52 Can I prime with malt extract instead of corn sugar?
5.53 Can I prime with honey or molasses instead of corn sugar?
5.54 Can I prime with brown sugar instead of corn sugar?
5.55 Can I prime with fresh wort instead of corn sugar?
5.56 Can I prime with maple syrup instead of corn sugar?

Aging & Drinking

5.57 My beer has been bottled for 3 weeks but is flat. What is wrong?
5.58 My beer has too much carbonation. What is wrong?
5.59 My mini keg is bulging. What is wrong?
5.60 My keg beer seems under carbonated.
5.61 The head of my beer dissipates as soon as it is poured.
5.62 My draft beer is foamy. How can I adjust it?
5.63 My beer has a haze that forms when chilled. What is this?
5.64 My beer has a white layer on the bottom of each bottle. Is this normal?
5.65 How long does beer last when bottled or kegged?


5.66 My beer tastes cidery. What is wrong?
5.67 My beer has a sour taste. What is wrong?
5.68 My beer tastes thin. What is wrong?
5.69 My beer has a metallic or medicine-like taste
5.70 My beer tastes yeasty
5.71 My beer has a burnt flavor

6. Equipment Questions


6.1 What size sparge arm should I get for my mashing system?


6.2 Can I use an aluminum pot for brewing?
6.3 How large a boiling pot do I need?
6.4 Cache Cooker (Outdoor Burner) Questions and Answers


6.5 Plastic or glass, what type of fermenter should I use?
6.6 How do I sanitize your items Q38 and Q94 Foam Stoppers?


6.7 Should I get a Mini Keg or full sized Beverage System?
6.8 How long do Mini Kegs last?


6.9 Can I use twist off bottles?
6.10 How can I remove labels from beer bottles?
6.11 Are oxygen barrier caps worth the extra cost?
6.12 Can I bottle beer in wine bottles or mason jars?

7. Other Beverages

Other Beverages

7.1 Can I carbonate your William's Brewing soda extracts with yeast?
7.2 My cider is cloudy after 2 months. Is this okay?
7.3 My mead has stopped bubbling after 15 days. Is this normal?

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