CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

For National Beer Day, Brew Your Own Beer at Home in Your Instant Pot

Celebrate the day by brewing up a batch of beer in just a few easy steps.

Brian Bennett Former Senior writer
Brian Bennett is a former senior writer for the home and outdoor section at CNET.
Brian Bennett
4 min read
instant pot beer

Brew up a batch of beer in just about 24 hours. 

Chris Monroe/CNET
CNET Home Tips logo

You've already explored our guide on how to make wine at home in your Instant Pot. Now I have another oddball project for you: Brew and sour beer in your Instant Pot. And since today is National Beer Day, what better way is there to celebrate than making and drinking beer?

Just like Instant Pot wine, I can't take credit for this process. All that goes to the inventive James Spencer at Basic Brewing, a home brew enthusiast website, whose clever video inspired me to give this hack a try. 

This method uses the Instant Pot's yogurt function to promote the growth of bacteria (the good kind) to create refreshingly tart flavors in unfermented beer (wort). That procedure typically takes months, even years, but with the help of my Instant Pot and a few workarounds, I can make it happen in just 24 hours. Here's what I did, and how you can try it too. (For more, learn how to open a beer bottle without an opener, and check out these nine cooking hacks that actually work.)

Gather what you'll need

Your main piece of equipment, at least for this phase of beer making, is your Instant Pot. You'll also need a few more items and supplies.

instant pot beer materials

Gather all the equipment you'll need.

Brian Bennett/CNET
  • 1 pound of pale ale dry malt extract
  • 1 gallon of water
  • Good Belly Plus Shot probiotic juice drink
  • 1 ounce Cascade hops
  • Beer yeast
  • 1 gallon glass fermenting jar and airlock
  • Digital kitchen scale
  • Spoon
  • Sanitizing agent and solution
  • Sanitizing tub

Sanitize your equipment

Unless you want your brew to harbor foul bugs or germs, take sanitizing seriously. Mix sanitizing solution inside a large tub or bucket. In my case I used an old plastic fermenter along with StarSan. Now place everything that will come into contact with your beer inside. These would be the glass jar, its lid and plastic airlock.

They only need to be submerged in the solution for 3 to 4 seconds. Remove these items from the tub and allow them to air dry. 

instant pot beer process

Mix and boil your malt extract with water.

Brian Bennett/CNET

The boil

The first step of brewing beer is called "the boil." Essentially you'll be making "wort," the raw ingredients of unfermented beer. Begin by adding 1 gallon (3.8 liters) of water to either a stovetop stockpot or your Instant Pot's inner pot.

Stir in 1 pound of dry malt extract, or DME, while you bring the water to a boil. Boil this mixture for 5 minutes. This sanitizes the liquid. Next, cool the wort down to 110 Fahrenheit. Do that by placing the pot in a sink filled with ice.

making instant pot beer

Add the probiotic juice.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Sour the wort

Now pour the probiotic juice shot into the sanitized glass jar. Next add the warm wort (at 110 F) to the jar and cover it. Place the glass jar inside your Instant Pot's inner pot, then fill the pot with water. This is a good time to attach the airlock to the lid too.

making instant pot beer

Your wort will sit in an Instant Pot water bath for 24 hours.

Brian Bennett/CNET

With that done, activate the Instant Pot's yogurt mode. Also select the "less" adjust toggle. This sets the heat level lower. What you should have now is a temperature self-regulating water bath perfect for your probiotic bacteria. Let the Instant Pot run for 24 hours. During that period, the bugs should start eating the sugars in your wort, and produce souring compounds as a byproduct. 

hops for instant pot beer

These are the hops I used.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Time to hop

Pour out your soured wort into a pot. Next add 1 packet of cascade hops (1 ounce) and heat the liquid up to 180 degrees. Hold this temperature for 10 minutes. What you're doing here is sanitizing the wort of bacteria (and anything else). You're also developing flavors from the hops you just added. While you do that, preheat your oven for 180 F.

After that, place the pot in the oven and keep it there for another 10 minutes. This step should further encourage the infusion of hop essence. Next remove the pot from the oven and quickly chill it down to 65 F. The idea here is to cool your wort down to an optimal temperature for your yeast. The faster you do this, the less chance another opportunistic organism will set up shop before your yeast does.

instant pot beer

Time to pitch the yeast.

Brian Bennett/CNET


Now that your wort has cooled down, add it to your clean and sanitized fermenter. Sprinkle in the beer yeast -- I used Safale US-05 -- over the wort and button up the fermenter. Do that by closing the sanitized lid. Lastly, attach the airlock (also sanitized) and seal it with a few ounces of water. Store the jar in a room temperature location away from direct sunlight.

The wait begins

With the wort fermenting, you should notice some airlock activity within a day or so. I did after 24 hours. Water inside the airlock's water trap began a steady, rapid bubbling. This is caused by the yeast eating the sugars in the solution then producing alcohol and CO2 gas as byproducts. I plan to let my beer ferment for at least 10 days, then transfer it over to a secondary fermentation vessel. 

From there I'll bottle my brew and condition it for another two weeks, or longer. Will I have some fruity, crisp and refreshing sour NEIPA on my hands? I sure hope so. Summer is fast approaching.

More cooking tips you need to try