Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Minecraft is Brewing

One of the coolest features in Minecraft is one that you may not even know about called potion making or brewing. Because of the required materials to get started it is fairly end game content, but the things that you can do with potions are both impressive and well worth pursuing.

Required Materials
To get started you’ll need some reasonably common materials like glass, a workbench, and water. You’ll also need some less common materials such as a brewing stand. You can also make a cauldron if you’d like (a “u” shape in the crafting window with iron) but it’s mostly for looks and doesn’t serve much purpose if you have an infinite water source nearby. You can craft your brewing stand using 3 cobblestone blocks (arranged in a straight line at the bottom of the crafting window) and 1 blaze rod (placed in the center of the window). This final ingredient tells you why potions are fairly end game content; you’ll have to take a trip into the nether in order to get them. However it’s not just a casual jaunt into the depths of the nether, but a concerted search for a nether fortress where you must fight and defeat blazes in order to get their rods. Later you can use their spawner blocks to set up blaze rod farms, but for right now, you just need a couple blaze rods (one for the stand and one for your first batch of fire resistance potions). While you’re searching about the fortress, you’ll also want to try and find nether wart to use in a farm as it’s a principle ingredient in making almost all potions. The journey into the nether can be dangerous, but once you’ve got a small base set up to protect yourself during that initial transition from overworld to nether, you’re much better off. Having at least iron equipment with a few basic enchants is very, very helpful, but not absolutely necessary.

What You Can Brew
The first tier of brewing is fairly simple. You place three water filled bottles (made with 3 glass blocks in a “v” shape in the crafting window and then fill them with water by right clicking on a water source) in the three lower slots of the brewing stand and add your first ingredient. Nearly all potions will start with nether wart yielding an “awkward potion” that has no effect. You can however also use other ingredients, though most will eventually yield a “potion of weakness.” This is a useful potion and can be made by simply using a fermented spider eye (brown mushroom, sugar, and spider eye on the crafting table). There’s really no reason to use any other type of ingredient initially (though you can if you want) because it’ll end up wasting resources. Once you have an “awkward potion” you can distill extra ingredients into it yielding different effects.
Potion of Night Vision – made using a golden carrot (one carrot in the center of the crafting window surrounded by 8 golden nuggets) on an “awkward potion” this will allow you to see in the dark, useful for caving if you don’t care to light it up or for working underwater.
Potion of Fire Resistance – made using magma cream (slime ball combined with blaze powder, or dropped by magma slimes) on an “awkward potion” this potion will give you temporary immunity to fire damage. The implications are fairly obvious and this is definitely one of the best potions to carry with you into the nether (will prevent damage from walking through fire, being shot by blazes, and swimming through lava).
Potion of Swiftness – made using sugar (one sugarcane in the crafting window) on an “awkward potion” this temporarily increases you speed so walking is like sprinting and sprinting is really fast.
Potion of Healing – made using a glistering melon (one melon slice and one gold nugget) on an “awkward potion” this will restore 6 health when you drink it. These are great to have around pretty much all the time.
Potion of Poison – made using a fermented spider eye on an “awkward potion” this will cause poison that will slowly reduce the health of those who drink it. It’s best to make these splash potions.
Potion of Regeneration – made using a ghast tear on an “awkward potion” these will regenerate your health over time and are very useful in extended combat situations where you are too busy with other tasks to worry about drinking health potions.
Potion of Strength – made by using blaze powder (one blaze rod in the crafting window) this potion will increase your hitting power for a time and so is useful for maximizing your dps.

The Final Component
Once you have your base potions you can improve upon them further by adding one of four different ingredients. Fermented spiders eye will corrupt the effect of your potion (for instance potion of strength becomes potion of weakness), redstone dust will increase the duration of the effect, and glowstone dust will increase the potency of the effect. Finally any potion can be turned into a splash potion (meaning it’s throwable and causes and area effect) by adding gunpowder. These extra options can create better versions of the potions you already have or even create new potions like “potion of invisibility, potion of slowness, and potion of harming.” For a complete list of potions and ingredient combinations click here.


For many Minecraft players, the nether is fraught with danger and not worth visiting, but for the bold lay the wealth of all that’s been created down there opening up worlds of option both in the nether and on the surface world. If you’re among the bold, make sure you eventually get potions going in your N3rd C0rn3r.