According to Gary Glass, director of the American Homebrewers Association:
The homebrewing community is in every corner of the country and highly engaged in this hobby. From the amount of money spent on supplies to the sheer number of homebrewers, it’s clear this is a growing trend and people are incredibly interested in learning about and making their own brews at home.
As you can see, while it’s possible to purchase a variety of unique beers from you local store, online or via a beer of the month club, millions of Americans as well as people all over the world, are finding deep satisfaction in creating their own blends. In fact, with a little practice and a solid understanding of the science of brewing, you’ll be able to create your own, personal signature brew.
Today, the 1516 German Purity Law fpr beer no longer applies. The days of sticking solely to barley, water and hops are over, and people are now creating craft beer from everything from pumpkin spice to peanuts. In fact, you’ll notice that in many homebrewing articles, that successful brewers consider their endeavor to be one of love, a mix of science and art and a whole lot of practice with a pinch of patience. The satisfaction incurred by walking to your very own kegerator, and pouring yourself a cold one, straight from the tap, in your own home is considered the ultimate experience among beer lovers.
HomeBrew Kits Review
Like any other activity, getting started in homebrewing means a mix of personal and financial investment on your part. You’ll have to spend time learning about the fermentation process, as well as look for the best equipment you can afford. Since there’s so much involved, we believe that for the absolute novice, purchasing a solid beer brewing kit is the way to go. These starter kits come with the basic equipment you’ll need to get started. These kits hold the core of the operation, all in one box, however be warned that you’ll probably have to purchase a few extras yourself. Overall, purchasing the best beer brewing kit for your needs is a great investment, one that you can build your craft on.
Excellent Starter Kit for Raw Beginners
Hands down, the Northern Brewer Deluxe Home Brewing Starter kit is one of the best ways for a beginner to enter into the creative world of home brewing. In fact, according to its Northern Brewer, this is the best selling beginner kit ever, and gives you everything you’ll ever need to make your very own brew, including 2 full sized fermenters. A great starter kit, it’s one that you can grow on. Once you have the basic equipment, you can then add the certain items such as hydrometers, and begin expanding your hobby.
Complete Set of Informative, Easy to Follow Instructions
If you’re wondering if you could create your own brew, know that this kit includes a full set of instructions in print, video and digital manuals. In fact, according to the manufacturer, if you follow these instructions to the letter, you’re very first batch of brew will be perfect, it’s that easy. The recipe kit that comes included in your purchase contains only premium ingredients: Grains, malts, hops and yeast. This will give you a batch of savory and flavorful Chinook IPA, enough beer for 50 12-ounce bottles!
Exciting Collection of Essentials
Besides the Chinook IPA recipe, this kit contains 2 Carboys: A 6 gallon, primary fermenter, 5 gallon secondary fermenter for use in two-stage fermentation techniques. Other features include a Bung and Airlock, blowoff hose, funnel, adhesive thermometers, bottle filler, tubing, auto-siphon, bottle capper, caps, brewery cleaner, carboy brush and bottle brush. Please note that you’ll need to purchase a 4 or 5 gallon brew kettle, and 50, 12 ounce beer bottles separately.
Affordable Entry Level Starter Kit
The Beer. Simply Beer starter kit by Midwest Supplies is an excellent choice for those who are new to the fine art of craft brewing. First things first, this is a very affordable kit, and should be thought of as an entry level starter kit for anyone who is on the fence as to whether they wish to brew or not. As for the performance of the Beer. Simply Beer kit itself, each batch will leave you with 5 gallons of beer that you’ve made yourself from your very own, home microbrewery.
Easy to Follow Instructions and a Complete Pale Ale Recipe Kit
Your first batch will be their very own, highly rated Pale Ale recipe kit, which includes all that you’ll need to make your first batch. Making your own beer for the first time can be a daunting experience. However, if you’re the least bit concerned that you’ll not be able to brew your beer, have no worries, as Midwest Supplies has designed a kit with easy to follow instructions that will make it so simple, that any novice will be able to catch on and brew a satisfying and savory beverage.
Good Selection of Homebrewing Essentials
This is a cost effective homebrew starter kit that contains enough accessories to get you on the road to brewing. You get the Pale Ale recipe Kit, a 6.5 gallon fermenting bucket, airlock 6.5 gallon bottling bucket, spigot, grommeted lid, bottle filler, tubing, siphon, FermagraF, test jar, bottle brush, capper, triple scale hydrometer, Oxygen Wash Sanitizer. You’ll need to purchase a 4 to 5 gallon kettle and around 50, 12 ounce beer bottles and crown caps.
The Home Brew Ohio Gold Kit is the perfect gift for someone special who enjoys a good “straight from the tap” taste from the convenience of their own home. This kit will ensure that everyone from the novice to seasoned brewer will be able to make their own, favorite craft brew the first time out. If the entire process of homebrewing seems confusing, know that their easy to follow instructions are right there to guide you in setting up the the brewing equipment as well as taking you through each step of the brewing process.
The Gold Kit comes with a 7.8 gallon fermenting bucket, True Brew rack and fill kit, 5 gallon glass carboy, 1 drilled lid, grommet, fermometer, Buon Vino drilled stopper, spigot, hydrometer, Emily Double Lever capper, 3-piece airlock, bottle brush, 8 pack, C-Brite Sanitizer. Just remember that in order to boil the wort, you’ll need to purchase a 4 to 5 gallon kettle. 12 ounce beer bottles and caps must also be purchased separately.
Criteria Used in This Review
In the end, it’s not about the equipment, price or added features that matter most, but the quality of the end product. When searching for the best home brewing kits, nothing matters more than the taste, aroma and overall quality of your newly brewed batch. So, when selecting our 3 best home beer brewing kits, if the instructions were not comprehensive and easy to follow, or the resulting beer did not have a signature style, flavorful, draught taste, then it did not make the cut. As long as the equipment was durable enough to deliver batches of brew in a consistent manner, and the end result was savory, crisp and thirst quenching it did what it set out to do.
In our search for the best brew kit, it was necessary to consider all of the variables available to us, and one of those were verified customer reviews. According to an article in Invespcro, 90 percent of online shoppers actually read the customer reviews before even considering the brand There has to be some sort of consensus, some type of ‘fan base’ for a home brewing kit in order to solidify an opinion. Verified customer reviews provide the foundation for which many select one home brew kit over another.
Finally, brand name. It may sound shallow at first, to include brand as a reason for selecting your kit, but brands have built their reputation on their product and reponsive customer service. When you purchase a brand name, you’re purchasing years of product testing and development that went into that kit, not to mention customer satisfaction. If you opt for a knock-off, you’ll only be hurting yourself in the end, as these products will not be durable and the companies might not back them up.
You’ve Got Your Kit…What’s Next?
Once you’ve completed a few batches, gotten the hang of how the processes work, it’s then time to begin to build up your microbrewery. In other words, it’s time to add a few essential pieces of brewing equipment which are designed to make the brewing process easier and more enjoyable.
All Grain Vs Extract Kits
In the beginning, you’ll probably find yourself experimenting with malt extract kits as it’s much cheaper and more readily available, the same goes for those interested in partial mash brewing. Another advantage of this type of brewing is that you’ll be able to get away without using too much specialized equipment, so that keeps your initial investment down. Extract brewing means that there’s no need to mash your grains to create your wort, so the margin for error is decreased. However, that also reduces your ability to be creative as well. But once you’ve honed your skills and gotten hold of the more scientific aspect of beer making, when you being all-grain brewing, you can concentrate more on the creativity.
When you embark on all-grain brewing, you can honestly call yourself a home brewer. It’s here where you’ll have a complete say over the process. Everything is under your control, from the type of beer you wish to make, it’s color, aroma, level of alcohol per volume, and so on. While the grains, malts, yeast and hops are less expensive, with all-grain brewing you may have to purchase some extra supplies. These supplies may include a mash tun, 5 gallon brew kettle, and perhaps upgrading to a stainless steel conical fermenter. A powerful brew burner will also need to be purchased to create the continuous, rigorous boil required for all-grain brewing. Finally, consider the time involved. An accomplished malt extract brewer can complete their batch in under 3 hours, whereas the all-grain process can take up to eight, from start to finish.
Get Geeky With It
Are you really looking to take your homebrew game to the next level? You’ll want to make sure to start recording your recipes and using homebrew calculators to plan future brews. There are so many different components that need to come together to create an excellent beer. If you find something you really like along the way, You’ll be kicking yourself for not recording the exact recipe for future batches!
Additional Beer Equipment To Consider
These are the vessels which will turn your wort into delicious beer. There are different types of fermenters, ranging from the basic plastic brewing buckets and carboys to conical fermenting systems. Each type is capable of making high quality beer, has their own pros and cons, but in the end, it all depends on your personal preference.
Most beginner homebrewing kits do not come with a brew kettle, so you’ll need to purchase one specifically made for the task. A 5 gallon, stainless steel brew kettle is perfect for beginners. If you opt for the cheaper alumin brew kettle, then purchase one with a triclad bottom. When selecting the size, remember that you’ll need room for the wort to foam up without spilling over during the boil, so always use a pot which is larger than your planned batch amount.
To ensure a good batch, it’s necessary to cool your batch as quickly as possible. This way it does not sit long, which invites bacteria, stays clear and prevents the unpleasant taste that comes with dimethyl sulfide (DMS). Beginners usually opt for an ice bath. However, if you purchase either an Immersion chiller, counterflow chiller or plate chiller, you’ll be guaranteed a quick cool down.
As previously stated, in order to get a nice rolling boil up, placing your kettle on the stove just won’t be enough, you’ll need a brew burner. These brew burners are designed to burn hotter quicker and are generally powered by propane.
A long stirring spoon is used to blend grains during the mash and boil sessions.
There are many different beer sample test kits on the market. If you’re serious about creating unique, flavorful, high quality craft beers to share with friends or sell at the local farmers market, testing each batch is critical for the best outcome.
Digital Scale and Measuring Cup
When it comes to creating a good brew, a digital scale outweighs the old fashioned kitchen scale when it comes to accuracy and precision. Digital scales are used to measure your individual grains before mixing. To illustrate their importance, think of how a measuring cup is used to bake cakes. When the measurements are precise, the cake succeeds, if they are not it fails. By measuring, you’re guaranteed to create consistent batches every time. Measuring cups are used for water.
When it comes time to pitch the yeast, you’ll be prompted by the temperature, which is generally below 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Please don’t run outside and grab your weather thermometer. Instead, purchase a decent, calibrated one that’s made for brewing or enduring high temperatures.
Bungs and Airlock or Blow Off Tube
During your homebrewing experience, you’ll have to use rubber stoppers for your airlocks, tuns, and carboys. Simply shop for them, purchasing only the sizes you need. Airlocks sit atop your fermenter and let CO2 escape. If the CO2 is not allowed to escape it will not only ruin your batch, but you risk the fermenter exploding due to increased interior pressure. If the airlock can’t cut it, then purchase a blow off tube. Here, the krausen, or froth that occurs during fermentation to run down the tube.
Auto-Siphon and Tubing
Auto-Siphons make the transfer of liquids super easy for the homebrewer. It works on the same principle as an everyday siphon, and eliminates the nasty habit of having to suck on one end of the tubing in order to get the beer flowing. Auto-siphons make the entire process of transferring easier and germ free. Tubing is what your liquid flows through.
Hydrometer and Hydrometer Jar
Hydrometers are crucial to a successful batch. These instruments are responsible for calculating specific gravity, ABV percentage, and letting you know when the fermentation process is completed. Keep in mind you’ll also need a hydrometer jar of around 250ml in size to test the batch.
Cleaners and Sanitizers
It’s crucial that you only use sanitizers make specifically for beer brewing. These sanitizers will not have to be rinsed off of your equipment, and are made with chemicals that will not harm you, your beer or the equipment. These are available in both liquid solutions and powder, and a little goes a long way. Cleaners and sanitizers perform different functions. Cleaners are designed to rid your equipment of visible debris and stains, while sanitizers work to remove the unseen microbes. Please steer clear of household cleaners, they are not meant for brewing equipment and can introduce unpleasant tastes and smells via their chemical composition and artificial scents.
Bottling or Kegerator Equipment
If you plan on bottling your beer, you’ll need dark bottles, bottle caps, a bottle capper and bottle drying racks. If you plan on reusing your bottles, then purchase some beer bottle brushes. To fill your bottles, invest in a bottling wand, also called a bottle filler. Alternatively, If you are willing to shell out a few extra bucks for a good kegerator system – You can exchange some of your hard earned dollars to save a good chunk of time moving from bottling to Kegs.
Practice just doesn’t mean knowing the process, but also becoming familiar with the mouthfeel, aroma and appearance of as many different beer styles as possible, and one way to do that is by becoming a member of a beer of the month club. Joining a beer of the month club is not only fun for the homebrewer, but an essential part of learning the ropes. This is especially true for individuals who live in an area where the purchase of craft beers are limited. Why is this important you ask? Well, because when you join a beer of the month club, you’ll be able to experience a vast variety of beer in a short time, all brewed from breweries which have a high regard for the quality of their brew, are well known and respected.
By joining a beer of the month club, you’ll have access to craft beer from throughout the United States as well as taste international, imported brands, all delivered straight to your front door. Also, by visiting sites like RateBeer you’ll see how others rate beers similar to those you may be crafting in your own homebrewery. Get to know how others feel about an IPA or porter, see what they are looking for in a good brew, step outside the box of normality and jump into the world of the eccentric and daring.
Brewing Education: Calling All Brew Masters
If you get to the point where you become so immersed in the world of homebrewing, and wish to further your studies, know that the world is packed with legitimate study programs which center on the science of beer making. There are also brewing associations that offer members invaluable information and networking contacts.
If you are interested in taking your homebrew knowledge to the next level, Here is a great Google Docs sheet that lists further education programs available for aspiring brew-masters.