About Home Brew Beer Kits

We like beer, and as you are reading this, we imagine you do too! We became quite interested in the idea of being able to brew our own beer, and to be able to control the type, flavour, and alcohol content of our creations. During our research on home brew beer kits, we found that there are some basic differences between the types of kits available. Please read on for some hints and advice on which beer kit is best suited for you.

Home brew Beer kits generally fall into one of 2 categories: all inclusive,  or collections of beer brewing equipment.

Lets start with the all inclusive kits

All inclusive kits generally contain everything the starter brewmaster needs to simply and quickly getting started brewing beer. Mr. Beer and The Beer Machine kits are the best example of this. You mix the included ingredients in a pot on the stove to create the wort. You then ferment the wort in the small keg, then carbonate and condition the beer in the provided bottles. Voilà, you have beer in as little as 14 days!

These kits are perfect for someone who lives in a small apartment as they take up very little room. They are extremely simple, and as long as you sanitize your equipment properly you should have decent tasting beer to enjoy and share with friends.

The downside to these kits is their extremely small size. Most people find that after brewing one or 2 batches, they are ready to expand their horizons, and unfortunately this kit cannot go there with you. With these kits you also need to have reasonable expectations about their quality. They are very inexpensive and the quality of materials reflects this price point.

These kits are best suited to be given as gifts or for someone who really isn’t sure whether brewing beer is going to be a hobby they like. If you think you will like brewing beer, even a little bit, we recommend you skip the Mr. Beer and Beer Machine kits and have a look at either the Coopers kit, or some of the equipment only kits available.

We really like the Coopers home brew kit. Owners raved about the quality of the equipment, the value for the price point and the great taste of the beer they made. The Coopers kit is interesting because it creates a good middle ground between the small kits and the more advanced, equipment only kits. It truly is all inclusive but because of the fermentation container and additional equipment, you can brew larger batches at one time and it gives you room to grow. This kit is highly recommended for the starter brewer who just knows they are going to like home brewing, or as a really great gift for a novice brewer. Because you ferment in an 8 gallon container, you will need a little more room to store the fermenter than the small Mr. Beer kegs. We really recommend you take a good long look at this kit.

Organic enthusiasts will appreciate the organic ingredients in the Starter Home Brewery Kit.

Equipment only kits

These kits contain most of the equipment needed to brew, but do not contain the ingredients to start brewing a batch of beer right away. If you choose one of these kits you will either need to buy the ingredients on line (you can use the refill kits available from Coopers or Mr. Beer) or from your local brew store. We say “most” of the equipment needed because even though the kits all market themselves as complete, reviewers pointed out there is missing equipment in each kit. Please see each kit’s review for its missing pieces.

Kits like these are best suited for the intermediate or advanced brewer who wishes to perhaps do secondary fermentation, or more complicated recipes in large volumes. Starter brewers should not completely rule them out, however, they will need to do some in depth reading before they can get going. These kits generally come with the True Brew handbook, or other instructions, but reviewers recommenced buying a more in depth brew book such as The Complete Joy of Home Brewing by Charlie Papazian. Owners report this book breaks down the process into easy to follow steps for beginners but also has a lot of valuable advice for more intermediate brewers.

People interested in these kits should take note as to whether the fermentation containers are of plastic or glass. Glass carboys are add a little more expense to the kits they are included in, however, the plastic buckets are prone to scratches while being used or cleaned. These scratches can harbour bacteria, even with scrupulous cleaning, which can contaminate and ruin your batch. We recommend kits with glass carboys over those with plastic fermentation buckets.

We hope this overview gives you a starting point for where you would like to begin as a home brewer. Please see the articles page for more hints and tips on home brewing.

Happy Brewing!

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