Brewer’s Best Homebrew Beer Kit
Last updated date: October 9, 2020
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We looked at the top Homebrew Kits and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Homebrew Kit you should buy.
Update as November 16, 2020:
Checkout The Best Homebrew Kit for a detailed review of all the top homebrew kits.
In our analysis of 51 expert reviews, the Brewer's Best Homebrew Beer Kit placed 12th when we looked at the top 13 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.
From The Manufacturer
This recipe produces a malty, high-gravity, full-bodied version of this easy drinking, well-rounded beer style. Golden in color, Imperial Blonde Ale uses the lightest malt extract available and a unique balance of domestic and imported hops. A great recipe if you like big blondes.
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Our Expert Consultant
Julie Chernoff is a long-time member of Les Dames d’Escoffier (past president of the Chicago Chapter, and current co-chair of the LDEI Legacy Awards Committee), the Association of Food Journalists (AFJ) and the International Association of Culinary Professionals.
Chernoff is the dining editor of Better, a lifestyle website and print magazine. Her journalism started in the test kitchens of Weight Watchers Magazine. She holds a BA in English from Yale University and is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy. She has spent the last few decades styling, photographing, teaching, developing recipes, editing, thinking and writing about food.
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An Overview On Homebrew Kits
Hobbies are a great thing to have to challenge our minds to learn a new process or life skill. As adults can often be consumed with a career and family life, having a hobby can create a way to start, learn and accomplish a great thing. Homebrewing beer is an excellent example of this. The process is basic enough to learn pretty quickly but requires practice to make it perfect.
“Basically, brewing is a really fun chemistry experiment,” says our resident culinary expert Julie Chernoff, food journalist, dining editor of Better magazine and member of Les Dames d’Escoffier. “If you’re into beer and want to homebrew, a brewing kit is definitely your worth investigating.”
The kits are easy and relatively affordable for a beginner hobby. Instead of trying to buy all the pieces and parts separately, a homebrew kit is a much more sensible way to go. Let’s take a look at what you need in the best homebrew kits and how to get started.
Creating that incredible home-brewed beer is just a few steps away. There are several specialty items you will find in the various brew kits that are out there today. There are beginner kits filled with essential components you will need for brewing. You’ll also find kits that include ingredients for the beer, in addition to the equipment, so you can start the brewing process right away.
Just make sure you have some of the basics you’ll need to start your home brew properly. If the kits you’re looking at include those, you’ve got a good basis for beginning your new hobby.
“Make sure that they contain a fermenting bucket with lid, a bottling bucket with spigot, a large stainless-steel brew kettle, floating thermometer and auto-siphon,” advises Chernoff. “Bottles and bottle caps can be purchased separately, as can sanitizer and carbonation drops.”
To begin with the brewing process, you will discover that most kits offer a sanitizing solution to ensure that no bacteria gets into the beer from the equipment. This process involves cleaning with brushes, water and solution to remove any visible dirt, dust or residue from the tubing that you’ll use throughout the brewing process. A carboy brush is often the go-to tool for the plastic elements of the brew kit as it offers a scratch-free cleaning method for any soft plastic pieces.
Once the general washing is accomplished, the parts are soaked in a sanitizing solution that is acid-based and diluted. Iodophor is another solution that can be used to achieve sanitization. This is one of the early, but more important steps, of brewing.
After you’ve cleaned and sanitized all the kit parts, you will learn the purpose and names of each item. Understanding the function of each piece will help you to arrange the parts in an effective way for the correct brewing process. Most kits offer a “Getting Started” handbook so you can learn as you go. In the guidebook, the easy, step-by-step directions will help you piece together the kit for brewing.
Expect a few main components to the physical kit: the bottling and transferring equipment, fermentation vessels and the measuring equipment. The amount of beer you want to brew will determine the size of your parts and the size of your kit.
“For smaller jobs, there are 2-gallon kits; for larger, opt for the 6.5-gallon capacity buckets,” Chernoff advises.
If you find an excellent starter kit, it will include all the ingredients needed to start your brew.
The bottling and transferring equipment include quite a few necessary pieces to accomplish a good brew. In this part of the kit, you’ll find vinyl transfer tubing, plastic bottle filler, bottle caps and capper, plastic bottling bucket with spigot, auto-siphon, sterile siphon starter, funnel and bottles, either 12 ounces or 22 ounces, that have been cleaned and sanitized or are new. Brewing tools in this part of the kit include mesh steeping bags, long spoon, a kettle and wort chiller.
For fermentation vessels, kits usually contain just a few parts to get you brewing. The plastic bucket fermenter is either a five or six-gallon bucket featuring a lid and offers a more portable option over a glass version. The lid has a hole that the airlock fits into during the alcohol fermentation process. A carboy is another name for a cylindrical-shaped jug made of either plastic or glass and used to stop from letting air in. A rubber stopper with a hole is often used as an airlock on the carboy. You will find a glass carboy in the one-gallon size in this Craft a Brew Kit.
The measuring equipment includes all the tools you need to ensure that your beer is actually brewing correctly. The hydrometer is what measures the sugar in terms of gravity points. The gravity point scale starts at 1.000 for water and increases during the fermentation process. Depending on what type of beer you are brewing, you’ll know the brew is ready when it reaches a certain number. The hydrometer jar is the container filled with wort, which is what beer is called before it ferments. You use it to measure the gravity points with the hydrometer. You’ll also need a thermometer to measure the temperature of your solution. It’s best to use a new one to avoid contamination from your kitchen thermometer.
If your kit does not include ingredients, you may want to search for an ingredient kit to buy separately. Although you can go into a hops store and buy all the different ingredients, it’s easier for beginners to use a kit that includes all the ingredients you need in the right measurements. Some kits offer just that with malt syrup, yeast, grains, hops, spices, sugar, and even instructions for beginners.
Start off your homebrewing hobby on the right foot with these top-notch homebrew kits. You will learn so much from using a starter kit, and you will enjoy the fruits of your labor when you taste your first homebrewed beer. Once you practice and refine the taste of your beer, you can invite friends and family to enjoy it with you.
“There are so many beer kits on the market now, reflective of the growing popularity of homebrewing,” Chernoff says. “If you live somewhere without easy access to craft beers, you’re feeling experimental or you are just a straight-up beer aficionado, this DIY project might be right up your alley.”
The Homebrew Kit Buying Guide
- Information is key when you endeavor on your homebrewing adventure. Look for a kit that comes with a manual or instructions to help guide you through the brewing process.
- If you need a good recipe, be sure to find a kit with ideas and suggestions for recipes.
- It is highly recommended to invest in a bigger kettle for brewing because different types of beer require bigger kettles for boiling.
- Wort chillers are worth the money. They will save you a significant amount of time when getting your wort to come down to temperature.
- A bigger auto-siphon is another way to save time when making that homebrew. A half-inch size is recommended to keep the wort flowing from one vessel to another at a good pace.
- Blow-off tubes in place of airlocks will keep you from cleaning up explosive messes from the fermentation stage of your beer making.
- To save yourself time and frustration, cover your stove burners with aluminum before the boiling process. That way, when the boil over happens, you just have to take the aluminum foil off and throw it away rather than cleaning the entire space.
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