Northern Brewer Homebrewing Starter

Last updated date: November 1, 2019

DWYM Score
9.6


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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.

Overall Take

The Northern Brewer Homebrewing Starter kit has rightfully earned our Best Overall rating. It has everything needed to brew at home, including a five-gallon steel kettle. It also includes additional key features, like a long spoon and auto-siphon, which many other options lack. You won’t find a better kit to guide you through brewing your first batch. In our analysis of 60 expert reviews, the Northern Brewer Northern Brewer Homebrewing Starter placed 1st when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note November 1, 2019:
Checkout The Best Homebrew Kit for a detailed review of all the top homebrew kits.

Expert Summarized Score
9.8
9 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.1
646 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
The other standout component is the spoon. Of the 23 starter kits we looked at, this was one of only four that included a spoon (all of them 21 inches long); it was also one of four out of the seven kits we tested that came with an auto-siphon instead of a racking cane.
- New York Times Wirecutter
June 16, 2017 | Full review
The best thing about this kit is that it truly has everything you need to brew beer at home. In addition to the 5-gallon stainless steel kettle, it comes with an auto-siphon instead of the more-difficult-to-use racking cane. The kit also includes very clear easy-to-follow instructions that are laminated. Beer brewing can be a messy business, so believe us — You'll appreciate the lamination when it's time to wipe those instructions clean.
- Business Insider
October 6, 2017 | Full review
Extras include a long stainless spoon to stir your wort, a bottle brush to clean reusable glass, and bottle caps—something some kits inexplicably leave out.
- Reviewed
July 5, 2019 | Full review
This beer making kit takes things up a notch from some of the more streamlined kits available. It includes a 6.5-gallon fermenter with airlock, bottling bucket with spigot, a bottle filler, 5-gallon stainless brew kettle, a spoon, auto siphon, sanitizer, oxygen wash, bottle capper and more.
- The Spruce Eats
March 1, 2019 | Full review
It comes with every component to make the most of your brews, including foolproof instructions that will make you feel like a pro even if it is your first time seeing a fermenter.
- Beer Collections
Amber pale ale recipe and all ingredients included with kit
- Best Home Brewing Kit
What’s special about this kit is that it includes a lot of essentials that most other kits seem to leave out. Things like a 5-gallon stainless steel brew kettle, a 21” stainless steel spoon and their Block Party Amber Ale recipe kit,
- Beer & Wine Reviews
This home brewery kit not only comes with all of the necessary brewing equipment, accessories and tools required to make a small batch of beer or even gallons of beer, but it also comes with the ingredients and IPA beer recipe kits for an amber ale (malt extract, grains, and hops included).
- 52 Brews
Another great feature is that grains and malt come raw. While it makes the process a bit longer, it gives you a more extensive range of opportunities.
- Homebrew Academy
What experts didn't like
The Brew Share Enjoy kit doesn’t include a hydrometer. This is not necessary to brew right out of the box, but if you want to know how alcoholic your beer is, and if you want to know when primary fermentation has finished, you need to buy one.
- New York Times Wirecutter
June 16, 2017 | Full review
You don't get a hydrometer, so you can't determine your ABV and might leave yourself open to nasty bottle bombs. Also missing are sanitizer, a thermometer, and bottles.
- Reviewed
July 5, 2019 | Full review
The kit is designed to provide everything you need out of the box to brew your first five gallons of beer, except that you will need to buy the bottles once you’re done with fermentation.
- The Spruce Eats
March 1, 2019 | Full review
Lids are not 100% airtight
- Beer Collections
The secondary brewing fermenter is plastic, not glass
- Best Home Brewing Kit
The kit does not include a glass carboy as the Ale recipe included does not require the second step fermentation, but other recipes you may want to try later could. If you want to bottle your beer for easier storage and sharing you’ll need to buy those separate, as well as a hydrometer to test gravity.
- Beer & Wine Reviews
Beer is susceptible to light, and those containers can put yours at risk. You'll need to take special care of your mixture. Otherwise, you run the risk of spoiling it.
- Homebrew Academy

From The Manufacturer

Beer Share Enjoy BREW BREWING MADE SIMPLE Brewing with our signature kit is just as easy as making mac ‘n’ cheese.Here’s how it works: You choose the beer style. The kit lands on your doorstep. Open the box. Get brewing. Brew Share Enjoy THE ONLY THING BETTER THAN BREWING... ... is brewing with your friends. We make it easy, so you can sit back and sip beer while you work: Print instructions with visuals Digital manuals Online videos The Brew Share Enjoy makes 2 cases of your very own craft beer. More than enough to show off to your friends. Brew Share Enjoy QUALITY INGREDIENTS If you’re reading this, you appreciate good beer. Or someone in your life does. Which means you need a kit with truly high-quality ingredients: Premium grains and malt Flavorful & aromatic hops Expert-selected yeast Think you already love craft beer? Wait ‘til you try your own. DESIGNED BY BREWMASTERS FOR THE BEST BREWING EXPERIENCE Brew Share Enjoy Brew Share Enjoy Brew Share Enjoy SERVING THE HOMEBREWER COMMUNITY SINCE 1993 Talking about brewing is almost as fun as brewing; having a beer while talking about brewing gives it a run for its money. We believe this conversation is important, ongoing, dynamic, and bridges the gaps of age, gender, politics, etc. We bring homebrew to the masses (classes, demonstrations, competitions, beer festivals, and advertising outside hobby publications), Northern Brewer has been in the thick of it since 1993. THE PERFECT STARTER KIT FOR CRAFT BEER ENTHUSIASTS We've built this all-inclusive kit to be fun and foolproof with some of the most trusted instruction in homebrewing. Rest assured that no matter what your method of learning is, your first homebrew is sure to be a success. WATCH. LEARN. ENJOY. Our Brewmasters are very passionate about brewing and want you to have an amazing brewing experience. Watch our detailed step by step brewmaster videos so you too can brew your best. Someday we want homebrewing to be as common a household craft in America as vegetable gardening, and we know that our hobby/craft/shared passion/obsession won’t get there through complacency

Overall Product Rankings

1. Northern Brewer Homebrewing Starter
Overall Score: 9.6
Expert Reviews: 9
2. Craft A Brew Beer Kit
Overall Score: 9.5
Expert Reviews: 3
3. Northern Brewer Homebrew Starter & Recipe Kit
Overall Score: 9.4
Expert Reviews: 8
4. Brewer’s Best Homebrew Beer Ingredient Kit
Overall Score: 9.4
Expert Reviews: 1
5. love2brew Homebrew Starter Kit
Overall Score: 9.3
Expert Reviews: 2
6. Mr. Beer Beginner Beer Making Kit
Overall Score: 9.0
Expert Reviews: 8
7. Craft A Brew Hefeweizen Beer Kit
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 3
8. Brewer’s Best Homebrew Beer Kit
Overall Score: 8.2
Expert Reviews: 4
9. Midwest Supplies Homebrewing Starter Kit
Overall Score: 8.2
Expert Reviews: 4
10. Brooklyn Brew Shop Beer Making Kit
Overall Score: 8.2
Expert Reviews: 9

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, such as the Northern Brewer Kit, 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, like this Northern Brewer Deluxe Homebrew Starter Kit.

The bottling and transferring equipment includes 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. This American Cream Ale Ingredient Kit offers just that. With malt syrup, yeast, grains, hops, spices, sugar, and even instructions for beginners, you can’t go wrong with this ingredient kit.

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.”

 

DYWM Fun Fact

Though homebrewing has been around forever, it was illegal in 1919 when Prohibition in the United States first began. It wasn’t until 1978 that it was federally legalized again. Of course, each state had its own timeline of allowing for the legalization of homebrewing. Alabama and Mississippi were the last two states to do so, not making homebrewing legal again until 2013, .

Although it is legal, there are caps on the amounts of beer you can brew at home. This number varies among states; however, average limits are 100 gallons per adult and 200 maximum for a household. This is the cap for the year for each household.

The homebrewing hobby has exploded since 2013. The American Homebrewers Association had a rough estimate of 37,000 homebrewers in 2013, and by 2017, it estimated 1.1 million homebrewers in the U.S.

The average age of homebrewers in the U.S. is 42, encompassing a typical range of 30 to 49. Homebrewers are not region picky and are spread evenly throughout the country. The percentage of homebrewers that are married is 85%, and the average household income of homebrewers in $75,000 or more.

Some popular people who count home brewing as one of their hobbies include actors, actresses, supermodels and even a former president. Will Wheaton, the “Star Trek” actor  has a blog about his homebrewing experiences. Kathy Ireland, a Sports Illustrated model, homebrewed for quite a while and enjoyed it so much she spoke of opening her own brewery. And President Barack Obama also enjoyed brewing his own beer at home. Interestingly enough, the White House has two recipes for homebrew beer: a honey porter and a honey ale.

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 home brew. 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 air locks 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.