Comes with a mix for 1 gallon of a rich and delicious IPA beer. Don't pigeon-hole yourself—while the set includes 1 flavor, this will work with several others. Great for experimentation by experienced brewers.
Instructions not included in the box. You will need to get them from the website.
Includes 11 plastic bottles and 2 separate craft beer ingredient mixes for a little more variety than others. Many praise the flavors for being better than standard options. Great starter option.
You're limited to Mr. Beer ingredient refills. If you take home brewing seriously, you'll quickly outgrow it.
This set includes all the information you need for home-brewed beer. Set includes 6.5-gallon bottling bucket, an adhesive thermometer, tubing, bottling accessories, an auto siphon and a 3-piece airlock.
Read the instructions—some additional equipment is required.
A unique brewing project. Comes with everything you need other than a bottle of vodka. Other spice and flavoring blends are available, while expert distillers can add their own twists to it. Good for experts.
Somewhat expensive for what you get in a box without ingredients.
Everything you need is in the box: 6 swing top bottles, a bottle brush, and all the ingredients. The stainless steel funnel and strainer keep your brewing mess-free. A great option for families and health enthusiasts.
Many of the supplies are single-use and may be hard to find in some areas.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Think that nothing is as refreshing as a cold beer on a hot day? Well, what about a cold beer that you brewed yourself in your very own kitchen?
If you’ve never considered home brewing – or have considered it, but dismissed the notion as too difficult – you’re in for a pleasant surprise. While it’s true that brewing your own beer is a time-consuming endeavor, it’s not that hard, even for a beginner. That’s largely due to the many home brew kits available today. These convenient kits provide just about all the equipment you need – often including ingredients – to turn out a batch of your very own beer.
If you’re not sure how to select a home brew kit, you’re in luck. We’ve provided some curated selections along with the information you need to choose and use a home beer-brewing kit
While it does take a fair amount of equipment to brew beer, most of it is not expensive, and several items are probably already in your kitchen.
The following list covers the basic supplies you’ll need to brew beer using a premade extract (rather than extracting the sugars from the grain yourself prior to fermenting). The majority of beginners’ home-brewing kits contain extract, which cuts out several complicated steps.
Preferably made of stainless steel, this is the pot you’ll use to boil your ingredients. While a five-gallon stockpot is standard, you can use a smaller pot if you’ll be making smaller batches of brew.
Often called a carboy, you'll need this for the fermentation process. The carboy should be the same size as your stockpot. Carboys have an airlock that allows excess CO2 produced during fermentation to escape. A stopper secures the airlock.
This is your fermenting bucket. It needs to have a spigot at the bottom.
You’ll use this to stir the ingredients as they boil, so make sure it's long enough to reach the bottom of your stockpot.
You’ll use this to siphon the beer out of the fermenting bucket and into the bottling bucket once your beer is ready to bottle.
This is to keep a check on the temperature of the brew.
These items are needed for cleaning your equipment.
This is for scrubbing your bottles before filling them with beer.
This will simplify the process of filling the bottles.
These are for storing your homemade brew.
Along with equipment, you’ll of course need beer ingredients.
Once you’re an experienced home brewer, you might start buying your ingredients separately at a store that specializes in home brew supplies, but most beginners – and plenty of brewers who are past the beginning stage – appreciate the simplicity of an ingredient kit.
Most beginner supply kits contain ingredients for one batch of beer, so you’ll have to restock after that first batch.
Luckily, there is a huge range of ingredient kits on the market, so you can try a wide variety of beers or stick with a favorite.
The four basic beer ingredients are:
Water: Tap water is fine.
Malt extract: This is basically concentrated sugar extracted from barley or another grain. Some advanced beer makers mash the grain and extract the sugar themselves, but most beginners use malt extract.
Hops: This is the plant that gives beer its distinctive taste and fragrance. There are dozens of varieties of hops, and the variety used determines the type of beer.
Brewer’s yeast: This tiny organism ferments the malt sugars to create alcohol. You’ll also need priming sugar and additional flavorings if desired or prescribed in the recipe.
You should always follow your home brew kit’s specific directions, as the brewing process can vary depending on the type of beer and ingredients. However, the following is a rough outline of the basic home-brewing process.
Gather up your brewing supplies. Thoroughly clean and sanitize the stock pot and fermenting bucket.
Pour one gallon of water – or the amount your kit specifies – into the stock pot and bring it to a boil.
Turn off the heat. Add the malt extract to the hot water. Stir the pot constantly until the extract dissolves completely. Return to a boil.
Add the hops, and boil for the time your kit specifies – usually around 30 minutes to an hour. Your brew is now called “wort.”
Fill your clean, sanitized fermenting bucket to the halfway mark with cold water.
Add the wort to the fermenter.
Add more water until you reach the five-gallon mark. (This assumes you are making a standard five-gallon batch of beer.)
Use your thermometer to track temperature. Once the wort reaches between 70°F and 75°F, add the brewer’s yeast.
Make sure your airlock and stopper are in place, and then put the lid on the fermenting bucket. Shake the bucket gently for a couple of minutes. This helps oxygenate the yeast.
Now the waiting period starts. Set your fermenting bucket in an undisturbed, room-temperature spot. Within a couple of days, you should see the characteristic bubbling of fermentation in the airlock.
In three to four weeks (your kit will specify the time period), your beer will be ready for the next step: carbonation.
Boil two cups of water (or the amount specified in your brewing kit) and add the priming sugar. Boil until the sugar dissolves completely.
Pour the sugar solution into your clean, sanitized bottling bucket.
Transfer the beer from the fermenting bucket to the bottling bucket with a cleaned, sanitized siphon or racking cane. You’ll see sludge at the bottom of the fermenting bucket; leave the sludge behind and just pour the liquid beer into the bottling bucket.
Fill your clean, sanitized bottles with beer. Leave a little under an inch of headroom at the top of the bottle.
Cap the bottles tightly.
Store the capped bottles in an undisturbed, room-temperature spot for two to three weeks. During this period, carbonation is taking place.
Chill a bottle, crack it open, and enjoy! If the beer tastes a little flat, let the rest of the bottles carbonate for another week.
There are quite a few home brew kits out there, so ask yourself the following questions to determine which is best for you. Your answers will guide you to the best home brew kit for your needs and preferences.
Does the kit contain all or most of the equipment you’ll need? Certain supplies are often sold separately, particularly bottles.
Does the kit have equipment you don’t need? For instance, you may already own a five-gallon stock pot.
Does the kit include clear written directions? Does the company have a website with videos or instructions that are more detailed? The internet is a rich source for beer-making instructions and videos.
Does the kit include ingredients? If so, do you like the variety of beer it produces? Keep in mind that you can purchase different varieties of ingredient for future batches.
How large of a batch does the kit produce? While five gallons per batch is standard, there are also one-gallon kits if you don’t want too much beer or are short on space for storage.
Do you want to brew with extracts, which is easiest for beginners, or are you ready to try an all-grain recipe, which is more complicated but allows you the greatest freedom to flavor the beer just the way you like it? Keep in mind that all-grain recipes require a few more pieces of equipment than the extract kits.
Is the kit within your budget? Most good-quality home brew kits cost between $100 and $200. Less-expensive home brew kits may include supplies of poorer quality.
A. While you can of course buy your equipment separately – this can be a good option if you already own most of the supplies – for most people, a kit is far more convenient and economical.
A. Good things in life often take time, and beer is no exception. Don’t rush your brewing process, or you’ll end up with flat, disappointing results.
A. Sometimes it tastes better; sometimes it does not. There is no easy answer to this question. Your results depend on your degree of care in following instructions, the quality of the ingredients you use, the temperature at which you store the beer while it ferments and carbonates, and a little bit of luck. But the more you brew, the better you’ll get.