For most people beer kits are what introduced them to the hobby of home brewing, for others it’s their only way of brewing beer. I have used a few in my time as a brewer and not necessarily when I first started out either. They are a convenient way to brew and require minimal equipment so that’s why I want to recommend them to someone who maybe has never brewed before. A thorough guide to getting started is right here.
The Easiest Way To Start Brewing
As I say for most people the beer kit is a point of entry into home brewing. If you have never brewed before then they are an unintimidating way to get started compared to going it alone and using say malt extract with grains and hops. There is a set procedure and it’s easy to follow which means you can have 40 pints of beer ready to ferment in 30 minutes or less.
The thing that’s great about beer kits is that once you’ve brewed it you have freed up your equipment and can soon start planning your next beer. You will be able to start thinking more about whether you can maybe do more and try other ingredients and before you know it you’re using your own hops or yeast strain. The are loads of ways to improve a beer kit and you can find some here.
Of course you don’t have to add anything to a beer kit to make a good beer but there are lots of things you can do to put your own spin on a kit. Adding dry hops for instance will dramatically change a beer and helps to familiarise yourself with different varieties of hops. You’ll learn whether a hop is citrusy, earthy or floral for instance. There are hundred of yeast strains available to homebrewers too and each will either subtly affect the beer or completely change it according to which yeast stain you use. Experimentation is key.
Beer Kits Save Time
Brewing an all grain beer takes a fairly long time, the mash takes an hour on it’s own and that is without the other brewing processes. Beer kits remove the need for mashing as the extract you get in them has already undergone that process. Many beer kits don’t even need boiling which is another hour saved.
Life can be busy and not everyone can devote the time to a whole brewday, this is where beer kits can still enable you to brew your own beer and enjoys a product you have made yourself. Fermentation is one of the most important parts of making a beer and this is one of the main parts you’ll be controlling when producing your beer kit ensuring you have the fermenter in the right environment with good temperature control doesn’t take a lot of input time wise but can have huge benefits to how a beer turns out.
Beer Kits Need Less Equipment
The amount of gear needed to brew a beer kit is less than any other method of brewing, it’s the lowest barrier of entry. The equipment you do need can also be used as you progress more into the hobby so those first initial purchases are still useful a year or two down the line.
Fermenting Vessel: A vessel to ferment in is the largest piece of equipment you need and can be picked up for less the £15. That’s less than 5 pints down the pub and in this one fermenting vessel you’ll be able to make 30 pints.
Mixing Paddle or Spoon: A regular spoon isn’t going to cut it unfortunately, beer kits are usually of a thick syrupy consistency and you are going to need a paddle or spoon long enough to reach the bottom of the
Airlock: An airlock let’s carbon dioxide out of the fermenting bin but won’t let air in so the beer can be spoiled.
Syphon Tubing: Moving beer from one vessel to another without splashing it around everywhere is important.
Syphon tubing provides a more hygienic way to transport your beer between vessels and to fill bottles.
To package your freshly made beer you will need one of the following options:
Plastic PET Bottles and Screw Top Lids: This is the first option for packaging your beer.Plastic bottles are cheaper than glass and will do the job just fine. If you are making your first beer the most practical option would be to buy some PET screw top bottles along with your other supplies, they are reusable and very simple to fill, clean and store.
Glass Bottles with Crown Caps and Capper: Glass is more robust and you can easily reuse the bottles from shop bought beer. A crown capper enables you to seal the bottles with metal caps.
Beer Kits Are Repeatable and Consistent
One of the biggest benefits of beer kits is they produce good results consistently. Other forms of brewing like all grain have many more variables and technical aspects to control and each of those adds up to affect how the beer will taste. Following the instructions and follow a few of these tips and you can’t go wrong
Beer kits have less variables and are formulated to taste the same each time. You know what you are are going to get with each subsequent brew after brewing the very first batch.
Once you know how the beer will taste you can then think about how adding in new ingredients or flavours will enhance that beer kit making it more personal and developing your brewing skills.
As long as you follow the instructions for the beer kit you’ll know the alcoholic content of the beer, something that even experienced home brewers can struggle with is getting precise control of the ABV. The efficiency of mashing grains can vary sometimes you can get more fermentable sugars from them sometimes less. Beer kits remove that step from the process so you won’t have to worry about any of that. This of course means more consistent beer, something that every home brewer should strive for.
Getting More People Involved in Brewing
This last point I think is the most important. Beer kits are most peoples gateway into the hobby of brewing. I bet there are a few people hadn’t even considered brewing as a pastime until they were bought a beer kit as a gift. That gift may have then ignited a passion that grows into an obsession.
This is very close to how I got involved in brewing, I got given a beer kit for a birthday. That led to trying to understand what is happening and what exactly goes into making beer, that journey led me to create this website and brew beer for a living. You never know where one beer kit could lead you.
If you’ve never made a beer kit before then a good all rounder is this Woodfordes Wherry, I’ve done this kit a few times myself, with good results.