I’m a big fan of beer kits as a way to get into home brewing. I’ve written quite a bit about using beer kits and how to get the best out of them, however, I think they do have some shortcomings.
This is why I have decided to create my own beer recipe kits which will be available to buy here on Home Brew Answers soon.
Why Make Beer Kits?
A vast majority of the beer kits available to brewers here in the UK are pre-hopped malt extract beer kits. These are great for beginners, however, the actual process of brewing is mainly centered around fermentation. You dilute the syrup down with water and then add yeast. After a few weeks of fermentation, the beer can be bottled and then wait another few weeks before drinking it.
This process is fine of course, you end up with a perfectly reasonable beer that you made in your own home. You do miss out on a lot of the process of brewing, though. Part of the fun, the excitement and curiosity is in combining ingredients. It’s similar to cooking a ready meal compared to cooking a meal from scratch, in both instances you end up with something to eat but the meal you prepare from individual ingredients and take your time over is much more satisfying.
Malt Extract, Steeping Grains and Boiling Hops
I believe the best way to start brewing is with malt extract, steeped grains using a full boil. I think this method gives the brewer a better understanding of what goes into beer and produces far superior beer to the kind of beer kits that are mostly available in the UK.
The method of brewing with extract and steeping grains I have covered in quite a bit of detail here and it’s where I suggest all brewers who visit this site should start. You can make beer comparable in quality to the far more involved all grain process given enough practice.
Brewing with extract, grains and boiling hops isn’t really marketed to home brewers that well. There is always the encouragement to progress straight to all grain brewing and I don’t think that is always necessary for a lot of home brewers.
You Don’t Need A Lot Of Equipment To Make Great Beer
As an example, some people just want to make beer a couple of times a year, they like the process and it’s fun to drink something you’ve made yourself. I wouldn’t suggest they go and buy all the equipment to brew all grain, most of the time it will be sitting in the cupboard or garage gathering dust.
In fact, I would suggest the opposite, invest in only the most basic equipment you need.
For a long time, I’ve been a big fan of small batch brewing. It is a lot less hassle compared to brewing a bigger batch and you need a lot less equipment. Take a look at this video where I brewed a Milk Stout you can see the few pieces of equipment I used. The beer turned out great too.
If you want to brew beer in this way, just a small 8 litre batch on the hob is a lot more accessible than acquiring all the gear needed to brew a 20-litre batch.
Small batches like this tend to get me brewing more often than if I had brewed a large batch of beer. If I know I’ve got 40 bottles of beer from a large batch I’ve just made I’m reluctant to brew again until I’ve at least gotten through some of that.
A small batch of 8 litres produces around 16 x 500ml bottles. When I’ve finished brewing that beer a week or two later I’m thinking of what to brew next. I can knock out a few batches and have several different styles of beer around so there is a choice about what I drink.
This is particularly relevant when you first start brewing, often your early attempts aren’t the best quality beer you’ll make. If you’ve got 40 pints of beer that is just ok, you are going to be less inclined to brew again until some of that beer is finished. A small batch means you can brew more often and get better at brewing in a much quicker timeframe as well as the fact that using the right ingredients will make a better beer.
Home Brew Answers Beer Recipe Kits
This is why I have decided to start putting together some beer recipe kits. I’ve been having a lot of fun brewing small batch, malt extract beers I decided to make it easier for other brewers to get involved too.
Designing these beer kits, I intended to make them as simple as possible to make without requiring a ton of equipment. You can make a beer in your kitchen, on the cooker and unlike most pre-hopped beer kits you are integral to the process. A beer will take a couple of hours to brew and 2 – 3 weeks to ferment.
All the ingredients are listed so you know what goes into the beer and get an understanding of what each ingredient adds to the flavour and taste. They make around 14 pints of beer per batch and new recipe will be added constantly to give an ever changing selection of beer to brew.
Check out the shop and drop your email below to be notified when these beer recipe kits are ready to ship throughout the UK. Thanks