I can remember when I first started brewing beer I figured it would be as easy as going to the store and picking up any ol’beer kit, follow the instructions on the kit and bam-oh I would have delicious beer to drink…
… I quickly discovered that was not the case, all beer making kits are in fact not even remotely created equal.
In fact it can be quite an adventure to find the best beer making kits. I wasted a ton of money and beer looking for them… well wasted is not quite the right term… the beer was definitely consumed and it did its thing, but the taste was not what I was looking for by any means.
It took time and a lot of drinking shitty beer but in the end I was able to find kits that make good beer…
So in this article I will give you a quick review of some of the better kits available.
Decide What Type of Beer You are Making
Option 1: Most people when they first get started making beer for themselves, use the basic beer kits that just come in the can.
This can is filled with liquid malt extract and it typically already has all the hops added to the can already. It also comes with a packet of yeast that they stash under the lid.
When you open the kit up it looks like a big can filled with goo… so from here on out we will refer to these beer kits as the Ol’Can of Goo!
Can of Goo brewing is simply a matter of adding warm water and the contents of the can of goo to the fermenter, sprinkling in the yeast and putting the lid on the fermenter and letting it ride. It’s the simplest form of brewing and the least expensive.
Option 2: Partial mash brewing is the next step up from can of goo brewing aka extract brewing, and it is a step before all grain brewing.
With partial mash brewing you will still use some liquid malt extract, similar to the can of goo but this time it is not prehopped.
However the big difference is that with partial mash brewing you will also use base grains and do what is referred to as a partial mash, this is done to get fermentable sugars out of the grains.
The partial mash beer kits come with all the ingredients you need, liquid malt extract, base grains, hops, yeast.
Partial mash is an awesome way to get you started on the road towards all grain brewing.
Option 3: All Grain brewing. Yup there are even beer making kits for all grain brewing.
All grain brewing is where the big boys play. It requires the most equipment, time and ingredients, but it makes the best beer.
Now I did not mean to scare you away from all grain brewing; it is not hard and you can learn it very easily. I do recommend that you start with either option 1 or 2 first in order to get a better understanding of the basics of making beer.
But when you are ready to move to option 3 the all grain beer kits are a great way to start as they provide you with all the grains, hops, yeast and recipe (instructions) to brew you up some very good beer.
OK… now lets take a quick look at the actual kits I recommend for each of these:
Recommended Malt Extract Beer Kits
So as discussed the Ol’Can of goo is a good way to get started making beer and learning the process.
Even though the beer made from the Ol’Can of goo is simply not as good as some of the beer you will make as you progress in your brewing journey, if you use the right kits and are patient the beer turns out just fine.
Also, regardless of the ol’Can of goo beer kit that you choose to use (I’m going to give you my two favorite)…
The Following are two tips to make the ol’Can of goo beer taste better:
Tip #1) I recommend switching out the little yeast packet they give you with a better yeast. Instead use Safale us-05. It’s a dry yeast also, but a much better yeast, it costs about $4-$5 and will improve the beer significantly.
Tip #2) Have patience! Once you have brewed this beer, and bottled it, let it condition. Which means let it age… you do this by putting the bottles away in a dark place in your home and letting them sit. The longer the better! Now I know this is painfully hard to do, but if you let the beer age it will improve dramatically. I’m talking 3-4 months would be ideal!
Trust me I do get it is hard to do, but you can always try one bottle after 3 weeks, see if you like it, if not let it sit another 2 weeks, try it again, etc.
OK as promised here are the two best beer making kits for option 1:
1) Coopers Beer Kits! They are simply the best. They have been around like forever and they have this can of goo brewing down pat. They have all different kinds of beer you can choose from, so a great selection.
They even have the Coopers DIY Kit for people who do not have any brewing equipment at all. That kit is what I still use to this day. Comes with all the equipment to brew that you will need, plus a couple keer kits, etc.
And their actual beer kits are actually fairly tasty for can of goo kits. Give them a few weeks to condition and you will be pleased with the results. Out of all the can of goo’s out there, I definitely recommend Coopers first.
2) Muntons Beer Kits! Muntons is a very very close second in my opinion to Coopers. They also have a very large selection of beer you can choose to brew, and their beer also turns out quite nice, especially if you give it time to condition.
My advise is go take a look at both Coopers and Muntons, see which flavor/type of beer you wish to brew and just pick that one. It will be just fine!
Recommended Partial Mash Kits
This section is an easy one for me… there is only one partial mash kit that I recommend…
And that is the Brewers Best Kit. In my experience they far exceed the other partial mash kits. The beer turns out really good! And they are easy to make.
The Brewers best kits come with everything you need to brew up the batch of beer, all tucked nicely into a little box they ship it to you in.
Their kits come with grains, malt, yeast, hops, instructions/recipe, priming sugar if you are bottling.
Open the box, and brew day is on!
Recommended All Grain Beer Kits
One might wonder why in the world if someone has moved onto all grain brewing would they purchase a kit… and the answer is because it is easier and more convenient.
Yes you can go out and find a recipe on your own… then go out and source out the ingredients on your own… mill the grains on your own (or pay the company to do it)… and then brew it up and hope that the guy you got the recipe from knew what he was doing and the beer turns out good…
Or… just pick up a freaking all grain kit… it costs as much for the most part as buying the ingredients on your own. It comes with a tried and true proven recipe… all the ingredients (pre milled grain)… and the exact instructions on how to brew up the beer.
Most of the online home brew supply stores have put these kits together for you…
…and what is cool is when you go to choose a recipe there are typically reviews under the recipe from other people who have bought the kit… I always like to know that the beer I am brewing has been brewed successfully by other people before. And its always great to see if other people like how the beer turned out!
I still to this day will from time to time pick up one of these kits… primarily to get my hands on the recipe that comes with it. Because you can always re-use the recipe if you end up liking the beer. I have a stack of these recipes I have saved from these kits and continue to brew many of those beers.
My two favorite locations to order these type of kits are from Adventures in Home Brewing and More Beer.
Both of them have some very good kits and recipes.
Time to Brew
There you have it my friend… wow I wish when I was starting out making beer I had a guide like I just gave to you. lol
By all means reach out to me below in the comments if I can help you in any way or if you just want to say what’s up to Big Robb! I always respond! Cheers