Ah beer… nothing better than a nice cold beer you have brewed yourself! I love homebrewing and have been doing it now for a long time… approximately 16 years or so… it’s been a heck of a hobby… as I always say “so much better than collecting stamps”!
And during this time I’ve made beer pretty much every way possible… from pre-hopped malt extract kits… to partial mash where you use steeping grains along with malt… to BIAB… to all-one-one brewing systems… and to a much largersystem at my microbrewery …
It’s been a ton of fun to say the least… however today I am going back to the beginning… back to where the journey started… and I am going to show you how to brew beer from a kit… I mean the good ol’fashion can of goo beer kits…
You know the one… the kit that comes in a big can… with the yeast under the lid…
These are definitly for beginneers… and although they may not make as good of beer as say brewing from all grain… if you do it right and take your time you will end up with brews that as good or better than the one’s you buy in the liquor store that are made by the macro breweries.
Mr. Beer and Coopers homebrew kits are two of the more popular of these type. There are other companies that you can look at, such as muntons and they have also improved over the years, but I do find that Mr. Beer and Coopers have really upped their game and are top of the list of kits you could buy.
Over the years I have made some pretty good beer with these companies…
In this post I am going to help you do the same and we are going to discuss:
– What equipment you need to brew up a batch.
– The two beer kits I recommend (and the best places to get them)
– The step by step process to make the beer
The Equipment You Need
OK when you are brewing from these type of beer kits the equipment you require is very basic, which is a great thing…
And what is even cooler is you can use this equipment in all stages of brewing…
So if you decide to try more advanced methods of brewing you will be able to use this equipment… if your end goal is to move to all grain brewing than this is an economical way to collect the equipment you will need on step at a time.
What you will need is:
– A fermenter (capable of making 5 – 7 gallon batches or 19 – 24 liters)
– A big spoon for stirring (mash paddle)
– Hydrometer (to measure your starting and finishing gravity)
– Bottles or kegging equipment (LINK)
And that is really it for equipment to get you started…
Mr Beer and Coopers homebrew kits both have packages that include ALL of the equipment I just reviewed that you willneed as well as the beer kit to brew your first batch. This is how I got started. I actually have both the Mr Beer and Coopers kits…
Depending on how much you want to make would determine which you should pick up. Mr Beer makes about 2 – 3 gallons and Coopers makes 5 – 6 gallons.
The advantage of the Coopers kit is that you can use the equipment when you move onto the all grain brewing. Where Mr Beer’s fermenter would be too small.
I did a post on both of their kits here:
The 2 Beer Kits I Recommend
When learning how to brew beer from a kit you will discover that all beer is not created equally and the same goes for the kits they come in.
As indicated Mr Beer and Coopers are in my opinion two of the top kits you can buy. And if you just pick them up and follow the instructions that come with it and than give them some time to age/condition in the bottle or keg than you will end up with some good brew.
However, if you simply add a few more steps in the process and add a few more ingredients you will discover you can really improve the taste and quality of the brew significantly… it is worth adding the additional steps.
Maybe make your first batch using the instructions I provide in this post, (which are pretty much the same as what comes with the can of goo) and than for your next batch follow the instructions I provide with the following 2 recipes…
I have done a post that actually provides you with a recipe you can follow for either Mr. Beer or Coopers. Both of these two recipes turn out very nice.
The Step by Step Process to Make Beer
OK making a homebrew from these kits is easy stuff! These companies have really dumbed the whole process down and made it very simple for the average Joe like myself to brew up a good batch.
There is a catch though… in order to make the end result taste good you will need to have a small level of patience. You must learn to allow the home brew time to age or condition in the bottles or keg.
After you have put it in the bottles let it sit for at least 4 weeks… 4 months is even better!
I realize how much that sucks and how hard it is to do. But just start getting on a cycle of brewing and after your first month of doing so you will have beer ready to drink.
The time you let them sit will make a big difference!
OK so here is the simple process:
– Pick up your beer kit.
– Clean and Sanitize your equipment thoroughly, this is a very important step, one of the most important steps in the whole process. Get this wrong and you are in big trouble. I have done up a post walking you through how to do this:
– Add about 3 liters of hot water to the fermenter
– Pour the contents of the can of goo (beer kit) into the fermenter
– Stir the goo until it is dissolved
– Fill the fermenter with cold water until you reach the 18 liter mark on side of fermenter
– Check the temperature… we need to get it to be around 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit)… so depending on what the temperature is will determine whether you will add an additional 5 liters of cold water or hot water to bring the temperature up to around the required temperature. (don’t over think this, get it as close as you can).
– Pitch the yeast. (sprinkle it on top of the liquid in fermenter)
– Put cover on the fermenter.
– Put fermenter away for two weeks in dark area in your home. Keep area around room temperature. 60 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit. (15 – 21 degrees Celsius)
– After two weeks bottle or keg your beer.
– WAIT… have patience and let the packaged beer sit for at least 4 weeks!
– Drink and enjoy!
And Now You Know…
And now you know how to brew beer from a kit…
I should close this out by saying that the process I just reviewed with you is the absolute beginning stage of brewing beer…
The cool thing with how the industry has changed over the last numerous years is that if and when you are ready to advance to the more difficult methods of making beer there are beer kits for those levels also!
They now make kits for people who want to do partial mash brewing (which is the stage between what I have just showed you and the advanced stage of all grain brewing).
They come with all of the ingredients and step by step instructions which really makes brewing beer at any level an easy process.
I do recommend starting your beer making journey by making a few batches doing exactly what I have outlined in the post as you will learn the essential steps.
None of the levels are what I would call difficult, but there is a bit to the process. So the neat thing about starting at the beginning is you learn as you go and you do not stress yourself out trying to figure it all out at once.
The other benefit is that buying all of the equipment for all grain brewing can be costly, but if you pick it up as you go it is a bit easier on the bank account…
If or when you want to advance to more difficult but rewarding methods of brewing the following post will get you started:
And as always, if you have any questions feel free to comment below and I will be more than happy to help you out.
Have fun and enjoy! Cheers