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Beer brewing kits?

jlp8 Apr 21, 2008 05:43 AM

My bets friend and I want to try our hands at brewing our own beers. Any recommendations on starter kits? I found this on Amazon:


Thanks-- Jen

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    brentk RE: jlp8 Apr 21, 2008 05:55 AM

    I would be very circumspect about that kit. Brewing beer from these types of kits just might turn you off the hobby.

    Go to your nearest homebrew shop and ask them if there is a local homebrew club. You can get every thing you need to get a start making decent extract brews for $100-150. Then, join the homebrew club and learn from the experienced brewers. In my experience, they will be very generous with their time and knowledge.

    1. j
      jtpeters RE: jlp8 Apr 21, 2008 09:56 AM

      For a no-boil kit this is expensive. The Northern Brewer starter kit is only $74 (www.northernbrewer.com). You do have to get bottles and ingredients separately, however. You can save your beer bottles (no screw tops) or buy a case of clean ones for $14. An extract ingredient kit can range from $20-35. Finally, you'll need a stock pot which can hold at least 3 gallons, preferably 5. Also, read through www.howtobrew.com.
      Your final product will be much better tasting and your budget won't be much more than $100.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jtpeters
        jlp8 RE: jtpeters Apr 21, 2008 10:18 AM


      2. l
        LStaff RE: jlp8 Apr 21, 2008 01:12 PM

        Another suggestion would be to see if their are any brew-on-premise type places in your area and schedule a brewday to see if it is something you want to continue to do before shelling out the money for your own equipment.

        1 Reply
        1. re: LStaff
          jlp8 RE: LStaff Apr 21, 2008 01:27 PM

          We have one local brewery- Ithaca Beer (in NY). I can check. I know they sell equipment.

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          portpig RE: jlp8 May 9, 2008 10:54 AM

          No don't buy this kit. It looks like a rip-off. Hard to really see what you are getting for your money. First, beer bottles are free. Fermenting in plastic won't cut it over the long haul. It seems to me that if you went to a decent homebrew store and bought decent equipment and bought bulk extract syrup and a basic intro book (which I am guessing would have to be better than their limited video tape) you would come out ahead in both the long term and the short. I have found homebrewers to be a very helpful lot. If you went to a good store (not on a weekend) they would probably be generous with their time.

          1 Reply
          1. re: portpig
            Passadumkeg RE: portpig May 10, 2008 07:00 AM

            Amen, portpig! Invest in a decent bottle capper too.
            Both my son and I began brewing overseas and it gave us an in to a local segment of society; home brewers are a great group, worldwide. I started thirty years ago in Norway because beer was so expensive; David began 2 years ago in S. Korea because the beer is so bad (think Coors Light).
            Welcome to the fold and and after the first batch, keep experimenting! It'll taste great after the 3rd one. My first batch was out of desperation. The early, 70's, my cousin, my brother and me were young single and broke and I mean broke teachers in New Mexico. We had no money for beer, so in a flash of genius(insanity?), from the kitchen cupboard I decided to make beer. With no research, I combined rice, brown sugar, and baking yeast, let it ferment, bottled it and.... after the third one it wasn't half bad. Funny how fond memories can improve events over time. Musta killed a lot brain cells. Our oldest 2 boys are named after my 2 cohorts in 70's beer crime.
            Remember that in 1970, microbrewery was not yet a word.
            Just watch your waistline!

          2. t
            Throckmorton RE: jlp8 May 18, 2008 11:51 AM

            I haven't brewed my own beer in several years. I would stay away from the kits, as they don't supply you with all the knowledge. They may give you a step by step process, but they don't impart why you are taking the steps and what you should avoid. My humble suggestion would be to buy "Homebrewing for Dummies" off of Amazon instead. It is an excellent read and supplies you with the information you need. It also gives you links where you can buy equiptment and ingredients online. Google "home brew supplies" and your local area. You might be suprised how many local brew shops there may be within a 50 mile radius. Good luck and happy brewing!

            1. t
              tbonetodd RE: jlp8 May 18, 2008 05:07 PM

              I'm an avid homebrewer. It's a hobby I can't stop doing and is one of the most rewarding experiences I have. Check out Annapolis Homebrew www.annapolishomebrew.com or Maryland Homebrew www.mdhb.com and give their stores a call. You won't regret it. Annapolis got me on the right track right away. ALL of their recipes and beer kits turned out great. They ship anywhere and the service is unbeatable. Believe me! Hope that helps. Make sure you buy Charlie Papazian's Joy of Homebrewing, too. Enjoy!

              1 Reply
              1. re: tbonetodd
                shellshock24 RE: tbonetodd Jun 10, 2009 01:30 PM

                I agree with tbonetodd - read Charlie Papazian's Joy of Homebrewing. Very detailed but in a simple, matter-of-fact approach. As Charlie always says, "relax, have a homebrew!"

              2. n
                NJCHOW RE: jlp8 Jun 10, 2009 05:34 AM

                I know this is an old post but I got the kit mentioned above and found it to be perfect for a noob. It's really got everything you need to get going. Sure the bottles are plastic but that didn't make my first batch bad! Once you get the hang of it, and learn, you can alter your recipe and do your own thing. I didn't have a local shop to go to, so after doing a bunch of research online I think the Coopers kit is the best of the 'commercial' beer kits. I've made 3 batches so far and its been a good experience. Sure you could do better, but you could also do worse. I got my beer kit through The Brew Club, but Amazon has the same thing. Sometimes somebody has free shipping or a coupon so look for that too.



                1. The Professor RE: jlp8 Jun 11, 2009 01:11 PM

                  I've been homebrewing for a long time (38 years) and while I haven't brewed from a kit (or even extracts) for almost 30 years, I do have some friends that had very good luck with the COOPER's kits and the brews they made that I tasted were surprisingly good.
                  Other than being careful about sanitation, I'd say the other important thing is not to use the COOPER's yeast, but rather, to use a good strain of liquid brewing yeast, or at the very least, dried yeast by a company called SAFALE (any homebrew supplier should have both of these).
                  As long as the extract is relatively fresh and you are vigilant about cleanliness in the brewing process (as you should be anyway), these kits provide a pretty good starting point for learning to brew.
                  The fact of the matter is you _can_make excellent beer even if you're not interested in diving headfirst into all of the science involved.

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