Brewing has long since been part of human culture since antiquity. And it has evolved all the way to the present day.
In this article, you will get knowledge on home brewing kits’ viability, safety, and the best kit you can start with. Read on to know how you can go about becoming a brewer in the comfort of your own home.
What is a Homebrew Kit?
A homebrew kit enables you to make your own beer without leaving your house.
It contains all the needed ingredients and equipment for the process. The ingredients and tools required will depend on the recipes.
There are a variety of manufacturers you can choose from. Some of their kits provide a complete solution. While other kits provide equipment only, or ingredients only, depending on your needs.
How Do You Make Beer with a Home Brewing Kit?
You can easily make beer with the kits because they come with instructions for their recipes.
Before starting, make sure to inspect the completeness of the apparatus and ingredients.
Also, you need to understand the following basic procedures:
- Sanitize Your Equipment:
- The kits come with a disinfectant. Apply it on all your surfaces and tubes.
- In your brew pot, heat water to the recommended capacity and temperature.
- Transfer the recipe’s grains to the grain bag.
- Soak them for the recommended time.
- Raise the bag and let the liquid drain into the pot. You now have made unfermented beer, aka “wort.”
- Boiling / Brewing:
- Continue heating the wort until it reaches a rolling boil.
- Remove the pot from the heat source.
- Stir in your malt then return the wort to a rolling boil.
- Add in hops at intervals dictated by the recipe.
- Quickly cool the wort to below 100°F (37°C). You can use a container filled with ice water or use a wort chiller.
- Transfer your wort into the fermentation vessel.
- Add water until you reach the prescribed gallonage.
- If you want to be precise, use a hydrometer for determining your beer’s initial Alcohol By Volume (ABV).
- Aerate the wort by rocking the container. Splashing is key here.
- Pour your yeast into the fermenter.
- Seal the fermenter and leave it in a cool and dark place.
- Wait for one to two weeks. For precision, use a hydrometer to measure ABV if it meets the recipe’s target.
- Sanitize your bottles or kegs, and tubes.
- If the recipe calls for additives (i.e. priming sugar), add them at this point.
- Fill, cap, and store your bottles for around two weeks.
How Long Do Beer Kits Take?
The brewing process takes around a minimum of four weeks. In contrast to ingredient preparation which takes around a couple of hours.
Since fermentation is the key process, you need to give the yeast time to do its work. Converting sugars into alcohol is a time-intensive step.
Do Beer Kits Make Good Beer?
For starters, beer kits make a good beer as long as you understand the process and follow the recipe. On the other hand, making yourself a good personal beer is a whole other thing.
There are kits available for custom recipes. You will need to know the flavor profiles of the different ingredients when mixing. This is where trial and error and patience is needed. And new processes may need more advanced equipment.
How Many Beers Does a Homebrew Kit Make?
Five gallons of beer is the common output capacity of homebrew kits. The general range is from one to five gallons.
If you are experimenting and starting out, you can go for the one-gallon kits then work your way up. Once you are confident in your skills, try kits that have a capacity as high as 10 gallons.
Are Beer Making Kits Safe?
Beer making kits are generally safe as long as you follow the instructions carefully.
The dangers of beer making kits usually come from the following:
- Pressurization: Fermentation produces a lot of carbon dioxide that may break your vessels. You might want to think about using plastic carboys in this case.
- Boil Overs: Do not forget about your boiling pots.
- Contamination: You must maintain good sanitary practices whenever working with your equipment and tools.
What is in a Basic Home Brewing Kit?
A basic home brewing kit should contain all the needed equipment and ingredients. Extra items may be available depending on the manufacturer.
You should be aware that there are kits without ingredients. Here is what you can expect from a full kit:
- Fermenting Bin
- Brewing Spoon
- Measuring Cylinder
- Cleanser / Sterilizer
- Beer Concentrate Kit
- Beer Yeast
- Brewing Sugar
Where Can I Buy a Beer Brewing Kit?
You can buy beer brewing kits from the comfort of your own home. A lot of specialty shops offer online purchasing with free delivery.
The biggest online retailer, Amazon, carries these products. It is now easier than ever to get your own kit.
Does Walmart Sell Beer Making Kits?
If you are more comfortable with Walmart, they also carry beer-making kits. Going to the store and seeing the actual product before buying is more practical.
Walmart also has it on its online shelves so you have the option to shop there.
How Much Does a Homebrew Kit Cost?
A homebrew kit costs vary for the same gallonage. It depends on the retailer, manufacturer, desired recipe, and ingredients used.
Here are some rough figures of starter kits with practically the same specifications:
- Amazon: $89.99 to $109.99 for a five-gallon kit.
- Walmart: $135.11 for a five-gallon kit.
- MoreBeer: $139.99 for a five-gallon kit.
Pure ingredient and recipe packs average around $20 to $50 for a five-gallon kit.
You need to check the inclusion list before purchasing to know exactly what you are getting.
What is the Best Home Beer Brewing Kit?
If you do a quick search online, Northern Brewer’s Starter Kit will almost always pop up.
Multiple authoritative sites have come to the same conclusion that Northern Brewer’s Starter Kit is the best overall. It balances price, clear instruction manuals, and more tools into its kit.
What is the Best Beer Making Kit for Beginners?
Beginners should try Mr. Beer’s Starter Beer Making Kit.
It boasts reduced brewing times by around 30 minutes by using hopped malt extract. You will have less time processing and more time experimenting and tasting.
Do You Have to be 21 to Buy a Beer Making Kit?
You don’t need to be 21 years old to buy a beer-making kit. However, to brew and consume your craft beer, you need to be of the appropriate legal age.
Different states have their specific laws so you should consult your local authority. State laws differ with regard to restrictions on age and production volume.
Nevertheless, 21 is the general age when it is legal to be your own brewer.
Do Beer Brewing Kits Go Bad and Expire?
All beer brewing kits expire, but the question of whether it becomes bad is relative.
For example, expired yeast loses its ability to ferment properly. Expired malt produces a darker shade. And hops lose their distinct flavor and bitterness. Whether any of this will produce acceptable quality is up to you.
It is a good idea for you to know that each ingredient has its own expiration date. Therefore, you must handle and store them individually.
You can tell if your grains are expired if they give off a musty and oily waft.
How Long Does a Homebrew Kit Last?
A homebrew kit lasts for about a year. That being said, there are certain nuances involved.
The different ingredients have their own best before dates. Thus, it is important that you scrutinize them.
The weakest link is usually milled grains. They conservatively last one to two months. On the other hand, whole grains will last for six months to a year.
Can I Use an Out of Date Beer Kit?
If an out-of-date beer kit is sealed and stored well, you can expect it to be fine. However, it is a good idea for you to get a fresh pack of dry yeast to reduce your fermentation time.
Also, out-of-date kits will produce a beer with a darker color and a weaker hops flavor. If you are not particular about these traits, it should be fine.
Can You Make Wine with a Beer Brewing Kit?
You can make wine using a beer brewing kit because they follow much of the same principles. However, you need to take an extra step called aging.
Do note that standard kits come in six gallons. You might want to check your proportions or upgrade your equipment capacities.
How Long Does Aging Homebrewed Wine Take?
Homebrewed wine aging arguably takes at least three months to over a year after bottling. It all depends on your preference. Intense and astringent flavor profiles are available in one to three months. For a more mature and mellow flavor, aging for six months to over a year will do.
There are a lot of considerations when it comes to the length of aging. For example, white wines do not need to be aged as much compared to red wines.