Beer Making Kits
Look, we are not here to promote alcoholism nor is that what the purpose of a beer making kit is. Instead, it provides consumers with the ability to make their own brew and to try out different flavors and styles. It can be great to have around for parties on the weekend or even when you need to have a refreshing glass of beer after a long day of work. But, from a buyer’s point of view, there is a lot that goes into the buying process. With everyday alcohol that you buy from the store, you just choose your favorite brand and type and you are good to go. Yet, it is a bit more complicated in this case. As you will soon learn, there are several different factors that you need to consider that can end up altering your decision. But, before we dive into that, check out some of the best kits on the market right now.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 2.5 hrs of research
Has been tested by trusted customers and employees
Includes curated ingredients
The instructions are both clear and concise
OUR TOP PICKS FOR THE BEST BEER MAKING KITS
1. Northern Brewer
Has been tested by trusted customers and employees
Includes curated ingredients
The instructions are both clear and concise
Some essential items are missing
Some of the accessories are rather basic
Okay, now this is probably more around the style that many of you are looking for. This right here is the Deluxe Starter Kit from Northern Brewer and without question, it is tremendous.Read more
There are a plethora of accessories that are included here but you still need to provide the beer bottles, caps, and brew kettle. Also, the included temp gauges and thermometer are pretty basic.
With your purchase, you get two large bottles (also known as carboys) and they are made of premium glass.
Ease of Use
Though there may not truly be any foolproof instructions in the world, these are dubbed as that and seem to be clear and concise (based on user feedback).
The primary fermentor measures six gallons. But, you actually receive a secondary fermentor that measures five gallons in size.
Northern Brewer includes ingredients that have been curated and they give off a flavor that you would believe comes from professionals (because they do).
This is really close to being an epic value but all things considered, it ranks extremely high on this list for a reason. But, you will still need a few more items, so be aware of that.
2. PicoBrew PICO Model C
Will automatically recognize which Pico Pak you are using
The cleanup process is simple afterward
You can pick the different Pico Pak’s that you want
There is a lack of user creativity with this option
The top model on this list is extremely unique and is more of an appliance than an actual kit. Yet, it still qualifies and with some Pico Pak’s, you can make your own brew in no time.Read more
As mentioned, this is more of an appliance than anything and you receive the main unit. But, you will need to invest in the Pico Pak’s separately.
Overall, high-quality materials were used here and if you go with the Pro model, the brewing keg is much more durable.
Ease of Use
Due to the integrated RFID technology, this system recognizes the Pico Pak you use and will optimize its settings accordingly. But, in order to do so, you will need to have a Wi-Fi access point.
Again, using the Pico Pak of your choice, you can make up to five liters of brew at one time. This is around 13, 12-ounce cups for those curious.
What is nice is you can fine-tune both the bitterness level and the alcohol contents of any Pico Pak to your liking. However, this machine does not really allow you to create truly customized drinks.
While you will certainly need to shell out some dough for this monster, it is going to be worth it for all the serious enthusiasts out there who are extremely intrigued by this technology.
It is completely reusable
There is no limit on what you can make
The fermentor is made of food-grade PVC
Can only make a minimal amount per batch
If you are looking to make a ton of content very quickly, this is probably not for you. Instead, it was specially designed to brew like the pros, but to do so in small batches.Read more
A strong amount of accessories are included with your purchase and this includes labels, bottles, caps, a bubbler upgrade, hose, bottle filter, plastic mixing spoon and an adhesive temperature gauge.
The fermentor that is provided to you has been constructed of food-grade PVC plastic to prevent any issues with chemicals.
Ease of Use
Ironically, there was one user who claimed this was too basic and too simple. But, for those of you looking for simplicity, this is undoubtedly it.
Again, this is ideal for small batches. Now, the two gallons this yield in 14 days is not bad but other options out there can produce more, quicker.
You are really in control of what you make here. But, for your convenience, BrewDemon includes the first recipe for you and it has an ABV level of 4.6 percent.
Due to the size of the fermentor, this is better suited to users who are not looking for maximum output. In other words, it is perfect for small doses and inconvenient for large gatherings.
4. Coopers DIY
Coopers has been brewing for over 150 years
Comes with 100 percent natural premium ingredients
The integrated collar prevents overflowing
Physical directions would have been nice
The flavor has been criticized by some users
All you need to know about this kit is that it was designed by a brewery. That brewery is Coopers Brewery and they have been at this game for over 150 years.Read more
Let’s quickly note that the included bottles do not seal the best. But, the laundry-list of accessories you receive consists of a hydrometer, thermometer, mixing spoon, plastic bottles, bottling wand, and quality ingredients.
Even though the patented fermentor that you receive is made of plastic, it is both BPA-free and UV-resistant (on top of being shatterproof).
Ease of Use
Here is the deal; while there are directions that are included, they can only be accessed online. For certain, some physical instructions would have been a nice addition.
Enough equipment and ingredients are included here for you to produce up to six gallons of beer.
Coopers makes the ingredients themselves so you know they are high in quality. Admittedly, some users have claimed the included sugar adds an unpleasant flavor.
Much like with Nike or Nintendo or any other name brand out there, it is always reassuring to know a high-quality company made your product. Let’s just say that is what you get here with Coopers.
5. Northern Brewer
Comes with most of the basic stuff
Includes a Block Party Amber Ale recipe kit
Will yield five gallons of the finished product
The included brew pot is quite flimsy
A hydrometer is not included
This is not quite as good as Northern Brewer’s other model on this list but if you can look past the flimsiness of the stainless steel pot, you can enjoy an otherwise impressive starter set.Read more
For whatever reason, a hydrometer is not included with this set. But, plenty of other items are such as a bottling bucket with a spigot assembly, bottle caps, a bottle filler, and a stainless brew kettle.
The plastic buckets that you receive are BPA free, for the record. However, the stainless steel pot that this comes with is rather flimsy and has received some criticism.
Ease of Use
If the printed instructions that this comes with are not sufficient enough for you, you are also provided access to digital manuals and also online videos.
With the 6.5-gallon fermentor, you can make five gallons of finished beer with this bad boy.
There are two recipe kits that you can choose from and this one is the Block Party Amber Ale recipe kit. This includes premium grains and malts as well as expert-selected yeast.
As you can see, the main issue here is with the stainless steel pot. Though it seems ludicrous to have to, you could invest in a separate pot of higher quality.
6. Midwest Supplies
Includes high-quality ingredients
It provides a lot of accessories
Yields five gallons
The bucket lid does not have an O-ring
Not enough sanitizer is included
Midwest Supplies certainly provides you with an excellent value because with their starter set, you can make up to five gallons of alcohol. With that said, one big flaw hurts the overall design as a whole.Read more
To make this easier, let’s list the accessories this does not come with that you will need (as you receive many items here). You will still need roughly 50 bottle caps and 50 bottles, as well as a four to five-gallon kettle.
All in all, the quality of the main materials is very good. Yet, the fermentation bucket lid has received some negative feedback from reviewers due to its lack of an O-ring for proper sealing.
Ease of Use
Midwest Supplies wanted to ensure that even novices of this kind of brewing would be able to use this kit. With the included detailed instructions, they ensured just that.
You receive both a 6.5-gallon fermenting bucket and a 6.5-gallon bottling bucket. All in all, as previously mentioned, it can yield five gallons of drinkable substance.
In this kit, you also get a Simply Beer Pale Ale recipe kit which includes dry yeast, priming sugar, malt syrup, hops, and a specialty grain blend.
The good definitely outweighs the bad here and at the end of the day, that is all you are really asking for as a consumer.
7. Learn To Brew LLC
It is a very good kit for the money
Comes with a bottle capper and a hydrometer
Uses a 6.5-gallon plastic bucket for fermentation
Not the most elaborate design out there
Some key accessories are omitted
The best way to describe this is basic. From a quality standpoint, there really is nothing wrong with any of the accessories in this set. It is just very basic, nothing more nothing less.Read more
Though this set is missing some items, it does include a hydrometer, sanitizing cleaner, bottle filler, bottle brush, fermentation lock, bottling bucket, and Siphon tubing, among other things.
Do not worry; this is not some random plastic bucket that was selected. The plastic is rated to be food-grade safe for your health.
Ease of Use
Learn to Brew LLC should have been clearer to their consumer base, to be honest. You have to dig into the product description to see that the instructional DVD does not come with this and needs to be added.
To add some extra space for you, Learn to Brew LLC has included a 6.5-gallon bucket while other sellers typically only offer a six-gallon bucket.
Nothing here is included in regard to actual ingredients. You have to come up with everything to put inside which means you are responsible for the end result.
It seems as though this option sort of sweeps under the radar whenever lists like this are constructed. While far from the best, it does deserve praise for its consistent quality.
8. Brooklyn Brew Shop
Includes a glass fermentor
Comes with an IPA making mix
An ideal option for beginners
Still needs some more items
The glass thermometer is prone to breakage
As compared to some of the other options on this list, you may be surprised at the price tag here. The primary reason why is while this is an excellent kit, it is missing a few items.Read more
Some of the key items that are actually omitted from this kit are a strainer, funnel, pot and bottles. Overall, though, you do receive a vast amount of accessories.
The good news is both the thermometer and fermentor are made of glass. The bad news is the former has been prone to arrive broken at consumers’ doorsteps.
Ease of Use
While there are step-by-step instructions included with this set, you have to access them online. Also online are videos that you can reference if you get stuck.
Relatively speaking, this is actually one of the smaller options out there. It can yield one gallon of 6.8 percent alcohol which is not bad, but not great either.
This specific option includes the seller’s IPA making mix but there are others available. Either way, only seasonally-inspired and real ingredients are included.
Some of you may find it frustrating that you buy a kit and still need more items. It is an understandable frustration but know this, most of what is provided here is fantastic.
9. Mr. Beer Premium
It includes everything you need to get started
It is designed and tested by Coopers
Includes an innovative fermentor
Both the keg and the spout are plastic and can break
The tops on the bottles have been known not to seal correctly
The first thing you may notice about this kit is that there are not a ton of accessories included. This is primarily because the main fermentor is designed to simplify the brewing process.Read more
In addition to the patented brewing system fermentor that you receive, you also get eleven 25-ounce bottles that are shatterproof and reusable. Plus, you also get brewing extract.
Despite the fact that the fermentor is UV-resistant, it is made of plastic which can be problematic. Speaking of plastic, the keg and spout are made of it and are a bit brittle.
Ease of Use
In addition to the equipment that is already easy to use, included with your purchase are step-by-step instructions that will walk you through the brewing process.
The included fermentor is two gallons and that is solid, as compared to the competition.
What is nice is you can get two refills of your choosing from Mr. Beer’s Classic American Light to their Oktoberfest Lager or their Czech Pilsner. Either way, their malt extracts are bonuses.
Within this technology, this right here is actually one of the biggest sellers. Some beefier equipment, however, would have helped it secure a higher spot on this list.
10. Suteck Gal Moonshine
Features an independent airway design
Includes stainless steel clamps for sealing
There are multiple size options available
Many tweaks will need to be made
The seal on the pot will not last very long
It all comes full circle as this list started with the most unique model on this list and shall end with the second most unique. This is indeed a brewing kit, but it is a little bit different.Read more
As you can see from the photos, this is more of a whole unit. You receive a water-alcohol distiller and a thumper keg that is used to add flavors. The pot can also be heated with a stove or other heating source.
This is crafted with the finest materials on the market and to avoid health issues, the main material is stainless steel instead of solder or copper. Then again, the seal on the pot may not last as long as you desire.
Ease of Use
If you are interested in this specific option, you need to know that some tweaks may need to be in order. As some users have reported, this is the major annoyance with this unit.
Suteck provides you with a few choices here. You can either go with the eight-gallon, five-gallon or three-gallon model.
With this option, you are in charge of the final product. You can add all sorts of essential oils such as peppermint oil, cypress oil, and tea tree oil.
Yes, this is different. In fact, some of you may feel it is a bit obscure to be on this list. That is okay because admittedly, it is not going to be a design for everyone.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
These are kits after all and this just in, it takes a lot of equipment to brew your own beer.
If only one or two items were needed to brew your own brew, then there really would not be much of a point for these kits. Alas, though, that is not the case as this process is going to require an extensive amount of items and equipment, to be very honest. However, not every single beer making kit is going to have every accessory that you need. But, most of them will at least provide you with a majority of the tools you will need. To give you a better understanding of the various pieces of equipment that you will be receiving, let’s break down some of the more notable ones.
For example, you will need a multi-gallon pot, bucket, and fermentation bucket. You will also need an airlock and stopper, as well as a racking cane to siphon the beer out of the kettle or fermentor. In addition to this, you will also need a food-grade sanitizer, a hydrometer, a thermometer, bottle caps, a bottling wand, and a bottle capper. Oh yeah, you will also need actual bottles to pour the beer into. And if all this equipment was not enough, there are even other optional accessories out there that can replace other equipment.
Durability will always be a concern but whenever you are dealing with any sort of ingredients, so will the materials utilized.
All the physical equipment you receive, this would exclude actual ingredients or recipe kits that come with your purchase, need to be made with high-quality materials (this much is obvious). With brittle materials at play, it makes the brewing process more difficult as you must use extra caution to avoid any damage. However, it is not all about durability when it comes to the materials. In specific, let’s assess the common debate of glass vs plastic when it comes to the main fermentor or the carboy.
For the record, both materials are great and can produce excellent results. As for plastic, first off, ensure that it is food-grade plastic to avoid any potential chemicals. One of the pros of plastic is its lightweight nature as it makes handling the carboy or fermentor much easier. Additionally, the necks are typically larger on plastic versions, which can make cleaning easier. Then again, when cleaning, more care needs to be taken to avoid scratches. As for glass models, they are all but impermeable to oxygen. This means that your beer will stay fresher much longer. Also, they are incredibly easy to clean but not so easy to maneuver around. Due to their weight, they can be a chore to work with at times. And, while they are sturdy, if dropped, they are prone to breakage.
Ease of Use
The overall brewing process takes time to get accustomed too but this can be made easier with good instructions.
As with any craft, this is going to take some time to perfect. Yet, that does not mean that you should be blind when making your first brew. In fact, to get your feet wet in the brewing process, you should be following step-by-step instructions so you can get accustomed to the process. One of the best ways to ensure this is a possibility is to look for kits that provide you with said instructions. Most sellers will include directions as they know that brewing beer is not the simplest and easiest task in the world.
But, if you want physical instructions, you need to pay attention. The reason we say this is some sellers will only include access to their digital manual. If you are a hands-on type of individual, you may not want to have your computer out when brewing (or even waste the ink to print off the directions). Also, if you ever feel lost and the included manual is not helping, you can always look up tutorial videos online because if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a thousand pictures.
Are you planning on making beer for yourself or family gatherings and events? Due to the time it takes to brew, you may want a larger capacity.
If brewing only took a few hours then the capacity would not mean that much, admittedly. But, that is simply not the case and while the actual time it takes will be documented later, it is a slow process no matter what. So, this makes the capacity very important and here is why. If you are looking to get a beer making kit to make your own drinks on the weekend, then you may not be that concerned with how much one brew will create. However, what if you are the host of all the parties and want to brew beer for all your friends and family? In this case, you may want a much larger capacity to ensure you only have to make one brew.
For the most part, sellers will advertise their capacity in gallons. Some of the larger kits will yield five or six gallons per brew, while others may only be able to kick out one or two gallons. This difference is astronomical due to the fact that it can take weeks for a brew to be complete.
Though you control a lot of the ingredients that go inside, sometimes recipe kits are included that have their own distinct flavors.
In the beginning, depending on what is included in your kit, you may not need to add any of your own ingredients (outside of some obvious ones). Some sellers will include their own exclusive recipe kit and this can be nice for your first brew. But, when that recipe kit is all used up, it will be time for you to add your own ingredients. When this time comes, you need to think strongly about the following items.
Firstly, around 90 percent of the brew will consist of water so choosing the kind you want is critical. There are many choices including bottled water and tap water. Simply go with what you find tastes better but if you do go with tap water, boil it beforehand to rid it of any chemicals. Next up, you will need fermented sugar. While you can do this from scratch, if you are just starting out, you may want to go out and buy a malt syrup or malt extract. Also, you will need yeast. No, not bread yeast but either lager or ale. And, finally, you will need hops to balance out the sweetness of the beer.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How long does it to take to brew?
As was mentioned earlier, this is not a quick process by any means. But, the actual time can vary from brew to brew depending on the complexity. Believe it or not, there are some recipes out there that can take up to five or six months to complete. That seems utterly asinine and do not worry, not every brew will take this long. Some can take as little as a few weeks (for example, it takes this long with the standard Mr. Beer recipe).
If you look up certain recipes online, they should notify you of how long you need to brew. For the most part, though, the majority of recipes out there will have an enhanced flavor if the fermentation and conditioning are given extra time.
q: Are cleaning and sanitizing the same thing?
Yes, this question is in reference to these kits because you will need to both of these tasks. The cat was probably left out of the bag there because no, cleaning and sanitizing are not the same thing. You should be performing the cleaning process first and this merely consists of removing any oils, minerals or soils from the equipment that you have. If you need to, you can use acids but it may or may not be necessary.
After you clean all your equipment, you then need to sanitize it and this is why it is nice when sanitizer is included. When you sanitize your equipment, it will reduce the number of bacteria that will be present for your next brew. But, you should never rinse after sanitizing as this can reintroduce the microorganisms that were just killed.
q: Can you open the fermentor during fermentation?
Perhaps you want to view the progress of your brew and are dying to know what is going on inside. Can you open up the fermentor or carboy during the actual fermentation process? This one is simple folks; no, under no circumstance should you do this. You may be wondering why and the reason is you can expose the beer to any organisms.
If you really want to look inside and can’t see anything, try aiming a flashlight on the inside to see through it. But, you just need to trust that you read the directions correctly and that the yeast is functioning correctly.
q: How can the alcohol content be increased?
Some of you may not be satisfied with the alcohol content of the recipe that you are creating. That is okay because there is a logical solution. Or, better yet, there are a few logical solutions. One option is to merely add more sugar. You may be wondering how that works but, you see, when you add more sugar the yeast will consume it and produce more alcohol. Some users may simply opt to use a dry malt extract as this naturally will add more alcohol. The only issue here is that this foregoes the sweetness of other sugars and can lead to a bitter beer. You do need to know that yeast can only handle a certain amount of alcohol; so, do not get carried away.
q: Can bottles and caps be reused?
Most of the equipment of the kit you receive will be reusable and this is the fantastic part about the whole thing. And yes, this does include both the bottles and the caps. However, it is a bit more complex than you may think. For starters, if you do want to reuse the bottles, they need to be thoroughly cleaned (not just a quick rinse job). Also, if they have internal scratches, you may want to avoid them as this can lead to bacteria. For the caps, clean them as well but you really want to ensure that the threads are not stripped.
q: Is distilled water okay to use?
There was a reason that distilled water was omitted in the section above that alluded to the water types you can use. This is not to say that distilled water is a cancerous ingredient but because it does not contain some key minerals, it may not produce the best-tasting result. Then again, if you treat the distilled water before you brew it then you could enhance the overall flavor.
Here is what you should do; if you really think it could produce some good beer then try it out yourself. Then, if it happens to be a poor result, you will know never to use distilled water again (or it will be amazing and will be your go-to).