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Ever dreamed about crafting your own small-batch beers? Thanks to a spate of home brewing kits available, brewing and fermenting beers can be a relatively painless process. “As far as equipment goes, you don’t have to have fancy equipment to make great beer,” says Fal Allen, master brewer at Northern California's Anderson Valley Brewing Company.
The best home brewing kits cater to a range of home beer makers, from beginners making their first batch to seasoned home brewers taking their practice to the next level. Joey Johndrew, head brewer at Grist Iron Brewing Co., advises enthusiasts to “reach out to a local brewery in your area and just ask the brewer questions; a lot of times they're more than happy to pass on some knowledge." When you're ready to get started, our top pick is the Northern Brewer Brew Share Enjoy Homebrew Starter Kit.
With that in mind, these home brewing kits, as recommended by brewing experts, will help you get started on the journey to crafting the perfect pint. Might finally be time to sign up for that virtual brewing class you've been checking out!
Best Overall: Northern Brewer Brew. Share. Enjoy. Homebrew Starter Kit
Makes 5 gallons of beer
Informative and instructional
Variety of recipe packs
Growlers and bottles not included
Takes quite a bit of time
Northern Brewer offers an excellent system for those looking to dip their toes into the home brewing world. This all-in-one kit comes with everything you need to start your first brew, including a 6.5-gallon fermenter with spigot, lid and bubbler airlock, bottling bucket with spigot assembly, bottle filler, 21-inch stainless spoon, 5-foot siphon tubing, and more.
Plus, the included Block Party Amber Ale recipe kit has enough ingredients to make 5 gallons of finished beer (or 50 12-ounce bottles). Once you’ve mastered the amber ale, try out Northern Brewer’s other recipe packs: crisp Mexican lagers, Irish red ales, rich chocolate milk stouts and summery lemon shandies.
What’s Included: amber ale recipe kit, 6.5-gallon fermenter, spigot, lid, bubbler airlock, bottling bucket, bottle filler, stainless spoon, siphon tubing, cleaner, sanitizer, oxygen wash, bottle brush
Good to Know: “Extract brewing,” like the options Northern Brewer offers, “is the easiest and simplest way to begin brewing at home,” says Justin Forsythe, innovation manager at Brewery Ommegang. “These concentrated malt extracts contain all of the 'fermentables' needed to create wort."
Best for Beer Enthusiasts: Mr. Beer Complete Beer Making Starter Kit with Bottles
Quick brewing process
Large selection of recipes
Long fermentation process
Plastic bottles and keg
Doesn’t include cleaning supplies
In the brewing scene, Mr. Beer is known as the kit pro brewers start off with before moving on to professional-grade brewing equipment. This craft beer kit comes with step-by-step instructions with simple ingredients for beginners. Still, it's also a great option for seasoned brewers: Mr. Beer has an impressive selection of more than 100 recipe options. There are whiskey barrel-aged imperial stouts complete with oak chips to add to your fermenter, hazy amber ales, and hoppy IPAs.
Every kit includes all of the essentials needed to brew 2 gallons of beer in 30 minutes flat, including a keg fermenter. Beers will be ready to drink in three to four weeks (fermentation takes 10 to 14 days and an additional two weeks to age in-bottle). So, get the koozies ready.
What’s Included: lightweight fermenter, 11 reusable bottles, recipe pack
Best for Beginners: Brooklyn Brew Shop Everyday IPA Beer Making Kit
Great for gifting
Easy to learn with
Brooklyn Brew Shop’s Beer Making Kits are designed for those who are interested in brewing but don’t want to commit to a full kit. All beers can be made in six steps, right on your stove. This kit is the baby of several noted beer authors, designed to bring their favorite home brews to the masses. "[These kits] were a really easy entry point and allowed me to try brewing many different beer styles," says Alex Biederman, a brewer at Strong Rope Brewery.
Each kit comes equipped with everything needed to make each flavor (including grains, hops and yeast). It also includes a 1-gallon reusable glass fermenter, glass spirit-filled thermometer, vinyl tubing, racking cane and tip, chambered airlock, and more. Pick from flavors that include Everyday IPA, Bruxelles Blonde, Chocolate Maple Porter and Jalapeño Saison. Each kit makes 10 beers.
What’s Included: grains, hops, yeast, 1-gallon reusable glass fermenter, glass spirit-filled thermometer, vinyl tubing, racking cane and tip, chambered airlock, cleanser, screw-cap stopper
Good to Know: “You can never be too clean. Be sure to sanitize anything that will come into contact with the wort after boiling it. Boil the full volume of the beer you want to brew," says Fal Allen. "You want to boil all the water used because there are microbes in your water. These microbes may not be harmful to you, but they may create off flavors in your beer," he adds.
Best for Serious Brewers: MoreBeer! Premium Homebrew Starter Kit
Clear fermenter lets you see what’s brewing
Can add more items on as you improve
Small variety of recipes
Bottles not included
This brewing kit from MoreBeer "gives a beginner everything they need to get started and make great beer," says Jeremy Tofte, founder of Melvin Brewing in Alpine, Wyoming. This kit can brew 5 gallons of beer from your home and includes a stainless steel kettle, an American pale ale recipe kit, step-by-step instructions and a Fermonster-brand brewing fermenter, which lets brewers see how the fermentation is unfolding.
Tofte particularly likes the additional offerings from MoreBeer. “As you learn more about brewing, you can simply add on more items to this existing kit to make your brew day go smoother," he says.
What’s Included: 6-gallon fermenter, 5-gallon kettle, bottling bucket, mesh bags, thermometer, hydrometer, transfer tubing, bottling wand, sturdy bottle capper, bottle caps, American pale ale recipe, cleaning tablets, steel spoon, sanitizer
Good to Know: “My best advice is to join a beer club and check out what equipment everyone is using,” advises Dean Jones, brewmaster at Genesee Brew House. “There are many options for brewing equipment. Like a car, any one of them will get the job done, but some are more expensive than others, and some will just confuse you with how to operate them.”
Related: The Best Beer Fridges
Best Design: BrewDemon 2 Gallon Conical Fermenter System
Pro-style conical fermenter
Quick fermentation time
Bottles are plastic
Recipes aren’t particularly interesting
BrewDemon’s Conical Fermenting System comes with handcrafted beer recipes from New Zealand’s highly regarded Speight brewery. A smooth, durable inner surface and translucent amber finish allow you to watch what you are brewing while protecting the beers from UV lights. Despite its compact size, the fermenting system brews a hefty 2 gallons of beer.
Each kit includes a conical fermenter, C02 venting system, flow spigot, temperature gauge, recipe ingredients, bottles, caps, labels and other essentials. Once you’re stocked up with all this equipment, there’s no limit to the amount of beer you can brew.
What’s Included: fermenter, venting system, spigot, temperature gauge, recipe ingredients, plastic bottles and caps, mixing spoon, bottle filler, airlock, gasket
Best Value: Brewvana Beer Making Kit
Recipe club ships new recipes each month
Help offered via Zoom classes
Growlers and bottles sold separately
Recipes are limited for the time being
Stepping into the world of homebrewing can be intimidating. Brewvana’s kit makes homebrewing approachable, laying out all you need to make a batch of brew, including step-by-step online classes—a live instructor can field all your burning beer questions via Zoom.
The kit includes a Fermonster carboy fermenter, stick-on thermometer, bottle filler, carbonation drops and more. It also has a recipe kit that includes liquid malt extract, milled grains, hops, yeast and mesh bags for steeping. This initial setup makes 2.5 gallons of beer.
While this includes all the specialty items you need to start brewing, keep in mind you have to provide your own growlers, stockpot, ice, spoon, and food scale or measuring cups.
What’s Included: Fermonster carboy fermenter, lid, spigot, airlock, plug, stick-on thermometer, bottle filler, tubing, carbonation drops, sanitizer, recipe kit
Best Splurge: Unibräu 10-Gallon All-in-One Electric Brew System
Not approachable for first-time brewers
The big benefit of Unibrau’s system is it can be customized to your needs. While this initial system comes with everything you need to start brewing, you can build on your system and add various heating elements, upgrade your capacity, or add 240V controllers.
The electric brewing system can process any type of grain and make up to 6 gallons of your favorite beer. It includes all the necessary components to start brewing; it also features commercial brewery-grade disconnects that allow for easy cleaning and assembly.
The basic unit includes a 10-gallon kettle and grain basket, controller, 1650-watt element and power cord, a pump, immersion chiller, faucet adapter and a basic accessories kit. As you get more ambitious with your home brewing, the model can expand with you.
What’s Included: 10-gallon kettle, grain basket, ETC controller, 1650-watt element and power cord, BR-19 pump, basic accessories, immersion chiller, faucet adapter, garden hose barb adapter
Best Advanced: Ruby Street Brewing The Fusion 15
Requires extensive storage space
Produces a large amount of beer
This is a system for pros, equipped with the tools to continue brewing time and time again. But it’s also the brand’s most compact and portable model, so if you’re really ready to commit to home brewing, this option is the perfect bridge between a starter kit and a serious setup.
The entire system is completely customized to your brewing requirement, such as if you want a digital control panel or a thermometer installed in your boil kettle. This system can be upgraded to produce up to two barrels (or 62 gallons of beer). The propane or natural gas system is heavy-duty, built to withstand years of hardcore brewing days.
What’s Included: welded steel tube frame, three 15-gallon stainless steel kettles, gas lines, propane regulator, magnetic drive pumps, remote control key fob, tri-clamp fittings, silicone hoses, mash tun, dip tubes, owner’s manual
Related: The Best Beer Books
Northern Brewer’s kit is all-encompassing, designed to take you from green brewer to homebrewing savant (view at Amazon). If you’re not sold on home brewing and just want to try your hand at making a beer or two, Brooklyn Brewshop’s kits are approachable and affordable (view at Amazon).
How do you clean and care for home brewer kits?
Cleaning your unit of caked-on scum and beer residue is essential to crafting great beer. The simplest way to get rid of caked-on scum and beer residue is to pick up a brewing-specific cleanser. This will help banish grease and residue. Note that the sooner you clean your fermenter after brewing, the easier the cleaning will be. Always scrub with a soft cloth—steel wool or an abrasive pad will create scratches that will harbor bacteria.
Is it cost-effective to make your own beer?
Yes! Once you bite the bullet of purchasing your equipment, all that's left to buy is the raw ingredients. While you won’t be saving a fortune—the materials and parts can be pricey—you will save a few dollars a batch.
What else do you need to buy?
This depends on which kit you buy. Many beginner kits include everything you could possibly need to start brewing. Most companies will be transparent about what the kit does and doesn’t include, so read the instructions before purchasing to ensure you have the right tools.
What to Look for in a Home Brewing Kit
What do you want to get out of your home brewing kit? Are you looking for a casual beer making kit, or are you ready to start your journey to becoming a home brewing guru? Pick a kit accordingly. If you’re the former type of brewer, avoid kits loaded with gadgets and gizmos. If you’re the latter, you won’t want to pick a kit that’s overly easy.
No one wants to unbox their kit to find that they need to spend additional money on gear and equipment. Take a good read through what’s included to make sure you aren’t opening your kit to unwanted surprises.
There’s a wide range of levels to home brewing. Looking for a fun weekend project? Opt for a kit with minimal buy-in requirements. Are you already an experienced home brewer? Look for a home brewing kit that can grow with you—maybe that’s offering additional equipment to include a wide range of flavors to test out.
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This roundup was edited by Jesse Porter, who loves drinking local beer wherever in the world he may be—and it doesn't get much more local than making it yourself.
Kate Dingwall is an experienced spirits writer and glassware collector. She has been writing about the bar and spirits world for five years, from the best glassware to the best beer cocktail recipes.
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