The weather is turning cooler for us in the northern hemisphere and thoughts are beginning to turn towards the festive season and relaxing with friends and family over a brew or two. But rather than buying all your beer and cider ready-made, have you considered exploring the best home brew kits to make a few drinks?
If the mere mention of home-brewing fills you with fear and rekindles horror memories of baths full of high-strength, almost unpalatable alcohol, then don't worry as things have definitely evolved since my days hunkered down in a crowded student flat.
We’ve come up with a list of the best home brew kits available right now and you’ll find our picks below along with information about exactly what you need to know before pouring a perfect pint.
The best home brew kits: The Louder Choice
If you want to have access to a variety of beers, then the kits from the Brooklyn Brew Shop are definitely worth a closer look due to the excellent range of modern craft ale recipes on offer. From IPAs and porters to saison and ciders and more, there's a load of good stuff to buy. We also want to give a shout out to the reusability of the company's equipment which are competitively priced – which is more than you can say for some pub beers.
The best home brew kits: Product guide and reviews
The best home brew kits to buy right now
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The canny folk at New York’s Brooklyn Brew Shop have taken full advantage of the craft beer craze by offering a range of these deliciously flavoursome ales as DIY kits.
Whether your favourite tipple is Brewdog’s Elvis Juice, Evil Twin’s Bikini Beer or Stillwater’s Gose Gone Wild, these simple set-ups contain almost everything you need to make a gallon of the stuff - including all-grain mix, a thermometer and a glass fermentation jug.
What’s more, all the hardware is reusable, meaning that once you’ve drained your drum dry, you’ll need only to buy some more mix and no-rinse sanitiser before you’re ready to go again.
Tiny Rebel Brewing Co. have been creating waves of fizzy craft beer goodness for more than a decade. The South Wales-based brewery have thirst quenchers in their arsenal like Key Lime Lager, the passion fruit-infused Electric Boogaloo, the awesome Clwb Tropica – which is also available as a non-alcoholic beer – and the stunning Pump Up The Jam pale ale; a jam doughnut pale ale. Yum!
Now you can get in on the action by brewing up your very own batch of beer courtesy of the Cwtch Welsh Red Ale refill kit. The kit makes 36 pints of the good stuff and comes with two tins of hopped malt extract, hop sachets and yeast. All you need add are water and sugar to prime your bottles.
Muntons have built a reputation for delivering some of the best home brew kits for simple beer making. Known primarily for their Dark Ale, Session IPA, Pale Ale and Golden Ale, their imperial stout kit is another knockout from the Suffolk-based company.
This lip-smacking kit will give you 40 pints-worth of creamy stout at 4.5% ABV – perfect to see you through the long winter months.
If you’ve been mulling over the idea of getting into home brewing but have yet to take a plunge into a pool of the amber nectar, then this starter kit might be just what you’ve been waiting for.
This handy bit of kit might look intimidating at first, but put everything together and you’ll soon have 32 pints of St Peters IPA at a tasty 5.5% ABV to tickle your tastebuds. Everything you need to get started is right here and it’s a great gift some someone looking to take their first steps into the world of home brew. And with summer right around the corner, this is also a fun project to delve into.
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This year's Oktoberfest in Munich has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus, but you can bring the spirit of this boozy extravaganza into your home by purchasing the Oktoberfest Ale Beer Brewing Kit from Florida-based Craft A Brew.
The kit contains everything you need to make eight pints of this full-bodied, caramel-sweet red ale – including glass carboy, funnel, rubber stopper, thermometer and recipe kit. There's even a guide to general craft beer brewing.
And if you enjoy the results (we're sure you will!), there are numerous other similar kits to try from Craft A Brew, from stouts to IPAs, Belgian abbey beers to ciders. Who needs to go to the pub?
While there’s nothing quite like a cold and refreshing IPA, lager or DIPA on a warm summer’s day, here at Louder, many of us are big fans of stouts, imperial stouts and porters. And if you fancy trying your hand at at making some of the dark stuff, then this pack from the team at Simply is worth a closer look.
The Simply Export Stout package will create 40 pints of the black stuff, with Simply loading the kit with full instructions, a bag of malt extract and a sachet of brewing yeast. All you have to add is 1Kg of brewing sugar or beer kit enhancer and you’re away. This allows you to experiment with different types of sugar to suit you palate.
There’s nothing quite like a pint of lovely IPA to sip during the warm summer nights – and let’s face it, there are hundreds to choose from. But instead of buying a few cans or bottles, take a look instead at this rather fab Brewery In A Box kit by Brew Bros.
Everything you need for 5 litres of IPA is included in this neat bit of kit – and the beauty of it is it's fully reusable so you can quaff away to your heart’s content knowing you’ll be able to whip up another batch in the not too distant future.
The kit contains full instructions and there’s also a demo video on YouTube with tips (opens in new tab) to get the very best out of your Brewery In A Box.
Cider always makes a great alternative to beer, and let’s face it, can you even have a summer without quenching your thirst with an ice cold pint of sparkling cider?
This cracking bit of kit from the team at Bigger Jugs has everything you need to make a delightful drop of the apple-y stuff and is a great gateway into home-made cider for those just beginning their journey. All you’ll need are some bottles to store the end result in and water. That’s it.
One of the things we particularly like about this starer kit is that it can be reused to create more cider, beer, or lager by purchasing the company’s many concentrate kits, giving you even more reason to pick this up.
Admiral Nelson wasn’t just a great sea captain, he’s also got a rather tasty ale named after him! A good choice for those who don’t like craft beer, Nelson’s Revenge (5 percent volume) is a more traditional bitter made with sweet Norfolk malts and citrus hops.
This kit provides the ingredients you need to rustle up 36 pints of the stuff – you don’t get any equipment but if you already have some at home, this sub-£20 product represents great value.
In case you need any more convincing to invest in this home brew kit, Woodforde’s is a winner of CAMRA’s Supreme Champion Beer of Britain award (the winning ale, Wherry, is also available as a home brew kit).
If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to get the party started, it’s having 23 litres (just over 40 pints) of double-strength craft beer at your disposal.
Bulldog Brews’ kit doesn’t come with any equipment – you’ll have to provide that yourself – but it does offer “unprecedented amounts” of malt extract, brewery-strain yeast, and Simcoe and Summit hops, enabling you to keep the pine and grapefruit-infused American IPA flowing all night long.
Be careful, though - neck too much of this smooth 7.1 percent brew and you might end up looking as rough as that hound on the front of the box.
The Germans know a thing or two about brewing beer, so you'll be in good hands with this Berlin-manufactured mash kettle. But as you'd expect from such an eye-catching piece of equipment, the Mundschenk Mash Tun Beer Brewing Set commands a fairly premium price.
For your money, you'll get a high-quality stainless steel machine that enables beginners or experts to make the beer of their choice with relative ease. Both manual and automatic options are available, depending on how much time and inclination you have.
What's more, the fact that the kettle and its accessories are all made of stainless steel means that your finished beer won't taste of metal. They'll also be easy to clean – ready for you to start the process all over again.
If you’re just starting out on your brewing journey, then this neat bit of kit from Northern Brewer is an excellent place to start.
The company have been around for more than 23 years and everything you need to start brewing a gallon of the good stuff is in the pack – from premium hops and active brewing yeast to malt extract syrup.
Also in the hand-packed box is the recipe and ingredients for the Kama Citra IPA which Northern Brewer say bridges the gap between “classic American Pale Ale and West Coast IPA.”
The company are also available to guide you through the process step-by-step if you get in a fankle through phone, email or texts, which really is excellent customer service.
From its base in Somerset, Balliihoo manufacturers kits for making beer, cider, wine and even jam. And the company must be doing something right, as its Basic Homebrew Starter Equipment Kit is hugely popular on Amazon.
There are more attractive beer making kits on the market, but what it lacks in glamour, this home brewing solution more than makes up for in quality. All of the equipment that comes with it – including a fermentation bucket – is made from robust plastic that won't perish after a few months.
To spare you the disappointment when you receive the kit, we'd best warn you that it doesn't come with any ingredients. However, with a spectrum of tasty choices on the Balliihoo website, you'll soon be brewing with glee.
The awesomely named BeerDroid is a fully automated, Wi-Fi-connected, temperature controlled brewing machine. Via the iOS/Android BrewArt app you can monitor your home brew from wherever you are in the world.
You'll also receive notifications alerting you to brewing milestones, and this smart home brew kit even lets you know when it’s ready for the keg.
The BeerDroid comes complete with the American Pale Ale BrewPrint, formulated by master brewers and composed of all natural ingredients. Each BrewPrint has its own unique brewing profile, which is automatically downloaded to the BeerDroid when starting your brew with the app. Opt for preset lager and ale brewing programs, or go for a custom option to fine-tune your tipple.
As well as serving up delicious beer, the BeerDroid is one of the best-looking home brew solutions on the market. That’s a good enough excuse to pour another pint, right?
You’ve heard of pod-based coffee machines – well, here’s the beer equivalent. Perfect for people who can’t be bothered to labour over a stinking vat in the garage, the PicoBrew Pico C is a nifty kitchen-top appliance that does all the work for you.
Simply bung in a ‘PicoPak’ – these grain-and-hop formulas come in a variety of flavours, from breweries all over the world – choose your bitterness and strength, and hit the Brew button.
OK, so the Pico isn’t as instant as a coffee machine – after two hours, you’ll need to add your yeast, and then you’ll have to wait another couple of weeks before you can sample your five-litre harvest. But at least you can monitor its progress on your smart device, which should help to bide the time before the beer starts flowing.
The best home brew kits: Buying Advice
If you’re thinking of buying a home brew kit or appliance, there are a few things you’ll need to consider. The first of those is how much effort you’re prepared to put in and how confident you are in your ability to produce a palatable pint.
None of the latest beer-making products are what you’d call complicated, but whereas with some kits you’ll have to stir and mash the ingredients, chill the wort, etc, others – such as the PicoBrew Pico C ‘automatic’ brewing machine – require you to do little more than insert a cartridge and wait (with this one, you can even monitor its progress on your smartphone, via an app).
Obviously, you’ll need to consider what kind of beer you want to make. Happily, the days of having to choose between one or two unidentified real ales are long gone, and you can now pick from a vast array of drink types – from refreshing saisons to authentic German goses – with many world-renowned breweries represented.
Fancy rustling up some of that Brewdog Elvis Juice you tried at the pub? The Brooklyn Brew Shop Beer Making Kit has you covered. Want something a little stronger? Bulldog Brews Evil Dog Double IPA Craft Beer Kit will deliver the goods.
Other things to think about when selecting the best home brew kit for you is how much beer it makes – 40 pints is a common figure, but this can fluctuate – and how long it takes to yield its results. Both of these concerns take on extra importance if you’re thinking of hosting a party.
And don’t forget to check what the kit comes with, as many products contain the ingredients but none of the equipment, which would obviously be an added expense.