With fall on the horizon this week we decided to re-feature one of our most popular brewing posts focused on successful brewing from kits. Our kits are fantastic for people looking to get into brewing, for people with a few brews under their belts, and even for experienced brewers. Learn how to dial your kit brews up a notch or two without going to whole grain brewing and you’ll have batches of beer ready to go by Oktoberfest.
With fall in full swing, why not start a batch of home brew? If you are new to the art of brewing and not sure where to start then you should take a look at some of our awesome beer equipment and ingredient kits! We have lots of different ingredient kits for this cooler time of year, ranging from American Ambers, to Red Ale, to English Browns and even Robust Porters. You can make up to 5 gallons of your favorite hearty beer enjoyably at home!
The Brewer’s Best Basic equipment kit comes in two main options: the 5-gallon kit and the 1-gallon kit. Both will have everything you need to brew either 5 gallons or 1 gallon of Beer, and include a very helpful brewing guide that’s perfect for explaining how and when to use the equipment for your brew.
For this fall, I tested out the American Amber kit. It was simple, fun, and delicious. Full of amber and caramel malts, it makes a smooth, slightly bittersweet beer that is great to enjoy while working in your backyard on an autumn day. It was easy to brew this beer right on my kitchen stove, filling my house with sweet smells of caramel and fresh oats. The ingredient kit was easy and informative. It taught me how to make a wort, calculate Alcohol by Volume, safely ferment these whole ingredients, and package it all into bottles that I can share with friends and family.
The ingredient kits are a perfect way to learn how to brew while having fun at home. Not only do you get a fresh quality brew at the end of the process, you will learn how to follow a brew schedule that you can start to apply to all sorts of different beer recipes. These ingredient kits make excellent gifts for someone who is looking to try brewing but has not yet mustered up the courage to start this fun and rewarding hobby.
Now that we’ve talked you into brewing your first beer kit, we have some suggestions that will help improve your first batch! We are often asked how to improve a beer kit or how to make the beer kit better. There are a few simple steps that can be taken and ingredients/equipment that can be added to markedly improve your brews!
Recommended Deviations from Brewer’s Best Instructions:
- Your first chance to improve your beer kit is when you’re steeping your grains! The instructions say steep your grains in 2.5 gallons of water. We recommend using a ratio of 2 quarts water per 1 lb grain being steeped, and we recommend steeping between 150˚-155˚F. This is a more appropriateratio because it doesn’t risk over-extracting the grain and imparting astringency.
- When you’ve finished steeping your grain, we recommend you top your brew pot up to 2/3 – 3/4 of its total capacity before bringing it to a boil. This ensures you’re boiling enough wort while leaving enough space to prevent a boil over.
- We recommend that you remove your brew pot from the heat when you add your malt extract. Stir it in completely and make sure none is stuck to the bottom before returning to heat. Don’t want scorching!
- When it comes time to add water we recommend that you add water until you reach the Original Gravity (OG) listed on the kit and not until you reach 5 gallons. Your goal is to produce a beer with the gravity listed on the kit and not just 5 gallons of a beer with any gravity.
- We highly HIGHLY recommend that you rehydrate your yeast before pitching it. This will markedly improve your fermentation and decrease the time it takes to begin fermentation.
- We recommend utilizing a Priming Sugar Calculator such as the one at Brewer’s Friend to determine how much priming sugar to add at bottling time. The 4 oz of priming sugar in the kits is fine for some batches and not for others. For specific carbonation levels, we recommend the calculator.
Recommended Add-On Items to Make Your Life Easier and Your Beer Better!
- Immersion Wort Chiller – drastically reduce the time it takes to chill your beers with a wort chiller! Reduce off flavors, retain hop aromatics, prevent contamination, and more with a wort chiller!
- Hydrometer Test Jar – makes taking/reading gravity samples a breeze!
- Whirlfloc – a kettle fining agent that promotes clarity/flavor stability in the final product.
- Yeast Nutrient – yeast needs a number of trace elements and micronutrients to do their job. Like a multi-vitamin for your yeast!
- Muslin Hop Bags – pellet hops have a tendency to float in the boil and stick to your kettle thus making them ineffective. Bags are a great way to keep them in the boil and make removing them a breeze.
Happy Brewing, Y’all