OK, you made the decision to try and brew beer for the first time. Problem is when you did your search, the number of options were staggering. Because we are going to focus on beginner kits we’re not going to cover all the options. In this post I will focus on the best beer kit for the beginner.
Before you can choose the kit that will work for you; you have to decide on what is most important to you. While there are many things to consider there are a only a couple of things that you need to consider to drastically narrow down your choices.
- Cost: Cost is dictated by complexity and/or quality of the equipment. For example, a simple extract beer kit is bare bones. It will come with everything you need but the items tend to be plastic and have a short life. Extract kits are bridge kits that allow you to test the waters without going to deep. On the other end of that spectrum is a “show” kit. These have everything you need but the main intent of the kit is to be a show piece. Generally given as a gift. As you can imagine that comes at a price.
- Complexity: The Complexity is usually driven by the type of method used to make the beer. Extract beer kits are like microwave dinners. All the work is done upfront to reduce the complexity. All grain kits require more tools, instructions and ingredients to get to a final product. This causes more complexity and more time.
These two criteria will help you to drastically reduce your choices for the best beer kit but it still leaves a ton of options. For beginners I always ask one additional question to help narrow down the choices further.
Are you testing the waters to see if you like the hobby or do you want to really dive in and get the full experience?
Either way a kit is the best option but this question will help to narrow the option down to the best beer kit for you and your needs.
So lets say you want to test the waters. Your not really sure what your level of commitment is but you want to at least try. In this case a simple extract kit is your best bet. The investment and complexity is low and you can get a few batches under your belt to see if you to go deeper and move to more complex kits.
For this I recommend:
This kit comes with absolutely everything you need in one box for under $40. Including 2 cans of extract for that will make you 4 gallons of beer in two styles. You really can’t beat that. It is by far the least expensive and easiest option there is out there.
Next in line for a beginner kit would be the more complex all grain kits. These kits are designed to give you full experience of brewing beer and give you everything you need with the exception of the kettle. This also tend to be more aesthetically pleasing. Well though out designs that make them a show piece for your counter. If your looking for a great gift, these are typically the ones that will get the most Oooo’s and Ahhhh’s.
For this I recommend:
Like the Mr. Beer kit this is an all inclusive kit but with one major difference. It uses the full grain mash technique so you get the full experience of brewing beer but in a one gallon batch. You basically brew in the same manner as the big boys. Just on a smaller scale and at a fraction of the cost with will run you about $75. The small batch size significantly reduces the time and is a great way to start.
Just remember, the best beer kit is the one you will use and enjoy. These two options are by no means your only options but hopefully they will help you find the beer kit that will be the best one for you or someone you love.