I've always fancied brewing my own ...what's good for a first timer .....would pref be a kit as I have nothing ......
recommend me a homebrew beer kit
Woodfords wherry... many of the online home brew shops will do a deal on the whole lot... bucket, barrel/bottles steriliser, mixer and kit. Failing that check out Wilkinson as they have a pretty good range now
+1 Woodfords Wherry.
As a starter. It's a staple in our house. All of the Woodfords kits are respectable. Go for any of the 2 can kits. Cost more but the quality is far superior.
Milestone kits tend to be a bit thin, but stil OK. Muntons Gold are great and Premium Gold even better.
Didn't get on with the St Peters.
Now brewing, as in right this minute, a Festival kit. It's a take on Timothy Taylors Landlord IPA. Pouches rather than tins, Priming sugar, dry hops and a syphoning mesh bag all in.
Try here CLICKY LINKY
+2 for Wheery or any other two can kit. Be warned though, in no time you'll be doing in properly- mashing grains, sparging and boiling wort with hops!!! Even if your first batch tastes like shite, give it another go, it gets better every time.
Wilkinsons do good stuff. Have regular sales too. Wilko.com
Biglackshed, the st peters kits are really good.... BUT they take forever to condition... I left the ruby red for 6 months and the ipa was bottled and left for just over 14months. Both were really nice but brewed 2 Woodford kits and a coopers stout whilst waiting!
St. Peters ruby red is lush for after 2 months bottle conditioning. Even got a red tinge to it now!
Coopers Pilsener was great after a month, but needs cooler temps so wait until winter.
Woodfordes wherry as above, good begineers introduction, nice basic beer.
Wilko's golden ale is a cheap and drinkable one. Not as nice as above, but if you're worried about getting it wrong then give it a go as you're not risking much.
Wilkos golden ale ...was the one that got me thinking about this ....spotted it the other day ........may try that first ....how long to brew ..?? ......not that I'm impatient or anything
Been considering this myself. Any good links to decent value starter kits and basic instructions?
Fermentation period in the bucket takes 2-3 weeks I found so far. Get a hydrometer and measure it (I am a nerd though!) and you'll know for sure, and it's interesting and you get to fiddle, so satisfying your curiosity of the first brew. Mine have all taken ~20 days so far, so now I just leave them for 3 weeks and then bottle. Saves thinking and risking an infection by interfering too much.
You'll need bottles. El cheapo method is scrounging/saving PET bottles. I went bin diving for a couple of weeks around the back of local pubs. Filled the bath with a weak bleach solution and 80 bottles, cleaned all bottles checking they didn't have chips/cracks/weaknesses. Requires a capper and caps though! Costs ~£10. You need 80 because you'll brew your first batch (40 bottles) and want to start your second before you finish drinking all of your first. Alternatively get 40, get cracking, and when the second brew is on panickedly look for another 40 before the second batch finishes!
I do one plastic bottle, and one clear for each batch. That way the plastic bottle gives me an idea of pressure build up (read up on priming and batch priming!), and the clear gives me an idea of clarity and an indication of readyness to drink.
You can physically drink them from the fermentation/bottling stage. I had a litre left over when bottling, not enough bottles. So I had 2 pints of 'green' beer. Tasted ok. 2 weeks makes a massive difference (say 5 times better) and carbonates it. 2 months and it improves again by double.
I've done 4 kits so far, and one turbo cider (very cheap but not amazing results), so I'm not experienced, but just got over the wondering what to do stage.
Kit beer guide
Takes 1-2 hours to do this bit.
Takes 3 hours the first time. 2 hours the second. 1 hour the third.
Read jimsbeerkit and brewuk forums for lots of guides and general discussion and then get stuck in. You only need a fermentation bucket and siphoning tube to start on the cheap. But personally I would bottle (so requires capper and caps), and get a speed bottler/bottling stick/bottle wand. Makes bottling very easy and controllable.
Bigblackshed do you have a link to the Taylors kit?
I've been at the home brew game for years. I was a brewer in a brew pub 20 odd years ago, so have done the small scale brewing from stove top to 5 barrel (180 gallons). The premium kits done well are as good as home full mash IME. Quick and simple and far better than bottle beer. Even relatively obscure breweries.
The St Peters kits just didn't do anything for me TBH. The Ruby was not my thing, the IPA was either too overpowering as an officers brew (32 pints @ 5.5ABV) and too thin as a troops brew (40 pints @ 3.8ABV).
I much prefer simple brews done well rather than the fashionable overly complex brews you now get in most small breweries and brew pubs.
I much prefer to barrel rather than bottle. It means you can't give it away to visitors, unless they drink it with you. And that's part of the social thing, having a drink with friends. You also become very popular when word gets out.
The CLICKY LINKY up there will take you to Hop & Grape who I've been using for a while. Really good service.
Link to the LANDLORD KIT
The others from Festival are all takes on commercial brews. Just "brewed" the Landlord kit this evening. Hoping it turns out as good as it seems. Very fragrant and hoppy. Looks to be quality. Time will tell.
Brupaks' two can kits are also quite good - varying in style from "Linthwaite Light" to "Scammonden Dark" and anywhere in between; you also get a couple of hop pellets to experiment with extra hops should you so wish.
Funny enough, I didn't think much of the Woodfordes Wherry, but I did like the St Peters Golden Ale and IPA.
fermenting should take no more than 2 weeks given the right temperature, but I'd recommend siphoning into a second fermenting bin when fermentation is over so to get the beer of the trub in the bottom; add some finings & leave for a couple of days before bottling.
When you do bottle you'll need a bit extra sugar for 'priming' which helps the remaining yeast to do a bit more fermenting to give the bottle its fizz. 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of ordinary sugar per bottle, or 80-120g dissolved in boiling water - and COOLED to room temp - before adding to the batch.
From then a couple of weeks in the warm for secondary fermentation to gas up the bottles, and a couple of weeks (or more) somewhere cool to help it clear. on average you're looking at 5-6 weeks for bottles to be clear and carbonated. If you're not fussy about clear, then sooner
If you do decide on bottles, when you buy bottled beers, save the empties. I also recommend some Coopers PET bottles, available in 24s from your LHBS and even from Tesco - when the beer is carbonated, glass bottles won't tell you, but a PET bottle will be rock hard, like an unopened bottle of your favourite cola drink.
above all CLEANLINESS really is next to godliness when it comes to beer. Sterilize everything AND rinse everything thoroughly
Bigblackshed thanks for the link. Does the kit need mashing etc like AG or is it as simple as the tinned kits?
Looks like a 2 can kit at that price
It's a 2 can kit, but in pouches, priming dextrose, extra hops to put in after 5 days fermenting if you wish, and a mesh bag for the syphoning tube to strain any hops out.
Slightly differnent to a standard 2 can kit, pouches were trickier to get all of the extract out. But it smelled very balanced out of the pouch and tasted right before the yeast was pitched. It's something I was taught to do, taste at every stage so you have an idea if everything is as it should be.
It hasn't fermented quite as vigourusly as the one 3 weeks ago. I needed to put that bucket in the bath with about 6" of cold water in to keep the temp down. It blew the lid off and produced enough yeast to supply Marmite.
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