Home Brew Beer Kits – Summer IPA

Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
  • Home Brew Beer Kits – Summer IPA
  • coconut

    I have a Mangrove Jacks Grapefruit IPA kit bubbling away in the background… ready for the return of the sun and BBQ.

    Any good suggestions out there..

    current brew: (apparently very similar to Brew Dog Elvis Juice)


    Like the look of the stronger IPA’s like this:


    Any tips welcome. I’m using a 26 litre barrel, and will then decant in to bottles and cap. I used boiling water to sterilise and brew enhancer as a sugar… all looks good so far.

    Premier Icon bigblackshed

    Get some VWP Cleaner Steriliser powder. Don’t level the cleaning to doubt, you could end up losing a brew due to dirty equipment.

    Staple summer brews from a kit for me are Festival Summer Glory Golden Ale (Elderflower) and Golden Stag. Their Landlords Finest is also good. The Young’s American IPA is also on regular rotation.

    Someone will be along later to tell you to start full grain brewing and kits are crap. But a kit can be very good value for money and return a decent brew. I used to brew commercially for a micro brewery and the quality of kits now available are far better than what’s gone before.

    Try buying 50g of a hop like Citra, put it in a muslin bag (cut off tights maybe) and add it a couple of days before you bottle the IPA. Will enhance the smell/flavour nicely!

    Investing a couple of pounds in a bottling wand will make life easier on bottling day. I like to bottle over the opened door of the dishwasher, catches any leaks/drips easily.

    Wheat beers are nice for summer, as are Berlinner Weisse and Gose (slightly sour, low alcohol wheat beers). They are nice with some fruit in them.


    Get some VWP Cleaner Steriliser powder. Don’t level the cleaning to doubt, you could end up losing a brew due to dirty equipment.

    This, and ideally some rinseless steriliser for the bottles.

    Investing a couple of pounds in a bottling wand will make life easier on bottling day.

    This (with a tap fitted to the fermenting barrel, obvs). I bottle over a tea-towel on the floor…

    Someone will be along later to tell you to start full grain brewing and kits are crap. But a kit can be very good value for money and return a decent brew.

    I’ve now gone to the halfway house – brewing from extract, so you still get to do the more interesting hop boiling stuff but don’t have to go to the whole bother of making the wort.

    Here’s an interesting IPA recipe. They don’t have the kits, but you can buy all the bits individually.

    Black IPA Mini Mash Recipe Kit


    Had some half decent results with kits, better ones were when I treated the water or used bottled stuff.

    The Mangrove’s Jacks kits are very good quality


    Second the dry hopping in the primary, it does/can make a real difference to the finished product. We’ve also got some hop oil which increases the hoppy notes.

    Definitely get a bottling wand, it makes the whole process quicker and less wasteful.

    We’ve got a Duvel Triple Hop clone bubbling away at the moment. It was amazing last year so fingers crossed for this one

    Premier Icon scaled

    Once you’ve sorted cleanliness then the next biggest win is (probably) temperature.

    I’ve got my FV in a builders trug full of water with a fishtank heater/thermometer in it, benefits of this over a brewbelt/pad is that the water acts as a buffer if it gets a bit too warm as well. Temp hasn’t strayed from 23 degrees in this brew.

    Currently got a Festival Razorback IPA kit going with 280g lactose added. Got another day or two before i dry hop the hell out of it with the galaxy and citra pellets i’ve got in the fridge.

    Kits are ace for messing about with.


    I have used lots of kits and found that not using the sachet of yeast provided makes a huge improvement to taste. My local homebrew shop has some sachets in the fridge and I think they are called something like UKSO4, someone will probably correct that. You can also culture your own from the dregs of a real bottle. When Smiles were still brewing in Bristol they would give me half a jam jar of very lively stuff !


    +1 for decent sanitiser. I get on well with StarSan which is a no-rinse sanitiser.

    I always found VWP type stuff unnerving in that I’d need to rinse with water after sanitising — but what if tap water contained nasties? I mean it could, right? Clearly I’d need to boil the water first — but I need maybe 5 litres for rinsing, and my tea kettle is only ~1 litre. Clearly I need to put the water somewhere and boil another kettle. But of course that container should itself be sanitised…

    This sort of paranoia leads to eventually sanitising everything in your whole house, and a radius of 5m or so into the garden. It’s probably worth it not to lose a brew to infection.

    +1 also for a bottling wand. It makes the job much less of a pain. Be prepared for it to get “stuck on” every now and then (you may need to be quick with the bottles). I tend to bottle with all the bottles, sanitised (of course) sat in a large plastic container (64L storage box sort of thing) so any spills are caught. The dishwasher tip is good too!

    I agree that kits are great. However as a “gateway drug” into more involved brewing, I’ve really enjoyed building my own recipes using online tools (I used to use Brewtoad although I note this has gone now — I’m sure similar tools exist). You can have a lot of fun using a light malt extract for the base of your wort, then adding speciality grains for color, and hopping as you wish.

    All this talk is making me want to get another brew on 🙂 It has been a while!

    You get yeast called US-05 which is good for most hoppy ale styles. It’s in a red packet.

    Mangrove Jack’s packet yeast is generally very good, I think that is what comes in their kits (from what I guy who works for them told me). They make their own extract too, probably why the kits are so good.

    So, keeping some US-05 in the house (or even the wallet condom pocket) is always a good shout. But going up to to brew shop and getting the right yeast for the style will help.

    Beware of Belgian abbey style beers as their yeast needs to ferment at higher temps (c. 28c to create the esters to make the beer taste right), so you need something like the fish tank heater in trug of water method mentioned above.


    “Yourguitarhero” – I was hoping you might post some advice, and great to hear you rate the Mangrove Jacks kits.

    Some where next if the kit turns out well ? I’m thinking of buying a pre-made malt pack and experimenting with fresh hops. I like Brew Dog Elvis Juice, Mr President and McEwans Champion… any recommendations ?

    Have a look at a way of brewing called Brew in a Bag – that’s how a lot of people get started with using grains.

    The idea above about doing a mix of pale malt extract and then using some specialty (i.e. more roasted) grains in a mesh bag would be a good one. This takes you into doing the mash step but wouldn’t be as cumbersome (equipment and cost-wise).

    Generally a beer is made up of 80% base (i.e. pale) malt and then 20% specialty [more flavourful] malts (varies per style, but that’s good enough for government work), so using extract for the first 80% will be easier in the volume of grains to handle, pot size, water amounts and so on.

    It’s not something I have ever done – I started with all-grain, Brew in a Bag – but I’ve definitely seen it talked about online.

    I mange all my brewing with some software called Beersmith. They have mixed extract/grain recipes options in there, and their blog is very good – I am sure there will be articles about that method of brewing on their site somewhere?

    But, in general, the beers you mentioned above fall in to the “Juicy” or “New England” IPA style (not McEwans though!). They are based on quite a light malt bill with lots of wheat, and minimal bittering hops (ones used at the beginning of the boil) and massive amounts of hops added at the end of the boil, while the boiled wort is cooling down before yeast pitching and dry hopping (adding hops to the fermenter near the end of fermentation. That can be around 40g of hop per litre of beer – which gets expensive! (Hops are around £5 per 100g at homebrew stores). There is a yeast called Saccharomyces Trois Bruxelles which works great for that style (it adds lots of fruit flavours normally found with wild yeasts) and doens’t have any of the awkward handling requirements of a wild (brettanomyces-type) yeast.

    McEwans is a more traditional beer – more roasted grains (have a look at one called DRC – lovely stuff) and a more balanced (bitter[start of boil]/aroma [end of boil] ratio) of hops. And will use much less hops!

Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.