Using a beer kit is by far the easiest way to make good to very good beer, without the need to boil your own grain and hops for hours on end and thus stinking out the kitchen and becoming a very unpopular person.
Beer kits have become the most common way of making beer at home since brewing was legalised in the UK in 1963 after the previous ruling of 1880, the five shilling homebrewing license, was removed.
Today it is free (no need to pay alcohol duty) to make any quantity of fermented alcohol for your own use (though distilled spirits still requires a licence). Most countries allow some amount of beer and cider making for personal use, though you need to check the exact status if you are not in the UK.
What is a beer kit?
A beer kit like the Bulldog Brews or Brewferm range typically contains a concentrated liquid malt extract, which when diluted with water produces wort. The extract is normally already hopped for the style of beer. This removes the need for boiling it with hops.
Kits with lower malt content (usually up to 1.8kgs) require sugar to be added to the wort. The “full malt” style kits containing 3 kgs or more (to make 23 litres) normally require no sugar and will produce a higher quality beer. Always check the ingredients list though, it should say malt extract and nothing else (no sugar syrup, barley syrup or anything with sugar – in that case you have a cheaper beer kit dressed up as an exclusive one).
Beer enhancers improve quality
It is possible to use “normal” quality beer kits of 1 to 1.8 kg malt extract per 23 litres – and add a brewing enhancer, which is a mix of dried malt extract and brewing sugar (and sometimes also maltodextrin to achieve more body). This will produce a high quality beer from a normal kit and it allows you to adjust the recipe by using different enhancers.
Finishing hops for the final touch
Although most beer making kits of today come pre-hopped, you can obtain a fresher hop taste by adding a small hop infusion, normally in a tea bag. This is not the same as the main hop addition, it will not produce the main bitterness in the beer, but it will produce that last freshness and aroma and is a way of varying the beers using the same kit but different finishing hops.
Varietal brewers strain yeasts for top quality
Most budget beer kits are made using the same beer yeast across all types in the range. This is normally a less sophisticated strain, designed mainly to do the job and to do it fast. For true brewery quality beers you need to use brewers strains. These are much more expensive and also can be a bit more temperamental but they produce fantastic beers if you pick the right strain for your brew and have the patience to wait for it to finish (these are a bit slower than the cheap and fast yeasts).
Check out the kits below that are available from The Home Brew Boat and follow the links for the instructions to brew …
We have three different Starter Kits available to get you underway brewing to suit different budgets and needs
- The Ritchies Basic Starter Kit contains the minimum you’ll need to make a full batch (23 L or 40 pints) of beer, cider or wine. The kit contains a 25 L fermenting bucket with lid and grommet, an airlock, thermometer, hydrometer, syphon and 50 gm pottle of steriliser/cleaner. You will also need on top of this an ingredient kit to make your beer, cider or wine as well as obtain enough bottles to hold the finished batch (Not stocked on THBB).
- The Home Brew Boat’s MINI-Micro Brewery is the ideal setup to create good pub style beer or cider in small batches (10 L or 17 pints). This system not only requires very little effort to prepare but takes up a very little space, making it ideal for use on a boat or caravan or where brewing room is limited. The beer/cider is not only fermented in the pressure barrel it is then carbonated, conditioned and served from the barrel.
- The ultimate in brewing exceptionally good beer or cider from a kit.