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Who doesn’t like beer? And as everyone knows, things you like are typically better when they’re homemade. So why not try your hand brewing a batch at home? It’s easier than ever to get started brewing beer from home, with a variety of ready to go kits in a range of quality and price, so there’s something out there for everyone.
Let’s take a quick look at what makes a kit worth your time, and some of my favorite options for this kind of do it yourself kit.
Here are the best home brew kits you can buy:
- Best Overall - Northern Brewing Premium Craft Brewery in a Box Starter Kit
- Runner Up - Northern Brewer Home Brewing Starter Set
- Ss Brewtech Home Brewing Chronical Fermenter
- Brew Demon Craft Beer Brewing Kit
- Craft A Hefeweizen Home Brewing Starter Kit
- Brew Art Complete Beer Brewing and Dispensing System
- Mr. Beer Complete 2 Gallon Home Brewing Kit
For the complete product list, please continue reading...
7 Home Brewing Kits (2020 Reviews)
1. Best Overall - Northern Brewer Premium Craft Brewery in a Box Starter Kit
This is the best value all around kit I could find. While suitably simple for beginners (with pre-measured ingredients for your first batch and everything you need to get started), it also makes a great kit for more advanced users who still want something simple and easy to use that doesn’t take up too much space.
The price is a bit on the higher end for one of these home brewing kits, but that covers the fact that it comes with everything you need besides bottles to put your beer in, All of the components are here to flow right from one step to another when the time comes for anything from boiling to moving from one container to another. Notably, there’s no siphoning involved here, like with other kits; the major components you’d be siphoning from instead have easy to use spigots to transfer between things every step of the way.
The components are all well made and distinct, clearly recognizable from the instructions as to their purpose, and designed with maximum ease of use in mind, with excellent clamps and funnels for getting everything ready to go without wasting a bunch of material.
If you’re looking into home brewing for the first time, or you want a kit that upgrades from some other starter kit, this is a good choice in either case.
Kit includes: siphonless Big Mouth bubbler – 6.5 gallon plastic fermenter, Silver Serpent stainless steel immersion wort chiller, 8 gallon Megapot, 21” stainless steel spoon, translucent bottling bucket (with spigot), beer bottle filler, no rinse oxygen wash cleaner, bottle capper, caps, lab thermometer, triple scale Herculometer (hydrometer), test jar, fresh squished IPA recipe kit, various tubing.
Easy to use
Works well for both beginners and advanced brewers
Makes 5 gallons of beer (about 50 bottles).
All inclusive kit
Price might be a bit higher than a true beginner is willing to spring for
2. Runner Up - Northern Brewer Home Brewing Starter Set
If you want a great starter set without shelling out too much money, this is an excellent alternative to the Northern Brewer Premium.
While the components are significantly less sophisticated, it also comes in at around a third of the price of the Premium set. It makes a solid starting set in itself for sure though, giving you everything you need to make a good 5 gallon batch of beer and get a nice feel for the processes involved and how to tweak them or scale up and down as needed.
The recipe it comes with is quite nice as well, and I think much better than the Premium set; Amber Ale as opposed to a Pale Ale.
There’s not much more to say about this one; it’s as bare bones as it gets, save that the plastic buckets still have nice easy to use spigots on them, which does make things easier than normal. It’s cheap, it’s good, and it’s a great way to get started, but doesn’t scale up to advanced use very well.
Kit includes: recipe kit, Herculometer triple scale hydrometer, test har, lab thermometer, 6.5 gallon fermenter with spigot, bottling bucket with spigot, bubbler assembly, 5 gallon stainless steel brew kettle, 21” stainless steel spoon, cleaner/sanitizer, bottle brush, Royal Crown bottle.
Easy to use
High quality components
Doesn’t scale up very well
If you want to feel like a real professional, this is the perfect option.
Unlike most kits, which tend to provide easy to clean glass jug for fermenting, this model is a large, stainless steel, conical (top loading) fermenter, similar to a scaled down version of what you’d find in most professional breweries.
While this lacks a lot of the pieces a starter kit would, it’s the perfect option for a serious brewing enthusiast, as it provides a much more reliable and high performance fermenter that allows for a greater deal of control over the beer making and dispensing process. It even has a built in temperature controller, keeping the beer inside to within 1 degree Fahrenheit of its set temperature.
You’ll need to provide some of the other parts yourself; either from one of the other kits on this list, or from your home cupboard, since much of what goes into brewing besides the fermenter is fairly standard supplies.
While this fermenter is a bit expensive (almost exactly the same price as our winner, the Norther Brewers Premium kit) and not exactly new user friendly, it’s also well made and more than worth the price of admission.
Well made and sturdy from thick stainless steel
Automatic temperature control
Easy to load and dispense from the spigot
Lacks a few key brewing components
Not new user friendly
If you’re looking for an inexpensive starter set, this is the perfect option for you. It comes with everything you need to make small batches of high quality beer, with its 2 gallon conical fermenter setup (with convenient spigot), a great recipe for their “Prophecy Ale” (a fairly standard amber ale, but quite a tasty one), and even the bottles to put it in, with reusable caps.
While quite simplistic and lacking compared to our winner, it’s also less than a third of the price, and has very nice exceptionally easy to clean components that make first time setup and clean up afterward a snap.
I don’t think the results are quite as good as our winner, but ultimately you’re still getting out a pretty solid beer and valuable experience in the basics of craft beer making so you can kick it up a notch next time; made even easier by reusable components.
Very easy to use
Great design on the components streamlines process
Very simple cleanup compared to other kits
Included 1 liter reusable plastic bottles
Lacks some of the more sophisticated tools other kits have that improve final product quality
This is the cheapest, but still good, starter kit I could find. It’s also the most new user friendly of the bunch, with a great step by step instruction guide that talks you through the processes and reasoning behind why each brewing process is needed, and why seemingly minor details are important.
That’s worth the very low price of admission on its own, even if the components aren’t much to write home about. They’re still well made, but small (the fermenter is only a gallon) and extremely simplified. The Hefeweizen recipe is also pretty standard fare; it comes out as a very beer-y beer, for lack of a better description, and while great for beginners may not give the right context for what different flavor profiles and changes to processes might be needed to craft your own special brew.
Ultra simplified step by step guide
Well made components
Great low price
Makes very small batches
Included recipe is very middle of the road
This was an interesting product to try and grade. On the one hand, the performance is great. It makes brewing easy for both beginner and advanced users, and exceptionally streamlines the process of beer brewing.
On the other hand…it does all of that, especially that last bit, a little too well. The list of recipes it’s compatible with is quite large and it makes the process easy…but those recipes are important to keep in mind. Without using one of the recipes, this machine doesn’t really work properly, as it has programmed instructions for each one.
This means (along with its automated nature), it’s quite a bit more hands off than other home brewing kits. If you’re looking to get into brewing as a hands on, super involved activity, this kit is not for you.
If, however, you’re more interested in the end product, this is a great buy…so long as you don’t mind shelling out a lot of money. This whole automated system costs about 3 times what our winner does, and while I think it’s potentially worth it if you just want to experience a variety of home made beers, it does take a lot of the charm out of home brewing.
Easy to use
Heavily streamlines the process
Lots of great recipes
Well made materials
Very hands off process may be off-putting to some aspiring home brewers
Extremely expensive for one of these home brewing kits
For such a cheap brewing kit, this has quite a lot to it. You get everything you need for a 2 gallon batch of beer out of this, and the recipe is pretty solid, though nothing to really write home about. It comes with a number of reusable plastic bottles, which is great for keeping things easy, though may affect the taste a bit.
The main issue with this model is how simplistic it is. While good and cheap, it falls short compared to the Craft A Brewers option, which has a nice glass fermenter and what I think is a much better beer.
While I think this is a pretty good kit overall, and makes your first home brewing experience easy and fun, its cheapness really holds it back. Better materials would be preferred, and unfortunately the price isn’t low enough to justify this level of quality.
Easy to use
All inclusive starter kit
Cheaply made materials
Price doesn’t justify the quality
For the most part, I’d stick with the Northern Brewers options for both beginners and more advanced users. While plenty of the other kits have something to offer in specialized situations or for certain types of user, the Northern Brewers kits bring the best mix of value, quality, versatility, and ability to “scale up” from being beginner to advanced kits.
Given that most of the prices on this list hover in the same relative range of price (ignoring outliers like BrewArt’s automatic system), it’s also difficult to judge by price.
If you’re tempted by BrewArt’s system and are willing to pay the high entry fee to get started on it, it’s probably the “best” option on this list in terms of ease of use and final results, but the exorbitant cost and very hands off nature of it make it also difficult to recommend over our winner and runner up slots.
What Should I Know About Home Brewing Kits?
It’s all about the materials and the variety of provided tools in the kit when it comes to choosing a good brewing kit. At least, those are the physical qualities you look for.
A good home brewing kit should be made from sturdy, easy to clean materials. This is especially important for the fermenter or carboy, and so stainless steel and glass are excellent material choices. Any way these are constructed to make your life easier is a huge plus. Added spigots and cutting down (or eliminating) siphoning, providing funnels, all of that sort of nice quality of life consideration is perfect.
Once you have the materials down, you want to make sure your kit is easy to use. Chances are, if you’re buying a home brewing kit, you’re new to the craft. You want something with clear and easy to follow instructions to walk you through every stage of the procedure.
It also helps if the included guide comes with explanations for the principles behind brewing your beer; why certain fermentation processes are necessary and how the ingredients affect the taste and quality of the final product. This will help you down the road when you want to start experimenting with your own home beer recipe instead of following what came with the kit for your test run(s).
From there, you’ll need to gauge the size of the kit and its materials. You’ll need to make sur it’s not too large for you to properly store it. You need a lot of space and more importantly time when it comes to brewing. You’ll need to sit the fermenter somewhere on the order of a month (checking frequently), and make sure it stays out of direct sunlight and at a comfortable room temperature the whole time. You don’t want to get everything brewed up nice and then realize you have nowhere to put your fermenting brew.
Anything that helps cut down the INITIAL time investment (about 5 to 6 hours in the kitchen prepping) is also an excellent feature, be it easy to use siphons or spigots or simply a well designed top loading design for a conical fermenter.
All of these things put together are going to determine your price, which can vary wildly. You can get a decent starter set for under $50, but getting a more advanced, scalable set that can both get you started and serve you well as you hone your new craft can cost hundreds, even up to $1000 for the best and most advanced kits.