While it’s true that there is a nearly endless choice of craft beers these days — along with the ol’ standbys on the supermarket shelf — it’s a fact that there is something supremely satisfying about brewing up your own beer. Admittedly, you might not end up with results quite as tasty as those from the pros, but that’s not really the point.
It’s the joy of taking on an endeavor that’s part science experiment, part art, part a whole lot of patience (be aware that the entire process takes at least a month). The best part is, of course, ending up with a refreshing glass of beer straight from your very own home brewery when all’s said and done.
Like many hobbies, home brewing requires a fair amount of equipment before you can get started and that equipment — or at least a portion of it — is what beer-making starter kits come with in the box. With the majority of kits, you’ll need to add a few extra pieces yourself, but a kit is still a very convenient, and generally cost-efficient, way to gather up supplies.
You’ll need the following items to brew beer at home:
- A large stockpot, typically 5 gallons in size, but can be smaller if you’re brewing less beer
- A large plastic fermenter bucket (often referred to as a carboy), usually 5 gallons in size with an airlock that allows excess CO2 to escape during fermentation and a stopper to secure the airlock
- A large plastic bottling bucket with a spigot at the bottom
- A metal spoon that’s long enough to reach the bottom of your stockpot
- A racking cane and tubing to create a siphon for transferring your beer out of the fermenter and into the bottling bucket
- A no-rinse sanitizer, which is used to clean your equipment before brewing
- A waterproof thermometer like a candy thermometer
- A hydrometer if you are brewing from grain instead of from an extract
- A bottle cleaning brush, filler, and capper
- Bottles and bottle caps, which you’ll normally need to supply these yourself
Finally, you need beer ingredients: This is where the fun really starts. While you can visit a local brew shop and browse a vast assortment of ingredients, most beginners prefer to start with a kit. Ingredient kits typically contain the grain, sugar extracts, hops, flavorings, and yeast needed for beer production. You can find ingredient kits for a wide range of beer varieties, including many IPAs, but be aware that you’ll need to restock for each batch of brew.
With all that in mind, we sorted through the many homebrew kits out there to find you five of the best for the newbie on the brewing scene. Read on to see which of our top picks are best for your needs.
Here are the best homebrew beer kits:
- Best overall: Northern Brewer Brew Share Enjoy Homebrew Starter Kit
- Best small-batch kit: Brooklyn Brew Shop Everyday IPA Starter Kit
- Best for beginners: Mr. Beer Premium Gold Craft Beer Making Kit
- Best for repeat brewing: PicoBrew Pico C Beer Brewing Appliance
- Best for non-alcoholic root beer: Mr. Root Beer Home Brewing Kit
Prices and links are current as of 5/12/20.