Homebrewing sucks. It can be messy, time consuming and frustrating. Yet people still do it. And they love it.  

Why!?

It’s all in that first sip. Cracking open that first homebrew, a beer made with your own hands, switches a light bulb on. This is awesome! So what if your yeast was a little aggressive and it morphed into a frothy monster all over your kitchen or closet. Sure the house probably smelled like “weed” for a day and you had to explain that it’s just hops. Popping the top of that fresh beer makes it all worth it.

Unfortunately brewing doesn’t go smoothly every time and the path to success is paved with curses and frustration. But we’re here to help. Most homebrewers start with a kit, either one they assembled themselves or an all-in-one from the homebrew supply shop.  

Problem is, there is a lot to choose from. So we’re going to make it simple. Below we break up the various kits so you can pick the right one for your set up and budget.  

Deluxe Kits - The All-In-One Homebrew Solution

These kits really do make homebrewing easy.

These are the Cadillac package for the modern home brewer. Stuffed to the brim with goodies from fermenters to thermometers the deluxe homebrew kit takes us from box to brew day in minutes. But which kit has the best value? Let’s look.

Beginning Homebrew Kit (Upgrade #3)

Adventures in Homebrewing

Adventures in Homebrewing has just about everything for the homebrewer, including ready made kits. This customizable kit is surprisingly just the start. This is the Upgrade #3 but higher version numbers pack in even more stuff. From all grain brewing all the way up to kegging. But why put all the horses before the cart? Upgrade #3 comes with everything we need to brew right out of the box.

Pros:

  • Brew kettle and wort chiller included.
  • Comes with a glass carboy and carboy brush.
  • Hydrometer included!
  • Includes a giant brew paddle.

Cons:

  • The primary fermenters are 6.5 gallon buckets rather than carboys.
  • Comes with a bottle capper but not bottle caps!

Delux homebrew kit from brewers best with buckets and tubes.

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BeAst Kit

Brewers Best

Another kit sold by Adventures in Homebrewing, this one also has everything that is required to get a brewer started right out of the box.  This kit does come with a brew kettle, however unlike the Upgrade #3 setup, the kettle has no bells and whistles and no spigots.  Don’t let that deter you, the components of this kit are exceptional.

Pros:

  • Includes everything to start brewing immediately.  
  • Includes a brew kettle, bottling supplies, and many more extras.

Cons:

  • Kettle is very basic.
  • No bottle caps included.
  • Fewer extras than previous kit.

A collection of homebrewing equipment including a steel kettle and carboys.

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Deluxe Homebrew Kit

by Northern Brewer

This is the kit we use.  Giant Big Mouth Bubblers act as primary and secondary fermentation chambers and make cleanup a breeze.  While this kit comes with a ton of extras it did not come with a kettle or wort chiller.  Those items had to be purchased separately.  That being said, the brand recognition and support of Northern Brewer is hard to pass up.  And it came with bottle caps!

Pros:

  • Popular brand
  • Big Mouth Bubblers make cleaning a breeze
  • Recipe kit included
  • Helpful directions and a introductory DVD to get started.
  • A bagful of bottle caps!

Cons:

  • No brew kettle or wort chiller.
  • Fewer extras overall.

A complete homebrew kit from Northern Brewer complete with big mouth bubbler carboys.

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Basic Kits - Just Enough To Get the Party Started

While the deluxe kits above will trick out the modern homebrewer to the gills, these middle ground kits are an affordable starting point for those who might already have or inherit brewing equipment or kit accessories.

The perfect place to start when piecing together the perfect setup.

Beginning Homebrew Kit (Upgrade #1)

by Adventures in Homebrewing

The Upgrade #1 version of the Beginning Homebrew Kit is how most kits start.  Fermenters and carboys and a recipe.  That's it.  Extras like the brew kettle and the wort chiller are sold separately.  

This sort of kit is exceptional for those who might have equipment already, or want to build their homebrew kits their own way.  For the price, this kit is hard to beat if on a budget.

Pros:

  • Price normally hovers around $100 depending on season and availability.
  • Includes a lot of equipment for the price.

Cons:

  • No kettle or wort chiller.  These items can get expensive.
  • All other extras sold separately.

Homebrew kit with bottles and kettles.

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Brew. Share. Enjoy. Starter Kit

by Northern Brewer

Northern Brewer makes quality stuff.  They have been in the game for a long time and their homebrew kits prove it.

This kit comes with plastic buckets rather than the traditional carboys used in other kits.  They are easier to clean but don't allow the wort to be monitored visually.  

Qualms aside, this kit is very affordable and it includes a recipe kit of your choice.  For all the middle road homebrew kits at this price level, none come close to the quality from Northern Brewer.

Pros:

  • Simple brew kettle included.
  • Includes lots of extras like bottle capper and racking cane.

Cons:

  • Kettle is very basic.
  • Fermenters are 6 gallon buckets
  • Buckets don't allow fermentation to be monitored visually.A simple homebrew kit with buckets and grain.

 

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Barebones Kits - It Was Only Supposed To Be A Gift, I Swear!

Yup, you’ve seen these before. Mr. Beer kits that line the shelves of big box stores during the holidays. Why not pick one up? For the price and chance to make your own beer at home who would turn it away? But are they worth it?

What typically starts as a harmless gift turns into a brewery in your garage. What have you done!?

Two Gallon Homebrew Kit

by Mr. Beer

This kit will get anyone started nearly effortlessly.  

Bottles, malt extract, and yeast all come in the kit and make it the easiest way to get started.  Despite the kit only making eight liters, there are tons of options to refill and make more. This kit is perfect for those who don’t want or need to make 5 gallons of beer or spend the day brewing.  

Pros:

  • Easy to make, good tasting beer for beginners.
  • Compact fermentor.
  • Completely reusable with many refill options.

Cons:

  • Very basic kit.
  • No extras.  Must supply own kettle for boil.
  • Specialized equipment.

Simple mr. Beer kit

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One Gallon Homebrew Kit

by Brewers Best

It’s basically a fancy Mr. Beer kit!  

This kit is equivalent to the bigger brew kits but constrained to a single gallon.  Inside this kit there is a surprising amount of supplies for such a low price. For our money this is the best option to get started with the lowest cost.  One batch and you’ll be clamoring for a bigger kit to make more beer.

Pros:

  • Easy to make, good tasting beer for beginners.
  • Compact fermentor.

Cons:

  • As basic as it gets.
  • Materials aren’t premium quality.

Simple homebrew beer kit complete with buckets and bottle capper.

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Brewing beer at home sucks without the right tools.  It’s like fixing a car with a rubber mallet and celery stalk.  

Our suggestions give you the right tools for the level of homebrewer you are. Or aspire to be. Your next stop is crafting zany recipes and starting your own 150 barrel brew house complete with food truck parking lot.

We’ll be there opening day.