Homebrew Kit Reviews

Christmas 2014 Update: Hey shoppers – cool news. You can now give my online homebrewing course as a gift. The course is called Batch 1 and Beyond and it’s the perfect gift to give along with a new homebrewing kit. The kit gives you the tools to brew beer, but the course gives you the skills.

Click here to read more about it.

– Billy

Ask somebody how to homebrew and they’ll probably say, “Get a kit.” If only it were that easy. After a quick Google search you’ll soon be asking yourself a dozen questions:

“Where’s the best place to buy from? Why are these kits all different prices? Which ones will make the best beer?”

The homebrewing market is flooded with all different types of kits from hundreds of companies. You just want to make great beer – not wade though confusing kit descriptions, crossing your fingers in hopes that you picked the right one.

Top Pick – The Homebrew Academy and Midwest Supplies Kit

Midwest Supplies Homebrew Kit

My #1 pick for a homebrew kit.

In February 2013 Midwest Supplies released this homebrewing kit with me as the co-creator. I picked out every piece of gear on behalf of my other website, The Homebrew Academy, which teaches people how to brew beer.

So for obvious reasons, this is now the #1 kit I recommend. I pieced it together based on my 8 years of homebrewing experience and feedback from the thousands I have taught. I really think it’s the best kit out there for new homebrewers.

Here is a video where I walk through what’s in the kit:

New: FAQ’s about the Midwest Kit

With Christmas around the corner I’m getting a bunch of emails about the Midwest homebrewing kit I recommend.

Here are the most common ones along with my answers. Hopefully these help you out.

  1. Do ingredients come with the kit?

    No, ingredients are not included with the kit. You’ll need to buy those separately.

  2. What are good ingredient kits for beginners?

    Here are some guidelines. 1) Don’t start with a lager style beer – they are more difficult to brew. 2) Don’t start with a beer very high in alcohol. 3) Don’t start with a beer that takes a long time to age (you don’t want to wait forever for your first beer to be ready).

    With that in mind, a few great kits to start with are the Amarillo Pale Ale, Oatmeal Stout, or Deep Dark Wheat.

  3. What extra equipment do I need?

    Outside of what’s in the kit, you’ll need a kettle and ~ 55 beer bottles.

  4. What types of beers can I brew with the kit?

    Virtually any type of beer except styles that require all-grain techniques. My advice is to browse the malt extract ingredient kits. All of those are fair game with this kit. Also, if you want to lager a beer you’ll need a dedicated fridge or freezer for the lagering process.

  5. Do you have training that goes along with the kit?

    Definitely! My Batch 1 and Beyond course over at The Homebrew Academy is the perfect training companion to the kit.

But to be as unbiased as possible I want to show you your other kit options. In the table below, I give a list of 5 of the most popular homebrew supply companies and links to their starter kits.

Homebrewing Kit Comparison

VendorNot IncludedFermentorShippingKit Price
Midwest Supplies Kettle, Bottles, Ingredients6 gallon Better Bottle Plastic CarboyVariable$134.99
MoreBeerKettle, Bottles, Ingredients6 gal Plastic CarboyFree over $60$109
Northern BrewerKettle, Bottles, Ingredients6 gal & 5 gal Plastic CarboysVariable$149.99
Austin HomebrewKettle, Bottles, Ingredients7.9 gal bucket + 5 gal glass carboy$4.99$138.99

If you still have questions about the kits or are wondering what upgrades to get, contact me and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

How do you use the kit?

To be blunt, the instructions that come with kits usually stink. The vendors specialize in equipment, not in teaching homebrewing.

After my own rocky start to homebrewing and seeing other new brewers struggle, I decided to start The Homebrew Academy. It’s an online training program where I show you exactly how to brew with step-by-step videos.

Our free beginner program, Just Get Brewing, is perfect for brewers who are just starting out with a kit but don’t know how to use it. You can learn more right here.

Ingredient Kits

The other item that you will need is an ingredient kit. As a beginner, you should start with a malt extract kit with specialty grains. Here are the links to that type of ingredient kit from the vendors above:

As mentioned in the table, the equipment kits do not come with a kettle or beer bottles. Commercial beer bottles can be reused for homebrewing, so it is best to start saving them if you plan on homebrewing soon. Make sure they are the pop off type ( not screw off), and wash them thoroughly after consumption. Finally, you may already have a suitable pot or can pick one up locally at a kitchen supply store or Wal-Mart. A 5 gallon (20 quart) or larger pot will work fine as a kettle.