Gareth wrote :
Can't really comment on the quality of beer kits these days - I gave up
using them years ago - although I thought my results were good and would
assume things are the same today. *Not* as good as *proper* home made beer
I can however comment on "The Home Brew Shop" - I buy my Wine kits from
them - usually next day delivery - free delivery on orders over £65.
That's fair comment, I think. If you buy a good quality kit and follow the
instructions carefully you will get pretty good beer at the end of it - but,
as Troy says, it won't compare to "proper" home made beer (i.e. full mash).
I had some of the latter at the Pendle Beer Festival a few weeks ago and it
For a plausible beer bur some malt extract and boilt with fresh hops
For a good beer you need a full mash.
Good beer needs two things:
1) Boiling - to drop out the harsh proteins as trub.
2) Hops. Most kits use isomerised hops which are destroyed by
Hence most kits don't work - they taste very metallic.
It is very possible to make homebrew taste as good as the best
commercial real ale you can buy over a bar - and costing only 20 per
However, for the best results you really need to do a full mash brew.
At its most basic level it is not difficult - if you can make a decent
cup a tea you can brew beer!!!
The price of a 5-gallon full mash brewery will set you back around
£120. However at 20p per pint you can soon recoup the cost.
What you would get for your £120 is basically everything in a full
size brewery - but for a 5 gallon brew and in plastic buckets; i.e.
the mash tun is a modified picnic cool box and the boiler is a 30
litre plastic fermenting bin fitted with an electric kettle element.
However, I have done well over 30 brews in my plastic full mash set-up
and it is still going strong.
A decent book full of recipes and brewing instructions is "Brew your
Own British Real Ale at Home" by Graham Wheeler & Roger Protz; and
Leyland Home Brew are quite happy to make up full mash "kits" - just
tell them the page number in the above book and they will weigh out
all the ingredients for you (they do mail order - and have a web
If you haven't the time (it takes around 6-7 hours to do a full mash
brew if all goes well) or space (my "brewery" only takes up about the
same space as a fridge freezer) then the best suggestion is to buy a
good quality kit, throw away the supplied yeast and buy something
decent - Safale 04 would be a good choice, readily available at most
I would also recommend trying the newsgroup.
The kits made bu Munton's - eg Woodeforde's Wherry , Norfolk Nog etc
are quite good , and surprisingly enough the beers are recognisable!
But they aren't cheap either. Keep clear of kits which require added
sugar - sugar adds nothing of quality to beer , it thins it and dries
If you go the full mash route - keep your eyes open for Burco boilers
at car boot sales - I bought both mine for a few pounds each this
way.It's better to have two , when sparging I run off the wort into
one and rinse with hot water from the other.
If you have any micro breweries nearby they may sell you ingredients
at the right price - I get malt and hops at cost ( very little this is
too) - and free genuine brewers' yeast which makes all the difference.