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How to select a homebrew starter kit

Need help selecting a homebrew starter kit?

I have been homebrewing for about a year now.  I love the hobby and I can still remember my first trip into the Local Home Brew Store.  I was excited to get started, but the choices were a bit overwhelming.  What gear did I really need to get started, without over-spending.  I am going to try to clarify some of these questions here.

Home Brew Starter Kits

Starter kits vary in size, quality and price.  My favorite online homebrew store is MoreBeer.  They have kits ranging from $69 to $435.  With all of that variation, their must be some be differences in quality and gear.  In the case of MoreBeer, their lower-prices kits assume that already have some of the gear, while the more expensive kits have everything you need to start from scratch.

Necesasry parts of the homebrew starter kit

Stainless steel kettle: This is necessary for the actual brew process.  Most beginner home brewers will use the partial boil technique, where you boil 3 gallons of wort and then add 2 gallons of cold water prior to fermentation.  You need a minimum of a 5 gallon pot to start home brewing.  Over the past year, I advanced to a larger pot, as I wanted to do a full boil.  I ended up upgrading to an 8-gallon pot.

MoreBeer Kit3 comes with a 5-gallon stainless kettle.
Morebeer Kit 4 and Kit 5 come with an 8-gallon kettle.

Santizer:  The most important step in homebrewing is sanitation.  When we make beer, the wort is a wonderful place for yeast to live and thrive.  It is also very attractive to bacteria and infection.  If your equipment isn’t perfectly sanitized, you may end with an infected batch of beer.  Fortunately, all MoreBeer kits come with StartSan, the best sanitizer you can get.  It is reusable from batch to batch and will last a long, long time.  Avoid Chlorine-based sanitizers at all cost.  They require extensive rinsing, which is very time consuming.  StarSan is a no-rinse sanitizer.  Most of the MoreBeer kits (except Kit 1) come with Powdered Brewery Wash for cleaning.  This is great stuff.  I use OxyClean, which is virtually the same thing.

WortChiller:  A wort chiller helps cool the wort after brewing.  With the partial boil technique, you use cold water to cool the brew.  You can drastically improve the quality and clarity of your beer by chilling the wort rapidly after brewing.  Rapid cooling causes the proteins suspended in the wort to drop out, making the beer clearer and making it taste better.  I upgraded to the wort chiller in my first year.  I highly recommend it.

Morebeer Kit 4 and Kit 5 come with a wort chiller.  This is necessary with the larger kettle.

Kegging: If you have the dough and want the thrill of pouring your beer from the tap, you can get a kegging kit up front.  I am still bottling my beer, but  the process is tedious.  Kegs are much easier to work with.  This is a splurge item and can wait until later. Kit 5 comes with a kegging kit.

Other Kit Ingredients

3/8” Plastic Bottle Filler
Bag of Bottle Caps (1/4lb)
Bottle Capper
Reusable Mesh Steeping Bag
Reusable Mesh Hop Bags
Plastic Spoon
Home Beermaking Book
Bottle Brush
Plastic Carboy
Plastic Bottling/Sanitation Bucket with Spigot
Rubber Stopper with Hole
Hydrometer Jar
5ft Vinyl Transfer Tubing
Sterile Siphon Starter (Contains Racking Cane with Tubing, Air Filter and Carboy Hood)
5 inch long dial thermometer
Light Ale Ingredient Kit with Brewing Instructions
Dry Brewers Ale Yeast
2 Cases of (12) 22oz Bottles – Glass is expensive.  A case of bottles is running about $15 each.

Personal Home Brewery #1 – Standard  – $69

Summary of Benefits:

  • Very affordable, entry-level system
  • No siphoning hassle required
  • It is easier to lift buckets than glass carboys
  • No chance of breakage
  • Better for shipping outside of the country because of less weight and less breakage

Personal Home Brewery #2 – Deluxe – $109

Summary of Benefits:

  • Plastic Carboy fermenter will last longer than plastic buckets and has 99% zero oxygen permeability
  • Plastic Carboys are lighter than glass and will not break
  • You can watch the magic of fermentation
  • Save money now by not having to upgrade in the future

Personal Home Brewery #3 – Bottling Deluxe – $215

Summary of Benefits:

  •  This kit has everything you need to get started

Personal Home Brewery #4 – Bottling Super Deluxe – $335

Summary of Benefits:

  • All the benefits of Full-Boil brewing
  • Increased beer quality
  • Built-in Kettle Spigot eliminates the need for lifting & pouring
  • The satisfaction of “Doing it right”, from the very beginning
  • Free Shipping!

Personal Home Brewery #5 – Kegging Super Deluxe – $479

Summary of Benefits:

  • Bottling process is now optional
  • Serving is super-fast, super-convenient, & super-cold
  • Your favorite beer always available immediately on draft!
  • Wow! Always impresses friends, neighbors, associates!
  • Extremely convenient for serving groups & gatherings.
  • Saves dispensing time for serving groups & parties.
  • No Waste. Pour any volume you want, small or large.
  • Gives you the option of bottling any residual beer for long-term aging or transport.
  • Completes and certifies your status as a Serious Brewer.
  • Provides a secure, continuous sense that Life is Good!

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