2.12.2009

HB 101 Q2: Can you make quality beer with a basic brew kit?

This marks the second part of a multipart series of posts about the fundamentals of homebrewing. Sure there's books, web pages, pamphlets, kit instructions, forums and all kinds of resources about brewing beer. Why cover it again here? I don't know. Why does your grandpa tell the same stories over and over again? Maybe it has to do with how we do it. Again, the question should you choose to weigh in is...
Can you make quality beer with a basic brew kit?
I'm sure there are a tons of people out there who think they need a fancy setup to do it right. As you might guess. I don't think you do. Can you help confirm that you don't? Maybe you disagree.

Leave a comment!

8 comments:

Ryan Chittick said...

i don't think you need a fancy setup at all. I did my first three batches of homebrew over the course of 2 weekends. The first was a dubbel, the second a hefeweizen, and the third a Fat Tire "clone" from a Culver City Brew Supply recipe (Evil Monk, for those of you familiar).

My expectations were exceedingly low for each batch, and rightfully so seeing as how I'd never brewed before. The dubbel turned out spoiled (big bummer, since dubbels are my favorite). Chalk it up to a first-timer's lack of proper equipment sanitation. The Hefe was OK, just real watery. But, damn, the Fat Tire clone was badass. I'll qualify this by saying that I think most of New Belgium's beers suck pretty hard. The flavors are always just really off and unpleasant. Fat Tire is no exception. However, this "Belgian Pale Ale" that came from the recipe was great. Really nice head, great flavors, and none of that tinge of home-brew flavor that my Hefe or other homebrews I've tasted had.

It's possible had the "beer goggles" on for my own brew, but i was validated by other folks whose opinions i trust when it comes to the taste of a beer.

Anonymous said...

I make great brews in my basic bucket kit using extract kits. No fancy equipment at all, unless you call an autosiphon fancy. ;) I've gotten compliments by brewers of 12 years plus who use fancy equipment. I think ingredients and care with what you are doing are the most important things.

Anonymous said...

of course you can make great brews with your basic setup. I purchased my kit just about a year ago, added a 6 gallon glass carboy because fermentation is just fun to watch, and have made consistently good styles using kits from my local homebrew shop. As long as you don't skimp on the ingredients, and pay very close attention to your sanitization, you don't need to break the bank to make great beers. I am a bit OCD about sanitization, but that comes with my background as a quality control microbiologist. And no, I do not work for a peanut butter facility.

Adam said...

I don't believe you people. I still need more convincing ;-)

Adam said...

Ok, so far the consensus is that you don't need no fancy setup. Glass carboys seem to make people happy here and well I like them too.

So start small and simple.

Tony said...

You can make exceptional beer with a basic brew kit. Second stage fermentation, bigger boil and time can do a lot.
Fancy equipment adds to the fun factor if you are into gear.
There's my $0.02

Velky Al said...

I just made my first ever brew - my kit is entirely basic as I cobbled a lot of it together myself and made sure it was properly sanitised before kicking off. My first batch is tiny - 8 litres - but as I am moving to the US in a few months there is no need to spend money of anything bigger. Yet.

Adam said...

Velky Al, happy to see your wort started fermending. I've been following the saga on your blog. Always a moment of suspense for homebrewers.

Thanks for stopping by. Who knows we may cross paths here in the US :-)