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What is the best homebrew "kit" you have bought and made?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by geneseohawk, Dec 26, 2012.

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  1. geneseohawk

    geneseohawk Initiate (0) Nov 4, 2008 Illinois

    Just curious as to what you think is the best "kit" available for purchase. I am looking to do buy something quick to try- any style but looking for a fairly quick turn around on the beer- 4-6 weeks.
  2. pointyskull

    pointyskull Disciple (310) Mar 17, 2010 Illinois

    All from Northern Brewer:
    Dead Ringer
    Jamal's Evil Twin
    Big Honkin' Stout
    St. Paul Porter
  3. jmmy3

    jmmy3 Aspirant (292) Nov 30, 2010 Massachusetts

    NB's Black IPA is excellent, takes about 6ish weeks but after about a month goes by from bottle conditioning is when it really starts to show, in my opinion. Give it a try if you enjoy the style. Can't go wrong with Dead Ringer either though.
    Eriktheipaman likes this.
  4. dethTr0ll

    dethTr0ll Initiate (0) Dec 7, 2010 Delaware

    Northern brewers Chinook ipa is very good as well.
    Eriktheipaman and psnydez86 like this.
  5. PortLargo

    PortLargo Devotee (468) Oct 19, 2012 Florida

    From Northern Brewer:

    Caribou Slobber (Brown Ale) is a killer. It is good after 6 weeks and continues to get better. I am usually drinking the last bottle at about the peak of maturity.

    Irish Blonde Ale (Pale Ale) is the best kit I've ever brewed (brewing it again this weekend). It rocks after 6 weeks, in my opinion the best'est & quickest.
  6. psnydez86

    psnydez86 Disciple (363) Jan 4, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    according to my friends NB's chinook ipa is my best kit that i brewed but if your a real hop head i think NB's Tongue Splitter is a nice sessionable hop bomb and probably my favorite kit to date.
  7. hopsandmalt

    hopsandmalt Initiate (0) Dec 14, 2006 Michigan

    Northern brewer has some great kits. A couple of my personal favorites from my extract days were the Bourbon barrel porter kit and the Patersbier kit .
  8. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,606) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Supporter Subscriber

    I don't do many kits but not too long ago NB had some sort of sale on kits that I capitalized on; don't recall the details, but it was a good deal. I got Emma's Ale, a brown mild, and Patersbier. I didn't brew either kit straight but augmented them -- changed the hops around, added a specialty grain, etc. - I don't recall the actual changes but you get the idea. Good beers resulted.

    Rather than poll us on good kits, decide on a style you want to brew and then look at the selection of kits at Northern Brewer. How you perceive them probably will be influenced by your own preferences more than the quality of the kit - my guess is they are all good kits. Stay away from higher gravity beers and your time frame shouldn't be an issue.
    pointyskull and Gilmango like this.
  9. mschofield

    mschofield Meyvn (1,450) Oct 16, 2002 Massachusetts

    NB Dead Ringer to echo

    really great IPA
  10. akakii

    akakii Initiate (0) Jun 18, 2009 Virginia

    The Pliny the Elder kit from morebeer.com is fantastic.

    I've also been happy with all of the kits I've gotten from Austin Homebrew Supply.
  11. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,048) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Only kit that I have brewed was the brewers best tripel. It turned out nice. I have been toying with the idea of buying NBs 115th dream hopburst IIPA. After looking the recipie over it would cost a lot more to source out the hops I would like to use (read citra and amarillo). But maybe simcoe, calypso, and cascade would do okay.
  12. gestyr

    gestyr Disciple (383) Dec 5, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Wind River Brewing Gopher Pale Ale. Nice and quick. It will give you a very tasty beer in 4 weeks.
  13. Ejayz

    Ejayz Initiate (0) May 15, 2011 Iowa

    I just finished my first year of home brewing and did 45 gallons all were kits and all but 2 were from NB. The NB kits are way better than the others I tried. My Favorites are the Lefse Blonde and the Speckled Heifer both were very popular with my non craft friends. Also want to give a shot out to Midwest supply their Apple ale is a great kit as well!
  14. bayareahustla

    bayareahustla Aspirant (206) Jul 13, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    Ive never brewed before, but was givin a Brooklyn Brewing Kit for chirstmas. Does it suck? Any words of advice? Any ways to spruce it up?
  15. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,606) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Supporter Subscriber

    Details of kit? Are you talking about a recipe kit or an equpment kit? If recipe, what style and what are the ingredients? If equipment, what do you have?
  16. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,335) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    From what I've heard, there's nothing wrong with Brooklyn Brewing kits, other than the one gallon size, which isn't much beer. Here's what I would recommend, in order...

    - Read this... www.howtobrew.com
    - Read the directions for the kit
    - If there seems to be any conflict between the two, ask about it on this forum
  17. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,016) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I don’t normally brew kit beers but I have purchased a number of Northern Brewer Kits as presents for my niece’s husband (birthday/Christmas gifts). Every one of the beers he brewed with those kits turned out great: Dead Ringer, Black IPA, Surly Furious clone (and maybe some others?).

    I have also received kit beers from Northern Brewer and they turned out well. I brewed the St. Paul Porter as is and it was very good. I brewed the Newcastle Brown Clone (Newkie) but I augmented that kit beer with 1 lb. of Weyermann Smoked Malt and 1 lb. of Briess Rye Malt; that beer turned out excellent!

    It seems to me (based upon the above) that Northern Brewer puts together very good kits. Pick the style you want to brew and pick the Northern Brewer kit commensurately (and feel free to augment if you are so inclined).

  18. bayareahustla

    bayareahustla Aspirant (206) Jul 13, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    Its a recipe Kit, its Allday IPA. and yes it is one gallon, which will last me about an hour, so i wanna make it good!!!
  19. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,606) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Supporter Subscriber

    I assume it is this one: http://brooklynbrewshop.com/1-gallon-beer-mixes/everyday-ipa-mix

    I'm not finding a whole lot of info about the kit, but I like the combination of columbus and cascade hops. I don't like all the additions of the cascade though. The kit calls for cascade additions at 45, 30, 15, 5, and 0 minutes. I would move these around to try to get more hop aroma from them; some of the 45 and 30 min hops would get bumped to 60 to compensate for bitterness and the rest would go to a 0 min addition. Many would want to dry hop this beer, too.

    However, there is something to be said for following the instructions the first time through, especially if you have no experience making your own recipes.
  20. Danny1217

    Danny1217 Champion (850) Jul 15, 2011 Florida
    Beer Trader

    I did northern brewer's dead ringer ipa as my first batch. It just finished bottle conditioning and although i have nothing to compare it to, it is delicious. I made a few mistakes while brewing it too, so i think that says something
  21. DAllspaw

    DAllspaw Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2009 Indiana

    I've brewed 4 kits, soon to move to partial then all grain. Without question, the two NB kits I've done (Black IPA and St. Paul Porter) are far superior to the LHBS kits I brewed prior. If I had to guess, the NB LME is simply fresher. Instructions are fairly thorough as well.
  22. Ilanko

    Ilanko Aspirant (200) Aug 3, 2012 New York

    One Gallon Kit, American Wheat. O.G. 1.055 . I have my addition to it, lemon zest from one lemon.

    Second kit is Cream Ale.

    from brooklyn-homebrew.com
    utahbeerdude likes this.
  23. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Initiate (0) Mar 22, 2011 California

    Did my first (& probably only) ever kit a month back, the All-grain Surly Furious kit from Northern Brewer. I absolutely love Surly's core lineup and thought the kit turned out just like the real thing, except hoppier (Most likely freshness since I live on the West Coast and also because of the 3 oz of Simcoe I threw in the hopback :slight_smile: )
  24. WickedSluggy

    WickedSluggy Devotee (400) Nov 21, 2008 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Looks nice. You're making me thirsty. Can you taste the lemon zest?
  25. Ilanko

    Ilanko Aspirant (200) Aug 3, 2012 New York

    Yes, It's open a whole wold of citrus fruit, its increase the citrus pine flavors. My way of adding it is in the last 5 min of the boil, zest the outer lemon skin avoid the white part of the skin. Lime works even better.
  26. bayareahustla

    bayareahustla Aspirant (206) Jul 13, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    so im in the second day of fermentation, gonna switch to a blowoff lid for 2 weeks, how do i bottle this product.?and is it done after the 2 weeks? i cant find any info anywhere.
  27. sergeantstogie

    sergeantstogie Aspirant (202) Nov 16, 2010 Washington

    You did not heed Vikeman's advice to:
    - Read this... www.howtobrew.com
    - Read the directions for the kit
    - If there seems to be any conflict between the two, ask about it on this forum.

    The answer to your question would have been cleared up by doing that. We are all about helping people brew great beer but don't be lazy man.
  28. bayareahustla

    bayareahustla Aspirant (206) Jul 13, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    im not that computer savy, i do better with human to human contact, this being the closest possible.
  29. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,606) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Supporter Subscriber

    I use two factors to tell me when my beer is ready for packaging.
    1. I measure its gravity with a hydrometer. I open the bucket and use a sanitized cup to scoop out about 3/4 of a cup of beer, which I pour into my hydrometer tube. I check the gravity. That is reading 1. I do this again two days later. If the gravity is stable over that time, that is one indicator that the beer is ready. If after the first reading, the gravity is higher than expected, I might raise the temperature of fermentation and wait a few extra days before taking a second. With experience and instinct, you may get a good sense for where the final gravity of a particular fermentation should be, and then you might not need to bother with a second reading.

    2. I drink those samples after I measure the gravity. Yep. Half a bottle of flat beer. I want to know how it tastes. Mostly, I'm looking for off flavors that yeast can produce and clean up during fermentation. If there is a green apple flavor, that is acetaldehyde. If there is a buttery flavor, that is diacetyl. Both are intermediate products of yeast metabolism. The yeast will consume this stuff if they are healthy and plentiful. If you taste these things, it is too soon to bottle. At this stage, I will consider raising the temperature of the fermenter a few degrees, if that option is available.

    Repeat these steps as often as necessary. As a rule of thumb I won't plan on packaging my beer for at least two weeks. So I won't do step 1 until sometime into the 2nd week of fermentation.

    As for how to bottle, I use a bottling bucket with a spigot and a bottling wand attached to the spigot. I measure out priming sugar, using an on-line bottle priming calculator (tastybrew.com has a good one) or beersmith to figure out how much I need. I boil just enough water to dissolve the sugar, probably 6-12 ounces, and add the sugar and simmer for a bit to heat sanitize. Then I rack the beer to the bottling bucket, pour in the sugar solution, stir a few times gently, to mix it in. Wait a few minutes, ad then begin bottling. I have one of those red handle cappers to cap the bottles. Of course, every thing the beer touches is sanitized in star san or heat sanitized.

    Hope you find this helpful. I haven't had a cup of coffee yet, so it's possible I left something out, but I think I covered it.
  30. dpjosuns

    dpjosuns Initiate (0) Dec 8, 2009 Illinois

    Yup, dead ringer. I also used the brewer's best imperial red ale kit that was great.
  31. alysmith4

    alysmith4 Initiate (0) Feb 11, 2005 District of Columbia

    The Petite Saison from Northern Brewer has a 4-week turnaround. I haven't finished brewing it yet, but it gets great reviews.
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