5 Best Home Brew Starter Kits

Best home brew starter kits

For the person that wants to start brewing but isn’t ready to invest in all-grain brewing equipment, here are the 5 best home brew starter kits for learning to brew without the big investment.

When we decided that it was time for us to delve into the world of homebrewing, we didn’t just run out and buy a full all-grain brewing set-up. We’d never brewed before, and we really wanted to try our hand at making our own beer without a huge cash investment in equipment and ingredients.

Our local homebrew store suggested that we purchase a home brew starter kit. It had everything we needed to make a single batch of beer, at a reasonable price. That was many years ago, and home brewing was not nearly as popular as it is today, so finding a starter kit wasn’t as easy as it is today.

Today, there are so many different starter kits on the market. They run the gamut from brewing a gallon in a bag to complete sets with all the gear you need for your first 5-gallon brew. The problem now is trying to decide which kit is right for you.

We’ve compiled a brief list of 5 great home brew starter kits that we think fit the needs of a variety of home brew beginners, so you can save the hard work for brewing your first batch of beer.

Methodology

To create our list, we used several factors that we felt were important to selecting a home brew starter kit.

  • Batch Size – Not everyone wants to start with a full five gallons of beer for their first run at homebrewing. If you really just want to get your feet wet, you may want to consider a kit with a smaller batch size. Most kits range in size from 1-gallon to 5-gallon. Though there are some 10-gallon starter kits out there as well.
  • Experience Level – There are starter kits on the market for true beginners all the way to complete kits for all-grain brewing. We don’t think that kits for all-grain brewing count as starter kits, so we’ve left those off of our list.
  • Included Equipment – Some starter kits give you absolutely everything you’ll need to make your first batch of beer, while others leave out things like brew kettles and bottles. Which you choose really depends on what you have on hand and the level of commitment you want to make with your starter kit. We think that a good starter kit should have:
  • Fermenter
  • Thermometer
  • Hydrometer
  • Siphon
  • Racking Cane
  • Air Lock
  • Tubing
  • Cleaning Materials

This doesn’t mean every kit on our list has all of these items. Some have more, some have fewer. Pick the equipment that best fits your needs.

  • Ingredient Kit – If your starter kit comes with the ingredients you need to brew your first beer, you’re more likely to start. Look for kits that allow you to pick your first beer style.
  • Easy Instructions – Some kits out there have terrible instructions, and they aren’t easy to follow at all. You should be able to check out the instructions before you buy. We know from experience that if it seems hard from the directions, you’ll probably not want to jump into brewing.

Best Over-All Home Brew Starter Kit

Northern Brewer Brew.Share.Enjoy Starter Kit

Where to Buy: Northern Brewer, Amazon

This is our favorite home brew starter kit. And if we were just getting started today, this would be our pick. The Brew.Share.Enjoy starter kit has everything you need to brew your first batch of beer. Almost. 

The only thing it’s missing is bottles, but most 5-gallon brew kits don’t come with bottles. This is one of the few starter kits that come with a brew kettle. We also think that this kit has some of the easiest-to-follow instructions, and they’re even laminated so they won’t get wet. 

Pick from 3 beer styles for your ingredient kit.

Pros:

  • Easy to follow instructions
  • Kettle included
  • Ingredient kit is high quality
  • Great price for what you get

Cons:

  • You’ll have to wait at least a month to try your beer
  • Bottles are not included

Best Small Batch Starter Kit

BrewDemon Starter Kit

Where to Buy: BrewDemon, Home Depot, Amazon

Best home brew starter kits: BrewDemon Starter Kit
We love that this kit features a conical fermenter, which is really unique for starter kits

This kit comes in 1 and 2-gallon options, so you get more beer than some other small-batch kits on the market if you want. We love that this kit features a conical fermenter, which is really unique for starter kits. 

This kit includes the fermenter and all its parts, a recipe ingredient kit, a mixing spoon, a bottle filler, and bottles. It’s missing the kettle but you can easily use a large stockpot from your kitchen.

Pros:

  • Conical fermenter included
  • Easy to follow instructions
  • Shorter fermentation time

Cons:

  • Beer style options are kind of boring
  • Bottles and caps are plastic.

Best Kit for No Commitment Brewing

Brooklyn Brew Shop Beer Making Kits

Where to Buy: Brooklyn Brew Shop, William Sonoma, Amazon

Truly this is the beer kit for the person that wants to test the waters of beer making, without a big commitment. The Brooklyn Brew Shop beer-making kit gives you everything you need to make a gallon of beer. 

The kits include a one-gallon glass fermenter, thermometer, tubing, airlock, and racking cane. While this kit seems made for beginners, even experienced brewers like these kits, as they come with unique ingredient kits that allow you to try other beer styles with minimal yield.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • A mini all-grain brewing experience
  • Lots of refill kits for experimenting
  • Makes a great gift
  • Easy to follow instructions

Cons:

  • Only makes one gallon
  • Bottles not included

Best Starter Kit for Fast Results

Mr. Beer Starter Beer Making Kit

Where to Buy: Mr. Beer, Amazon

From the off-set this kit looks a little cheesy, but we were surprised at how popular it is for new home brewers. The Mr. Beer 2-gallon starter kit gives you everything you need to make your first batch of beer. The kicker here? It only takes 30-minutes to get from water to wort in the fermenter. 

The beer is actually pretty good, and the fermenter looks like a little barrel, which is fun.  Mr. Beer also sells plenty of ingredient refill kits so if you like this method, you can try out other beer styles.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Comes with bottles
  • Inexpensive
  • Minimal stuff to store

Cons:

  • Small batch size
  • Hopped extract oversimplifies the process
  • Bottles and fermenter are plastic

Best Starter Kit for Serious Beginners

MoreBeer! Premium Home Brew Starter Kit

Where to Buy: MoreBeer!, Amazon

If you are ready to commit to home brewing but aren’t sure that you’re quite ready to head into all-grain brewing, or maybe you just don’t have the space, the MoreBeer! Premium Starter Kit is a great pick. 

We love this kit because it comes with some features that most other kits don’t have, like a brew kettle and a wort chiller. Yes, it’s more expensive than other starter kits, but it’s worth the price. 

Oh, and we really like the ingredient kit options. The Pliny kit is a nice clone of Pliny the Elder and it turns out great!

Pros:

  • A good base kit that you can grow with
  • Easy to follow instructions
  • Good value
  • Wort chiller included

Cons:

  • Plastic fermenter is a little flimsy
  • Bottles not included