Beer kit next step ideas?

Discussion in 'Beer Kit Brewing Discussion.' started by Shreddybrek, Oct 21, 2019.

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  1. Oct 21, 2019 #1

    Shreddybrek

    Shreddybrek

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    Hi guys,

    New to the forum so I apologise if this is a thread that’s already been brought up, which it most likely has. Whilst I’m not new to the brewing world I’ve never really expanded out of using the standard beer kits you buy and pretty much just add your brewing sugar. I’ve been brewing on and off for about 5/6 years now, I got into it mainly as a hobbie but having started it developed my love for different types of beers. I’ve brewed a variety of lagers, ales and stouts but all from standard kits as said. This has mainly been due to my mother not being too pleased with my hobbie! However, I’ve recently purchased my first house with my girlfriend and she’s a lot easier going so I can finally kick on abit. Eventually I want to push further into the all grain route but currently due to the new house funding is abit tight to be treating myself to some new equipment so will have to get by with my current set up.

    So I was mainly wondering if anyone could point me towards any ideas to sort of adapt standard beer kits in order to push on abit and and experiment. I currently have one fermenting vessel with coopers sparkling ale (inn keepers daughter) plodding along which I am planning on adding some strawberry extract too at the end of primary fermentation as a first trial for adding something different. I just wanted to know if anyone could add to my ideas or also tell me if I’m completely going the wrong way about this with my current little experiment!

    Thanks guys
    Jamie
     
  2. Oct 21, 2019 #2

    davidfromUS

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    Buying individual ingredients removes part of the safety net and restrictions of a kit.
    Then BIAB in smaller batches might be of interest to you plus the cost is minor.
     
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  3. Oct 21, 2019 #3

    Shreddybrek

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    Hi David

    I’ve lived a sheltered life in forms of my home brewing so far ie strictly kits, so in the buying individual ingredients would you be able to point me in the direction of what would be required. I’ve considered the BIAB approach but would require a brew kettle I believe? For now I was just thinking of utilising my 4 vessels for kits and looking to add different flavours etc any suggestions on this route? Was thinking in addition to my strawberry flavoured sparkling ale perhaps a cerveza style lager with some sort of addiction, possibly a darker ale with some sort of addition and I’m completely open to ideas on the 4th?

    Thanks
     
  4. Oct 21, 2019 #4

    Graz

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    You can "pimp" standard beer kits in a number of ways. The two easiest things are either to add a grain steep at the beginning or some dry hopping at the end (or both!).

    I've improved kits that are a bit lacking in body by steeping some crystal malt in hot water, drained it through a sieve and then boiling up the resultant liquid to sanitise it before adding to the kit. Dry hopping is really easy, just lob in ~50g of pellet or leaf hops into 5 gallons when fermentation has finished (2 weeks), leave for a few days and then bottle / keg.

    But you could also easily do a small batch all grain (excellent guide somewhere on here) or an extract brew with a decent sized stock pot and a standard kitchen hob.
     
  5. Oct 21, 2019 #5

    Shreddybrek

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    Hi Graz

    Thanks for that! Dry hopping is definitely something I’ve been looking at trying out as previously mentioned I’ve lived a sheltered life so is there a thread with some sort of guide into what sort of hops could be better for giving certain flavours? I’ll have a look into steeping some malt a bit more as again looks like a more viable option for myself currently. Any particular “pimped up” kit suggestions you might be able to point me in the way of?

    I’ll have a look out for that all grain guide aswell as all grain is somewhere I’m certainly looking to head towards but currently anything outside of experimenting on kits scares the life out of me, my brewing has totally been intermittent over the years so just trying to get a few more experimental (pimped up) kits behind me to get my bearings back to where they should be for now.
     
  6. Oct 21, 2019 #6

    soupdragon

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    Depending on your favourite beer style you could try some Nielsen-Massey natural flavours. They're available from Asda at a couple of quid.
    https://www.thehomebrewforum.co.uk/threads/extracts-and-flavourings-the-bottled-sort.78755/ is where I found out about them. Other options are available in the thread.
    Without re reading it and apologies if I'm duplicating info here but the malt miller sells natural pink grapefruit extract too which is another option

    Cheers. Tom
     
  7. Oct 22, 2019 #7

    Rakey

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    You could look to move onto Mini Mash, part grain and extract, then the world is your oyster as most recipes out there can be produced using this method. You can do it with a saucepan at home in the kitchen, so no additional equipment needed. Some companies even have kits like this that you can buy from them.
     
  8. Oct 24, 2019 #8

    yikkerman

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  9. Oct 27, 2019 #9

    dwhite60

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    Small batch BIAB is probably going to be your cheapest route.

    Five gallon pot, paint straining bag, and grain is all you need to do 2.5 to 3 gallon batches.

    Lots of videos on YouTube.

    All the Best,
    D. White
     
  10. Oct 27, 2019 #10

    druid1966

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    I use the Coopers recipes which allow lots of tweaking......then I read about making malt additives and hop additives....man the list goes on. I haven't made the leap to all grain yet...I love the beers Im making with very basic brewing tools, and the very low cost of my hobby. I have a friend that is all in with his all grain setup, (and yes I can taste the difference ) but even he agrees that what I am brewing is excellent.
     
  11. Nov 2, 2019 #11

    Mr Brico

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    Ive only done two kits so far, Wilkos Winter Warmer with added spray malt, 23 ltrs, not much good.
    Riches Simply Brown Ale, nothing added, only sugar, knocked it down to about 17 ltrs, about 6% ABV, better than Newcastle Brown but not quite as good as McEwans Champion, on my 2nd batch now, about 8%ABV. I think that the kits are a bit of a rip off, if you pay for a kit producing 23 ltrs, then that is what you should get, a decent tasting beer, you shouldn't have to be adding anything extra.
     
  12. Nov 2, 2019 #12

    Slid

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  13. Nov 2, 2019 #13

    johncrobinson

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    R:>Mr Brico. Ahhh a fellow fan of McEwans Champion.
     
  14. Nov 2, 2019 #14

    Mr Brico

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    Yup, but at nigh on £2 a bottle, a bit expensive.
     
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  15. Nov 2, 2019 #15

    Mr Brico

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  16. Nov 3, 2019 #16

    RichK

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    I went stove top BIAB after kits. It's a relatively inexpensive way to try all grain brewing before deciding if it's right for you.
     
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  17. Nov 3, 2019 #17

    darrellm

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    Extract is a good half-way house between kits and AG: rather than using hopped extract as you do in kits, you get plain unhopped extract (either liquid or dried) and do a boil with hops to add bitterness and aroma. You can do this in a smallish stockpot 12L or so, the boil usually takes an hour, sometime with an additional 30min hop steep. You then add the liquid to your FV and top up with cold water, so you don't need to worry about cooling. Price is similar to kits but quality is vastly superior.

    Several suppliers market these, I've always gone for the BrewUK ones
    https://www.brewuk.co.uk/beerkits/craftybrews/brewextract.html
     
  18. Nov 3, 2019 #18

    Rodcx500z

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    Hi 4 for 6 quid in Tesco athumb.. £1-49p a bottle in Lidl
     
  19. Nov 13, 2019 #19

    Shreddybrek

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    Hey guys,

    Sorry for the delay been a bit of a hectic time with sorting out the house move etc. Thanks for all the suggestions guys definitely gave me a few ideas as I plan to get a few batches on the go once in to the new house. I’ve currently got a batch sat in late stages of secondary in the bottle I used a coopers innkeepers daughter got it at a good price as it was nearing its shelf life and just used some extra light spray malt 1kg of Young’s beer enhancer and then added 20ml of strawberry extract I picked a bottle up of and I have to say it’s turned out rather nicely from taste tests so far! Will deffo be using some of your ideas!
    I am a particular fan of McEwans Champion so will be going back to that post!
     
  20. Nov 13, 2019 #20

    davidfromUS

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    @Shreddybrek
    Looks like you received some good info. Sorry for not responding way back when. I just happened on to this thread again. Most has been covered but as far as cutting the apron strings, in general, from kits, you could look at the recipes on places like Brewer's Best or Northern Brewer. While the kits may not be available, the recipes on the website are. It's a small step in buying the ingredients individually. Alternatively, Greg Hughes is spoken of positively on this site and has a book(s) of verified recipes you can follow.
     

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