Budget beer brewing & Pimping basic kits?

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Global33

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So one of the nice things about home brew is that it is a nice saving over the cost of buying beer in the supermarket. Even the double kits are obviously still cheaper, but have been wondering about some of the single tin ones. Obviously you need to add sugar and I've read on here that using a beer enhancer makes them better which adds a fiver or so to the cost of the beer. Do folk just use this or are there other good options? What are the more budget friendly recipes that you may have tried? When it comes to adding hops then what have you found that has the most success?
 

Dutto

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I can recommend the following:

1. Use a tin of Golden Syrup in a Coopers Lager Kit and add 50g of Fuggles Hop Leaf whilst it is fermenting. Gives a great low ABV summer drink with that much loved bit of "hoppiness".

2. "Top and bottom" 8 birdseye chillies and add them to a Wilco Pilsner Kit during fermentation. Amazing brew. No taste becomes a slight tingle at the back of the mouth and finally becomes a healthy "chilli" heat just behind the lips! Beautiful.

3. Wait for pumpkins to be at a reduced price after Halloween (10p each at Lidl), chop one up, boil it with a tablespoonful of All Spice and then squeeze out the resulting liquid and add it to a Wilco Cerveza Kit. Makes a great Christmas Beer.

The world is your oyster with a huge variety of adjuncts available.

My only advice is to run your planned recipe past the Forum before you do it ... :thumb:

... 'cos many of the members may have already been through a "never again" experience with what you have just thought of! :lol:
 

Bigcol49

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Hi!
Malt extract is better than sugar for beers. Sugar tends to make a "thinner" beer.
Watch out for Holland and Barrett's penny sale and get some malt extract. They usually have three types: own brand, Potter's and Meridian. Sometimes one of the brands is on special offer and they may be included in the regular half-price sales. They also have an online shop. It is a darker malt extract so is best used in darker beers. I made a cracking Young's Scottish Heavy with this malt extract.
The Homebrew Company do unbranded light LME at �£5.95 for a 1.5kg can and they also stock Mangrove Jack's LME at �£8.95.
 

LarryF

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The Tesco / Wilko sale is a great place to bulk buy things like brew enhancer (Tesco) and to pick up cheap kits. Now and then companies like homebrew online have flash sales offering kits really cheap and it helps to be on their mailing list. Lastly there is always the odd gem on fleabay with multiple kits being offered cheap.
 

terrym

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A few simple suggestions for getting the best out of one can kits if on a budget, which will deliver good beer if done right
- brew short to concentrate the flavours, say 20-22 litres instead of 23 litres; this is certainly the case for 1.5kg kits
- don't dump lots of table sugar into your brew, dextrose is a bit more expensive to use and is fine provided you don't overdo it, for some beers golden syrup is OK to use but may bring its own unique flavour to the finished beers
- as an alternative to spray malt, H&B liquid malt is cheap enough especially when on one of their frequent offers
- add additional hops for flavour and aroma by either dry hopping or a hop tea; plenty of hops to choose from to suit the beer style; in my opinion this is almost mandatory for most one can kits
- if your budget is tight avoid using Coopers Beer Enhancer; malt extract with dextrose is a very similar and cheaper substitute
- don't bother with 'carbonation drops', table sugar is just as good and much cheaper
In my view the classic example of what can be done with a one can kit is the Coopers Stout (Original or Irish) as detailed in the kit reviews on this forum. Many variations of what to add, mine includes muscavado sugar, coffee, golden syrup in addition to spray malt which produces a stout which rivals anything you can buy, or, dare I say it on here :whistle:, brewed by AG methods.
And finally kit instructions are usually optimistic about the time from pitching the yeast to opening the first bottle. Best to put them to one side, and allow at least two weeks in the FV with or without racking off at just over half way through, up to two weeks carbing in the warm, and then at least two weeks before you try the first one. As many members on here know from experience some beers take at least six to eight weeks to come good and some much longer, and is well worth the wait since it usually brings a noticeable improvement to the finished beer.
 

MyQul

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Your probalby still just considering kits atm but if cost is one of the driving factor ss for you to brew (cheap beer!) move to AG brewing as fast as you can. As it's roughly half the costs of kits. It's a lot simpler than you think.

Have a look at this thread. It's massive but the first post tells you everything you need to know, the rest is comment and questions

http://www.thehomebrewforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=51779
 

Global33

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Thank you all. Cost is not primary concern, brewing some nice beer is! That said if I can make it a bit cheaper, it would be great. Seems like lots to buy when you first start, did my first brew today (Youngs A.P.A) and can see already that some more bit and bobs will be useful. Plus I'd like to start building up stocks, which means buying a fair few kits. I'm certainly interested in All Grain Brewing, would like to get some experience under my belt first, but that threads very interesting. I will certainly be keeping an eye out for special offers. I got my equipment and kit from the home brew shop. Who else do you recommend?

I'm still getting my head around what to add to ferment. I know that table sugar is a no no and thought brewing sugar was looked down upon as well for giving a thinner beer, but the Youngs kit I used today had a bag of it in there and it's supposed to be a well rated kit. When using malt extracts do you use them entirely to replace sugar or just part of it?

I'm certainly up for the idea of adding more hops to my beers. Like many people I'm quite a fan of the new style of IPAs and other craft beers. I'd rather not go overboard buying loads, could people suggest a couple that are quite versatile? I see that Goldings are quite popular, so maybe them and one other?
 

Godsdog

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Thank you all. Cost is not primary concern, brewing some nice beer is! That said if I can make it a bit cheaper, it would be great. Seems like lots to buy when you first start, did my first brew today (Youngs A.P.A) and can see already that some more bit and bobs will be useful. Plus I'd like to start building up stocks, which means buying a fair few kits. I'm certainly interested in All Grain Brewing, would like to get some experience under my belt first, but that threads very interesting. I will certainly be keeping an eye out for special offers. I got my equipment and kit from the home brew shop. Who else do you recommend?

I'm still getting my head around what to add to ferment. I know that table sugar is a no no and thought brewing sugar was looked down upon as well for giving a thinner beer, but the Youngs kit I used today had a bag of it in there and it's supposed to be a well rated kit. When using malt extracts do you use them entirely to replace sugar or just part of it?

I'm certainly up for the idea of adding more hops to my beers. Like many people I'm quite a fan of the new style of IPAs and other craft beers. I'd rather not go overboard buying loads, could people suggest a couple that are quite versatile? I see that Goldings are quite popular, so maybe them and one other?
Any of the big C' hops for the AIPAs centinnel,citra,cascade,Chinook or new world hops like riwaka,nelson sauvin,one of the very best in my opinion is Amarillo
 

Robin54

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Thank you all. Cost is not primary concern, brewing some nice beer is! That said if I can make it a bit cheaper, it would be great. Seems like lots to buy when you first start, did my first brew today (Youngs A.P.A) and can see already that some more bit and bobs will be useful. Plus I'd like to start building up stocks, which means buying a fair few kits. I'm certainly interested in All Grain Brewing, would like to get some experience under my belt first, but that threads very interesting. I will certainly be keeping an eye out for special offers. I got my equipment and kit from the home brew shop. Who else do you recommend?

I'm still getting my head around what to add to ferment. I know that table sugar is a no no and thought brewing sugar was looked down upon as well for giving a thinner beer, but the Youngs kit I used today had a bag of it in there and it's supposed to be a well rated kit. When using malt extracts do you use them entirely to replace sugar or just part of it?

I'm certainly up for the idea of adding more hops to my beers. Like many people I'm quite a fan of the new style of IPAs and other craft beers. I'd rather not go overboard buying loads, could people suggest a couple that are quite versatile? I see that Goldings are quite popular, so maybe them and one other?
You can make an all grain beer using goldings which IMO is absolutely superb.
Making 10L will cost you pennies....but....you will have to invest in a 15L stock pot and a few other bits and bobs. However a 15L stock pot makes great soups as well and a digital thermometer is always useful when checking a sunday roast, so I would say look at the broader picture, and once you have the items and brew at least once a month you squids in.
 

terrym

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@Global33
Seems like lots to buy when you first start, did my first brew today (Youngs A.P.A) and can see already that some more bit and bobs will be useful. I got my equipment and kit from the home brew shop. Who else do you recommend?
Basic list in here.
Basic beginners guide to brewing your own beer from a kit - The HomeBrew Forum
Good temperature control during fermentation is important. Some people make and use brewfridges, and others heat pads.
I use a water bath as do others
How to Set up a Water Bath for your FV - The HomeBrew Forum

When using malt extracts do you use them entirely to replace sugar or just part of it?
You can do both. Usually better to use all malt but sometimes using some sugar will introduce a dryness which you might be looking for.

I'm certainly up for the idea of adding more hops to my beers. I see that Goldings are quite popular, so maybe them and one other?
You can add hops to boost a kit either by making up a hop tea or by dry hopping
A Newbies Guide to Dry Hopping Your Beer - The HomeBrew Forum
Goldings are fine. As an alternative you could consider First Gold one of my favourites. For something different, Cascade, a 'New World' hop is another favourite of mine.
More on hops here
Suitable hops for English and American ales - The HomeBrew Forum
and here
Hops Varieties for Brewing Beer Guide | Where legends are made
 

evolram

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I think by the time you buy a kit then add on the price of dme or lme then add on hops and maybe try a different yeast. You are about the same as the youngs 2 can kits. And I think those beers are great.

Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk
 

Lesinge

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Everything that people have said here. In my opinion to really get great tasting beer at a really cheap price then AG is the way to go. However, there are loads of good kits out there and I haven't found a hop that I don't like except maybe Nelson Sauvin (as I don't like white wine and it does remind me of it), so experiment. There are plenty of cheaper hops which give you great results such as Flyer, Boudicca, Dana or best of all these Goldings (especially EKG) and don't break the bank. Pimping your one can kit with hops or using steeped grains is easy and fun to do and can have great results. For extra good beer buy a BIAB bag, a pot, a sleeping bag and mash and boil your own grain.
 

Global33

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It does appear that unless my Google Fu has failed me that using malt and hops does mean that its not much cheaper then buying one of the more expensive kits. I can see how experimenting with different hops would be fun though and my GF will probably let me know when Holland and Barret have a sale on.

I do really like the idea of All Grain Brewing, but can see I've got a lot of reading to do, to choose ingredients, find simple recepies and how to buy the kit on a budget, without wanting to replace it almost straight away. Thanks again everyone.

Edit: I think I've got most of the kit to do a small batch of all grain from the thread @myqul linked to just to experiment. However going to the effort to what can be drunk very quickly... Well I think that novelty would ware of fast. :D
 

Pirate_Pete

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It does appear that unless my Google Fu has failed me that using malt and hops does mean that its not much cheaper then buying one of the more expensive kits. I can see how experimenting with different hops would be fun though and my GF will probably let me know when Holland and Barret have a sale on.

I do really like the idea of All Grain Brewing, but can see I've got a lot of reading to do, to choose ingredients, find simple recepies and how to buy the kit on a budget, without wanting to replace it almost straight away. Thanks again everyone.

Edit: I think I've got most of the kit to do a small batch of all grain from the thread @myqul linked to just to experiment. However going to the effort to what can be drunk very quickly... Well I think that novelty would ware of fast. :D
I started homebrewing again to make cheap beer and I really didn't want to start adding malt or hops.

It didn't take me long to realise that doing some would create a much better beer and per bottle the price was not that much extra.

Yesterday I put on a Coopers APA. Added Carapils, two different hops and a kilo of malt. Still pretty cheap beer really.
 

Global33

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I'm with you on be willing to spend extra on getting a better beer. It's more I thought that adding malt and hops brings them up to the price of the double kits. Like Youngs.

Anyway my Google Fu has not failed me as I've just found BrewSmarter who seem to be cheaper and even do their own bundles where they sell cheaper kits with malt.
 
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