Get Started Brewing For The Best Price
Posted on June 16, 2010 by mike
Holy CRAP! There are a ton of different places to get homebrew starter kits on the web. When I was starting out I didn’t know exactly which place to purchase from nor exactly what was going to be needed when I did finally purchase. Some came with this, some came with that??? But what did I really need and more importantly, how much was my new homebrew starter kit going to cost me?
To help ease the struggle I’ve picked out 5 homebrew starter kits from the top 5 online homebrew supply stores. This rank is based on Alexa.com‘s website traffic stats. I also believe they all come from reputable homebrew supply stores. I’ve compared what is in the kits and what you would still need, aside from a pot and bottles, to make your first batch of homebrew. I’ve tried to put together all the information you would need to help make a solid purchasing decision.
I hate writing these but I feel a need to in this case. All research was done on the same day and all comparisons of products were done with the intent to putting the most alike products together. For example, a plastic stirring spoon from one supplier was the same or, the closest that supplier had to offer, to the same product. The intent of this article is to give a potential first time homebrewer the knowledge and confidence to get the most for their money.
Homebrew Starter Kits
1. William’s Brewing
I have never purchased from William’s brewing but I receive their catalog, hear their advertisements and have read some reviews on homebrewtalk.com about them, so I believe the company is solid. I am using their kit as a bench mark as I believe it comes with everything you would need to get started, including an extract kit. Usually that, plus thermometers and spoons are all purchased separately but the kind folks at William’s Brewing put it altogether in a no fuss package. This kit is siphonless by using a spigot on both fermenters to easily transfer wort from one vessel to another. I’ve been assured through email correspondence that their unique transfer valve prevents yeast from moving with your wort. Their website is a little difficult to navigate upon first landing, but once you figure it out it isn’t to bad.
William’s Homebrew Kit Highlights
- Comes with everything
- Instruction Booklet and Video’s Included!
- Unique transfer valve allows for siphonless transfers without yeast cake disturbance
2. Northern Brewer
I have used Northern Brewer quite a few times for equipment and ingredients. The ingredients are always fresh and everything shows up in a very timely manner. It could be because I live less than 300 miles away. Regardless, a solid company. A very solid kit that I’ve recommended to a couple of friends who love them.
Northern Brewer Homebrew Kit Highlights
- Speedy Delivery
- Flat Rate Shipping on most products
- Solid Option
3. Midwest Supplies
Midwest Supplies has a very good reputation and a lot of my friends have used them and their physical store. Prices are usually pretty good, the staff is knowledgeable and willing to help. Their homebrew starter kit is very well priced for what you get. The one main drawback to this kit though, is that you have to calculate shipping which, when I did it for Fargo, ND it ran me over $10. So what you save with this kit, might be lost in shipping.
Midwest Supplies Homebrew Kit Highlights
- Liquid Crystal Thermometer
- Instruction Booklet and Video’s Included!
I have yet to use MoreBeer but I plan to in the future. They have been around for a while and from my understanding have some sort of affiliation with the Brew Strong Crew. On top of that…it is the cheapest homebrew starter kit option that I have found. You may be wondering, “There is no auto siphon.” That is because both of your buckets will have a spigot on them. All you have to do is hook up your tubing from one bucket and drain it into the other. It is a lot less fuss, similar to the Williams Kit above. The free shipping is pretty nice too! The site could look and function a bit better, but again, once you get used to it, its easy to use.
MoreBeer Homebrew Kit Highlights
- Cheapest with free shipping
- Star San sanitizer (one of the best in the biz)
5. Austin Homebrew Supply
Another brewing store I have yet to use, but it ranks up there as number 3 of trafficked sites. Again, I’ve heard good thing from people on homebrewtalk.com and Austin Homebrew has been around for a little while. The site is a little confusing to use and based on their starter kit, you are going to need to make some extra purchases.
Austin Brewing Homebrew Kit Highlights
- Most Expensive
- Requires a lot of extra purchases
- Has the biggest fermenters (could be good or bad)
There you have it. These are 5 very good options for getting started brewing. The prices are not all that far from each other so any option is a good option. If your looking for no fuss, hit up the William’s Brewing kit. Everything that comes in that homebrew starter kit will get you going. If you don’t mind a little moving around on a site and filling a shopping cart, grab the cheapest, MoreBeer option. The Star San makes that kit worth it to me. If you really think your going to need an auto siphon, the Northern Brewer kit comes with the same one I use, which has been good to me.
Your call my friend!
If anyone has anything to add, please feel free to let me know. Again, the purpose here is to give someone basic information to help possible first time homebrewers make a sound decision on a homebrew starter kit, so we can get more homebrewers making fine and tasty beer!