Get Started Brewing For The Best Price

Posted on June 16, 2010 by

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.

***Disclaimer

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.

Homebrew Starter Kit Williams Brewing

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.

Homebrew Starter Kit Northern Brewer

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.

Homebrew Starter Kit Midwest Supplies

Midwest Supplies Homebrew Kit Highlights

  • Liquid Crystal Thermometer
  • Instruction Booklet and Video’s Included!

4. MoreBeer

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.

Homebrew Starter Kit MoreBeer

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.

Homebrew Starter Kit Austin Brewing

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!

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  • Tony

    Awesome – thanks for these! They're excellent guides. I brew small batches but I may just sell some stuff and end up buying one of these once I move to a place for the potential for 5 gal jugs.

  • mikebiewer

    No problem man! Glad it can help.

    Whatcha brewing in now?

    Mike

  • Chad

    I'm glad you added the cost of the items not included in the kits. After doing the research I bought my first kit from Midwest Supply. I'm still happy with the deal I got, but of course I ended up buying the rest of the stuff later on. Hopefully you've saved someone some extra freight $$$. Keep up the good work.

  • mikebiewer

    Chad,

    Which kit did you get? Did you get their basic starter? How did it work out? Sounds like it has been just fine, but I am curious as I've never used it.

    Have you been to their store at all? I hear it is amazing. Would really like to hit it up sometime when I'm in the cities.

    Thanks for the comment.

    Mike

  • completegeek

    I got my starter kit from Midwest. I actually got the kit that is one step up from the one you posted about. I just wanted the glass carboy for some reason. Great list!

  • mikebiewer

    Right on.

    The glass carboy is a good option. I jump back and forth from using my glass and my plastic.

    Thanks for stopping in. I'm glad you liked the list!

    Mike

  • Jonothan

    Not sure why you left out RebelBrewer.com, they can beat any price and have the best customer service of any other site IMHO

  • mikebiewer

    Jonothan,

    Thanks for the tip. I haven't even heard of Rebel Brewer. My choices for top 5 were based on the most trafficked homebrew sites on the web. Meaning, most popular.

    I did a quick search around Rebel Brewer and it looks like they have a decent starter pack. It would definitely compare to the stuff I've got listed here. Just off the top of my head you would still need an auto siphon and some sanitizer along with an extract kit to put it in with all these. Shipping was about $11 so just off the top of my head it would be on the more pricey side compared to the cheapest one here.

    Do you know if they match prices? Just curious cuz you said “beat any price!” That would be awesome if they did and worth noting to all new homebrewers!

    Thanks again for the tip. I may have to look around this site a bit more!

    Mike

  • Kyle

    any thoughts on a kit called the Mr. Beer? i bought my father one and he loves it, makes some quality brews with their recipies.

  • mikebiewer

    Kyle,

    Personally, I have not used one, but I've got a friend who has been using one for almost a year and he loves it. We are suppose to be getting together to exchange some beers, plus I'd love to watch him use the Mr. Beer. A lot of people get started brewing with a Mr. Beer kit, so good choice for a gift for your dad.

    If you want to know more about the Mr. Beer kit, Homebrewtalk has a great forum post dedicated to Mr. Beer and making good beer with it.

    http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/mr-beer-read-al

    Are you thinking of getting a kit from a homebrew supply store or getting another Mr. Beer?

    Thanks for stopping in, feel free to ask any question you like!

    Mike

  • Leo

    Just a update. William's brew kit now includes a brew pot and wort chiller.

  • L William

    sorry that's a upgraded kit with the pot and chiller

  • mikebiewer

    Ah..

    I was going to say. Thanks for the update!

    Mike

  • WASP

    i just tried a honey brew from Mr. beer and it was by far the most pleasant buzz and best brew , next to Black Butte Porter from Deschutes, that i have ever had. My cousin uses Mr. Beer and the process of brewing is as easy as making scrambled eggs.

  • Anonymous

    Glad you enjoyed it. I have a buddy that makes beer using his Mr. Beer. I’ve never used one, but it must be somewhat of quality if all these people tell me its good. I might have to give one a try sometime!

    Mike

  • Alexander Giddens

    Would you say that the MOREBEER.com is still the best deal? 

  • Rick

    Just bought a complete kit from a website that included an ingredient kit for $79. That was the best deal I could find anywhere online plus they give you lots of extra stuff. I called them to ask a question and one of the owners ended up throwing in an extra bag of hops (yeah! I like hops). Check them out, theamericanbrewer.com. Thanks, Rick

  • Trent

    I just bought a kit from The American Home Brewer.com and I couldn’t find a better deal anywhere else. Came with a 5 gallon ingredient kit plus lots of extra stuff for $79. Going to brew my first beer this weekend, can’t wait!

  • JoeBrew

    Northwest Brewer now offers a choice of either a Brown Ale, Irish Red Ale, or an American Wheat recipe pack with the purchase of the Essential Starter Kit

  • Jim Wolfe

    I received a Mr. Beer as a gift. On the plus side I’d have to say is simplicity. Took be about an hour to prepare the first batch (including consulting instructions) and an hour for bottling. Still waiting for my first taste. On the down side, you’re pretty much married to Mr. Beer ingredients. I’ve heard mixed reviews on freshness, although I also hear they are improving. Most recipies on the net are for 5 gal batches (Mr. Beer is 2 gal). I’m still looking for 2 gal recipies.

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