After a failed attempt with the Mr. Beer kit, I started looking for different home brewing kits (not to say that the failure was due to the kit, but just out of curiousity’s sake). I came across the Brooklyn Brew Shop and their attractive kit – their slogan is “We sell beer kits that don’t look like kits.” In fact, it looks more like a chemistry experiment, which is really what all this is. The proprietors have a picture of themselves on the front of the website, giving off that mom-and-pop vibe, which I’m more than happy to support.
The instructions are generally pretty thorough when it comes to the brewing process, but I feel they gloss over a few important things. I’ve made a couple notes on the process that I think are serious omissions on their behalf, and made my first brewing attempt a more difficult task than it should have been.
– This is a 2-man job. So before you start, lure someone over with a bottle of Grolsch.
– You need 2 stockpots, 1 of which can hold at least 2 gallons of liquid, and the other, at least 1 gallon.
– The strainer should be very fine, and also be able to hold a lot. It should also be able to rest at the lid of your stockpot.
– A large funnel with a built-in strainer is ideal for filling the jug.
– Some of the ingredients in the kit (the yeast and the fuggle hops) need to be refrigerated when you receive it. This was stated on the instructions, but I didn’t notice this until they had already been sitting out for weeks, including during the heat wave we experienced last week due to the fires. If this batch doesn’t come out right, I think that could be a major reason.
Regarding the store itself, the package arrived about a week after ordering it and in solid condition. Although the kit comes with instructions, I found it strange that they don’t provide the instructions online as a PDF. When I e-mailed them asking for an online copy of the instructions, they never responded.
The benefit of using something like Mr. Beer is that it’s a widely-known kit and there is a large online community that supports it. I haven’t found any reviews of this kit, advice from other users, or received tips from Brooklyn Brew Shop. That kind of support would push something like this to another level, although to their credit, if you live in New York, you can probably visit their shop at the flea market and get all sorts of useful knowledge.