The Best Homebrewing Kits, According to Beer Experts

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Best Home Brewing Kits

The Spruce Eats / Chloe Jeong

Even though we've been brewing beer since the dawn of human civilization, the process seems like magic. How can grain, hops, yeast, and water turn into something so tasty? A bit like baking sourdough bread, homebrewing is a hobby that's easy to try out but offers infinite complexity. There are a few unique tools and ingredients involved, but plenty of affordable kits for beginners include everything you need to get started. On the other side of the spectrum, advanced homebrewers can dive into a world of specialized—and expensive—equipment for ultimate creative control.

Best Overall

Northern Brewer Brew. Share. Enjoy. Homebrew Starter Kit

Northern Brewer - Essential Brew


What We Like
  • Large capacity

  • Ample instructional material

  • Simple brewing process

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn’t include bottles

  • Lengthy brewing process

Whether you're doing it at home or on an industrial scale, brewing beer requires a lot of equipment. You need a kettle, fermenter, tubing, sanitizer, and testing equipment, not to mention tools for bottling the beer when it's ready. This everything-included starter kit handles the heavy lifting and promises to make the process, in the brand's words, “as easy as making mac ’n’ cheese.” In our tests, brewing took about three and a half hours from start to finish; while it was easy, it's most likely a project for a weekend.

Northern Brewer is definitely a trustworthy name that understands the ins and outs of homebrewing better than most: It started off in 1993 as a tiny shop in Minnesota and has grown to become the biggest homebrewing supply company in America. With the Brew. Share. Enjoy. kit, you get to choose one of three different beer styles—Hank’s Hefeweizen, Block Party Amber Ale, or Chinook IPA—and you get the exact recipes of grain, yeast, and hops needed for 5 gallons of beer. (That's enough to pour 40 pints or fill more than 50 standard 12-ounce bottles.) There are step-by-step printed instructions included, and they're complemented by a wealth of online videos, a database of informational articles, and even homebrew experts that you can contact by text if something goes awry.

While it comes with a bottle filler and capper, the one thing this kit doesn't include is the bottles themselves. Standard 12-ounce beer bottles are often sold by the 24-pack, and you'll need at least two of those for a 5-gallon batch. (If you plan to brew large amounts regularly, another option is to invest in a small reusable keg, often called a Cornelius keg.)

Price at time of publish: $100 for Block Party Amber Ale, $150 for Chinook IPA, or Hank's Hefeweizen

Northern Brewer Brew Share Enjoy Homebrew Starter Kit with beer pouring from line into bucket

The Spruce Eats / Rebekah Joan

Batch Size: 5 gallons | Includes: Stainless steel brew kettle, beer recipe kit, 6.5-gallon fermenter, bubbler airlock, tubing, hydrometer, bottling bucket with spigot, spring tip bottle filler, stainless steel spoon, no-rinse cleanser, bottle brush, bottle capper and caps, instructions

Best for Beginners

Mr. Beer Complete Beer Making Starter Kit with Bottles

Mr. Beer Complete Beer Making 2 Gallon Starter Kit


What We Like
  • Fast brewing process

  • Includes bottles

  • Reusable equipment

What We Don't Like
  • Fermenter and bottles are plastic

  • No control over ingredients

Mr. Beer's simple name reflects the simplicity of its brewing process. This kit replaces grains and hops—and the hours-long process of boiling them to make wort—with hopped malt extract created by Australia’s Coopers Brewery. The extract cuts your brew day to around 30 minutes; all you have to do is stir the contents of a can and a packet into a quart of hot water. (We did, however, note in testing that opening the malt-extract can is an involved and strangely difficult process that involves taking off the label and sitting it in hot tap water.)

From there, you pour the prepared wort and a bunch of cold water into the included keg-shaped fermenter and wait a few weeks until the beer is ready. A set of 11 large bottles is included to package the finished product, along with no-rinse sanitizer to prepare the bottles and special carbonation drops that ensure the beer will be nice and fizzy. The downside is that the keg and bottles are made of plastic. They work just fine and are part of why this kit has such a low price, but they look a little cheap next to stainless steel vessels and glass bottles.

When you're ready to make your second batch, you can simply buy a new can of extract and repeat the same process with the same equipment. There several styles available, from tailgate-friendly classic American light beer to a hefty Irish stout. Unfortunately, the extract method doesn't allow for any customization or tinkering with the included recipe; you can only brew what's in the can.

Price at time of publish: $50

Mr. Beer American Golden Ale with bottle and glass filled with beer

The Spruce Eats / Rebekah Joan

Batch Size: 2 gallons | Includes: 2-gallon fermenter with spigot, 1 can of brewing extract, 1 yeast packet, no-rinse cleanser, carbonation drops, 11 (25-ounce) plastic bottles with caps and labels

Best All-in-One

Anvil Foundry All-In-One Brewing System With Pump, 10.5加仑

Foundry 10.5 Gallon All-In-One Brewing System With Pump


What We Like
  • Inexpensive for its size

  • Digital controls

  • High capacity

What We Don't Like
  • Fermentation and bottling equipment not included

  • Not for beginners

When it's time to upgrade to a large-capacity brewing system, there's a huge range of all-in-one systems on the market that is tough to sift through. Mark Hurley, a manager at The Brew Hut in Aurora, Colorado, views the Anvil Foundry as the best of the breed. (In 2020, the American Homebrewers Association named The Brew Hut the homebrew shop of the year.) “If you compare the price of this unit to what you get, I really don’t see any other system that is coming close,” he says.

The bells and whistles Hurley touts are built right into the unit's tall silo shape, which looks like an oversized coffee urn. The low-density heating elements won't scorch the mash, and there are two separate voltage modes to bring any size batch of mash to a boil most efficiently. The kettle is double-wall insulated to hold heat without the need for an outer jacket, meaning the elements can bring water to temperature faster (and also reducing the overall size). The grain basket features extra side perforations for better flow and less chance of a stuck mash, while the digital controls let you calibrate your boil temperature down to a specific degree.

This is a large system, making 10.5 gallons at a time, and it doesn't include a fermenter, bottling equipment, or any ingredients or instructions. It's a great value for what it provides, but it's still a serious investment that's best for a pretty serious homebrewer.

Price at time of publish: $600

Batch Size: 10.5 gallons | Includes: All-in-one brewing system with pump

Best Splurge

Bräu Supply Unibräu 10-Gallon Electric Brew System

Unibräu All In One Electric Brew System

BRAU Supply

What We Like
  • Large capacity

  • Customizable and upgradeable

  • Pinpoint control

What We Don't Like
  • Very expensive

  • Doesn't include fermentation vessel or ingredients

Vancouver, Canada-based Bräu Supply makes nothing but high-end equipment for small-scale brewing. Its all-in-one Unibräu system automatically runs the entire brewing process, with its own 10-gallon kettle, grain basket, heating element, and chiller. The computer that controls everything can set the temperature to within a tenth of a degree, with easily programmable timers and alarms to ensure the steps happen exactly when they're supposed to.

The Unibräu is definitely not for the first-time homebrewer; this kit is a serious investment, takes up a lot of space, and doesn't include any instructions, grains, or yeast. But if you know what you're doing, it lets you use any ingredients you like to make any kind of beer you like, with pinpoint control. (The set also doesn't include a fermentation vessel; its job ends when the wort is finished.)

If you're ready to shell out serious dough for your homebrewing hobby, the great thing about Bräu Supply is that all of its products are designed to work together, making it easy to upgrade and customize your system. There's also a premium version of the Unibräu that adds an extra-powerful heating element, filter, sparge arm, and whirlpool arm for making extra-hoppy beers.

Price at time of publish: $1,489

Batch Size: 10 gallons | Includes: Kettle and grain basket with lids, 1600-watt heating element and power cord, wort chiller, electric brewing controller, pump, valves

Best Variety

Brooklyn Brew Shop Everyday IPA Beer Making Kit

Brooklyn Brew Shop's Everyday IPA Beer Making Kit


What We Like
  • Many beer styles available

  • Inexpensive

  • Easy to use

What We Don't Like
  • Small capacity

  • Doesn't include kettle or bottles

Most homebrewing kits offer you a mere handful of fairly generic options for beer style—an IPA, a lager, a stout. Brooklyn Brew Shop has dozens of choices, including collaborations with famed craft breweries like Stillwater, BrewDog, and Mikkeller. (The recipe for Mikkeller's coffee-infused Beer Geek Breakfast stout is so good.) You can make a lip-prickling jalapeño saison, a grapefruit honey ale, a chocolate maple porter, or a funky gose along with plenty of more traditional styles. The Everyday IPA featured here has nice gentle hops, for a light citrusy bitterness that's still refreshing.

In addition to grain, hops, 和酵母, each starter kit includes a 1-gallon glass fermenter and all the bits and pieces that attach to it. (You will need your own large pot and strainer for boiling wort.) There aren't any bottles or bottling equipment included, but a full batch is only 8 pints of beer, enough that you can pour it into a couple screw-top growlers and finish it before it goes flat. After you've bought one starter kit, you can reuse the equipment; Brooklyn Brew Shop's beer-making mixes include just the ingredients you need for a new batch, for $16 apiece.

Price at time of publish: $48

Batch Size: 1 gallon | Includes: Everyday IPA making mix, 1-gallon reusable glass fermenter, thermometer, tubing, racking cane and tip, chambered airlock, cleanser, screw-cap stopper

Best With Conical Fermenter

BrewDemon Craft Beer Brewing Kit

BrewDemon Craft Beer Brewing Kit Extra with Bottles


What We Like
  • Makes extra-clear beer

  • Easy to use

  • Includes bottles

What We Don't Like
  • Plastic bottles and equipment

  • Expensive

Go behind the scenes at most any professional brewery and you’ll spot tall fermentation tanks with conical bottoms. The shape lets any sediment collect in the pointed bottom, with a spigot above its level dispensing clear brew. The BrewDemon replicates the conical fermenter shape on a small scale to solve the all-too-common problem of cloudy home-brewed beer.

Like the Mr. Beer above, BrewDemon uses canned malt extract (in this case from New Zealand’s Speight’s brewery), which means the whole process of preparing the wort takes half an hour at most. After a week or two of fermentation, you can siphon off about 2 gallons of crystal-clear beer into the included bottles.
This kit makes a basic ale called American Prophecy, but after you finish your first batch, there are lots of style options with BrewDemon's recipe kits.

Our main complaint here is only an aesthetic one: We don't love that this kit's fermenter and bottles are both made of plastic, especially given that it's fairly expensive for a 2-gallon system.

Price at time of publish: $115

Batch Size: 2 gallons | Includes: Conical fermenter with spigot, temperature gauge, malt extract, yeast, 8 (1-quart) plastic bottles with lids

Final Verdict

The Northern Brewer Brew. Share. Enjoy. Homebrew Starter Kit gives aspiring brewers all the necessary equipment to make a sizable batch of real homemade beer. For a beginner looking to dip their toe into homebrewing, the Mr. Beer Complete Beer Making Starter Kit is a more affordable and smaller setup that's super-easy.

What to Look for in a Homebrewing Kit

Brewing Method

The traditional first step in making beer is mashing, a process of cooking malted barley (and sometimes other types of grain or hops) with water to release sugars and create a flavorful liquid called wort. Add yeast to the wort to ferment the sugars into alcohol, and in a little while you've got beer. Brewing from actual dried barley is a labor-intensive method that takes hours, but it also gives you complete control over the ingredients and process. You can buy many individual types of malt, grains, and hops online or at any homebrew supply store, but there are also all-grain kits that bundle together the right ingredients for various beer styles.

A faster and easier alternative to all-grain brewing is malt extract. Available canned as a thick syrup or bagged as a dry powder, this is a concentrated mixture of the sugars and flavors of malted barley. Think of it as instant wort mix; you simply dissolve malt extract in water, and you're ready to start fermenting. There are also hopped malt extracts in both liquid and dry form that add concentrated hop flavors to put the full recipe for an individual beer style into one convenient ingredient.

It's possible to supplement malt extract with additional flavor grains and hops, but it still doesn't offer you the same ability to customize and tinker with recipes that all-grain brewing does. Some homebrew snobs also say the more labor-intensive all-grain method yields fresher-tasting beer. (We haven't tested them side-by-side and can't take a position on that one.)

using whisk to stir Mr. Beer American Golden Ale Complete Beer Making kit
The Spruce Eats / Rebekah Joan

Kettle and Fermenter

The two largest items you need for homebrewing are a kettle for cooking wort and a fermenter to hold the liquid while the yeast does its work. A homebrewing kit might include both or just one of these, but either is fairly easy to substitute.

A kettle is basically just a stockpot—a big cooking vessel in which you can boil grains or malt extract with a lot of water. Homebrew-specific kettles often include a way to strain out hops and grains, and high-end ones even heat themselves. You can use any large pot as a homebrewing kettle, but you'll also need a fine strainer to remove any bits of grain and hops left behind. A large mesh brew bag might be a good investment if you plan to use a standard stockpot.

A fermenter can be any food-safe vessel large enough to hold a full batch over the couple weeks it takes for the beer to ferment. Common fermenters you might find in a homebrewing kit include a simple bucket, a barrel-shaped container, a glass or plastic jug called a carboy, or a special cylindrical vessel that lets sediment settle to the bottom. If your kit doesn't include a fermenter, you can use pretty much any container that's big enough to hold a batch of beer and can be sealed. The most important thing is that you completely sanitize it beforehand. (There are many brands of homebrew-specific no-rinse sanitizer available.)

Northern Brewer Brew Share Enjoy Homebrew Starter Kit showing all supplies on a tabletop
The Spruce Eats / Rebekah Joan

Other Accessories

There are lots of bits and pieces needed for homebrewing beyond a kettle and fermenter. You might need an airlock during fermentation to let carbon dioxide escape without letting in outside air, various funnels, siphons, filters, and tubing to move beer around, and a range of other tools designed for various steps of the brewing process. Most homebrewing kits, especially those pitched at beginners, will include everything you need, but as you become a more advanced homebrewer, you may need to pick up more specialized stuff—make sure it's compatible with the equipment you already have.

There's also bottling to consider. If you throw a party to celebrate your homebrewing success, you might be able to polish off a gallon or two in a night, but if you want to hold onto the finished beer for more than about a day, you'll need to seal it in bottles. There are all different sizes of glass and plastic bottles, which might seal with a screw cap, swing-top, or crown cap (which requires a special capper device). Bottling helps seal in natural carbonation, but for extra-bubbly beer, you can also add a carbonation drop, a little tablet that goes in the bottle and releases more carbon dioxide.

adding carbonation drop to beer bottle
The Spruce Eats / Rebekah Joan

Batch Size

Even the smallest starter kits make about a gallon of beer at a time; it's just not practical to brew much less than that. Other popular sizes include 2 gallons and 5 gallons—you can find equipment and pre-packed ingredients designed for both. If you really want to dive into hardcore homebrewing, you can build a system that makes 10, 20, 50 gallons at a time, but at that point you'll need to measure and mix your own ingredients. Keep in mind that you'll also have to store all that beer after you make it. Each gallon of beer will fill 10 standard glass bottles, and bottles take up a lot of space.


How do you brew beer at home?

Whether it's at home or anywhere else, there are two main steps to brewing beer: You soak malted barley in hot water to release its sugars, then you let yeast ferment the sugars into alcohol. The varied universe of beer styles comes from all the different ways there are to tweak those steps. There are dozens of types of malted barley 和酵母. You can add various kinds of hops at different points in the process to contribute bitterness and citrusy flavors. You can also add additional grains, including wheat or rye, for additional flavors, or age the finished beer in former whiskey or wine barrels. More out-there beer styles might be infused pre- or post-fermentation with anything from maple syrup to jalapeño peppers to oyster shells.

What are some good books on homebrewing? 

For a nuts-and-bolts primer, John Palmer’s "How to Brew: Everything You Need to Know to Brew Great Beer Every Time" is a terrific start to your homebrewing library. Charlie Papazian’s "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing" is also a fundamental text, with lots of detail on a wide variety of beer styles and how they're made. For any fan of hoppy bitterness, Mitch Steele’s "IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale" covers everything you need to know on making and perfecting the popular IPA style.

How long does homebrewed beer last in the bottle?

Even if you follow all the sanitizing and sealing procedures perfectly, home bottling can't make a perfectly airtight seal. The beer will be exposed to some amount of oxygen and lose flavor over time. It will really only stay at its peak for three to six months, and that's if you store the bottles correctly: Keep them out of direct sunlight, ideally at slightly cooler than room temperature. (A wine fridge is a great option for the large-scale homebrewer.)

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

Joshua M. Bernstein, the author of this piece, knows beer. He’s penned six books on the subject, as well as articles for The New York Times, Wine Enthusiast, Men’s Journal, and Imbibe. He interviewed three experts for this story.

The Spruce Eats commerce writer Jason Horn updated this story. He's been writing about food and drinks for more than 15 years, including as an editor at and spirits columnist for He's fermented sourdough bread, pickles, and even salami at home, but he's ashamed to admit he's never tried brewing beer.


Mark Hurley is a longtime homebrewer and a manager at The Brew Hut in Aurora, Colorado, where he's worked for more than 10 years.

Additional reporting by
Allison Wignall
Allison Wignall The Spruce Eats

Allison Wignall is a staff writer for The Spruce Eats who focuses on product reviews. She has also contributed to publications such as Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, and Southern Living.

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