Selecting A Beer Starter Kit

1708040001
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Before we review the kit options, lets look at the equipment you actually need to make beer. Bear in mind that many web sites will sell you incomplete kits that cant possible work without the missing bits. To make beer you will need: 
- cleaner / sterilizer
- a fermenter
- an 
airlock
- stirring paddle
- thermometer
- hydrometer
- trial jar
- fermenter tap and a bottle filling stick OR a syphon

- a heating brewbelt (required to keep your brew warm so that it can ferment)
bottles OR a keg

There are many options available for the above items. HomeBrewWest always provide top quality components . . . as wholesalers, and the largest homebrew suppliers in Ireland, we can afford to do this for the same price as the cheap items used by our competitors. We also insist that the shops we supply use the best quality components in starter kits. The reason is simple: its in our interest to make your system actually work so that you keep coming back to reorder more homebrew.

To save money, you can opt for a cheaper syphon based system. However, if you have ever used our fermenter tap and bottle filling system, you will wonder how people use syphons! For easy bottle filling, just attach the bottle filling stick to the tap in your fermenter, then simply push the bottle up, and when full, lower it - the flow of beer automatically stops (there is a valve at the end of the filling stick). No more nightmares with syphons spilling beer everywhere!  

You can also get away without a heating brewbelt if you can place your brew in an environment with a constant temperature of about 22 oC. many people use the hot press; it can work if the hot water tank is insulated, and if you monitor the temperature carefully; the danger is that the temperature will rise above 26 oC. Coopers beer kit yeasts will survive up to 30 oC or more, but other yeasts will die and the brew will be destroyed.

Good quality bottles should be used, we recommend Coopers OxBar bottles. Another option is to collect empty beer bottles, and then use our Black Capper and value caps to cap the bottles. Or you can buy a keg and avoid the bottling operation altogether. The cheapest option is to simply use plastic water bottles, they will work but CO2 can escape and Oxygen can enter through the plastic, so its not the best option. 

Our BrewSmarter kits are very similar to the Coopers kits, but the range of options is wider, as is the price range. You can get the essentials, and upgrade later to get the missing bits. Unlike almost every other starter kit on the market, BrewSmarter kits contain only top quality components. They all come with the followingtop quality 'core' equipment:
- 100 grams quality VWP cleaner / sterilizer (the best on the market),
- a choice of fermenters: either a standard 25 litre 
fermenter or a free Brewferm 30 litre fermenter upgrade, better for frothy beers which often overflow from standard 25 litre fermenters,
HB bubbler airlock,
- Plastic stirring paddle,
- Large Liquid Crystal Thermometer (easy to read, 10 oC to 40 oC, extended range required for true lagers and pilsners),
Stevenson Reeves quality hydrometer 
(the best on the market),
Stevenson Reeves quality Glass trial jar (the slightly wider diameter stops surface tension effects, giving a more accurate hydrometer reading),
- Fitted Tap,
- Bottle filling system (attach the filling stick mechanism to the tap in the fermenter, then just push the bottle up, and when full, lower it - the flow of beer automatically stops).

To help you decide which kit you need, the table below shows you what each kit contains. To figure out what is missing, remember that, in addition to the above 'core' equipment, you will also need the following items:
- a heating brewbelt
,
- OxBar bottles
  
OR collect your own plastic bottles
  OR 
collect your own glass beer bottles and use a Capper and caps
  OR
 use a keg.

You will also need the following ingredients:
- a beer ingredients kit,
- brewing sugar OR brew enhancer OR spraymalt, and
- carbonation drops.

BrewSmarter Starter Kit Price Core Equipment Heating BrewBelt Ox-Bar Bottles (500 ml) Capper and Caps Beer Kit / Fermentables Comments
BrewSmarter Premium Starter Beer Kit (Best Value) 89.95 YES YES 48 Ox-Barbottles NO Coopers Lager OR Free upgrade to Coopers Canadian Blonde. Also includes Brewing Sugar, and Carbonation Drops Complete Kit, the only one we know of.
BrewSmarter Starter Beer Kit 39.95 YES NO NO NO Coopers Lager OR Free upgrade to Coopers Canadian Blonde

You will need:
- 1 Kg sugar,
- plastic bottles,
- to add a half spoon (approx) of sugar to each bottle at bottling time,
- to maintain fermentation temperature at 22 oC. 
The hot pressmay work if the tank is insulated, Coopers will survive up to about 30 oC or more. Other kits will not.

BrewSmarter Starter Beer Kit (Without A Beer Kit) 28.95 YES NO NO NO NONE As BrewSmarter Starter Beer Kit, but no beer kit included; you must select one and purchase one separately.
BrewSmarter Starter Beer Kit With Caps And Capper 51.95 YES NO NO HB Quality Black Capper, and 70 caps. Coopers Lager OR Free upgrade to Coopers Canadian Blonde

You will need:
- 1 Kg sugar,
- glass beer bottles,
- to add a half spoon (approx) of sugar to each bottle at bottling time,
- to maintain fermentation temperature at 22 oC.
The hot pressmay work if the tank is insulated, Coopers will survive up to about 30 oC or more. Other kits will not.

The starter kit we use ourselves is the BrewSmarter Premium Starter Beer Kit (Best Value). A top of the range starter homebrew kit, it's the most complete kit on the market, with a heating BrewBelt and 48 Ox-Bar bottles included.

The best value budget system is BrewSmarter Starter Beer Kit (Without A Beer Kit). It's got all the essential BrewSmarter technology, and allows you to select your own beer ingredients kit. 

If you like draught beer on tap, you can upgrade any BrewSmarter starter kit to a full high quality King Keg Top Tap system, so that you have the best system for making both bottled and draught beer.

The 33 L Hambleton Bard Complete Beer/Wine Starter Set ia a syphon based system. 

Code 1708040001

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