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Old 10-06-2008, 04:24 AM   #1
ajk170
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Default Brewhouse Kits - looking for opinions and reviews. . .

Ok, so I'm a fan of the brewhouse kits and after brewing the Honey Blonde, Pilsner, and Red Ale I'm begining to think there aren't many people out there that use these kits! Admittedly, I haven't used an extract kit and certainly I haven't moved to the AG so I don't have a baseline to compare the Brewhouse kits in order to say how much better (or worse) the Brewhouse kits are. However, having used commercial micro-brews and major national brands in a double-blind taste test with friends and family - the brewhouse kits come out on top everytime- there has to be something to these kits. Though this may sound biased, the friends and family like both national and national "micro" brands so their tastes vary.

I am begining to think that not many people on here use the Brewhouse kits - admittedly it's an odd breed, not exactly an extract and certainly not an all grain that one could boast about! Plus, the cost is a lot higher than extracts, but again, I've found these beers to be really good So despite the cost, its a great way to start out in the home brewing! No, there's no product affiliation - just surprise that more novises don't start out using this stuff.

I've read a few posts that a few people have even won awards using these kits, which should make this stuff more respectable but nontheless, few poeple seem to talk (or admit) that they use these kits and what they do to make them better than what they are -

And maybe that's the turn off of these kits, since the wort is pre-made, there is littel that one can do to change the type of beer. These are somewhat limiting- esp for those that may want to make big beers. There is of course, dry-hopping, re-boiling, and adjuncts that one can play with but the base is pretty much set for you. So I can see the turn off from that perspective for some people as to why they wouldn't use these kits. Moreover, to make these already expensive kits better, one might want to use a different yeast and add adjuncts thus increasing the cost by ~$10. If you use little top-off water thus reducing the total output of the kit while adding different yeasts and adjuncts, you will ceratinly have one expensive beer, albeit great tasting.

I suggest that maybe pre-made wort kits (I presume others exists out there) need to have thier own spot on the board- it might be a lonley place - but if credance is given to this type of kit, it might even open the door for new poeple to get in to the craft!

I'm certainly interested to hear the various discussion on the topic! Thanks in advance!

Cheers!

Of course, this is just one novice's opinion. Once I grow into the AG, maybe my persepctive will change!

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Old 10-06-2008, 06:34 AM   #2
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I started with the brewhouse kits and ended up with some good beer. The first one I made was a Cream Ale, I think I still have a couple of bottles of it in the basement. All my guy friends hate it (yet love miller) and all the girls I know love it *score!*
I moved on to extract brewing because I found the Brewhouse kits too limiting and too much like making kool-aid. Even when you play around with them it isn't as much fun as experimenting with extracts (I'm sure all-grain is even better, but money, time, porn, school and my daily hangovers have prevented me from expanding). Plus extracts are cheaper and more money means less meals consisting of flour + cinnamon + Water.

I still buy them when I'm running low on beer and too busy with class to find a good extract recipe and brew it. Got a tasty Brewhouse IPA in the keg and pilsner in the fermenter.

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Old 10-07-2008, 09:23 PM   #3
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I started with Brewhouse kits and love them. They are very popular up here in Canada. (Being made here.)

I only moved AG to learn, create varied beers and price. If for some reason I couldn't continue with AG I'd be happy making Brewhouse kits for ever.

The last kit I used was a Brewhouse Pilsner with Wyeast Bohemian yeast. Fermented it at 50 F for four weeks then Lagered it for two months. I think it was the best beer I've ever made.

Parenthitically I started with Brewhouse kits then tried three Kit and Kilo jobbies (two with a Kilo of sugar, one with a Kilo of DME) all were undrinkable (and I never use that word loosely). Also tried two Barron's kits. Undrinkable. I've often thought if I hadn't started with Brewhouse and knew I could make drinkable homebrew I'd probably have given up.

Rudeboy

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Old 10-08-2008, 01:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudeboy View Post
I started with Brewhouse kits and love them. They are very popular up here in Canada. (Being made here.)

I only moved AG to learn, create varied beers and price. If for some reason I couldn't continue with AG I'd be happy making Brewhouse kits for ever.

The last kit I used was a Brewhouse Pilsner with Wyeast Bohemian yeast. Fermented it at 50 F for four weeks then Lagered it for two months. I think it was the best beer I've ever made.

Parenthitically I started with Brewhouse kits then tried three Kit and Kilo jobbies (two with a Kilo of sugar, one with a Kilo of DME) all were undrinkable (and I never use that word loosely). Also tried two Barron's kits. Undrinkable. I've often thought if I hadn't started with Brewhouse and knew I could make drinkable homebrew I'd probably have given up.

Rudeboy
That's interesting to hear, especially from a person that has moved to the AG side of the house-

That's what I thoguth as well, start out with these and then move to the AG when I have the space and understanding of how it all works together.

I think it's great that one a person's first time, they can potentially make a beer that rivals almost anything that you can buy in the store. I'm not so convinced that my first time with an extract that I'll be able to do that.

I just bottled the Pilsner last night and I too used a Wyeast Bavarian but I didn't lager it nor had the patience to let it sit for two months. As it was, it did sit for almost 8 weeks from start to bottle! I'm hoping for a similiar great result!
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Old 10-08-2008, 01:59 AM   #5
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I don't know what you mean by brew house kit. I'm thinking it's hopped extract in a can. I did three of those years ago. The kits with extract and steeping grains are much much better. I prefer ones that say exactly what is in it so I can learn and add things to it or even remove stuff to learn and make better beer.

Now I'm at a partial mash stage. It's real nice being able to brew with so many more base malts. I'd brew all grain if I only had a bigger pot and a propane burner.

Recipes are easy to find and I like trying my own.

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Old 10-08-2008, 02:04 AM   #6
Philip1993
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Brewhouse kits are not extract. They are AG worts packaged and ready to pitch. I've done two. I can't really comment on #1 as it became infected, but #2 was absolutely excellent after it was aged properly. Here's a thread I made at the time:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f37/brew...ight=brewhouse

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Old 10-08-2008, 02:13 AM   #7
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That sounds like a nice tax/licensing evasion tactic! Augh, there is no alcohol in it...

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Old 10-08-2008, 02:55 AM   #8
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Our homebrew guild has a Brewhouse Brew-off every year where all the beers entered have to come from Brewhouse kits. You have the option of either brewing it as intended or hacking it with either specialty grains, hops, or yeast, or any combination thereof.

They do make excellent beers and are not that expensive, we pay $30 - 35 per box up here for a 5 gallon batch.

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Old 10-08-2008, 03:07 AM   #9
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Our homebrew guild has a Brewhouse Brew-off every year where all the beers entered have to come from Brewhouse kits. You have the option of either brewing it as intended or hacking it with either specialty grains, hops, or yeast, or any combination thereof.

They do make excellent beers and are not that expensive, we pay $30 - 35 per box up here for a 5 gallon batch.
WOW! That's a great price, I just found a place closer to me that can order them through the distributor but they are going to charge a few dollars more than what I was paying at the HBS an 1.5 hours away. I guess it''ll be cheaper in the long run plus the people are friendlier and the place has a HUGE baking section that the wife loves as well-

That's a great idea about a Brew-off as well! There must be a larger market for that up where you live. As I said in another post, I have to find places that can special order them! I have been thinking about entering mine in regional competitions but I really need to get a lot more under my belt before I should think about competing. Of course, you only learn through trail and failure!
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Old 10-08-2008, 03:26 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Conroe View Post
I don't know what you mean by brew house kit. I'm thinking it's hopped extract in a can. I did three of those years ago. The kits with extract and steeping grains are much much better. I prefer ones that say exactly what is in it so I can learn and add things to it or even remove stuff to learn and make better beer.

Now I'm at a partial mash stage. It's real nice being able to brew with so many more base malts. I'd brew all grain if I only had a bigger pot and a propane burner.

Recipes are easy to find and I like trying my own.
You're right about wanting to have more control over the brew process and knowing what's in a brew, but a person can find out what's in these via RJ Spagnols website - although, they don't say exact measurements, boil times and the like - and for obvious reasons, they tell you that, then you don't need them.

But, to clarify, Brewhouse doesn't come in a can- it comes in a bag, kinda like grape juice for wine. Which again, makes sense to me since they are apparently a wine maker, somebody must have put 2+2 together and realized they can make a base wort for the beer market.

I think the part that gets me interested in the Brewhouse is that you can hack these things a lot of different ways and get great beer. Since I haven't done the extract, partial, or AG I certainly can't say if mine are better than those. But I can say that I haven't gotten any "twang" and those that I have made rivaled commercial beers. And I probably didn't hack them nearly as much as I could have- so despite an apparent lack of control during the initial boil, there are still alot of variables that can be controlled. Now that's pretty arogant from a noob, but I'm willing to put myself out there!

I suppose if I was an AG person and I competed against a Brewhouse kit that was hacked and lost to it, I'd be miffed because of that perception that a person doesn't have to do much to make these great. However, depending on what you hack, these things can turn into a labourious kit as well!
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