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-   -   How do I get the best out of kits? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/how-do-i-get-best-out-kits-168528/)

GWF 03-16-2010 01:49 PM

How do I get the best out of kits?
Just a simple quick question.

I usually brew them up to 5 gallons and the end result usually tastes a bit watery, I've only ever reduced the amount of water I've added once before and the result was much better.

What I'd like to know though is how to get the best out of kits and what to do to improve them. I follow the pack directions and use sucrose as I've no idea where to purchase dextrose cheaply in the UK. (No local home brew shops close by either).

The gravity usually comes in at ~1.000 when they've finished so they feel quite watery too, which isn't good considering I like bitters.

What's the deal with maltodextrin?

Also: Are those premium kits much better?

goose1873 03-16-2010 01:51 PM

the sucrose is a big part of your problem. I would replace it with malt extract (DME or LME) which is maltose and will do wonders for your beer.

sirsloop 03-16-2010 01:58 PM

stop buying kits and brew your own stuff. Its cheaper and the recipe won't have to rely on sugar for alcohol content.

GWF 03-16-2010 02:03 PM


Originally Posted by sirsloop (Post 1947507)
stop buying kits and brew your own stuff. Its cheaper and the recipe won't have to rely on sugar for alcohol content.

I don't have room for a mash tun.

goose1873 03-16-2010 02:24 PM

you don't need a mash tun. just get bags of DME or LME and hops and do extract brews with steeping grains on the stove.

or use kits and replace sugar with malt extract. trust me, the added $ is well worth it..

wscott823 03-16-2010 02:30 PM


Originally Posted by GWF (Post 1947513)
I don't have room for a mash tun.

I think he meant formulate your own recipes with your own blend of malt extracts & hops

sirsloop 03-16-2010 02:30 PM

Ya... just buy your own extract and put your own recipes together. If you compare a kit and the ingredients to make that kit... you'll see that you are getting ripped off.

Although...I bet you do have room for a mash tun. I was doing all grain in a 700sqft apartment with a wife living there. A mash tun is just a little cooler...I started with a 7 gallon cooler.

McGarnigle 03-16-2010 03:27 PM

I don't think you'll save money by buying extract ingredients separately. In fact, at most places I've seen, extrcat kits are cheaper than buying the individual ingredeints.

That may not be the case for the large scale kit developers (True brew, etc.) rather thasn AHS, NB, etc. And of course, there are other reasons you might want to step aside from kits. But i don't think cost is an issue here (I think sugar is).

sirsloop 03-16-2010 03:32 PM

I guess it depends on what kinda kit you get, and from where. If you are getting the cheapest pale ale kit then you can expect REALLY pale ale. If you are buying a premium russian imperial stout kit, then you can probably expect a pretty heavy brew. Even still... I think the kits err on the low side of everything. You may get a 1.080 RIS kit... where as I wouldn't make a RIS unless it was 1.100 or higher. IMHO, its much more fun to make your own recipe and work that out. There are plenty of really great recipes out there, readily available. You don't need someone else boxing it up for you and deciding what goes in there.. Live on the edgeeee a little! HA

GWF 03-16-2010 03:37 PM

Okay, let's say it's 10 for 1.5kg of malt extract, how much malt extracts needed for 23l?

Can one of you post a bog standard recipe so I'd know what was what please.


I've just looked at some recipes and they call for 6kg of extract per 5 gallons, that'd cost me 40+ for the extract alone, it's end up coming in at about 60 for 5 gallons, I can buy beer for less than that. The most expensive kits are 20 and they're supposed to be quite good.

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