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Old 10-17-2006, 01:13 PM   #1
Ol' Grog
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I've only brewed two so far and they've been OK. These were BB kits. Have any of you used this kit and tried a different brand? What did you think? Better? Worse? I'm in the experimenting phase and I'm going to stick with extracts for a while, a long while and was wondering what other kits are pretty good. My LHBS has a lot of BB kits, but it's a hour drive. So far I've brewed and now drinking the American Amber, it's OK, not great. I brewed and bottled the Continental Pilsner, which smelled really good when I bottled it this past weekend and now I have the wheat beer version on BB and will be brewing that up when I get my kegs this week. Are there better ones out there? I prefer a malty, sweeter beer as opposed to more bitter ones. Help me find the Holy Grail.

 
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Old 10-17-2006, 01:17 PM   #2
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I liked Brewer's Best Red Ale kit a lot, as did everyone I allowed to sample it.
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Old 10-17-2006, 01:19 PM   #3
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Austin Homebrew Supply has some great kits and their shipping policy is pretty good, I would suggest looking at them as another ingredient resource if you're looking to try new things.
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Old 10-17-2006, 01:29 PM   #4
Ol' Grog
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What brand? Their house brand? I looked at their site yesterday and they are a bit more pricey, but boy, did they have a variety.

 
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Old 10-17-2006, 01:43 PM   #5
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The AHS kits are great! I bought a Fat Tire clone kit (their house kit) and I was very pleased. I've also found my own recipes here on the site, and ordered the ingredients from them. They'll put your crushed grains in a grain bag according to your recipe, if you want. You can find a commercial beer you like, and look it up on their site, and order their clone kits. All good and easy to read recipes. Remember, though, that you have to order your yeast separately from AHS, as that is not included. Just order it when it gives you the option, unless you already have yeast.

I also started with BB kits, and I found their English Brown Ale great. If you like Newcastle, you'd love the Brewer's Best English Brown Ale. If you like sweeter, maltier beers, that's the one I'd recommend. I've also made the English Pale Ale, the Red Ale, and two batches of the English Brown, The nice thing about BB (as you know) is that everything is included, including the dry yeast, in a nice little package. But ordering from someplace like AHS will let you experiment with liquid yeasts, and other types of yeast besides the Nottingham that comes with the BB kits.

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Old 10-17-2006, 01:53 PM   #6
Ol' Grog
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Thank you "babe of the forum." That brings up another question that I've been meaning to ask about the BB kits. Would changing out their yeast, Nottinghams, really make the brew different. I've read countless times that beer is yeast and better yeast will change your brew 100 percent. Where does Nottingham's sit with ya'll? OK? Good? Bad???
One thing that Lorenae brought out was that these kits are complete. I'm really happy with that. I'm not that comfortable ordering a different kit and not knowing exactly what I need. Like steeping grains. Do they assume you have a steeping bag? Sure it's easy to get, but when brew day comes and you DON'T have it, then it ain't going to happen.

 
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Old 10-17-2006, 03:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheJadedDog
Austin Homebrew Supply has some great kits and their shipping policy is pretty good, I would suggest looking at them as another ingredient resource if you're looking to try new things.
I second that! AHS is great!

 
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Old 10-17-2006, 04:08 PM   #8
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The one variable I seldom mess with, except for a specific purpose, is the yeast. A hefe, for example, requires a specific yeast, but for my every-day brewing, I always use Nottinghams (I don't use kits). It is cheap, reliable and predictable. I will mix up just about every other element except the yeast routinely.

An interesting experiment might be to do side by side brewing of two identical batches, save only the specific yeast used, and see how they turn out.

 
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Old 10-17-2006, 04:50 PM   #9
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Still, as far as kit's go BB is a great kit.

Grog, what I think you should do is avail yourself of some of the great recipes that are on this site or in the Beer Captured book that Chuck sells and make a clone of whatever you want to. If you're doing a BB kit, you already have the skills required.

Chuck will help you get everything you need the first couple of times and from then on you'll be able to hook yourself up except for milling grain.

Also, I highly recommend that you make the transition to liquid yeast, even if you do a BB kit. You can split starters, etc. to save yourself money. It will improve your brewing.
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Old 10-17-2006, 04:58 PM   #10
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Nottingham is good for most ales, but there are styles that require specific yeasts: hefe, wheats, belgians, kolsh. I've done side-by-side ferments on porters & stouts using Nottingham vs liquid yeasts & people can't tell the difference.
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