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Old 03-04-2008, 09:09 PM   #1
Jan 2008
San Diego
Posts: 108

I want to buy a beer kit to make my 3rd batch. I am interested in trying steeping grains next. It seems like my LHBS is more expensive when it comes to just about everything. I do support them as much as I can, but I think I would like to order an ingedient kit online to save $ and try some other vendors.

Austin Homebrew Supply has a special on an Amber kit for $19.95 plus you have to pay for some other stuff like yeast. That seems really inexpensive!

I guess my concerns are that the kits seem to come with LME, and so far I have used DME - I read that DME is better? Also the lists of ingredients at some online vendors is not very specific - like how much of what kind of hops come in the kits?

So - do you guys have a recommendation on where to buy the kits, and where to get them with DME (or do I just use LME?). Thank you!

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Old 03-04-2008, 09:20 PM   #2
loopmd's Avatar
Jan 2005
Omaha, Nebraska
Posts: 657
Liked 7 Times on 4 Posts

I've ordered from Austin Hombrew Supply and have nothing but good to say about them. If you check out their "clone" brews you will find nice kits set up with lme, dme and steeping grains. I prefer dme over lme, but that being said, if lme is fresh and used right away, it works well. The lme I've ordered from Austin Homebrew seems very fresh.


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Old 03-04-2008, 09:56 PM   #3
Ale's What Cures You!
Yooper's Avatar
Jun 2006
UP of Michigan, Winter Texan
Posts: 69,540
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Yes, me too. I've ordered a number of kits from them, and while they all had LME, the LME was fresh and not "extract twangy" at all. I've also ordered from NorthernBrewer.com, and been very pleased with them.

I think with yeast, most extract kits are in the $30 range, more or less. Some of the more highly hopped kits or the "double" anythings are more. At AHS, though, you can order a kit or two, and either dry yeast to save money, or use the same yeast twice in a row by reusing the yeast cake. So, you can order one kit with yeast, one without, and use the yeast twice. That'll save you about $6. Or, like I said, use dry yeast instead of liquid to save about $5 per batch.
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Old 03-04-2008, 10:34 PM   #4
Feb 2008
Posts: 187

If you want an extract kit austin, midwest, or northern have a good turn around and the LME should be fresh. I have only used midwest and have no problem with my friends saying I brew a smoooth beer.

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Old 03-04-2008, 10:57 PM   #5
Oct 2007
Posts: 1,567
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Let me just say I ordered kits from austin home brew and can't speak highly enough of them. I also propositioned Forrest, the owner to have my gay love child very publicly on this forum because I was so happy with his kits.
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Old 03-04-2008, 11:12 PM   #6
5 Is Not Enough
Oct 2007
Erie, PA
Posts: 463
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* Just an idea,
Will your LHBS price match? That way, you can get your supplies without waiting for the shipping.
As far as LME vs DME, the short story is: with LME in a can, you risk the off flavors from the aluminum. With LME shipped in plastic, not an issue, but your beer will be a little darker than with DME, and you will really need to be careful not to scorch it when you pour it in. With DME, it is a little harder to mix in & more expensive, but it can provide a lighter colored beer. Whatever you decide, do a search for "late extract addition"...

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Old 03-05-2008, 12:55 AM   #7
Jan 2008
San Diego
Posts: 108

Thanks for the answers guys. Sounds like the Austin Hombrew Supply kits are popular. I also just started looking at MoreBeer, they are in California (me too) so I'll be looking into that too.

As for LHBS price matching - I'd rather not ask them to. I'll just pay the price they are asking for the things I need in a hurry, or for the things I think are priced fairly. The shop is actually owned by somebody I know, so I don't have any problem handing over my money. But I would like to try buying from other vendors so I can get a feel for the different products and services.

Oh, and thanks for the tipon the late extract addition!

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Old 03-05-2008, 01:19 AM   #8
Reno Homebrewer
Reno Homebrewer's Avatar
Dec 2007
Reno, NV
Posts: 183

I haven't tried any other online store besides Midwest. I may not try another now, because I had some stuff rush-delivered for a brew party a few weeks ago, and the price they charged me was $6.00 more than the actual cost. They credited it back to me, even though they didn't have to. I never would have known about the difference if they'd been dishonest. Two thumbs up for Midwest!
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Bottled: Belgian Dubbel, American Pale Ale, Irish Red Ale (Yeast Fuel experiment), Doppel Bock
Up Next: Brown Ale

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Old 03-05-2008, 01:56 AM   #9
Jan 2008
Belton, TX
Posts: 137

I haven't ordered from anybody other than AHS but I'd like to add that the way they package their kits is amazing. Everything is sealed in plastic, the hops are vacuum sealed, and the instructions are good. I started the amber kit you're speaking about this weekend on the yeast cake of their sweet stout kit and it's coming along nicely. I used a late extract addition method and the color is quite nice - can't wait until it clears.

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Old 03-05-2008, 02:54 AM   #10
jmiracle's Avatar
Oct 2007
Lansing, MI
Posts: 217

I'm a big fan of Northern Brewer, their ingredients are great and they include smack packs in the price of the kit instead of charging extra for it like AHS. AHS appears to charge extra for some stuff that's included in NB kits. However AHS allows more customization of a kit and I like how you can order partial mash kits for anything, Northern Brewer only has a few partial mash kits. All in all though, I've been happy with kits from both places and I'm sure either one would treat you well.

EDIT: Wow, Northern Brewer kits went up a little bit from about 6 weeks ago! Still not bad or anything but I'm glad I stocked up.
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