I have used these kits a lot in the past (and still do the odd one). But my brother in law brews with them all the time and makes amazing beer. He tends to hack them up a bit (with steeped grains, dry hopping, liquid yeast, etc.), and makes INCREDIBLE beer. This year he made it to second round NHC and also won a sliver at the MCAB competition (two of the top competitions in North America). I think in the last two years he has won 12 or 15 medals just from these kits (in fact most of his entries have won medals). He has also severely PO'd some very knowledgable all-grain brewers because he consistently wins medals and beats out the 'top' guys with simple kit beers. Our local newspaper even picked up on all his wins and will be doing an online feature on his brewing success.
The Brewhouse kits are pre-hopped, all grain kits and VERY high quality. They take minutes (not hours) to make. The trick to making great beer with them is to chuck the crappy yeast that comes in these kits, and use an appropriate amount of liquid (or perhaps quality dry) yeast instead. You can modify/improve the flavour of these kits with some steeped grains or dry hopping, and by adjusting the gravity of the brew by playing with the amount of top-up water you add.
I mostly brew all grain beer these days, because I enjoy making beer 'from scratch'. But when I am running out of beer and pressed for time, I don't even hesitate to brew up one of these Brewhouse kits. They are fantastic and I can't speak highly enough of them.
I have been promising to write up an article on brewing with the Brewhouse kits for my local homebrew club one of these days. If/when I finally do it, I will post it here as well. Until then here are some suggested ways to make some great beer with the Brewhouse kits:
1. Add 2 or 4 litres of water (not the full 8 the kit recommends), use Wyeast 1056 or Safale US-05 or equivalent yeast, and dry hop with your favourite American hops. Outstanding IPA.
2. Add 4-6 litres of water, steep 3/4 lb use Wyeast 1968 or Safale S-04 or equivalent British style yeast. Dry hop with EKG. Great English IPA. (Use more water and skip the dry hop to make a nice Special Bitter).
Dark Munich Lager Kit:
1. Use 4 litres of water to steep 3/4 lb 40L crystal malt, use Wyeast 1028 London Ale or Nottingham yeast and dry hop with Cascade hops for a great American Brown Ale (use more water and skip the dry hopping for a more English style Northern Brown Ale).
Cream Ale kit:
1. Use 4 litres of water to steep 1 lb 60L crystal malt and 1/2 lb chocolate malt, use Wyeast 1028 London Ale or Nottingham or equivalent yeast to make a great Northern English Brown Ale.
Or check out the recipes and hacking tips on The Brewhouse website at:
Cream Ale Kit