Any extract kits to steer clear of?

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lou2row

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Just starting out, and am ready to buy a couple more kits. Are there any that come to mind that seem to be causing alot of issues for people on the boards? Or a particular ale type that just doesn't work well as an extract kit?

I am hoping to start working my way to partial mash and then all grain once I get a couple more extract brews under my belt. I want to concentrate on technique, sanitization, and a good regiment before moving up. So I will be able to try the styles down the road that may not be best for beginning. I just worry if I make a bad batch of something it will put me off trying that variety of beer again.
 

slowjeep

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Steer clear of the WindRiver kits. My fiance got me a membership in the kit of the month club for Christmas. Total waste of time to brew that kit. It only came with 3lbs of LME, and that was supposed to be for a 5 gallon recipe. I brewed it, abyssmally low OG, and the final abv was 2.76%! Needless to say, I was not happy and had her cancel the membership. To top it all off, they were real jerks to her on the phone.
 

McGarnigle

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This isn't an issue of 'steering clear,' but there are some styles that have specific grain requirements that might be more satisfying to wait on until you go partial mash or all grain.

They don't make Vienna malt extract, so a Vienna lager would be better to wait on (though you're talking about ales). A British Bitter using Maris Otter might be another that's more fun to do mashing, although there are plenty of people who have made good extract bitters.
 

Cold Country Brewery

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The problems with that were not the kit, it was the technique. Making beer is kind of foolproof if you use proper technique. Sanitize, pitch active yeast on the correct temp wort, aerate, ferment at the correct temp and WO-LA you have beer. If it gets stuck (like this article stated) there are fixes for that (like this article stated). I wouldn't worry about the kit, worry about your technique.
 
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lou2row

lou2row

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The problems with that were not the kit, it was the technique. Making beer is kind of foolproof if you use proper technique. Sanitize, pitch active yeast on the correct temp wort, aerate, ferment at the correct temp and WO-LA you have beer. If it gets stuck (like this article stated) there are fixes for that (like this article stated). I wouldn't worry about the kit, worry about your technique.
I am one of the folks involved in the issues with that kit. I have a hard time believing that many people making the exact same mistake to end at same point. One person has made the kit several times with changed variables and can't get below 1.030. That smacks of an issue with the kit; not all the people failing to follow instructions. That thread and kit are part of the reason I started this thread. I really don't want to walk this road multiple times early on getting started, or it could ruin my enthusiasm for the hobby.
 

mfraier

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I would just stay clear of canned kits. Many of the kits from AHS come with steeping grains that will help your beer, and have fresh ingredience. I avoid any of the prehopped canned kits for sure.

Once you have done a few of the kits with steeping grains it is really easy to step into partial or mini mash kits......they are cheaper and turn out well.
 
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lou2row

lou2row

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My uneducated guess is with the yeast. It is giving out before finishing. The only success story with the kit, the guy's home brew store gave him a different yeast than the one that came with the kit. That points to the fact that that home brew store has had numerous complaints and already corrected the problem by offering a substitution.
Another thread on here mentioned a person doing what I did; racked kit over onto a different yeast cake. It worked for him, and so far I am seeing restarted fermentation.

What is your theory that we are all doing wrong?
Does the BB stand for Brewer's Best?
 

bknifefight

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Avoid any kits that contain pre-hopped extract. Also any that come with 2 lbs of sugar to add to the beer should be avoided. Other than that, it seems like a kit should be put together based on a tried-and-true recipe and beer. As long as you don't get in over your head and skill level, you should be fine. By that, I mean it might not be a good idea to do a barley wine with an OG of 1.121 if you have never done a beer over 5% ABV or something.
 

cokronk

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I've tried two true brew kits so far and even though I don't have a finished carbonated beer to try, they seem to work well.

The first is a California common that had perfect OG and FG ending at something like 3.78%, which seems spot on and the second is a Belgian ale that tasted like I imagined it should before fermenting, sweet and smooth. It's OG is sitting perfectly in the middle of the range of where the kit says it should be.

The first kit had two malt extract cans, the grains needed to steep, all the hops, and the yeast with decent instructions. The second kit had a malt extract can, three things of dried malt, rock sugar, hops, and the yeast.
 

WindRiverGuy

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Steer clear of the WindRiver kits. My fiance got me a membership in the kit of the month club for Christmas. Total waste of time to brew that kit. It only came with 3lbs of LME, and that was supposed to be for a 5 gallon recipe. I brewed it, abyssmally low OG, and the final abv was 2.76%! Needless to say, I was not happy and had her cancel the membership. To top it all off, they were real jerks to her on the phone.
First off let me apologize for the bad experience you had. Not sure what kit you were brewing since I have 3 kits that have only 3lbs of LME. The Outback Honey Ale (also includes 2# of honey), Sprit of St Louis Lager (also includes 2# of rice extract) and the 10,000 Lakes Light Lager (also includes 1# of DME). None of those kits are in the Beer Kit of the Month club lineup. If for some reason you were missing some malt please contact me and I will be happy to make it right.
 

jaycount

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I've used kits from Austin HBS, Midwest, Northern, and a BB kit. The only one I wouldn't do again is the BB kit. I think kits from any of the big HBS's will be good because the supplies are normally fresh.

FWIW watch for "flavoring extracts" in kits and do research before you committ to a one of those. I've done one and I wouldn't do it again.
 

Vuarra

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I respect your opinion, windbreaker, but I produce drinkable beer from a Cooper's can. Thank God for our Constitutions to say that we have the right to different trains of thought :D
 

windbreaker123

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Don't need a constitution to agree to dis agree. I am able to let you have your opinions as long as I am allowed mine also.:mug:
 
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