beer kit instructions

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homebrewdad

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I think that pretty much everyone with any experience understands that beer kit instructions are best used to help light a fireplace or line the bottom of a birdcage. The general consensus is that the kit creators trim the time down to the bare minimums required (and often, less than this) in an effort to get the newbie homebrewer to make batches quickly, and thus sell more kits to them.

This seems to be of dubious effectiveness to me. I suppose that it must be true, since it seems all kits come this way... but it just makes me wonder if there isn't a better way.

Why would some vendors not try to market to more established homebrewers? Is it because most of the vets prefer to do recipes only (having done a couple, I suppose that I could see that)?

Still, I think that there would be a market for really good kits that came with directions that didn't insult your intelligence.
 

spokaniac

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I think also there is that "George Carlin quote" effect in writing the instructions. You figure out how little the average person knows about making beer. Then assuming you want to sell the kits "most" people - you have to aim the instructions at people that are only half as smart as the average person to cover 3/4 of the people.
 

BrewinHooligan

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I started with a Mr Beer my wife bought me for Christmas and they are the worst offenders IMO. They tell you that you can be drinking your beer in 14 days... 7 days in the fermenter and then carbed up in 1 liter bottles and ready to drink 7 days later!! They don't even discuss temperature during fermentation. Didn't take me long to find this site, ditch the kit instructions, and jump into all-grain 5 gallon batches.
 

ktblunden

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When I buy a kit I usually just enter everything into Beersmith and then discard the instructions. I've always ignored the times on instruction sheets based on general consensus here. I usually go 3 weeks minimum in primary, no secondary, and don't expect good beer in less than 3 weeks in bottles at a minimum. Most of my stuff seems to really hit its stride between 4 and 6 weeks in bottles, actually.
 

daksin

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I would guess because most experienced homebrewers aren't reading anyone's instructions as it is. They typically buy grain whole and crush it themselves. They know how they want to mash it, and what they want to go in to their beer.

That'd be why more equipment makers cater to experienced brewers, rather than ingredient makers.
 

Yooper

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I've found that some brewing kits have excellent instructions- northern brewer and austinhomebrew.com come to mind. The cooper's kits are especially bad with instructions, but the kits aren't really that good to begin with. A good quality kit like those from the two stores I mentioned have fresh ingredients and good instructions and I would recommend them. Not all kit makers give bad instructions!
 

lgilmore

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You guys didn't sprain your elbows patting yourselves on the back did you? ;)

Most beer kit instructions are fine. After one or two, most people are just looking at the hop schedule as steeping the grain for 30 minutes and adding the extract isn't something you have to reread everytime. But the hops schedule is pretty important.

Instructions are pretty basic because they need to be. Make it too complicated for a new brewer and you have a brewer who brews one batch and quits.
 

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