Best comprehensive homebrew kit for beginners?

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mkwells4

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I'd like to buy a basic but comprehensive homebrew kit for a gift for a beer-lover. Basically, I want to get everything that would be needed (maybe even everything needed to do secondary fermentation?) for someone who is starting out at home brewing but wants to do it with high quality from the start.

I understand that ideally, a carboy is needed rather than just a plastic bucket, and also that the Mr. Beer kit is not that great.

Any recommendations on what kit to purchase? I've looked at Cooper's and also at some from Northern Brewer.

I'd rather buy this all together in one place, even if I have to spend a little bit more money than if I were to go gathering each individual piece.

Thanks for your help, beer brewers!
 

Eves

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I started out with the Coopers kit. I wouldn't trade that fermenter for anything. However, the kit itself is lacking a bottling bucket. Considering how much a dislike using carb tabs for priming a bottling bucket is essential. Outside of the bottling bucket the Coopers kit is fantastic. Fermenter + 30 740ml bottles + hydrometer + Coopers lager kit (really its just an ale) + bottling wand = a nice setup.

Coopers kit + a bottling bucket = an ideal starter kit IMO. A standard start kit from Northern Brewer or where ever is good too. You can't go wrong with either.
 

Nurmey

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I have to 2nd the Midwest kits. If you have the money, go with the intermediate kit with Better Bottles. It will last for years and produce lots of tasty beer.
 

llazy_llama

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3rd the Midwest kits. I started off with the Intermediate kit using Better Bottles instead of glass carboys, the exact kit that Nurmey mentions above. It had everything I needed, to get started right away, and didn't require much in the way of upgrades.
 

jaynik

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I have very little experience, but given the first brew to do over, I would have done it all from my local shop. Their recipes include fresher (presumably) ingredients and you can talk to them about the purchases to make sure you're getting what you need.
 

jeffmeh

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I have very little experience, but given the first brew to do over, I would have done it all from my local shop. Their recipes include fresher (presumably) ingredients and you can talk to them about the purchases to make sure you're getting what you need.
Of course, that assumes that one lives in proximity to a good, local shop.
 

mr_bell

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3rd the Midwest kits. I started off with the Intermediate kit using Better Bottles instead of glass carboys, the exact kit that Nurmey mentions above. It had everything I needed, to get started right away, and didn't require much in the way of upgrades.
+1 for the Midwest kit, even w/ shipping is reasonably priced. I ordered with the glass 2ndary, which I now use for Apfelwein mostly. I bought bottles and an autosiphon from my LHBS.

Primary #1: (carboy): Edwort's Apfelwein
Primary #2: nothing
Bottled: AHS Holiday Ale (2 left, now aged 6 months), NB Cream Ale
Next: AHS session series Southern English Brown
 

Smurfe

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I would source everything individually needed as many "kits" have stuff not needed but I looked at a few of the kits and have to say that Deluxe kit Northern has is pretty comprehensive. Great bunch of folk to. I have ordered a bunch from them. Just need a boil pot and a wort chiller would be great, Not much else needed. Ingredients and sanitizer. You can use Oxi Clean Free or Sun Oxygen cleaner to clean with and it is a ton cheaper than Easy Clean or One Step which I am still not convinced it isn't just Oxi Clean. Just look at the starter kits from Midwest, Northern, More Beer, Austin Home Brew or preferably if you have a local shop.
 

SumnerH

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I would source everything individually needed as many "kits" have stuff not needed but I looked at a few of the kits and have to say that Deluxe kit Northern has is pretty comprehensive. Great bunch of folk to. I have ordered a bunch from them. Just need a boil pot and a wort chiller would be great, Not much else needed.
+1 on NB being great. AHB has also been great. And +1 on oxiclean (free) to clean, with StarSan or iodophor to sanitize (I use starsan).
 
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