Brewhouse Kits

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d_m_s_00

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I just picked up a brew house kit, the honey Blonde Ale. (http://www.thebrewhouse.com) I wanted something that doesn't require much work, ment to be consumed for a BBQ in spring. (i don't plan on doing an AG brew just for others to drink)
Does anyone have experience whth brewhouse kits? i'm wondering how they turn out, and if using a differn't yeast would make it better?
 

brewNdrink

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The brewhouse kits are made very close to where I live! I've used 2 kits from them and they turned out very well. I tried the dark lager and the pilsner. The yeast that comes with the kits are basic Coopers yeast I believe. For an ale that's ok, but for the pilsner kit I used a liquid yeast.
 
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d_m_s_00

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Hey pldoolittle, i've read your thread on your IPA and Marzen kits that didn't turn out well. would you suggest using another yeast? I've got a noghttingham, maybe that would work out better than the coopers?
I've done their stout kit a couple years ago (followed the instructions) when i started brewing, it turned out ok, kind of what i expected from a $26 kit.
 

Philip1993

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Now that several months have passed, my thoughts have changed somewhat.
The IPA was definitely infected, and had to be dumped. As it followed no typical signs of various types of infections, I never was unable to identify the culprit. I suspect a wild yeast, perhaps even Brett. I still can't describe the flavor, except as just bad.
When I tasted the Marzen during fermentation and initial cold condition, it too tasted like crap and was very cloudy. And it was that exact same awful flavor the IPA had. Because of those traits, I suspected either the kits just sucked, both got a common infection, or one infected the other. As time passed, I have scrapped that theory. Here's why;

* The IPA was very good after 4 weeks. It started to suck about week 6. By 8 weeks it was unpalatable.
* Before 12 weeks, the Marzen was unpalatable. However, after 5 months, the Marzen is getting quite good.
* The IPA started clear, and got very cloudy over time.
* The Marzen was very cloudy for about 3 months, but is now crystal clear.
* 2 other beers on the same gas manifold have had no problems.

All that said, I may not buy another but I won't rule it out either.

As for another yeast;
For the IPA it's not needed unless you just like another yeast. I had a tricky infection, and that's what killed this beer.
For the Marzen, perhaps. I wasn't real keen on using an ale yeast for a lager style. If you do stick with the included yeast, you need to forget about it being an ale and think Marzen. Plan on 5-6 months of cold conditioning before you tap it.
 

FlyGuy

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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:

IPA Kit:
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:
http://thebrewhouse.com/resource_center/the_inner.htm
http://thebrewhouse.com/resource_center/advanced_techniques.htm
Cream Ale Kit
 

Philip1993

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Thanks for the feedback! It's good to hear from someone else that has done it.
 

verboten1

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First post on the forum, I have just started home brewing and am making a BrewHouse Mexican Cerveza kit.

Flyboy, found your post very informative and though this may be off topic. Where in Alberta do you get your supplies for hops?

Wish I would have stumbled on this thread before starting and I would have switched the yeast that comes with the kit out.
 

ajk170

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I brewed the Honey Blonde this summer- it was my first attempt at home brewing and it turned out GREAT! I took the advice of my LHBS and dry-hopped 2 oz sweet orange peel and 1 oz cracked corriander (sp?). My family and friends blind taste-tested it against Blue Moon and thought it the home-brew was better. Better aroma, mouth-feel and taste (seemed to linger) and a bit bitter as well. Just our tastes though, maybe it shouldn't have tasted like that at all- but we're happy!:mug: However, I only used 4 liters of mountain spring water as the top off. Since it was the first ever, it only sat for 10 days in primary and 21 days in secondary. I used the dextrose to prime. I only have 8 bottles left from that batch and I am cold condidtioning those - waiting as long as I can to see how age treats them.

The Blonde turned out so well I have the Pilsner in the secondary - but I used Nottingham rather than the stock Coopers. Plus, I dry-hopped the Pils with 2 oz of Cascade. I have DME to prime rather than the dextrose. I'm trying to wait for another month before botteling- but I want to drink it NOW!!

I also have the IPA and red ale in the closet awaiting brew day. I think those will be my brews for the spring months.

I also read a post about boiling a gallon of the wort to try and increase the IBUs. SO I'm thinkning about boiling the IPA with more hops to kick it up a bit and then using Paradise seeds in the secondary.

The Red Ale I'm thinkning of brewing that as my late winter ale- though I need a good yeast strain to use on that- maybe Nottingham.

Hope you have good results and keep us posted on your outcomes!

So, I am a BIG fan of these
 

messler

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Has anybody ever made any of their Winterfest Ale? I was thinking of making some of that up just in time for the holidays. I think I might follow the idea of adding some extra spices i've seen on a few websites ( Ginger or Nutmeg - 2 tsp. ½ oz. Dried ginger root 1 oz. Curacao orange peel 1" Vanilla bean 2 oz. Coriander 2 grams Mace )

Does anyone have any other ideas of good ways to get the best out of this kit, like steeping grain etc?
 

B-rad

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The Winterale was just released.. Its their seasonal.. not even suppose to be out until November 1st.. my LHBS just got one in.. think I may try it fairly soon.. I have made their Canadian Light Lager and Cream ale.. Have their Honey brown in my brewroom now and just ordered the stout which I guess is ready for pick up..
 

climateboy

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In general, to get the best out of extract kits (in my experience)...steep the grains (make sure not to boil them or you'll get tannins...don't steep over 170 degrees...treat it like a tea-bag), boil the fermentables for ten minutes before adding the hops--otherwise the proteins can coat the hops and interfere with utilization. Also, be sure to take the pot off the heat before adding in the extracts (if syrup), or else they will pool on the bottom of the pot and burn.

And share and enjoy.
 

Amity

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I am currently brewing the IPA with a Wyeast 1099 (Whitbread), and it's in the secondary with 2 oz of Northern Brewer whole hops that I picked fresh last month. It tasted great before I put it in secondary, and I expect it to be even better in two weeks when I bottle!

I think I"m going to keep with the brewhouse kits for a while, hacking them and making some really good beer.
 

Jmac00

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The Winterale was just released.. Its their seasonal.. not even suppose to be out until November 1st.. my LHBS just got one in.. think I may try it fairly soon.. I have made their Canadian Light Lager and Cream ale.. Have their Honey brown in my brewroom now and just ordered the stout which I guess is ready for pick up..
I picked up the Winterfest last week at the LHBS and its already in my primary. Was marked down in price too so was a great time to try it...:mug:
 

Jmac00

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Yuppers......S&S i find has a bigger selection as apposed to the other place. But sometimes shop at both pending on the prices of certain things...:rockin: :mug:
 
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I've been looking at these kits as well, seems pretty fool proof. What would guys think about adding pumpkin to the Winterfest Ale? I want to take advantage of all the cheap pumpkin kicking around and wonder which kit it would go best with.
 

messler

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I just put in a batch of the winterfest and the OG was 1.072!! There are either a lot of unfermentables in there or it's going to be a very merry christmas. I also think i'm going to add the extra spices to it right when i move it into the secondary to give it some extra kick.
 

xoltri

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I was just at my LHBS and there was a sign up saying that there were production problems with a bunch of Brewhouse kits so I'm sure they will start to be hard to find for who knows how long. Just an FYI.
 

paraordnance

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I'm just about to keg my first batch ever, its The Brewhouse Pilsner kit, I hope it turns out ok, I'm not expecting miracles from kit beer, just hope its decent and drinkable :)
 

xoltri

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I'm just about to keg my first batch ever, its The Brewhouse Pilsner kit, I hope it turns out ok, I'm not expecting miracles from kit beer, just hope its decent and drinkable :)
Let me know what you think of it. I've done the red, honey, oktoberfest, cream, IPA so far and I bought the canadian light lager today. I'm also experimenting with the Wyeast packs (1098 brit ale and now 1056 american ale) to see the difference from the coopers. I plan on trying most, if not all of these kits; they do make awesome beer.
 

paraordnance

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Let me know what you think of it. I've done the red, honey, oktoberfest, cream, IPA so far and I bought the canadian light lager today. I'm also experimenting with the Wyeast packs (1098 brit ale and now 1056 american ale) to see the difference from the coopers. I plan on trying most, if not all of these kits; they do make awesome beer.
I just sampled some of my "pseudo" Pilsner :cross:. It was fermented at way too high temperatures (up to 78F first couple days of active fermentation, around 65-68 after) and it will have odd taste to it I'm sure, too bad I started reading this forum after I pitched yeast. But I'll learn. So far its hard to judge, its my first batch after all. My ABV seems little low for pilsner (4.4%) so it will be light beer. I followed instructions just to realize I should have used 1/2 of reccomended water for better taste. I will rack it to keg tomorrow and condition it for 3 weeks, then see what happens. Either way I'm moving to extract/partial mash brewing. I already ordered ingredients for Belgian White Beer and have enough equipment to take a stab at it. I read a really good reviews about Brewhouse kits and some day will definatelly do one again, it just so simple and quick, perfect for begginers. The only thing I dont like about kits is limited veriety
 

abrdnck

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My first kit was a Brewhouse pilsner. At first, I thought it was pretty mediocre, but after about 2 months in the bottle it was quite delicious.

The best thing about the Brewhouse kits is that they can be hacked so easily. I made up the Dupe-all recipe from their website (Duvel clone) and tried my first bottle tonight. Still is a bit young - I need about another 2 months of bottle conditioning - but it was delicious. Like Duvel, it is very drinkable and it is easy to forget that it is about 8.5% alcohol. I have also made an Anchor Steam clone from a hacked kit which is quite tasty.

After Christmas, I might try to do a sour or an Orval clone with brewhouse wort. I'm hoping for something close to the style, even though it won't be perfect.

They aren't the cheapest way to make beer, but the results can be awesome. One of these days I'm going to get an IPA kit, add only 4L of extra water, use a better yeast and dryhop with Cascade. It will be just as easy as following the kit instructions, but will give a much better beer.

I plan to switch to all-grain one of these days, but until then I can be happily drinking delicious and unique beers from my hacked kits.
 

paraordnance

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My first kit was a Brewhouse pilsner. At first, I thought it was pretty mediocre, but after about 2 months in the bottle it was quite delicious.

The best thing about the Brewhouse kits is that they can be hacked so easily. I made up the Dupe-all recipe from their website (Duvel clone) and tried my first bottle tonight. Still is a bit young - I need about another 2 months of bottle conditioning - but it was delicious. Like Duvel, it is very drinkable and it is easy to forget that it is about 8.5% alcohol. I have also made an Anchor Steam clone from a hacked kit which is quite tasty.

After Christmas, I might try to do a sour or an Orval clone with brewhouse wort. I'm hoping for something close to the style, even though it won't be perfect.

They aren't the cheapest way to make beer, but the results can be awesome. One of these days I'm going to get an IPA kit, add only 4L of extra water, use a better yeast and dryhop with Cascade. It will be just as easy as following the kit instructions, but will give a much better beer.

I plan to switch to all-grain one of these days, but until then I can be happily drinking delicious and unique beers from my hacked kits.
hey abrdnck, mind you asking little off topic, where do you buy grains/extract in Calgary? I found a place in Edmonton but selection is very limited. I'm from Red Deer

I'm still waiting on my Pilsner, its kegged and I bottled couple to sample them. The beer is very clear after a month, I'll give it another week or two and then will try it. Will report here
 

abrdnck

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hey abrdnck, mind you asking little off topic, where do you buy grains/extract in Calgary? I found a place in Edmonton but selection is very limited. I'm from Red Deer

I'm still waiting on my Pilsner, its kegged and I bottled couple to sample them. The beer is very clear after a month, I'll give it another week or two and then will try it. Will report here
The Vineyard is the place in town to get grains, hops and extract. There are 2 stores, but the one in the south is bigger. Website - www.thevineyard.ca
 

FlyGuy

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Yep, go to the Vineyard's south store in Calgary. They are the biggest homebrew supplier in Alberta.
 

stp

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Hey guys, sorry to bump an old-ish thread but read a few of these Brew House threads and am pretty excited to get started on mine.

Picked up my supplies last week and a Prairie Wheat Brew House kit. I also upgraded to a liquid yeast based some of the things I read about the coopers it came with. Hope to do a couple of these straight out of the box before I attempt to hack them.

But hack them I will - with the help from my LHBS owner I talked myself out of maybe jumping in too deep right out of the gate. I like the simplicity that these seem to have while I get the all important basics down.

Looking forward to getting started and contributing to the forums!
 

estoppel

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I also got into homebrewing because of these kits. I have brewed tons of these kits over the last two years. It produces good beer. In fact, I haven't bothered to get into extract/specialty grain brewing. I have hacked them lots though.

I am about to make the jump to extract/specialty grain, but only because I want to eventually do partial mash or AG brewing. Baby steps for now.
 

xoltri

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So I talked to the guy at my LHBS about doing an Innis and Gunn clone. He didn't have exact details but essentially he used the Cream Ale kit with some oak extract and rye whiskey to taste.

So I bought the cream ale kit and will be using 1098 Brit Ale yeast or 1056 american ale yeast. I plan on adding some of the oak extract as well as possibly 1-1.5oz of my home made vanilla extract to see if I can replicate some of the flavors and aromas of Innis and Gunn. Also I did the calculations and I can add 1L of whiskey to boost the ABV of this when it's finished from the 5.2% that it will be to the 6.6% that Innis & Gunn is, along with the associated flavor. I'll probably use Weisers or similar, and maybe not the full 1L either.

I'll play around with it and post back in a month or two with my results. I may split the batch before bottling and try a variation on each half to see how they turn out. This will be my first experiment with these kits so it should be interesting.

I've made the cream ale kit before but it didn't really turn out. I'm not sure why..it's got an off flavor I can't identify. Almost moldy, but there are no visible signs of an infection. I have a half batch left in the bottles and I plan on just letting them sit for a couple months to see if they straighten up.
 

estoppel

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When I hacked these kits, I usually just dry hopped or played around with the amount of water I added. When I wanted to go in a drastically different direction, I would do a small 2 or 3L boil with a 1-2 lbs of LME or DME with the desired hops on schedule.

This is a lot more enterprising than anything I have undertaken. Good luck.
 

WinoOutWest

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So I talked to the guy at my LHBS about doing an Innis and Gunn clone. He didn't have exact details but essentially he used the Cream Ale kit with some oak extract and rye whiskey to taste.
I would LOVE to hear how this turned out. I've just started these kits after getting into their wine kits about a year ago. I was quite impressed with the stock kits - damn fine beer considering the cost and effort involved. An Innis & Gunn clone would be pretty sweet.

It seems most people have great intentions on "updating in a few months" but seldom do. Seriously... Keep us posted. I'd love to hear how this turns out. I'd be all over this if turns out well.
Cheers!
 

xoltri

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I would LOVE to hear how this turned out. I've just started these kits after getting into their wine kits about a year ago. I was quite impressed with the stock kits - damn fine beer considering the cost and effort involved. An Innis & Gunn clone would be pretty sweet.

It seems most people have great intentions on "updating in a few months" but seldom do. Seriously... Keep us posted. I'd love to hear how this turns out. I'd be all over this if turns out well.
Cheers!
Hey I'm not one of those guys, I get a lot of info off of the internet so I try my best to contribute. I'll be starting the cream ale kit tomorrow so expect a report back in about a month. I'm gonna use the 1056 American Ale yeast.
 

paraordnance

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here is my update on Brewhouse Pilsner kit, I finally sampled it today. Its been in primary for 6 days (SG 1.045, FG 1.013), then secondary for 18 days, 21 days in keg (naturaly carbed). I followed supplied instructions to the T and I wish I read this forum before I pitched yeast, oh well, it was first batch, you live - you learn.
First impression - the beer is ....FRUITY, that is first thing comes to my mind. Yeah, nowhere close to clean and crisp Pilsner. I quite sure I fermented it at way too high tempereture (up to 80F) with supplied Coopers yeast. Other than that, it does reminds me a pilsner if not for that frutines that is overwhelming and over the top of everything also I can taste. I would also say that hoppines of true pilsner should be higher than that (35 IBUs or so). But what do you expect from prehopped extract (wort). Dont get me wrong, its drinkable, but just not what I expected. These kits are good way to get your foot into homebrewing but I refuse to waste my time and equipment on something like that. I have Kolsch DME recipe with steeping grains in primary right now (which tastes a LOT better already) and partial mash kit of AHS Belgian Pale Ale both with liquid yeast and I'll never look back. Brewhouse kits are super easy to do, and I bet you can make nice beer out them with proper liquid yeast, dry hopping and good fermentation temperature conrol but I'm moving to AG with next batch. I think you pay $35 or so for kit, then buy yeast, and hops on top. I'm sure now after countless hours of reading this forum I can do much better with AG recipes. It gave me a chance to experiment and learn on my mistakes, get to know my brewing equipment and build some of my own. To all of you who want good advice, at very least, do not use yeast supplied with kit. Its plain garbage, may be its good for ales but lagers or pilsners, forget it. Hmm, I think I'm going to pour myself another glass of my pseudo-pilsner ;) its my first brew ever, so I better enjoy it!
 

FlyGuy

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I flip back and forth between AG and Brewhouse kits, depending on how much time I have to brew. Honestly, the quality of those kits is as high as at least a moderately skilled all grain brewer. Don't assume that switching to all grain will magically make your beer better.

The faults you have with your beer have nothing to do with the quality of the kit itself (although, I agree you could blame the instructions). Honestly, it is brewer experience and knowledge that determines how great a beer you can make from a kit like Brewhouse, FestaBrew, etc. The basis for great beer is there -- you just have to know what to do and what not to do (e.g., do not follow those crappy instructions).

My suggestion, get some yeast that is appropriate to the style, gain expertise with proper fermentation and packaging, and give the kits another shot. They are a great way to learn the brewing fundamentals BEFORE you make the leap to all grain. :mug:
 

paraordnance

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I flip back and forth between AG and Brewhouse kits, depending on how much time I have to brew. Honestly, the quality of those kits is as high as at least a moderately skilled all grain brewer. Don't assume that switching to all grain will magically make your beer better.

The faults you have with your beer have nothing to do with the quality of the kit itself (although, I agree you could blame the instructions). Honestly, it is brewer experience and knowledge that determines how great a beer you can make from a kit like Brewhouse, FestaBrew, etc. The basis for great beer is there -- you just have to know what to do and what not to do (e.g., do not follow those crappy instructions).

My suggestion, get some yeast that is appropriate to the style, gain expertise with proper fermentation and packaging, and give the kits another shot. They are a great way to learn the brewing fundamentals BEFORE you make the leap to all grain. :mug:
Yeah, I know, the biggest problem with my first batch was very little knowlege I had at that time, not really blaming a kit. Some of my failure was due to equipment I had at that time. I drinked some more of my pseudo-pilsner last night and I decided to damp it. I think its infected by aceto bacteria. I'm not 100% sure but alongside of fruitines I can taste some cidery/apple aroma. This is from "How to brew":

Cidery
"If it is caused by aceto bacteria, then there is nothing to be done about it. Keep the fruit flies away from the fermentor next time."

I was fermenting in 10 gal plastic fermenter with loose lid supplied with the kit and it was hot outside, I remember seeing fruit flies howering around in my closet, they probably got inside. I freaked out and transfered to glass carboy immediatly but the damage was already done. I posted question here about that type of fermentor but everybody said I should be fine. I'll never use any plastic for that matter any more. I switched to glass carboys exclusevly for all my primary/secondary needs.
Another problem was jumping into pilsner style beer right away. I didn't know difference in top vs bottom fermenting yeast at that time, so stick to the ales for first couple batches. I might do another one of these kits, may be a Honey Blond Ale or Prairie Wheat, in fact I have a pack of Wyeast 3068 sitting bored in my fridge so I might give it a shot. The biggest advantage of these kits is that they are readly available at LHBS, for me to get ingredients means I have to order them online and pay monster shipping charges or drive to Calgary to Vineyard to pick some up. These kits have consistenly good reviews on web no matter where you look, so I will give it another try next week with hacked Prairie Wheat kit :D
 

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