Making Extract Kits Your Own

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NoisufnoC

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I'm a fairly new homebrewer, and have had great success with extract kits from MoreBeer and Northern Brewer. However, I was wondering if any of you out there have tweaked these kits to make them your own.

I was thinking of dry hopping a Pale Ale extract kit, or adding fruit to a basic wheat beer.

Thoughts?

:mug:
 

fretsforlife

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I did. I bought an Irish Stout kit from Brewer's Best and added flaked oats and honey to it. Looking back I'm told that honey wasnt a good addition to an oatmeal stout but it tasted great before bottling. Now that its been three weeks, I'll be drinking it soon.

I also just dry hopped an IPA I made last month. I just put the hops in a muslin bag and tied thread to them, and racked the beer over it. 10 days later, I pulled the bag out. I was a little nervous that the thread would detach from the bag trying to get the hops out, but the beer makes them nice and mushy.
 

vcm1613

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I personally think "tweaking" the kits is a great way to experiment with your brews. You could almost consider the kits as a "base" to build from. My LHBS lets me swap out ingredients from time to time and that helps alot too.

Last month I took a "True-Brew" Nut Brown Ale Kit and dry hopped it with 2 oz of Cascade Pellets in a nylon paint strainer bag from Lowes for a week. Unconventional type of Hop for a NBA but I figured what the hell. Know what? That was the best thing I ever did for that beer. I am checking carbonation (read: drinking) on one as we speak and its just delicious.
What would I change? I probably would have used more of the UK Fuggles that came with the kit, the cascades are well...strong. Point is, I learned something and also get to reap the rewards of it at the same time. Thats the greatest joy I get from this hobby, experimentation and the domino effect of ideas that follow.

Cheers to ya, and good luck on whatever you decide to do.

-J
 

de_ronde

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Making slight variations on a basic recipe is a good way to learn how each ingredient impacts the taste. You can switch steeping grains, swap DME for LME, use more / different hops, switch yeast strains.

Make sure to take notes so that you can keep making your favorites!
 

cuinrearview

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One of the recipes in my drop down is a tweaked Brewer's Best kit. I still have people talking about/asking for that beer. I'm a snob though and am only going to brew it once a year with peppers from my garden.
 

StoutFan

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I think most of us started out with kits, then tweaking the kits, then using kit recipes as baselines for our own recipes, then doing full formulations on our own. It was a great progression for me. Dad forced me to do a kit or 2 before going out and doing a batch from my head. He was right, the first recipe of mine was horrible! But, we all get better. :D
 
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NoisufnoC

NoisufnoC

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Thanks guys, I've got a couple empty primary's so maybe its time to play around with a brew. I'll take notes and post up my findings.
 

VonStigler

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One of the recipes in my drop down is a tweaked Brewer's Best kit. I still have people talking about/asking for that beer. I'm a snob though and am only going to brew it once a year with peppers from my garden.

I love peppers of all kinds and I can't wait to brew your recipe. I will let you know how it turns out, thanks!
Cheers,
Brian
 

j8h9

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Alright. Here’s my dumb newbie questions. Why buy kits at all? If you know what ingredients are required—why not just purchase the ingredients separately yourself? I noticed some of the kits are expensive (they are pricing a premium into the kit). Couldn’t the same ingredients be purchased separately for less?
 

Iowabeerguy

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Alright. Here’s my dumb newbie questions. Why buy kits at all? If you know what ingredients are required—why not just purchase the ingredients separately yourself? I noticed some of the kits are expensive (they are pricing a premium into the kit). Couldn’t the same ingredients be purchased separately for less?

I agree with you on this j8h9 - My LHBS stocks the True Brew kits, and after brewing most of them, I have started buying the individual components instead of the kits. I keg most of my beers, so I have enough bottle caps and priming sugar to last me a lifetime, why should I continue to pay for them? Plus my LHBS probably makes more profit by me buying this way rather than the kits, and I can tweak the kits for my taste. Everybody wins (except maybe the fine folks at True Brew, but in every game there has to be a winner and a loser.)
 
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NoisufnoC

NoisufnoC

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Alright. Here’s my dumb newbie questions. Why buy kits at all? If you know what ingredients are required—why not just purchase the ingredients separately yourself? I noticed some of the kits are expensive (they are pricing a premium into the kit). Couldn’t the same ingredients be purchased separately for less?

i've asked the same question. some kits are cheaper if you source the ingredients separately, but i have found some kits to be less expensive. it really all depends on what you're making.
 

McGarnigle

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I actually thought that most kits were cheaper than buying ingredients separately. Maybe not True Brew or Brewer's Best, but for AHS and Northern Brewer and the like.
 

talenos

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Alright. Here’s my dumb newbie questions. Why buy kits at all? If you know what ingredients are required—why not just purchase the ingredients separately yourself? I noticed some of the kits are expensive (they are pricing a premium into the kit). Couldn’t the same ingredients be purchased separately for less?

At my LHBS the kits are priced a little higher because they assume they will have someone assemble it for you. Measure the grain and hops, etc. They are cheaper if you assemble them yourselves and they seem to encourage that.
 

vcm1613

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It depends on the kit as stated above. The True Brew Red Ale Kit for example cost about $33. It has 2 cans of extract that retail at about $26 total.
1 oz of hops at $3.50
Specialty grain at $1.50
Grain bag at $.25
Yeast at $.50
Bottling sugar $.75
Bottlecaps at $1.00.

So basically its a break-even proposition. For someone first starting out, its a value to have it all ready there in the box. Not to mention you learn about the ingredients and can begin to critique or think about what you'd change about it, add to it, etc etc.
For others that are at a point in their brewing that can create their own, by all means save that dollar and possibly make a better beer.

-J :mug:
 
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