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The 3 best home beer-brewing kits

The hardest thing about making your own delicious beer at home might just be getting all the right equipment. There are plenty of supplies that are small, easy to forget, but very, very necessary (think: bottle caps and a gadget that will seal them shut). Having one of the best home beer-brewing kits is your best bet to avoid getting to the end of your hour-long brew time and realizing you don't have the sanitizer necessary to clean the tub you'll be storing the beer in.

Whether you prefer to drink lighter or darker beers, your first batch of beer should probably be an ale. Ale yeasts' ideal fermentation temperatures are more or less room temperature (68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit), rather than lager yeasts' 45 to 55 degrees, which typically require a cold basement or special cooling equipment. If you prefer a less hoppy beer, there are still many ale kits to choose from such as hefeweizen or another wheat beer.

After you've chosen your recipe, your next big decision will be all-grain versus extract brewing. Extract brewing saves you the time-consuming and often messy step of having to draw out the sugars in your grains, making it much easier and faster — ideal for beginners. However, the best brewing kits will also set the foundation for all-grain brewing, which gives you more choices and is typically cheaper.

With those considerations in mind, these are the best brew kits on Amazon with almost all the tools you need in one box to make brewing easy. As a first-time brewer noted in a review: "If you can make mac 'n cheese, you can brew your first batch of beer."

1. The Best Small Batch Beer-Brewing Kit

For a gift or the beginner who is just testing out brewing, this 1-gallon beer-brewing kit with easy-to-understand instructions to take you from extract to finished bottle is ideal. Each batch will make about 10 beers and the only supplies you need to provide is a 2-gallon-capacity pot, some basic kitchen utensils like a large spoon, and about a dozen non-screw-off glass bottles.

What sets this kit apart from others in the price range is how complete it is. While others require you to buy a (very large pack) of bottle caps or other accoutrement separately, this one has almost everything included already in user-friendly sizes. With a 4.6-star overall rating, Amazon customers agree that this is a great choice.

  • Recipes available: American Wheat, Brown Ale, Irish Red Ale, Off the Topper IIPA, Double IPA, and Smashing Pumpkin

2. The Best Larger Batch Beer Kit

If you'd rather make 50 bottles than 10, consider this larger-capacity beer-making kit, also from Northern Brewer. Like the 1-gallon kit, it includes almost everything you'll need for a batch of extract-brewed beer — even including the pot and large stirring spoon this time. All you'll need to provide are the bottles.

Many reviewers noted that customer service through Northern Brewer was excellent, and the company even answered how-to questions over the phone.

  • Recipes available: Hefeweizen, Block Party Amber, and Chinook IPA

3. The Fastest And Easiest Home Beer-Making Kit

Get from the box to drinkable beer in 2 weeks flat with this beer kit that cuts out the intimidation factor. You'll start with a malt base that already has the hop flavor inside so there's no actual boiling and brewing involved. Just dump all the ingredients into the convenient, conical fermenter that even has an easy-pour spigot built in for when it's time to bottle the 2 gallons of beer you've made.

Your beer might not come out as good as other, more hands-on sets, but it's a great way to learn the craft without committing to a huge project. And unlike other kits in this roundup, even the bottles are included. However, there are no choices offered for the kind of beer you're brewing the first time though you have a few choices when it comes to refills.

4. Also Great: The Best Cider-Making Kit

Whether you're looking for a gluten-free alternative to traditional beer or just prefer the taste of hard cider, this kit makes it easy to brew three batches. With a carboy fermenter, airlock, funnel, and more included, all you need to provide is apple juice or cider and bottling equipment (bottles, caps, and capper). Since there aren't different grains and hops to change the flavor, the flavor you get will largely depend on what kind of cider or juice you choose. "Great kit for my first batch of cider ever. Came with everything i needed to get started. I racked the cider a 2nd time for two weeks so after about a month total I had amazing cider! Would definitely recommend," reports one happy customer.

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