By chance I came across Big Ed’s Craft Ale Kits and having always wanted to brew beer from grain but not spend all my money on the required kit, I thought I would give it a go. The kits cost £85 and includes a ingredient kit. Big Ed’s Craft Ale Kits replicates the brewing process: the Mash, Sparging, The Boil, Cooling, Fermentation and Bottling & conditioning using a big pot, wool blankets, a brew bag, fermenting bucket and a cardboard box!
I’ve done several kits now and have been really impressed with the outcome with the beer tasting like something you would buy in the pub. My friends who have tried the beer have been equally impressed.
I’ve done the following kits
- Chocolate Fountain
- Red Adair Extreme
- Saison of Satan
- Sheffield Stout Porter
- Smokestack – not yet available on the website
- Yankee PA is in progress.
I think Chocolate Fountain is my favourite. As the image above of the kit shows you get everything required, from hops and sugar to irish moss! Some kits require extras such as vodka so if you’re looking for cheap beer these kits aren’t for you.
The instructions are very clear but did take me a few reads to understand the process on my first brew having only ever done the standard beer kits (Coopers, Brewfrem etc..). The process is a lot longer than what I was used to so make sure an morning or afternoon is put aside for this.
The only issue I have is that I don’t think I get a good boil with my electric stove, but the results are great so I don’t think it matters.
The other thing I like about these kits are that they only make around 15 – 20 500ml bottles which is more than enough for me. The standard brew kits make around 40 pints and I found it to be a struggle to get through all of them, even giving them away to friends.
Some pictures from my first brew: