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What are the best kinds of beer kits to use for brewing?

best home brew beer kits to try

There is a great range of beer kits to use for home brewing


The thing about best beer kit selection is that it all depends on what kind of  beer you want to make. 

No one wants to screw up their beer, they just want a great tasting beer that they can share with their mates.

Or drink it all themselves while watching the Footy. 


Are you after a hearty ale or a light lager? 


Maybe ever something more fancy like a 'saison' which seems to be all the rage at the moment?

There are many kinds of beer kits from all kinds of sellers. They are all intended to be used to make great tasting beer so let’s review a selection of the best beer kits and see if we can find the best one for you.

Things to consider first when buying a kit


Is the kit reasonably fresh? If it’s been sitting under the kitchen sink for three years the ingredients may not be in an optimum state and the condition of the yeast will be certainly be questionable.

You want your beer kit to be in the best state so as they say, fresh is best. When making your purchase feel free to inquire with the seller or check the batch data.

If it’s old, show the kit the door. If you are buying from a popular beer specialty store or online site, chances are you will be being product of an appropriate age.

One handy trick brewers often do is discard the yeast pack that comes with the beer kit and instead they add their own fresh yeast they have sourced elsewhere.

Not a bad idea if you’re questioning the age of the kit.

Many brewers believe that the the yeast in beer kits are not as good as the the specialty yeasts. We say each to their own, and if you can afford it, go for it.

What kind of beer do you want to brew?


Beer kits are made to cover just about every beer style that there is. 

If you are a beginner brewer we would recommend that you go for a more darker beer like an ale or stout (we love nut brown ales ourselves). 

This is because it's more likely you will get a better tasting beer, especially as most first time brewers will not be patient enough to wait for their lagers to properly age!! 

Speaking of lager...

Lager beer kits


Lagers can be a challenge to make as they need lower temperatures during fermentation to achieve the desire result.

Since lagers are light in body it is very easy to tell a lager that has been fermented at too warm a temperature as they may taste too fruit or spicy due to too much ester production.

So what are some good beer kits to use to make a lager?


Getting the malt ready
The very first lager I ever made was a Black Rock Lager with beer enhancer and Dr Rudi Hops. I have no idea who Doctor Rudi is but he sure helped make a good beer! 

I’ve used plenty of Black Rock Kits and they are just the best for basic home brewing and produce very drinkable beers. 

You could think of these kits as being your 'standard' kit - nothing to fancy but you can be confident they will help you produce good beer.

You’ll also find that Cooper’s DIY Lager is well worth a crack – we do recommend you add some hops of course! We did a great brew of a Cooper's larger with the combination of both Moteuka and Saaz hops

Cooper’s kit has been reviewed by drinkers as being “a great beer to start with for new brewers and veterans alike. The flavor is very smooth, has a creamy head and ends with a slight bitterness.”

Another popular choice in the American home brewers market is the Munton’s Premium Lager Kit, which has a 5 star review on Amazon

What are the popular ale kits? Is IPA the way to go?


Some of the tastiest beverages around are ales. There’s something about them that just make you feel good when drinking them (other than the obvious alcohol effect!). They are hearty to drink, and pair well with most food dishes.

A well-crafted ale can explore all kinds of taste sensations and they are certainly a great session beer where you can just get on them. Also, the best ale kits are pretty forgiving to brewing mistakes and they are also able to be brewed at warmer temperatures than those pesky and pernickety lagers ;).

So what are the best ale kits? we are going to focus on the IPA, the good old Indian Pale Ale.

A style of apparently that was apparently invented by the British during their efforts to colonize India, the IPA is a hoppy style beer from the pale ale family.

There are three kinds of IPA’s American-style, English-style, and Double or Imperial. All have good things going for them, especially Mr Beer’s Diablo IPA.

It is a very popular beer kit. It has been described as being “a very nice dark ale with subtle hints of winter spices, and takes kindly to many different yeasts.”

Hand tip - use a hydrometer to check the gravity

Get your thrills from your pils


Let’s have a think about Pilsner beer kits.

The pilsner style is arguably the most successful beer style in the world with some counts suggesting that 9 out of 20 beers is from the pils family or a style derived from it.

Take that with a grain of malt, but there’s no doubt as to the popularity of a good pils (if you ever get the chance, try the Three Boys Pils, it’s one of our personal favourites).

The pilsner has a long history coming out of Germany. The modern pilsner has a very light, clear colour from pale to golden yellow. It will usually have distinct hop aroma and flavour.

Pilsner beers have became nearly synonymous with the four so called 'noble hops'. These are varieties of hop called Terrnanger, Spalt, Hallertauer and Saaz.

So what are the best pilsner beer kits? 


Here's a handy selection of the popular sellers on Amazon:


Stout beers are... strong!


You may always want to try a stout. Stout’s are not for the shy beer drinker, they are a full on ‘meal’ in a glass. A dark beer, they are often 7 or 8 percent ABV and have been around as a beer style since the late 1600s.

The stout, like most beer families, comes in a variety of styles. Milk stouts, Irish, Porters and oatmeal are popular versions.

The most well-known Irish stout is the Guinness Draft, the most drunk beer around the world on Saint Patrick's day!

There’s even a method of brewing stout that uses oysters but we recommend the home brewer stay away from adding some of Bluff’s finest export to their brews!

Stouts will often use East Kent Goldings hops but the classic Fuggle hop is used, as are several others.

So what are the best stouts to homebrew from a kit?


Here's a handy selection of popular options from Amazon.



So there you go, there are plenty of quality beer kits to choose from. What to choose depends on what kind of beer you want and how much you want to spend!

We would recommend you go with popular beer kits when you are starting out.

This way you can have some confidence that many brewers have been there before and voted with their wallets as to the quality and taste of the kits.

Always bear in mind that having a good kit is not a guarantee of success – attention to good brewing technique and adhering to the mantra of sanitizing your equipment are also fundamental to the chances of brewing a tasty beverage!

What is a 'session' beer?

What is a session beer?


What is the definition of session beer? 


I saw this question asked in a beer oriented Facebook group and I thought it seems such an obvious question that it didn't need an answer but then I realized not everyone drinks like a fish! 

A session beer is oft considered to be a beer which has an alcohol content of around 5 percent ABV or less. The concept of this is that in a 'session' of beer drinking, you won't get hammered by drinking 5 beers at 5 percent as you may just do if you have 5 beers at eight percent.

So basically before the rise of craft beer, most beers were session beers - as history beers have been from 4 - 5 % ABV.

An there in lies the rub - the word session for beer has been totally abused by many craft brewers and their promotion campaigns and now it feels like every damn beer is pitched to beer drinkers as being a session beer. 

Even beer reviewers have started to throw it into their articles as if it adds a sense of romanticism to beer.

So a session beer is historically a beer of traditional strength. The more modern craft beer meaning of a session beer is any beer ! 

What is 'beer enhancer' and will it make my beer taste better?

What is 'beer enhancer' and will it make my beer taste better?

Should you use beer enhancer with your homebrew?


The thing about beer is that is that there’s so much variety in style and taste but there is one thing they all have in common: 

The so called ‘mouth feel’ which makes a beer feel like it has 'body'.

If you simply brewed malt with sugar you will get a beer but your beer’s mouth feel with be closer to feeling like water. Which is just wrong, as a full bodied beer enhances the drinking experience!

To get an improved mouth feel, many beer brewers use an ‘enhancer’ to do exactly what it says it will do – enhance the beer by giving it greater body and mouthfeel.

Beer enhancers are made of basic ingredients, being a mix of fermentable and non-fermentable. They usually contain a mix of dextrose and maltodextrin.

Such beer enhancers work the dextrose serving as the the food for the yeast and are thus used in the fermentation process. 

The Maltodextrin does not ferment and thus forms part of the beer solution giving the beer mouthfeel and a true sense of body. It also has the benefit of allowing the poured beer to have a good head of foam and to retain it. I have no idea how the science of this part works!

The combination of dextrose and maltodextrin suits the lighter style beers such as pilsner, draught and lagers.

If you are brewing an ale or a beer where you desire a full, maltier flavour an enhancer that also has an element of light dry malt extract will be what you need.


This is often simply referred to as DME.

Some beer enhancers also have hops added to match the kind of beer style so if you are ordering from an online store, check that the particular enhancer's hops matches the kind of beer you are trying to make


'Branded' beer enhancers


The Australian beer making company, Coopers, offer two well known beer enhancers to help achieve these goals. They are simply known as Brew Enhancer 1 and Brew Enhancer 2


You can imagine the salty old brewer that came up with those names! 

Coopers include the enhancers with their beer kits but you can buy them separately too. I've often seen them in supermarkets for a reasonable price (and reviewed them!) Side note - never do a Coopers Lager Kit without an enhancer, I have and trust me the results are rubbish. No body at all. 

There are some other popular enhancer brands out there too. Muntons and Copper Tun are well known and trusted by many brewers.

Using spraymalt to add body to beer


You may have also heard the word 'spraymalt'. It can be used as an alternative to standard beer enhancer. 

Spraymalt is a specially prepared kind of DME. Drying is achieved by the use of a spraydrier, a process which produces particularly uniform powders both in terms of particle size and flavour. 

This means a spraymalt beer will be less dry than beers that simply use sugar. Or you can add spraymalt in addition to the sugar for more effect on the taste or your beer

How to make your own beer enhancer

Of course you do not need to buy brew enhancer, you can make your own. 


If you going to make your own enhancer, here’s some ingredient ratios which you could use as a guide: 


Beer style
Dextrose
Maltodextrin
DME
Light Beer
60%
40%
0%
Ale, more malty beer
50%
25%
25%

The quantity to make is is 1Kg per 23 litre brew.

The beauty of the dextrose is that it is apparently a more favoured food of the yeast when compared to ordinary sucrose sugar and so fermentation will commence more quickly. 


Whether that makes a difference, I don't know however I've heard using too much sugar gives the beer too much a citrus flavour which can be off putting.

Many beer supply shops will carry the ingredients you need. That way you can get the advantage of buying in bulk so to reduce your brewing costs. 

But at what cost to my beer?


Adding a brew enhancer to your brew does add to the cost per glass somewhat, however given that enhancers actually really do work (I use them every time I brew), it's my view and that of thousands of other home brewers, that the taste and body improvements are very worth it. 


If your enhancer costs 8 dollars and you make 23 litres, that’s only 35 cents extra per litre. Of course milage may vary depending on what brand and at what price you’ve purchased!

If you’re not interested in making your own enhancer but think brand name enhancers are too expensive, there is a happy medium. 


Many beer shop suppliers will do the mixing for you and sell you a 1Kg bag of no frills beer enhancer.

What is dry hopping?

what is dry hopping in beer making?


 What is the practice of dry hopping beer?


Simply speaking, dry hopping is when the brewer adds hops in pellet form to the fermenter after the wort has been readied.

The brewer is of course using hops to improve the aroma of the beer and to add some bitterness to the brew (bitterness is best produced by the boiling of hops though). 

This ‘dry’ practice is often done later in the fermentation cycle of the beer. The thinking behind adding the hops later is that the hops aroma is more likely to stay with the beer brew through to the bottling process.

This is because the bubbling process and emission of carbon dioxide via the air lock allows the aromas to escape.

Bearing in mind that one should leave one’s beer to sit quietly for a couple of weeks before brewing to ensure that the yeast has had a chance to do it’s thing, this is a great opportunity for the oils and bitterness of the hops to also transfuse into the beer. It’s for that reason why dry hopping is a popular practice.

That said, we’ve thrown extra hops into our brews at the start of the fermentation process and haven’t experienced any taste disasters.


Beware the sediment factor 


A point you might like to consider is that dry hopping can increase the chances of sediment settling in your bottled beer. You may wish to think about placing the hops in a nylon mesh bag or muslin wrap.

Shortly before bottling your beer, remove the hops with a sterilized instrument and you’ll be fine. 

I’ve read some brewers raise concerns that this method may reduce the chances of the hops being exposed to the beer. If you do share those concerns, you may want to make a tea of your hops!

If you are worried about infecting your beer with hops, don’t worry about it – indeed hops has been found to assist yeast with fermentation by having an anti-microbe affect on any nasties in beer!

The classic hops choices for brewing are popular for dry hopping: Cascade, Crystal, Fuggle, Saaz, Willamette, Golding, Hallertau and Tettnanger. You can of course dry hop with whatever variety you wish! It’s your beer, you can make it any way you want. 

We would encourage you to match the kind of hops to the kind of beer you are making. E.g. Golding hops is a popular choice for ale brewers.

The home brewer’s last question of how much hops should be used when dry hopping is fairly easy to answer. Anywhere between 30 – 60 grams is considered normal, however you can add as much or as little or as you want.

If you double that 60 grams to 120 you will be more likely to get a very strong hop aroma from your beer. Any greater amount and you will probably suffering diminishing returns (and hops are expensive!).

Panhead Supercharger APA Clone Recipe

Here's a handy Panhead Supercharger APA Clone Recipe


Panhead's Supercharger beer is one of the best new beers to come out of Wellington and indeed New Zealand in a fair while. Indeed, their range is pretty handy - we suggest you try their hoppy Vandal. 

But back to the Supercharger, the beer that won the New Zealand Best Beer award in 2015. 

It's an absolutely drinkable beer and one that has few pretensions about it - its popularity is so much so that beer brewers are starting to clone it. 

panhead supercharger clone recipeHere's the best Supercharger Clone Recipe we could find. 

We found it at Wagon BrewingCo who sell a clone kit of the beer. 

Te Aro Valley also do a pretty handy copy of the beer too (check out their Obligatory wort while you are at it).  
This clone recipe is intended for your standard 23 litre beer batch.

Malts for the Supercharger clone


4.6 Kg - Gladfield Ale Malt (All Grain Option)
200g - Gladfield Light Crystal Malt
250g - Gladfield Toffee Malt


or for the Extract with Partial Mash option:



1x Black Rock Amber Extract 1.7kg Can

1x Black Rock Light Extract 1.7kg Can
200g - Gladfield Light Crystal Malt (Steep)
200g - Gladfield Toffee Malt (Steep)

What hops does the Panhead need?

10g - US Simcoe Pellet @ 13% AA for 60 minutes boil
10g - US Centennial Pallet @ 8.5% AA for 30 minutes boil
20g - US Simcoe Pallet @ 13% AA for 10 minutes boil
10g - US Centennial Pallet @ 8.5% AA for 10 minute boil
30g - US Centennial Pallet @ 8.5% AA for 1 minute boil
30g - US Citra Pallet @ 13.9% AA for 1 minute boil
20g - US Simcoe Pallet @ 13% AA for 1 minute boil
70g - US Citra Pallet @ 13.9% AA Dry Hop @ 7 days
50g - US Simcoe Pallet @ 13% AA Dry Hop @ 7 days
50g - US Centennial Pallet @ 8.5% AA Dry Hop @ 7 days

Phew, that's a lot of effort!

Panhead's yeast: 


Use the standard and very reliable Safale-US-05.

Panhead describe their own beer as "being an all-American show with Centennial, Citra and Simcoe overwhelming your nose, kicking you in the taste buds and departing with more bitterness than a Palm Springs divorce."

So that's the challenge for you as the home brewer, can you brew to match to Panhead's lofty claim? 

How to properly clean and sanitize your fermenter drum post a brew

Don't leave your spoon in the drum!
How to properly clean and sanitize your plastic beer fermenting drum post brewing a batch of yummy beer

This post will help you properly clean and sanitize your fermenter after you've finished brewing. Note that we said both clean and sanitize. This is because while cleanliness is next to godliness, clean is not good enough to kill and remove bugs and bacteria that may lurk in the tiny scratches of your beer fermenter.

This is bascially a 'suck eggs' post - we sound like your mother telling you to clean your room but dude, you gotta clean up after yourself!

Cleaning your fermenter

It's our practice that when we have finished bottling that last beer, we clean the fermenter to remove all the scum and fermentation residue that has collected on the inside of the drum. If you do this now rather than in a few days or weeks or months ...it will be a much easier job.

First up, I dump what's left at the bottom of the drum on the vegetable garden as I suspect that's quite nutritious for the plants. Then I grab the garden hose and clean the drum out.

Kill the bugs until they are dead

Then I get a kettle of still hot and boiled water and dump it in and then I add a hint of sodium percarbonate.

I then seal the drum and shake it vigorously. The heat from the boiled and sodium will act as a cleanser. I then drain and put the drum in a clean spot ready until I need to use it (at which point I will give it a proper does of sanitation. 

You could use some ordinary house hold detergent to clean the drum but it could leave smells and residue behind. If you do choose to do this, don't use a harsh scrubbing brush as that could put tiny scratches in the fermenter. These scratch marks could make a nice home for unfriendly bacteria so bear that in mind. We suggest you use a clean rag. Or your best linen, we're not fussy. 

You could also implement a scorched earth policy and use something stronger to clean your fermenter. Caustic soda or bleach based cleaners could be used, but again I would caution on residues. As with all chemical agents, be careful when using them and take precautions such as using eye wear and gloves.

The call to action:

If your beer fermenter has had it's day in the beer making sun and you need a replacement, order one online

We mentioned gloves - you can get boxes and boxes of them cheaply from Amazon.

What is a Nut Brown Ale and is it good for home brewing beer?



What is a nut brown ale and is it good to homebrew with?



Coming from the 'brown ale' family of beers, the nut brown ale is a great beer for the keen home brewer to have a crack at making.

Do you believe me?

We'll answer that question soon but first a short history of the nut brown ale.

The Brown Ale style originally gained popularity in the down and dirty pubs of England, where beer guzzlers expressed a need for beer that was both flavorful and complex, but at the same time mild enough to be a session beer.

Words like Newcastle ale, English Style ale, 'All English' are bandied about when it comes to the brown ale. It's drank in many a London pub.

The style has a long history and if you see a reference to 'Northern ale', this is what historically is meant by a nut brown ale.

In reality, the style of nut brown ale may just have been a unique marketing movement promoted by the burgeoning beer companies in the first half of the 20th century.

At its most basic, a nut brown ale is a way to describe a variant of the standard brown ale.

Does a nut brown ale actually have nuts added to it?


A key thing to point out is that a nut brown ale recipe doesn't contain nuts! The reference to nuts is for the beer's colour, not necessarily it's taste. You could also describe the colour of the ale as a deep copper. There's nothing wrong with using nutty as a taste description if that's the case!

So what are the taste characteristics of the nut brown ale?


The taste of nut brown ale is obviously subjective. Some say it would have an 'obvious earthy' character. It may have faint traces of some flavor like molasses or possibly something like maple stripped of sugar.

You could almost say the ale has a mild bread taste with that classic ale bite in the back of the mouth.

If brewed well, the taste offers a malty sweetness, with the slight presence of caramel. If properly balanced with a medium to low level of hops (as it's traditional for ales for be low in hops), the nut brown ale is a deserved beer to drink on a hot day. 

Is a nut brown ale a good for for homebrewing? What do I need to make a good one?


So if the above romantic descriptions of the beer, tempt you, we strongly suggest you try your hand at brewing one. I did, here's my review of the kit I used.



What hops can be used in a nut brown ale?



Traditional English ales are lightly hopped as the preference is for a low bitterness levels. Hence classic English hops choices such as Goldings, Fuggles, and sometimes Tettnanger could be made.

American brown ales have evolved differently and feature a higher level of bitterness and thus Cascade and Williamette hops are common.

So if you are going for the more traditional English nut brown ale style, you may want to favour the English hops.

They key thing to beer in mind is that your brew recipe should be light on hops so to not over bitter your beer.

So don't throw in the whole hops packet.


What's a good nut brown ale recipe? Here's some ideas of what you could use


There are many ways to make your own version of a nut brown ale. Here's two brief versions that you could go for if you were putting together your own recipe.

Version One:

Malts - lager,crystal,black malt
Hops - Green Bullet, Pacific Gem

Version Two:

Malts - brown, chocolate malt, caramel
Hops - Willamette both bittering and aroma


The call to action!



If you are going to brew a nut brown ale, we suggest you get a beer kit by way of Northern Brewer, a popular American supplier of beer product and equipment. 

They've a pretty good reputation!

If a craft brewery 'sells out' do they still make craft beer?

Mike Neilson panhead brewery
Sell out?
Craft beer, this, craft beer that.

You can't escape the word these days. Craft beer is all the rage.

But if craft beer is so popular and widely sold in supermarkets and bars, is it still craft beer?


If a craft brewery 'sells out' do they still make craft beer?


Craft beer apparently accounts for 10 - 11 percent of the American beer market. I suspect the numbers for New Zealand are getting up there.

Further, if the larger, more traditional breweries are buying up boutique beer companies and breweries, are they still making craft beer? 

Well, it all depends on your definition. If your definition of a craft brewer is a beer brewer that is small, independent, and traditional then their produce can be called craft beer. Sometimes they have are known as microbrewers as they produce limited production runs of beer.

So basically then, craft beer is made by small (!) beer enthusiasts who own and run their own show.

By that definition Wellington NZ appears to be craft beer capital of New Zealand. It feels like you can't cross over to a street corner without passing by a brewery. Which is a good thing actually because Garage Project do some of the best beers I've ever tasted.

A couple of month's back a rising star of the beer brewing scene in Wellington was purchased by a traditional brewing company, Lion Nathan (famously known for brewing Steinlager). The local guys were Panhead, who in a space of a couple of years had made a fine name for their themselves both locally and wider country. Their Supercharger is one of the finest beers around.
supercharger beer bottle image
Supercharger

There was a minor uproar at the purchase. 'Sell outs!' cried craft beer lovers. They'll change the beer! They'll stop making new beers!

First up, let's not begrudge the Panhead owner, Mike Neilson. While they and other brewers are here to make good beer, they are also there to make a buck. Like every other man and his dog, they have mortgages and family to look after. If they can cash in, I say go for it, I know I would!

The cries of concern about craft breweries selling up are fair in that good established beer brands could no longer be made with 'the love' that the original owners put in. 

The new owners could fail to innovate or experiment. After all, a traditional hallmark of craft beer and craft brewers is innovation.

Look how often Garage Project come up with new beer style. Craft brewers are often found interpreting historic beer making styles and offering unique twists and styles. Or they completely innovate. 


So how dare the big breweries ruin good craft beer?


The answer is, they've learnt their lesson. In the case of Panhead beer, the former owner Mike Neilson was retained by Lion Nathan to stay with the company and he said:

"It will be business as usual, I will hand over the running of the company to business people. The best part is I will get back to brewing."

So will he still produce craft beer? 

Arguably Supercharger will still be Supercharger under his watch. Does the fact Lion Nathan who is in turn owned by one of the largest beer companies in the world (Kirin) mean that Panhead no longer makes craft beer?

Based on our definition they do not but to misuse a Billy Joel line, it's still rock and roll to me.

Panheads's APA beer is so popular that people have started to clone it - here's the Supercharger clone recipe.

Where can I buy beer hops online?

where to purchase beer hops


Where can I buy beer hops online?


If you know a thing or two about beer, you'll know that hops is so crucial to making good beer that the Germans made it the law for it to be an ingredient of beer.

You are of course free to make beer whatever way you like but you're probably going to want to buy hops for your home brew at some stage, especially as you begin to experiment with new tastes and flavours.


So there are two questions you should ask - what hops should I use in my beer and where can I purchase hops?



First we will talk about what hops to use in your beer. Certain kinds of hops are commonly associated with particular styles of beer or beer from certain regions.

It's really up to you, the power of buying and using hops is yours! (Did you read that in a Captain Planet voice?)

Here's some commonly used hops that you can buy:
  • Pilsner beers have became nearly synonymous with the four so called 'noble hops'. These are varieties of hop called Terrnanger, Spalt, Hallertauer and Saaz. 
  • Saaz hops are closely aligned with the brewing of lagers, mostly for the delicous aroma that has become associated with the beer. As an aside, pilsner beers are known as traditionally coming from the Czech Republic.
  • If you're looking for hops that might help your beer taste a bit like the classic New Zealand beer, Steinlager, you might buy Green Bullet hops. 
  • America, the land of the free beer drinker, has become a home for hop production and many new varieties from old favorites have been developed. American hops are recognized and appreciated all around the world for their bold, and often intense flavors they imbue in beer. American hops are often described as being citrus like, however that's a most elementary description. Cascade hops are a very popular choice.  Chinook is another popular 'north western' hop.
  • The English Golding hop has become the signature hops of English ale.
  • The Fuggle hop is another popular hop used for ale beer. 
That's all well and good but where can I buy hops? I need to purchase some saaz hops, man! Is it OK to buy hops online? Yes, Timmy, it sure is OK to buy hops online!

There's two ways to buy hops - in person or online. If you are going to do it in person, you need to find a local specialty beer brewing shop.

So get on to Google and have a snoop around or ask your mates at work, chances are they are homebrewers!

Or you can buy or hops online. There are a mega ton of sites out there but we reckon if you know what you want, just order hops from Amazon. There are plenty of reputable beer brewing equipment experts on there and between them, they have a large selection of the best hops to buy.

If you've bought some hops and are wondering how to use them, check out our guide.

How to pitch yeast correctly into beer wort

adding yeast to the beer wort

How to pitch yeast in your homebrew beer


Newbie beer makers may have heard the expression “pitch your yeast” and wondered what the heck it meant. I myself was horribly concerned that I had missed a trick when making my first brew.

Had I missed out a step?

Had I ruined my beer?

Nope, of course not. ‘Pitching yeast’ is just homebrewer lingo for adding yeast to the wort.

Without yeast, your wort will not turn into beer. The yeast, is an active living organism that feeds on the oxygen and sugars in the wort and as a bi-product produces carbon dioxide and the sought after alcohol.

Yeast is a sensitive cell based life form and needs the correct conditions in which to thrive and help make really good beer.

That’s way though pitching your yeast is more than simply adding it to your beer – it needs to be done at the correct time in the brew so that it can activate properly.

The short version is if you pitch your yeast when your brew is too hot (say you’ve just boiled it), you will kill the yeast with the heat and fermentation will not occur. This is way the cooling process can be so important.

Your fermenter might have a temperature gauge on the side, else you might need to get your hands on a thermometer.

I’ve noticed that some brewers can be super sensitive about yeast and the preparation and pitching of it. There are arguments about the best method but the casual home brewer should not get caught up too much in it.

If you follow some good beer making instructions, you shouldn’t have any problems from the yeast.

The easy way to pitch your yeast is dry pitching



If you are like me, once you have prepared the wort in the 30 litre drum, you are ready to add your dried yeast. Simply open up the packet that came from the beer kit, and chuck it into your wort. This is called pitching your yeast dry.

Maybe give it a gentle stir with a clean spoon. Close off your fermenter securely and place your beer in a good spot for a week or two to let the yeast do its job.

Re-hydrating your yeast before you pitch it


A method that many earnest brewers follow is to hydrate the dry yeast in water before pitching. The reasoning behind this is that it gives the yeast a good chance to get started properly.
Rehydrating yeast in a glass

The theory is that there can be a concentration of sugars in the wort which means it is difficult for the yeast to absorb water into its membranes so that they can begin to activate / metabolize and thus commence the fermentation process.

In my experience I’ve never had the yeast fail with a simple beer kit but if you are keen to cut the potential problem out, feel free to re-hydrate your yeast.

Do this by boiling some water and letting it cool. You can then add your yeast packet (or two!) to the water and let it begin to absorb – you shouldn’t do this too far apart from when it is time to pitch the yeast.

Cover and leave for about 15 minutes and then inspect. It should have begun to smell like you are making bread and 'bubbled' a bit (see the above picture). If so, it’s ready to be pitched.

If there is no churning or foaming or sourdough or bread like smells, it could be your yeast has died from old age or environmental damage such as being left in the sun. You may need to use a new packet of yeast...


A quick summary of pitching yeast

  • Pitching yeast is simply adding it to the beer wort
  • Add it when your wort is the recommended temperature – check your beer kit’s recommended temperature
  • You can pitch dry yeast straight into the wort
  • Or you can add it to water just prior to pitching
Image credit to Justin Knabb via Creative Commons Licence