Homebrew Kits: How to Choose the Right Kit for You

Having the right equipment is crucial to a successful home brewing. Rather than attempting to search for all of the necessary components individually, choosing to get a comprehensive Equipment Kit is the best place to start. That way, you know you’ll have everything you need right there and won’t be scrambling for parts come brew time.

We’ve put together an assortment of equipment kits that range from basic to complete, all created with the needs of all types of homebrewers in mind. We’ll take you through each package to help you decide which equipment kit is the perfect one for both your brewing style and your wallet.

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Troubleshooting Your Kegerator

If you are experiencing problems with your kegerator, please refer to our troubleshooting guide below. If your problem is not found below or you are unable to correct an issue you find on the chart, please leave a comment and/or give us a call at 1-866-950-8710.

Issue Possible Cause Solution
Cloudy Beer:
Beer is hazy and not clear
Temperature too low Increase the temperature of the refrigerator to 36°F or higher.
Faucet partially opened Turn the tap off, then open it quickly and fully.
Keg has something warm on it Remove any item that is not cold from the keg.
Flat Beer:
Head comes out like large soap bubbles and disappears quickly. Beer tastes less fresh
Greasy glasses (grease can come from fried foods, lipstick, or dirty hands) Wash glasses thoroughly after use and allow to air dry. Do not dry wipe. Cold rinse glasses before pouring beer. Designate beer-only glasses.
Poor pour Be careful about the distance of the faucet to the glass. A perfect pour will give you about a 1/2″ to 1″ thick tight head on top.
Low pressure Check if the CO2 tank is on and is not empty. Check for obstructions in the air lines. If the PSI is too low, raise it a little bit at a time. (Be careful as the regulator is very sensitive). Regulators need to be replaced every 4-6 years after wear.
Bad or Off-Tasting Beer:
Beer is bitter and has an unpleasant bite.
Dirty beer line or faucet Clean the faucet and lines after you finish off every keg.
Dirty air line Replace the air line if it looks to be contaminated. Otherwise, clean it like you would the beer line and rinse it clean.
Old beer Toss the keg, and get a new one.
Foamy Beer:
You pour and it comes out all foam and no beer.
Warm Beer Regulate the refrigerator’s temperature to be at 38-42° Fahrenheit
Excessive CO2 Lower the CO2 pressure going into the keg. Turn off the CO2tank, pull the relief valve for about 3 seconds, wait about 15 minutes before turning it back on.
Old beer lines Replace your beer lines.
Clogged faucet Remove the faucet, soak in hot water and clean with a brush every few weeks.
Poor pour Be careful about the distance of the faucet to the glass. A perfect pour will give you about a 1/2″ to 1″ thick tight head on top.
Worn down parts in faucet Check for worn washers and replace as needed. Check the faucet to make sure it opens fully. Replace the faucet or it’s parts as needed.
Warm beer lines The full length of beer tubing needs to be refrigerated. Beer lines longer than 6 feet may cause issues as well.

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How to Brew Beer

Home brewing beer has been said to be part science and part art. There is a precise and calculated aspect to the process but at the same time the “rules” and any possible confines can be hazy, presenting grounds for personal interpretation and the creation of a truly unique beer. Sounds like it could be difficult, right? Well, it’s not.

Brewing beer really comes down to a simple process that has roots as far back as 12,000 years. You essentially heat water and grain (and/or extract from grain), boil the mixture with hops, cool the mixture, ferment the mixture using yeast and then carbonate. Easy enough, right? Well, now we’ll go into a little bit more depth within each step.

The Main Steps of Homebrewing:

  1. Cleaning and Sanitizing
  2. The Brew
  3. After the Brew
  4. Fermentation
  5. Bottling and Kegging

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Step-by-Step: Kegerator Assembly Guide

This is a general reference guide for assembling and installing a standard full size kegerator. Depending on the kegerator brand, make, and model, slight modifications may be needed in the assembly and installation.

For a visual reference of parts that are numbered in parentheses in this installation guide, please view the kegerator diagram below.

Listed Parts:
  1. Faucet Handle
  2. Faucet
  3. Beer Tower
  4. Guard Rail
  5. Drip Tray
  6. Regulator
  7. CO2 Tube
  8. CO2 Cylinder
  9. CO2 Holder
  10. Keg Coupler
  11. Metal Keg Floor Support
  12. Caster Washer (x2)
  13. Casters (x4)
  14. Neoprene Washer
  15. Snap-On Clamps (x2)
  16. Wire Shelves (not pictured) (x2)
  17. Half Barrel Keg (not included)
  18. Faucet Wrench (not pictured)

Kegerator Parts Guide
For a more in-depth review of what each component is, please refer to our Kegerator Parts article.


Step-by-Step Instructions for Assembling Your Kegerator

Follow these step-by-step instructions for assembling your kegerator and installing/tapping a keg inside of it.

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REVIEW: Brother Adam Honey Bragget Ale from Atlantic Brewing Company

Quick Characteristics
Brewery: Atlantic Brewing Co.
Location: Bar Harbor, ME
Style: Braggot
ABV: 10.5%
IBUs: ?
Yeast: Nottingham, Champagne
Malt: Pale, Black, Munich
Hops: Pilgrim, Wye Goldings
Appearance: Dirty, Brown Amber Resembling Dark, Unfiltered Honey
Aroma: Sweet & Malty With a Vinous Stitch of Alcohol
Flavor: Robust Malt & Mouthcoating Sweetness
Availability: Limited
Pairs With: Bleu Cheese, Dark Chocolate, Plums

Something new this week. A style I’ve never reviewed… come to think of it I’m not sure I’ve ever had a commercial offering of this style. So, a Bragget for your consideration. A quick note here: there is an older spelling of the name “Braggot,” and this is the more common spelling I believe, but the dictionary recognizes the spelling used by the Atlantic Brewing Company, so in the interest of keeping things consistent I will use “Bragget” in this review.

This is an interesting style of beer with a long, but mostly lost history. The fact that a bragget is actually a marriage of both mead and beer gives it a non-to-firm date of origin, but its roots can be traced back to a wild tribe of the European Isles known as the Picts. Not much of this people’s history is known today. They were enough of a thorn in the Romans side that they were part of the reason Hadrians Wall was built. Most of their beer brewing legacy is lost to history along with any definitive answer to their ultimate fate, but one of the few things that does seem to have matriculated down through the shadowed faults of the past is their truly renowned skills in brewing. Robert Lewis Stevenson even wrote an poem about it.

According to the label this beer’s fermentable sugars are equal parts malt and honey. Historically the bragget contained more mead then beer but using a 50/50 split allows the Brewery to classify this as a beer and not a mead.
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Beer Brewing Equipment: What You Need to Brew from Home

Making the decision to start brewing your own beer is an exciting one but can also seem quite daunting. With all the different pieces of equipment and ingredients out there, it’s hard to know what’s absolutely necessary, what’s recommended, and what’s completely optional.

To help you get started, we’ve broken it down into those exact three categories for you:

What You NEED to Get Started

If you’re a beginner, you’re probably wondering, “What do I need to get started?” At this stage, you may not want any of the bells and whistles but you do need the essentials. Here is exactly what you’ll need for your first 5 gallon yield brew:
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Guide to Regulating Keg Compression

This regulator adjustment guide will help you with those final steps in assuring that your kegerator provides you with the highest quality tasting beer by walking you step by step through the regulator adjustment process.

Regulator Guide
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How to Use a Hydrometer in 4 Easy Steps

Hydrometer

What is a Hydrometer?

A hydrometer is a basic tool that is used to measure the ratio of a sample liquid’s density to the density of water. In home brewing, it is a necessary tool that will show you the degree to which the yeast is converting sugar into ethanol, ultimately helping you gauge the health and success of your beer’s fermentation.

Why do I need a Hydrometer to make beer?

Homebrewing isn’t a cakewalk. There is a lot of time and effort that goes into it and there are many opportunities for things to go wrong. Perhaps the most important (and delicate) stage within beer making is fermentation. That is exactly why a hydrometer is so important, as it is the device that will tell you how the fermentation process is going. A hydrometer can be the single tool that alerts you of issues during fermentation, allowing you to make adjustments as needed.
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REVIEW: Rubaeus from Founders Brewing Co.

Quick Characteristics
Brewery: Founders Brewing Co.
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Style: Fruit Beer
ABV: 5.7%
IBUs: 15
Appearance: Deep Red with Pinkish Foam
Aroma: Raspberries; Fruity Sweetness; Hints of Sourness
Flavor: Sweet Raspberries With a Slight Souring Toward the Swallow
Availability: Seasonal (May-Aug)
Pairs With: BBQ & Smoked Meats, Gouda, Rich Chocolate Desserts

The other day I suddenly realized being up in the Northeast brought with it the good luck of making Founders Beers available to me. I immediately headed for the nearest bottle shop to see which of their beers might grace local shelves. It happened there was more than I expected and it took me a while to select which would have the honor of being my introduction to the brewery. But, finally after much hemming and hawing it made sense to try the seasonal first, pay homage to the time of year, try something that wouldn’t be available in a couple months. So, it was the Rübæus found its place in my basket and became next in line for this review.

Founders Brewing Company is probably the best known brewery in Michigan. The brewery was started by Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers in 1997 as the Canal Street Brewing Company. The name was tribute to an area of Grand Rapids where, back in the 1800’s, several breweries made their home. The company’s original label was a black and white view of canal street with the word “Founders” above it. And so, it wasn’t a big leap to a name change for the burgeoning brewery.

“In-tribed five times was the raspy berry to twine a song of summers merry.”

Starting the brewery required a leap of faith on Mike and Dave’s part. They both only had homebrewing experience and “real” jobs. They made the leap. Quit their jobs, took out loans to cover start-up expenses, and went for it.

It took them some time to find their legs, but they finally did. They turned their backs on brewing well-balanced but unremarkable beer and refocused on what had made them want to brew beer in the first place… beer that they themselves got excited about. And low and behold it made other people excited too.
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8 Helpful Homebrew Components You Should Consider Buying

So you have your homebrew equipment kit and you’re ready to make some delicious beer. Or so you think. Though equipment kits come with everything necessary to get you through your first few brews, after becoming more familiar with the process, you may want to consider grabbing a few extra components that can help make the process even easier.

1. Improved Temperature Monitoring

Bi-Metal Thermometer

Maintaining proper temperatures throughout the brewing process is critical. If your wort gets too hot or is not hot enough the entire batch can be ruined, and unfortunately, you wouldn’t know it until it was too late.

We recommend getting a trust-worthy brewing thermometer, such as a Bi-Metal Thermometer. This thermometer is able to give you faster readings than your average mercury or silver-based device, which is particularly helpful during the brewing and cooling stages.
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