REVIEW – The Brewferm homebrew starter kit comes neatly packaged in its own fermenting barrel, with ingredients, instructions and accouterments inside. My husband and I have always wanted to try brewing our own beer, and it was great to have a kit to start us off.
What is it?
A homebrewing kit with nearly all the key ingredients and tools for making 2.5 gallons of beer from your very own kitchen, with no boiling needed and step-by-step instructions included.
What’s in the box?
- Buckrider fermenting bucket
- Brew mix (ours was Tripel Terror, but they offer 11 flavors)
- Bottling tube
- Bottling hydrometer
- Tapper for fermenting bucket (with back nut and 2 seals)
- Buckrider super wash
- Carbonation drops (60)
- Bottle labels (24)
- Coasters (6)
- Product dimensions: 13.5 x 13.31 x 13.7 inches
- Item weight: 3.52 ounces
- Manufacturer: BREWFERM
- ASIN: B08MBCC3YR
- Yield: 2.5 or 9 liters of beer (for this particular kit, Triple Terror)
Design and features
To set it up, you need to press the tapper into the fermenting barrel. You leave one seal on the tapper, press it in and then load the seal on the other side and tighten. Both pressing in the tapper and especially tightening the seal required a good amount of force. My husband did this part; I don’t think I could have done it alone. And this tapper caused some additional problems later on.
The initial setup also involves a lot of cleaning. You need to clean the fermenting bucket, lid and all of the instruments. You use the special cleaning solution provided per the directions on the bottle (we used 1 oz of cleaning granules dissolved into 1 gallon of warm water). As per the instructions, we scrubbed and then soaked it for 30 minutes.
Then you make the “wort” beer starter. You heat up a quart of water to 104 to 122 degrees F (our water was 118). You open the brew mix, remove the yeast from the lid, and then open the can with a can opener. You put the can of mix into the warm water; we took the pan off the burner and monitored the temperature from here. We let it sit for 15 minutes and then removed it (water was 104, so still within range) and dumped the thick, dark liquid (kind of like maple syrup) into the fermentation bucket. Then you fill up the empty can with another 1 liter of warm water to clean out anything left behind in the can, stirring it all up.
Then we added another 2 liters (68 ounces) of warm water, after dissolving 2.5 cups of sugar (following the chart on the instructions; there are different amounts of sugar depending on the recipe). And then added 2 liters of cold water, again per the instructions for our specific recipe.
We had to wait until the mix got down to 68 degrees before adding the yeast and sealing the bucket. At this point we noticed a very distinct smell. I thought it smelled a little yeasty. Not bad, just different. My husband says it smells “beautiful.”
To seal the bucket, you press down the lid, making sure it clicks into place. Then you put the S-shaped airlock on top, after filling it halfway with water.
Now we wait 7-10 days for the sugar in the starter to ferment. We’ll leave it in our basement closet since it needs to be 66-73 degrees F.
Then we’ll need to bottle it and wait another 6 to 8 weeks for it to ripen. I’ll write an update then, and will give you our taste-testing notes.
Since we haven’t completed the process, I can’t comment on overall performance. However, the brewing instructions were easy to follow. And most of what we needed was included.
Not included were: 2 gallons of filtered water (we bought water out of concern that the chlorine in our tap water would disrupt fermentation; we don’t have a water filter at home), can opener, measuring cups, pots/pans, granulated sugar, bottles, lids, thermometer.
We plan to use growlers, howlers and pop-top Grolsch bottles we have at home to bottle the beer, so we don’t need to buy anything extra. I will let you know how that goes.
Our biggest gripe is the leaky tapper. I noticed several Amazon reviewers commented on that, too. As soon as we poured liquid in the fermenting bucket, we noticed a slow drip from the tap. My husband used a wrench to tighten it even more, but we will see how it lasts over time.
After checking it one day later, the tapper is not leaking at all, which is a good sign. But an even better sign is that we are seeing bubbles in the airlock, which also makes a very satisfying “glug” sound. This means fermentation is starting. It’s working!
What I like
- No boil, easy recipe
- Includes almost everything you need
What I’d change
- A tapper that doesn’t leak, or at least troubleshooting instructions on how to manage this problem (since others have also noted this)
This was a fun afternoon project. While not everything was included in our kit, we were able to improvise with items around our house. We’ll have to wait for the real test: the tasting!
On a hot afternoon in July, my husband and I tested the Brewferm homebrewing starter kit. And on a brisk October night, we finally got to taste the finished product.
Since our last report, we waited 10 days for the sugar in the starter to ferment and then added carbonation drops and bottled it.
Then we waited another eight weeks for it to “ripen.” The hardest part was finding a spot that would stay 66-73 degrees F. We used a basement closet but I suspect there were times when it got a little warmer than 73 degrees in August/September, even with our air conditioning going.
The mix made 300 ounces of beer (roughly a case), which for us was divided into three growlers, one howler and 7 Grolsch bottles.
And you know what? It’s really tasty! Our concoction was supposed to be a Belgian triple and that’s exactly what it looks, smells and tastes like. We were pleasantly surprised by how well it turned out. So well, in fact, that we’re proud to share it with our friends and family, even the beer snobs among them.
And I think the best sign of our beer’s success is that my husband is now eyeing up another beer kit to test.