These Are The Best Small Batch Homebrewing Starter Kits

Homebrewing is an amazing hobby that blends creativity and science to produce one of the world’s greatest beverages: beer. Admittedly, getting started can be difficult. Not only can the process seem complex, but it’s expensive, time consuming, and takes up a lot of space. That’s where small batch brewing comes in.

What Is The Best Small Batch Homebrewing Starter Kit?

Northern Brewer makes the best small batch homebrewing starter kit. Easy to use and easy to clean, their 1-gallon kit is fun and versatile. It comes with all you need to start brewing and bottling homebrewed beer. Whether you’re itching to get into homebrewing, or looking for the perfect gift for a craft beer lover, Northern Brewer’s kit is the way to go.

There are a few other great kits on the market as well. We’ll give a thorough breakdown of what’s available, and what makes each kit unique.

Northern Brewer

Northern Brewer Small Batch Homebrew Kit

Along with absolutely everything you need to brew, this starter kit also comes with the very best resources for learning to make craft beer:

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Northern Brewer is one of the largest homebrew supply stores in the world. Their brand is reputable and has been trusted by homebrewers for decades. They also design and sell branded products, like the Siphonless 1 Gallon Craft Beer Making Starter Kit.

This Northern Brewer small batch homebrew kit comes with pretty much everything you need to brew and bottle beer. The recipe kits are extract-based, but they offer all kinds of beer styles.

Because the Northern Brewer 1-gallon fermenter has a spigot, bottling beer is a breeze. Not having to deal with a racking cane and siphon is a major bonus. To bottle, all you need to do is attach the bottling wand to the spigot and bottle beers directly from the fermenter. Their kits also come with carbonation drops to make bottle priming that much easier.

This kit even comes with a bottle capper. That means the only extra equipment you need is a brew pot and some clean, standard beer bottles.

Each kit comes with the following:

  • Siphonless glass little Big Mouth Bubbler fermenter
  • Airlock and stopper
  • Bottling wand and tubing
  • Bottle capper and caps
  • Personalizable beer bottle labels
  • Recipe kit
  • Step by step instructions
  • No-rinse sanitizer

Since the fermenter has a wide mouth opening, you don’t need a funnel to transfer wort. It’s also a lot easier to clean than a narrow neck fermenter. On the downside, the kit doesn’t come with a thermometer or hydrometer, but they aren’t necessary – more nice to have.

The Northern Brewer 1-Gallon kit is the easiest system to use on our list, and our recommended entry kit into small batch brewing.

Where to buy: Amazon

Brooklyn Brew Shop

With the original small batch kit, Brooklyn Brew Shop has inspired countless people to start homebrewing. Their kit allows you to dive head first into the world of all grain brewing. Sold everywhere from bookstores, to grocery stores, to hardware stores, Brooklyn Brew Shop’s kits can be found all over. Their simplistic small batch brewing kit is a practical and fun way to learn how to all grain brew.

Brooklyn Brew Shop has over 50 recipe mixes to choose from. What’s cool is that they routinely team up with commercial brewers, like BrewDog and Evil Twin, to offer brewery-direct recipes. All of their recipe kits are all grain – meaning you need to mash grains to make your wort. This process is more time intensive than extract batches, but it’s the best way to get your feet wet brewing beer from scratch.

Minimalist in design, Brooklyn Brew Shop’s kit is quite basic. It actually could come with a few extra pieces to make the brew day and bottling easier. Bottling beer using the included basic hose clamp valve can be frustrating and messy. On top of that, the kit doesn’t come with a bottle capper, bottle caps, hydrometer, or a funnel.

Each kit comes with the following:

  • All grain ingredient mix
  • Gallon glass fermenter
  • Glass thermometer
  • Vinyl tubing
  • Racking cane
  • Airlock
  • Screw-cap stopper
  • No-rinse sanitizer

We recommend this kit for anyone who likes a challenge and has the patience to learn about the basics of all grain brewing.

Where to buy: Brooklyn Brew Shop

Craft A Brew

Craft A Brew Small Batch Starter Kit

 Be more than a beer drinker; be a beer maker! This craft beer kit turns beer lovers into beer brewers and gives you all the independence, experience, and fun that comes with brewing your own home beer.

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Craft A Brew is an extract based kit, essentially identical to the Brooklyn Brew Shop all grain kit. The only difference is that Craft A Brew includes a funnel.

The kit contains:

  • Glass 1 gallon jug
  • Funnel
  • Racking cane
  • Rubber stopper
  • Vinyl tubing
  • Airlock
  • Glass thermometer
  • Extract beer ingredients
  • No rinse sanitizer
  • Easy-to-follow guide

Craft A Brew also teams up with commercial breweries to offer clone recipes, like Stone and Funky Bhudda. Being extract-based, these recipes are quick and easy to brew.

But just like Brooklyn Brew Shop, Craft A Brew’s kit is quite basic. Bottling beer uses the basic hose clamp valve and the kit doesn’t come with a bottle capper, bottle caps, or hydrometer.

We recommend the Craft A Brew kit for its nice range of extract recipes. For a lot of people, getting started with all grain brewing (like with the Brooklyn Brew Shop kit) is overwhelming. You definitely can’t go wrong starting with an easy to brew Craft A Brew extract Stone Pale Ale.

Where to buy: Amazon

Brewer’s Best

Brewer's Best Small Batch Starter Kit

A complete small batch starter kit including ingredients for a clean, light & simple to brew American Cream Ale.

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The most complete kit is to the Brewer’s Best 1 Gallon Beer Equipment Kit.

What’s unique about this kit is that it comes with a 2 gallon bucket for primary fermentation. This adds an extra step to the process but helps make clearer beer with less sediment, and increases yield by a bottle or two. Using a primary fermenter is optional anyway, so you can choose how you want to brew.

We like this kit because it comes with way more equipment, making your brew day a lot easier and more flexible. Siphoning the beer at bottling is much easier because the included siphon is an auto-siphon. That means all it takes is a simple pump or two to get the beer flowing. This kit also comes with a bottle brush which makes it a breeze to clean bottles and the glass fermenter.

The kit contains:

  • 2 gallon primary fermenter with lid and grommet
  • 1 gallon glass jug
  • Stopper and airlock
  • No rinse cleanser
  • No rinse sanitizer (enough sanitizer and cleanser for several batches)
  • Mini auto siphon
  • Siphon tubing and shut off clamp
  • Liquid crystal “stick on” thermometer
  • Double lever bottle capper
  • Glass thermometer
  • Hydrometer with test jar
  • Bottle brush
  • Instructions

This kit doesn’t come with a recipe mix – so you’ll have to buy that separately. Brewer’s Best offers a few all grain and extract recipes. Alternatively, you can purchase one of the other brand’s mixes or have your local homebrew shop create one for you.

Where to buy: Amazon

Small Batch Starter Kit Buyers Guide

Small Batch Starter Kits

Brand Verdict Recipe Mix Fermenter Other Parts
Northern Brewer Our top pick Extract Wide mouth glass fermenter with spigot Capper, Bottling Wand,
Brooklyn Brew Shop Best All Grain kit All grain Glass gallon jug Thermometer
Craft A Brew Nice range of extract recipe mixes Extract Glass gallon jug Thermometer
Brewer’s Best Great (but recipe mix sold separately) Not included Primary bucket and secondary glass jug Capper, Bottling Wand, Hydrometer, Thermometer

What to look for in a starter kit

The best small batch homebrewing starter kits should include everything you need to brew. For beginners, navigating the ins-and-outs of homebrewing can be a challenge. Small batch kits should get rid of all uncertainty and make the brewing experience fun and straightforward.

Equipment Included

For 1 gallon batches, you’ll need at least an 8 quart pot, but we recommend going with 2 gallons to make life a little easier. There aren’t any kits that come with a pot – but any stock pot will work. Just make sure it’s clean and free from rust, oil, or grease.

Make sure that you carefully review the contents of the starter kit before you dive in. On top of the pot, there are a few other items that you’ll need. Depending on the kit, you may need the following pieces of equipment to get your beer brewed and bottled:

  • Bottle capper
  • Bottle caps
  • Bottles
  • Strainer or mesh bag (for all grain brewing)
  • Funnel

Recipe Kits

Most small batch homebrewing brands sell recipe kits. Brooklyn Brew Shop and Craft A Brew have amazing kits, many of which are clone recipes of popular commercial beers.

Here’s a little tip: the recipes kits are interchangeable between all of the brew systems. Whether it’s all-grain, partial mash, or extract, you’ll be able to use any 1-gallon recipe kit on any 1-gallon small batch system.

We recommend first getting used to your system, following a few of that brand’s kits. Once you get the hang of it, you can use any 1-gallon recipe you feel like. You’ll eventually start creating your own recipes and buying raw ingredients from your local homebrew store.

Instructions

Despite being able to use any recipe mix on any 1-gallon system, you still need to pay attention to the brewing instructions. Carefully review the guides to make sure you have all of the equipment and that each step makes sense. For most of the brands, they have comprehensive video tutorials on their websites. Be sure to watch those before you get to brewing.

One important note about many of Brooklyn Brew Shop’s recipes is that they often suggest bottle conditioning with honey. Honey is a fermentable sugar that when added to the beer at bottling, will be consumed by the yeast to generate carbonation. We don’t recommend following this suggestion if you see it in any small batch instructions.

Bottle priming with honey is tricky as not all honey is made equal. The amount of sugar per volume varies significantly between different honeys. Our suggestion is to carbonate with regular table sugar or carbonation drops. Follow our guide for tips on how to do that.

Final Thoughts

Small batch homebrewing kits are a great introduction to the world of homebrewing. You’d be surprised at how many professional brewers got their start with a 2-gallon stock pot.

Starting small helps understand the brewing process one step at a time. It also allows you to experiment through more regular brewing. You’ll quickly get the hang of small batch brewing, and either decide to stay small, or invest in more equipment.

We highly suggest the Northern Brewer Siphonless 1 Gallon Craft Beer Making Starter Kit. You’ll be so happy with the ease of use from the spigotted fermenter. You’re also assured to have every piece of equipment you need to start your journey making amazing beer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why brew a small batch when 5 gallons takes the same amount of time?

Many homebrewers question the motives behind brewing small batches. Since the brew day is about the same length whether you’re brewing 1 or 5 gallons, why not just go big to start out?

In fact, there are many good reasons for brewing 1-gallon batches. If you’re living in an apartment, you may have space constraints. It’s a lot easier to clean up after a 1-gallon brew day, too. Also, small batches only require a small 2 gallon pot – a lot easier to find and less expensive than a big 6 gallon pot.

Small batch brewing is a great entry into homebrewing and well worth the investment in a kit.

How many bottles will a 1 gallon homebrew beer make?

There are 128 fluid ounces in 1 gallon. Standard beer bottles – longnecks – are 12 ounces. Therefore, there are about 10 standard bottles of beer per 1 gallon batch.

Due to losses from yeast, trub, and hops in the fermenter, you may end up with 8 or 9 bottles.

Why won’t my siphon work for homebrewing?

When brewing small batches, mastering the use of your siphon is essential. There isn’t a lot of room for error to be wasting beer – you want to get as much as possible into the bottles!

It’s a good idea to practice siphoning with water before your first try with freshly brewed beer. Check out this video by Craft A Brew for a great visualization on how to use a manual siphon.

If you still have problems operating a manual siphon, consider upgrading to a mini auto siphon.

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