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[Review]The Homebrew Company's American Brown Ale Extract Kit

Started by Garry, February 22, 2014, 11:56:25 PM

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The club were generously given this kit courtesy of The Homebrew Company to review.

The kit came with 2 tins of LME and a bag containing:

1 page of instructions
1 whirlfloc tablet
1 muslin bag for steeping grains
1 bag of steeping grains (1.42kg)
3 individual bags of hop additions
    60 min = 40g
    15 min = 75g
     0 min = 110g
1 sachet of US05 yeast

It does not contain any babysitters which is the reason why I'm so late getting this review done :P

I started the brew this morning at 6:30AM.

I added 26L of water to my keggle and plonked in the bag of grains. There is a lovely fresh biscuit smell from the grains with a hint of chocolate. There's defiantly something dark in there because the water turned quite dark quickly.  I cranked up the heat to 67°C and held it there for 30min. I recirculated the water for the 30min to be sure the temperature was constant.

I put the 2 tins of LME into hot water for 15min to soften them up a bit.

After 30min steeping the grains I gave the bag a good twist over a spare bucket & colander. The extra wort I collected was added back into the keggle.

The wort was a good dark brown colour at this stage.

I turned on the elements full tilt and stirred in the 2 tins of malty massiveness.

I got the hop spider ready as she was coming to the boil.

Add in the 60min addition just as the hot-break clears. The hops have a lovely fresh citrusy smell. I'm looking forward to drinking this already!

15 minute hop addition added.

This is where I made a bubu. I should have added the whirlfloc tablet too at 15 min but I forgot  :-[ I ended up adding it at 0 min when I found it lying on the table all lonely :(

I recirculated the wort through the counter-flow chiller at 10min to sanitise it.

At 0 min, I turned off the heat. Then turned on the cooling water through the chiller. Then added my 0 min hops.

After 20 min the temperature is down to 28°C. So I start transferring into the FV. Lots of aeration going on!

I ended up with 21 litres at 18°C. OG reading 1.046°. I pitched the yeast onto the foamy head and wrapped her up nice and cosy.

I'm looking forward to trying this one. The hops smelled really fresh and Americany!

I've only one minor gripe with the kit so far. It all comes in 1 bag. I'd prefer if the instructions were on the outside so I could have a read off them before brewday without cutting the bag open and compromising the freshness of the grains. From reading other reviews on these HBC extract kits this seems to be the only fault that we all came up with.

All in all it's a great product so kudos to HBC. The quality of the ingredients provided is top class. Having all the grain and hops measured out for you is really handy.

I was finished my brew at 10:00AM. Thats 3.5Hrs in total including clean-up! I still got a days work done afterwards. Not bad going?




Cheers CH. The pics help me to remember what I did and when I did it too   :P

24 hrs on, there's a nice foamy krausen forming on top. This fermenter doesn't have an airlock but if it had she'd be singing a sweet tune right now. I've the temperature set at 22dC. I'll bring it down to 19dC after 2 days and leave it alone for 2 weeks. Then I'll take off the heat belt and let it cool.

I might have to rack this one to secondary. I'll see how the break material is settling out in a few weeks. 


Quote from: LordEoin on February 23, 2014, 11:03:56 AM
Where did you get that pump in picture 3 garry?

I got it from:

You can get the same ones much cheaper on eBay direct from China. I have a few spares if you want to give one a whirl first? 


There was a lot of sediment in the fermenter on this one, so I racked it to secondary after 1 week. I kept the temp at 19dC. Checked the gravity tonight and it's down to 1.014 so there's probably a bit more in her? The taste at the moment is bland enough but it's early days yet and she needs carbonation. Its an American after all  :P

The gravity sample I took was very clear, and I noticed after racking that there was a lot of clumping in the primary. I must start using whirlfloc more regularly. It seems to be doing the trick.


I made this beer and was very happy with the results. The one thing i would add to the kits is labelling the hops bags wth the name of each hop. Its nice to know what hops you are adding


Cheers DCB, that's good to know  :)

I checked the gravity again tonight, it's at 1.012. I don't think it's going to go any lower so I took off the heat belt and I'll let it chill out at ambient garage temp for a while to clear it. The garage is around 10dC at the moment, nice cellaring temperature?


This is still in secondary. I drew off a wee sample tonight. It has cleared very nicely. It's a lovely reddish brown colour. The aroma really reminds me of rolling tabaco and the beer has a nice bitter finish. I need to get it carbed up soon, it's definitely ready. And so am I  :)


I finally got this into a keg. I assumed that this beer would have a big hop aroma, being American an' all! But it doesn't, so initially I was disappointed. I looked up the bjcp style guidelines and it turns out that the beer is not supposed to have a big hop aroma at all. So after reading this, I had another sip and the beer is very true to the style. It's actually a very nice brown ale.

I took a sample to the Midleton meet the other night. Again, everyone assumed it would be big on hops. But when the style guidelines were explained, all agreed that it is a fine brown ale.

I suppose we've all just come accustomed to the American hoppy ales, but it turns out they make other beers too :P This is one of them and a good one too  :)