I have used a Mr. Beer kit two times now with acceptable success. I want to move to the next level. Can someone tell me the best kit to buy and a good book for starting?

3 Answers 3


John Palmer's How to Brew or Charlie Papazian's New Complete Joy of Homebrewing are good beginner books.

In terms of equipment, I suggest using the inventory from the lowest-tier kit sold by Midwest Supplies (currently $70) as a minimal shopping list, plus a 5-gallon kettle, plus a no-rinse sanitizer such as Star-San or Iodophor, and plus a percarbonate-based, non-perfumed, no-dye cleaner such as PBW or OxyClean Free.

Good luck!

  • Brewing Classic Styles is a great recipe book. Use that after reading How To Brew. Oct 26, 2014 at 16:00
  • I really like both Palmer's and Papazian's books. Very helpful.
    – rjbergen
    Oct 27, 2014 at 15:09
  • 2
    Do not purchase a 5 gallon kettle if you plan to brew standard 5 gallon batches with full boils. You can do partial boils for a 5 gallon batch in a 5 gallon kettle, but you should just pay the slight premium for an 8 gallon or larger kettle to allow you to do full boils for 5 gallon batches.
    – rjbergen
    Oct 27, 2014 at 15:11
  • @rjbergen I agree that OP should get a bigger kettle if his or her budget allows it, and 10 gallons would be ideal. But to lay out the minimum equipment requirement, 5 gallons suffices for partial-boil extract brewers. Oct 29, 2014 at 4:24

I'm going to add my vote for Charlie Papazian's New Complete Joy of Homebrewing. I started with it, and have gotten 5 of my friends into the hobby with just that book.

I personally started by getting the book, and then reading the first third of it. This covers starting out, extract brewing, and how to do an extract or kit brew from brew day to bottling.

It also has a helpful shopping list if you want to know the various items that may come in handy. if shopping piece by piece isn't your style I would recommend a good starter kit off of any of the major internet home brewing stores. My preferred shop is Northern Brewer because we're a 1 day UPS run from Minneapolis.

They have an Essentials kit that comes with plastic buckets for roughly $80. I like bottling from my plastic bottling bucket, but I opted to get glass carboys for fermenting. Northern Brewer has a pretty decent deal on their deluxe starter kit, that comes with two glass carboys.


Step up to larger kits like Coopers or Muntons. Then you can experiment with steeping specialty grains and adding hop to enhance flavor as well as adding some dry malt extract.

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