Quick brewing process
Comes with bottles
Great for beginners
Fermenting keg and bottles are plastic
Beer extract can is hard to open
We purchased the Mr. Beer American Golden Ale Complete Beer Making Kit so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
If you’re looking for a no-stress way to get into homebrewing, the Mr. Beer American Golden Ale Complete Beer Making Kit is a great option. Not only are the instructions easy to follow, but when compared to other beer brewing kits, there are less steps involved. Rather than spending hours over a boiling pot of unfermented beer, this kit streamlines the process so you only need to spend 45 minutes max in the kitchen. Keep reading for our full assessment of the kit, with insights on everything from the setup process to the final product.
Setup Process: Just make sure everything is clean
The Mr. Beer Complete Beer Making Kit is intended to make the brewing process as simple as possible—and this includes setup, too. All we had to do was screw the spigot onto the Little Brown Keg fermenter and then wash the equipment with a special cleaning agent that comes with the kit. Cleaning is essential as it kills microscopic bacteria and wild yeast that can change the flavor of your beer.
After everything is clean, it’s time to get brewing. While you’ll need a few extra things from around your kitchen, you don’t need to worry about picking up any equipment. The kit comes with a 2-gallon keg, 11 bottles (25 ounces each) with caps and labels, one can of brewing extract with yeast packet, one packet of no-rinse cleanser, one bag of carbonation drop, and instructions and a registration card. The only things you will have to supply are 2 to 3 gallons of 40- to 50-degree water (charcoal-filtered or bottled for the best results), a 1-gallon container, a 3-quart pot, a large mixing bowl, a measuring cup, a can opener, and a plastic spoon or whisk.
Brewing Process: As simple as it gets
The Mr. Beer brewing process is as simple as it gets. We chose to make golden ale, but Mr. Beer also offers kits for IPAs, amber ales, lagers, and more—and each is just as easy.
To get our golden ale going, we first boiled 4 cups of water, poured in the brewing extract, and then stirred well to create our wort—a mixture of malted barley, hops, and water that serves as the base of your beer. Next, we filled our keg with cold water up to the line marked one and then added our wort and continued to fill with cold water until it reached the 2 line. We followed the directions and whisked the mixture well making sure not to scratch the sides of the keg as it could create nooks where bacteria could grow. Lastly, we sprinkled in the yeast packet (without stirring) and then popped on the cap.
The Mr. Beer brewing process is as simple as it gets.
Again, we followed the directions and placed our kep in a dark room between 68 to 78 degrees. While the brewing process takes only 30 minutes, the fermentation process takes 10 to 14 days and during this time you’re not supposed to open the lid as oxygen can spoil the beer.
The only issue we had during the process was that it was practically impossible to get the plastic lid off the can of brewing extract. We actually had to take a knife and cut it off because no matter what we did, it wouldn’t budge. Aside from that, though, setting up our keg was extremely simple.
Bottling Process: Hassle-free except for the lids
The instructions say to taste a small sample of your beer after 3 to 4 weeks of fermenting. At this point, it’s supposed to taste like flat beer—if it’s sweet, it’s not ready. Our golden ale tasted flat, so that signaled that we could move on to bottling
Before you bottle your beer, it’s important to make sure all of your equipment is clean. The instructions call for more No-Rinse Cleanser to clean the bottles, but the process is slightly flawed. You’re supposed to distribute the cleanser into the bottles, put the caps on, and shake them vigorously. The issue with this is that you’ll have to break the seal on the caps to get them off again, which creates a problem as the bottles need to stay sealed during the carbonation process. So instead, we shook the bottles with the palm of our hand covering the opening and soaked the caps in the cleanser separately.
Since the fermenting keg comes with a spigot, getting the beer into the bottles is a piece of cake. All you have to do is add two carbonation drops to each 25-ounce bottle, pour the beer into the bottle, and then screw the cap on tightly. Mr. Beer recommends pouring the beer at an angle to reduce foaming, and also to leave about 1 inch at the top of the bottle empty.
For our first time brewing beer, we’d say it was something to be proud of.
After that, make sure you clean all your equipment, and then wait a little bit longer. Once it’s bottled, you’re supposed to let it sit for 3 more weeks. Keep it out of direct sunlight, and preferably in a room between 68 and 76 degrees.
The only thing we’d change about the bottling process is the keg. Since the spigot is positioned slightly above the bottom of the keg, we ended up with a bit of sediment in our final product.
Final Results: A valiant first attempt
After a month-long wait, it was finally time to crack open a bottle and give our golden ale a taste. That is, after we’d chilled it for 24 hours, of course. The first bottle was pretty flat, which was a disappointment, but the second one was very foamy. As for the taste, it was a little malty and a little sweet, but without much personality. This isn’t to say that the flavor was bad—it just wasn’t anything extraordinary. For our first time brewing beer, we’d say it was something to be proud of.
Price: On the cheap end
In terms of cost, this kit is definitely one of the cheapest on the market. While it has an MSRP of $59.95, you can usually find it for $45 at online retailers. Compared to the competition below, that’s a steal—but you have to keep in mind that the kit comes with a plastic keg and bottles instead of glass ones, so your homebrewing equipment probably won’t last as long as others.
Competition: Higher-quality options are out there
Northern Brewer Craft Beer Making Gift Set: Looking for a similarly sized home brewing kit that comes with extra bells and whistles? If so, check out the Northern Brewer 1-Gallon Starter Kit (view on Amazon). The $80 set comes with 12 bottles, two limited edition drinking glasses, and all the necessary tools to brew a full gallon of beer.
Northern Brewer Brew Share Enjoy Homebrew Starter Kit: If you really want to get into homebrewing, this kit will get you results (view on Amazon). The $170 kit comes with all the equipment necessary to produce 5 gallons of beer. While the process is easy, it does take roughly four hours to brew your beer, but you’ll end up with a light, enjoyable brew that’s totally worth the time.
A decent kit for beginner brewers.
Depending on how serious you are about your homebrewing, we think this is a great starter kit. While the beer could be better and the equipment could be higher-end, you get what you pay for.
- Product Name American Golden Ale Complete Beer Making Kit
- Product Brand Mr. Beer
- Price $59.95
- Yield 2 gal.
- What’s Included 2-gallon fermenter with lid, spigot, washer, nut, one can of brewing extract, one yeast packet, one no-rinse cleanser, 11 plastic bottles, 11 bottle caps and labels, one pack of Mr. Beer carbonation drops