Final set up - the tube is a blow-off tube to allow CO2 and excess foam to escape. The tube ends in a bowl of water to maintain sanitation.
I've been mighty curious about these one-gallon homebrew kits from Brooklyn Brew Shop. They're designed for apartment dwellers (check!) who don't have a lot of space for brewing equipment (double check!) but who still want to brew great beer (triple check!). Talk about microbrewing!
Nearly everything you need for a one-gallon jug of homebrew is included in the package: grains, hops, yeast, sanitizing powder, siphon canes and hoses, and the jug itself. The only things you need to provide yourself are the pots, strainers, bottles, caps, and a capper (or swing-top bottles). The kit will make about two six-packs of beer.
My husband and I followed Brooklyn Brew Shop's instructions exactly while making the batch (take a look in the slideshow above). We've suffered from our fair share of poorly-written and confusing brewing instructions, so we found the Brew Shop's to be refreshingly straight-forward and comprehensive. They do a good job of emphasizing where you need to be extra careful and when it's ok to relax.
I was also impressed at how truly easy it was to brew this all-grain beer. When we first started brewing, all-grain was presented to us as the holy grail of beer brewing and not something to be attempted until we were much more experienced. Brooklyn Brew Shop doesn't assume any prior brewing knowledge, but we really thought that this kit would be as doable for a novice as for an experienced brewer.
The other thing that struck me while brewing this kit was how not worried I was. My husband and I are chronic worry-warts, especially when it comes to brewing, and we both remarked on this. We think that it's partially because we're less worried about a one-gallon brew - there's less at stake than with a full five-gallon batch. But it's also because brewing a smaller volume was just simpler. It was easier to maintain a consistent heat. It was easier to sparge the grains. Easier to transfer the liquid to the fermenter. Just all-around easier.
The only negative we could think of is that brewing a one-gallon batch takes about the same amount of time as a full batch. Which is to say, upwards of four hours once you factor in the time it takes to get organized, sanitize, wait for water to boil or wort to cool, and so on. In some senses, if it's going to take us the same amount of time, we'd rather just brew a whole big batch and have it done with.
Then again, when you brew a big batch, you're stuck with it. Even if we like what we brewed, we've found that we start getting tired of it by about the fifth six-pack. With these one-gallons, we can mix up our beer selection much more often. And this makes us very excited! In fact, we may need to buy a few more one-gallon fermentation jugs...
Our first batch of Brooklyn Brew Shop's Everyday IPA is still in fermentation. Check back in with us in another few weeks and we'll have our tasting review.
In the meantime, why not pick up your own one-gallon kit and get homebrewing?!
• One-Gallon Beer Kits, $40 from Brooklyn Brew Shop
Have you tried any of Brooklyn Brew Shop's kits? What do you think of one-gallon brewing?
Related: Homebrew Kit Review: Brewer's Best Imperial Pale Ale
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Images: Emma Christensen)