With the price of a pint soaring over £3 and our credit well and truly crunched can this dinky home brew kit really produce cheap drinkable booze in just 14 days? We couldn’t resist finding out.
In the Brewzer box you get everything - apart from water - to produce 10 pints of Lager, IPA, Stout or our chosen tipple Bitter. The beer ingredients come ready mixed in a 1-litre plastic bottle which doubles as a measuring jug, there’s also a simple plastic pump and hose, sterilised plastic liner and a beach ball sized plastic container to brew it all in. Compared to all the buckets, bottles, tubes and equipment this reviewer remembers from his Grandfather’s attic, the Brewzer is practically pocket sized.
Set up took barely 5 minutes - the ready sterilised plastic bag fits neatly inside the base, the beer ingredients are poured inside and topped up with yeast followed by six full bottles of tap water and five gentle swirls to mix it all together. This is followed by the split ring, valve, hose and cap that are simply screwed into place.
And that’s it for a few weeks: no turning, no siphoning, and mercifully no musty brewery smells, just keep it still to avoid clouding and between 15°C and 25°C.
Thanks to the pre-mixed ingredients and disposable pre-sterilised liner, valve and hose there is no real art to this sort of home brewing - in fact each time you buy a refill pack you get a new set of sterilised parts to use as well as ready mixed ingredients.
This is undeniably convenient and ideal for the first timer, but if you’re anything more than a rank amateur we suspect you’ll get bored of the lack of options available with the pre-packaged refills.
Although the ideal fermentation time is actually 21 days, rather than the advertised 14, we couldn’t resist taking a sip after 2 weeks – a quick pump to build pressure and a turn of the tap and we’re faced with half a pint of surprisingly authentic looking brown flat bitter.
Described as being “strong, rich, full flavoured English Ale modelled on the classic pub pint” we are pleased to say that the Brewzer wasn’t half bad and while not the smoothest tipple it’s very drinkable and similar to a traditional cask, rather than pub style pump ale. We’re not sure if it’s quite up to the advertised 4.5% ABV, but after a couple of pints we weren’t complaining.
Is it worth the wait? We were really surprised by the quality of the finished beer, especially for the complete lack of effort put into the brewing, but as a one-off home brewing experiment it’s just too expensive per pint, especially compared to the off license over the road. Get hooked on the first 10 pints and the refills will start to work out much cheaper - as low as £0.40 per pint.
Compared to a pint of Ye Olde classic ale down the pub the Brewzer’s bitter was pretty tasty especially considering the complete lack of effort that went into brewing it. OK so having to replace the bag, seal and hose every time you brew seems a bit wasteful, and does mean you don’t get to experiment with anything but the four flavours on offer.
That said, if you like the results (we’ve got a Lager refill on order so wish us luck) and buy the multi-pack refills you can have a better than you’d expect barrel of booze at home, without filling the house with home brew clutter, costing less per pint than a packet of Scampi Fries.