Intimidated by Homebrewing? Meet the BrewBarrel
A German startup hopes to kickstart no-fuss home brewing in the USA.
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Have you ever wanted to try brewing your own beer, but been scared off by the complex process? Well, one German startup thinks it has just the Kickstarter project for you. Meet BrewBarrel—or BrauFässchen, for all you German speakers.
The startup takes a different approach to homebrewing from most kits already on the market. According to the company's Prefundia page, instead of selling you various accessories to brew and bottle your beer, BrewBarrel does everything in the keg—kind of like a one-pot meal. With the BrewBarrel kit, you mix, ferment, and serve your beer straight from the keg, cutting down on a lot of the mess typically involved in homebrewing.
To make things even easier, a nifty web interface helps you build your brew by picking out the perfect hops, malts, and flavoring agents. All of the ingredients are delivered pre-weighed, and a specially developed pressure control valve helps ensure there won't be any carbonation-related accidents in the brewing process.
BrewBarrel's founders claim your beer will be ready to tap in just one week, but Reviewed.com's veteran homebrewing enthusiasts are skeptical of how clean a beer you could get in that time frame. Though the BrewBarrel kit includes a special yeast that the company says drastically shortens the brewing time, real-world experience tells us you'll get a beer that's still quite hazy or cloudy, rather than the crystal-clear lagers and ales most Americans are used to.
Another serious concern for homebrewers is sanitation. Co-founder and chief product officer Wolfgang Westermeier says all BrewBarrel ingredients and tools come completely sanitized. To further limit contamination, the kit instructs you to mix in hot water and also relies on the antiseptic properties of the hops during the fermentation process.
With only a one-week fermentation and chilling period, our experts also have doubts as to how good the beer could possibly taste. But BrewBarrel isn't being marketed toward hardcore craft beer geeks—it's meant for first-time brewers who just want to dip a toe in the vast sea of homebrewing. And with 40,000 kits already sold in Germany and 30,000 flavor combinations to choose from, BrewBarrel might very well be on to something.
The company launched its KickStarter campaign earlier today, with the goal of expanding internationally. If you pledge $55 or more right now, you'll get a brewing kit of your own to try.
But if you'd prefer a slightly more DIY option, check out our guide to small-batch homebrewing kits.