Every journey begins with the first step and for many aspiring homebrewers that first step is purchasing a one-gallon homebrew kit online. It is a cheap and effective way to get a feel for what it takes to be a homebrewer and can be a fun activity to do with friends and family.
If you are short on space or looking to experiment with recipes, downsizing from some of the more standard five-gallon setups might be an attractive option.
Let’s look at some great options for one-gallon homebrew kits and what sets them apart. We hope our reviews help you make a choice that puts a frosty glass of your own tasty homebrew only a few weeks away!
The kits I've included in this list are explicitly ones that include the equipment you need to brew your first batch of beer, not just the recipe kits which would include ingredients only.
One-Gallon Homebrew Kits Buyers Guide
Those in the market for a one-gallon homebrewing kit are either just starting out or looking for something small to experiment with recipes. If you are the former, you are looking to acquire the essentials for your homebrewing journey.
Most starter kits have the basic equipment needed, but some have a couple of items less common to most, mainly bottles and a capping tool. You will also need large pots not commonly included in one-gallon homebrew kits.
The one-gallon homebrew kit is the “king of cost” when it comes to simple homebrewing operations.
It makes them ideal for individuals just starting out and wanting to see if homebrewing is for them. It is also a great option for those wanting to experiment with recipes in small batches to cut down on waste.
One major factor to consider is based on whether you prefer to make your own recipes made from ingredients you purchase separately or if you are going to rely on recipe packets.
If you are inexperienced and are not willing to source your own ingredients it is a good idea to explore which companies offer the best selection of recipes.
Most one-gallon homebrew kits include a glass one-gallon fermenter that can be reused multiple times. Since the batches are so small, one can naturally assume the kit will be re-used quite often if you intend to brew often.
All the one-gallon kits we have reviewed have glass jugs and are one of the best options for brewing batches of this size. We recommend going with kits with a glass jug as they are more reliable than plastic options. This is especially true for those who are limited on space and don’t plan on upgrading to larger kits.
Top 5 One-Gallon Homebrew Kits
Northern Brewer – All-Inclusive 1 Gallon Homebrewing Starter Kit
Northern Brewer is one of the most trusted names in the homebrewing supply and they don’t disappoint with their beginner homebrewing kit. Their one-gallon homebrewing kit comes with everything you need to make a one-gallon batch of homebrew.
By everything, I actually mean everything except the bottles. They always leave something out, right? Still, the price point is ridiculous (good) for all the stuff you get, and to add a pack of bottles you just need to upgrade on the sales page (it's easy!)
Surprisingly, it also comes with a a high quality bottle capper and an auto siphon, plus the tubing you need to “rack” your beer from the fermenter to the bottles.
The one-gallon homebrew kit from Northern Brewer is available in five different recipes. Personally, I'm a huge fan of the Caribou Slobber kit which is a clone of the famous Moose Drool brown ale.
- Caribou Slobber Brown Ale (clone)
- Irish Red Ale
- American Wheat
- Smashing Pumpkin Ale
- Kama Citra Pale Ale
Pros and Cons of Northern Brewer Starter Kit
PRO: The glass jug fermenter can be re-used.
PRO: It includes everything required to brew a one-gallon batch.
PRO: It includes tubing, caps, and a capping tool.
PRO: Northern Brewer is a trusted brand and offers great support.
PRO: Excellent recipes available
PRO: Free Shipping Over $40
CON: No IPA recipe kits!
PicoBrew Pico C Beer Brewing Appliance
We are going to sneak this little gem into our reviews for the sake of comparison, despite it brewing slightly more than a gallon at 5 liters.
The Pico Model C is among the smallest capacity of automatic brew machines on the market but is ideal for those willing to spend a little bit more in order to get an easier and more automated experience.
This machine allows you to brew a wide variety of homebrews and gives you more finite control over bitterness and alcohol content without having years of experience. While the Pico Model C is much more expensive than traditional one-gallon starter kits, it is perfect for those wanting to homebrew with technology on their side.
The recipes kits from PicoBrew are pretty amazing too. They come pre-packaged, so you can just pop them into the machine, and then tweak your settings to brew. Upgrade to UnPak'd, and you can also brew using your own ingredients.
Real breweries submit recipe kits so you can brew craft beers from around the USA, and they have way more styles of beer available. To be honest, most “beginner kits” stay safe with the most commonly liked styles of beer like Irish red ales and pale ales. At the PicoBrew marketplace, you can find things like Kölsch, dark mild, old ale, saison, and rye stout (just to name a few).
They also have more models of their machines like the Pico Pro (same size, upgraded equipment), or the Pico Z (5 gallon brews, but no kits).
Pros and Cons of Pico Model C
PRO: Push-button automated system helps take the guesswork out of homebrewing.
PRO: Gives you infinite control over the characteristics of beer you are brewing.
PRO: You can monitor your homebrew’s progress on your smart device!
PRO: Kit includes its own mini keg for serving
PRO: Much of the equipment is dishwasher safe
PRO: Instant access to a huge amount of recipes and beer styles
CON: It costs much more than comparable one-gallon homebrew kits.
CON: It takes some of the charms out of homebrewing.
Brooklyn Brew Shop Beer Making Kit
The Brooklyn Brew Shop Beer Making Kit is your classic one-gallon homebrew kit and it is one of the cheaper options available. This company has multiple different recipes you can choose from for your starter kit, and each one contain the essential items needed to start a small homebrew operation. Bottles and a capping tool are not included.
What's unique about the Brooklyn Brew Shop is that their starter kids are ALL GRAIN KITS. That means you'll get real malted barley in these kits instead of malt extract, which is what all of the other kits on this list feature.
What's the difference?
The end result is basically the same – beer. However, with an all grain kit there's a few extra steps involved. You have to extract the liquid from the grains first. This means you have more control over your brewing process, but it also takes more work.
On the flavor side, most people say that using malt extract gives your beer less complexity. Expert beer tasters can taste the difference, but as a new brewer, you might not.
Brooklyn Brew Shop has an excellent variety of kits available, including clone recipe kits from Brew Dog (UK), Evil Twin (New York), and Mikkeller (DK). Plus a whole bunch of beer styles like:
- NE IPA
- Brut IPA
- Double IPA
- Brown Ale
- Honey Ale
- Jalapeno Saison
- Single Hop IPAs (Galaxy, Mosaic, Simcoe)
- Oatmeal Stout
- Chocolate Maple Porter
Pros and Cons of Brooklyn Brew Shop Beer Making Kit
PRO: This homebrew kit is available at a great price.
PRO: Only all grain, 1-gallon kit available, anywhere in the world (that I know of).
PRO: Excellent choice of recipes.
PRO: Even more recipes available as recipe-only kits (no equipment)
PRO: Great introduction to all-grain brewing without purchasing a bunch of expensive equipment
CON: The instructions are primarily visual and personal research is recommended.
CON: Does not include bottles, caps, or a capping tool.
CON: Requires extra steps versus malt extract kits
Craft A Brew Beer Kit
The Craft A Brew Beer Kit is currently the cheapest of the one-gallon homebrew kits we have reviewed but it has a selection of over ten different recipes.
This kit is comparable to its competition in equipment offered but lacks bottles and a capping tool. The Craft A Brew homebrew kit is a great choice for beginning homebrewers and offers some truly unique options. The fact is, the “best” recipes were traditionally just for 5-gallon kits, but a number of companies have really stepped up their game for the 1-gallon options.
Unique recipes available include:
- golden stout
- oak aged IPA
- dry irish stout
- hoppy wheat
- hemp brown ale
- gluten free amber ale
- chocolate milk stout
- golden strong ale
- belgian dubbel
Pros and Cons of Craft A Brew Beer Kit
PRO: It is one of the cheapest kits in this list.
PRO: It has more recipe options than many other DIY one-gallon kits.
PRO: Recipes available tend to not be available at other companies for 1-gallon kits
PRO: Includes a funnel and thermometer on top of typical tubing/siphon/airlock as with other kits
CON: Does not include bottles or capping tool.
Brew Naturally Homebrew Starter Kit
Mr. Beer is the classic beer making kit people know from decades back, and the fact that they're still around say that they're still making sales and have satisfied customers.
I haven't tried a Mr. Beer kit myself, but there are a few things holding me back.
First, the plastic barrel fermenter is kind of corny. I'm not 5. However, this seems to be a classic style thing that old-school Mr. Beer brewers look back on fondly, so you may see it differently.
Secondly, I'm not into the plastic bottles. Sorry. Just kind of weird to me. However, the plastic bottles are of course safer for glass (less possibility to break), and you can still pour your beer into a pint glass for a proper beer drinking experience.
Mr. Beer has a decent amount of recipe kits available, but they are pretty tame.
- Pale Ale
- Brown Ale
- American Lager
They are one of the only kits to offer an American lager option, which is unique. Mr. Beer brews 8 liters (2 gallons) of beer, so it's a little more than what you were looking for if you wanted an only-1-gallon kit. Just FYI.
PRO: Includes all equipment you need, including bottles
PRO: Time tested and reliable kit. One of the most famous!
CON: Plastic bottles are weird and I don't trust the screw caps to make a proper seal
CON: Fewer recipe options, and options available aren't super interesting
CON: Brews 2 gallons, not 1 (maybe that's not a bad thing?)
Brew Demon Little Demon
Brew Demon Little Demon is just one of two styles of starter kits that Brew Demon offers. The regular sized kit is for two gallons, but they recently introduced a 1-gallon kit as well.
Recipe options include
This kit included everything you need to make the beer, but not serve it. You'll have to purchase bottles separately, unless you want to upgrade to the two-gallon kit, which comes with bottles included.
Brew Demon also has the most unique 1-gallon fermenter available – the conical style! Pretty much all other kits, with the exception of Mr. Beer, have you brewing in glass containers. The shape likely won't affect the flavor of your beer at all, but it's still kinda cool to look at since most pros use conical shapes (for yeast harvesting).
Gallon Homebrew Kits FAQ:
Is there anything I need that is not in most one-gallon homebrewing starter kits?
You will need some large pots and bottles, caps, and a capping tool are often not in smaller homebrew kits.
How long does it take to make homebrew?
The beer-making process takes only a couple hours. When you brew on a small scale like this, an hour or two should be sufficient.
To ferment your beer takes about two weeks, then bottle conditioning takes about another two weeks, though it depends on the kit, various equipment you buy, and the methodology used.
Some brewers can speed up the process to just a week from grain to glass, but they may use special equipment or ingredients, and this fast brewing method only works with some styles.
Should I boil any water I add to my homebrew?
If you're using filtered water, then no. If you're using tap water, then you can consider boiling your water and leaving it over night, but that step is not required.
Water chemistry plays an integral role in the taste of homebrew, and chemicals like chlorine or fluoride can cause off-flavors, especially in lighter beers like blonde ales.
Can I use honey instead of the sugar provided in my kit when bottling?
Absolutely! Any fermentable sugar will do and the use of malt, honey, molasses, corn syrup, and corn sugar are common in various homebrew recipes.
How many bottles do I need for a one-gallon kit?
Ten to twelve 12-ounce bottles should be sufficient for your one-gallon homebrew kit. If you don't want to mess with bottling things individually, you can just get a large size pressurized growler, and serve from there.
You can add your priming sugar in there, or artificially carbonate with CO2 charges.
How can I make my brew have a higher alcohol content?
The beauty of homebrewing is that you can tweak your beer recipes to taste exactly like you want. To get a higher ABV, you need to add more sugar for the yeast to consume.
This however, will change the dynamics of your beer! That doesn’t mean you should dump the whole container of honey or DME into the batch. More fermentables can dry out your beer or make it “hot”, meaning the alcohol will be too overwhelming.
My bottles aren’t carbonated after several weeks, what is wrong?
There are many things which can cause beer to not carbonate if you are bottle conditioning. If you followed all the steps correctly, then it's likely just that the priming sugar has not been consumed by the yeast.
Gently swirly your beers to wake up the yeast, and give your homebrew about another week at room temperature and you should be good to go. Check your room temperature though! Sitting in the garage over winter is too cold. About 68º-75º degrees is ideal.
Is it ok that my bottles have sediment in them?
Yes, it is perfectly normal for sediment to sink to the bottom of bottled homebrew once it carbonated. You'll actually see this same thing in commercial beers from Belgium and many craft breweries that bottle condition.
While a special filter can be bought to reduce sediment during the bottling process, a slow pour or simply leaving the very last bit of beer in the bottle is an easy way to keep the sediment out of your fresh glass of tasty homebrew.
Are There Any Small Batch Kegging Systems?
Yes, you can actually skip the whole bottling and conditioning step by jumping to your own kegging system. Here's a bunch of 1-gallon kegs I found.
Can I Use Recipes From Other Companies Even If I Bought A Kit From A Different Company?
Yes. Once you've got your equipment, everything else is just ingredients. You can buy ingredients from anywhere you want to make your own beer. You can buy recipe kits, or you can make up your own recipes!