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E. & O. E.

Copyright www.petespintpot.co.uk  2008. First published 17 October 2008, last updated  20 December 2017.

Pete’s Pint Pot is dedicated to the home production & sensible drinking of beer, wine, cider & meads plus a little bit of china painting & a few bits of photograph tampering.

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Beer & Wine Kits Reviews


Annual 2015

BEER KITS                      WINE KITS



The volume brewed is 23 litres is normally assumed unless otherwise stated.

NOTE:- Some John Bill kits have been re-introduced by Young’s in 2012. Consequently I have shown the relevant beers, coloured in red, trusting that the original recipes are still being used.

Better Brew Czech Pilsner   2.1Kg, 1Kg brewing sugar (ordinary used)

Big head, matching cond. Golden coloured in the low teens, well hopped as befits a Czech pilsner but spoilt by the very loose yeast. Improved with age. V. G.

Better Brew IPA      2.1Kg, 1Kg brewing sugar (500g ordinary used)

500g granulated sugar used in order to lower the OG to about 4.4% (5.2 quoted). 10g “slow” yeast supplied (14 day). Solid “plate” of years left – about 5mm thick. I was put off initially by the hops but half way though my second glass I had second thoughts. Now I’m happy to drink this strongly hopped IPA.

Better Brew Irish Stout   2.1Kg, 1Kg brewing sugar (ordinary used)

Lively yeast & very solid deposit left in the fermenter. After 10 weeks it had a good sourness to it & dark malts but the hops were less obvious. Serve not too cold. Excellent yeast but not my favourite.

BrewBuddy Bitter

Not made by me, I received a bottle from Doncaster Home Brew Supplies. Head OK, cond. fair & colour around 20EBC. Dry taste (with a touch of ginger?) followed by the good hop bitterness, the yeast was not a problem. I was pleasantly surprised by this ale but let down by the horrible “Americanized” name. A subsequent brew was very similar, including the ginger taste. Better than most pub ales.

Brewferm Ambiorix 6.5% ABV    1.5Kg, 1075g sugar (800 used + 8g/litre prim), 15 litres

Good fermentation. In the glass, this beer had a good head & cond. with a dark coppery colour with a good clarity. The taste had a slight sourness, somewhat less than expected, followed by a sweetish aftertaste. A VERY stable yeast, which, when added to the beer, also adds flavour.

Brewferm Dark Abbey (Donker Abdij) 8% ABV   1.5Kg, 500g sugar, 9 litres.

A Belgian kit 100+ EBC (deep garnet) with a ridiculously big long lasting “stiff” head that stuck to the glass like glue. A strong full-flavoured taste as befits an 8.5% beer with a solid yeast. As the kit only makes 9l it is WELL WORTH TRYING.

Brewferm Diabolo 8% ABV    1.5Kg, 500g sugar. 9 litres.

Colour in the mid/late-teens & orangey/red (label looked like Duvel!). Little head, fair cond., nice spicy/herby taste with some complexity with a good aftertaste. Better as the beer went down!

Brewferm Framboos  5.5% ABV 1.5Kg, 500g  sugar, 12 litres.

After 6 weeks it had a modest but long-lasting head with some foam clinging to the glass. A decent condition with a nice reddy-brown colour, a strong raspberry aroma and (dry) taste. This must be one of the most expensive kits made, very unusual, very different & it helps if you like raspberries! VERY INTERESTING

Brewferm Gold 5.5% ABV      1.5Kg, 500g sugar, 12 litres.

A classic ALE fermentation!!! V good head, cond., mid-teens EBC – much darker than the picture on the label. Good premium Pilsner style but takes some to mature (well worth the wait). Yeast was very stable. 18ct!

Brewferm Pils (20 litre option used) 4.5% ABV  1.5Kg, 1Kg sugar, 20 litres.

A good pure-white head, modest condition, colour similar to the picture (around 10EBC) with a slight haze. The aroma was slight & the taste gentle & un-demanding, a touch of acidity that increased as the last part of the bottle was added to the glass, caused by the addition of the slightly loose yeast. Note:- This is NOT a bad thing. Better than most commercial lagers. ONE OF THE BEST LAGER KITS ON THE MARKET. Consistently excellent.

Brewferm Pils (12 litre option used) 4.5% ABV   1.5Kg no sugar, 12 litres.

As expected, darker, fuller & more complex than the  litre kit, although I do prefer the former (a personal comment, not a criticism). Yeast a bit loose. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Brewferm Tarwebier (White Beer) 5% ABV   1.5Kg, 1Kg sugar (750g used), 15litres.

Very good looking, excellent head/condition, nice golden colour around 10EBC & star-bright (when yeast not swirled in). Not all that impressed with the taste, but then my favourite wheat beers are Franziskaner Weissbier Hefe-Weissbeir & Hoegaarden Witbier! Still it is a very good kit to try & it gave a feeling of well-being!

Brewferm Triple 8% ABV     1.5Kg, 500g sugar, 9 litres.  

In the fermenter - beer depth 230mm, head depth 140mm!

At 2 month it was a golden colour around 15EBC with a malty taste with some oak & herbs. At 3 months it had noticeably improved (Brewferm recommend a minimum of 6-8 weeks maturation for all their kits rather than the usual week or two!). Pleasant enough, an easy drinking fusion of malt, hops & gentle spices – at 8% ABV! Got more intense as the beer went down! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Brewmaker Irish Velvet Dark Stout.       1.8Kg, 1Kg sugar (830g used)

After 2 months in the bottle it has developed a slight sourness, a very dark colour, head/cond. OK & quite a solid yeast deposit. Roasted malt, liquorice, some astringency, bitter, slight fruitiness, “velvet” in the name is very appropriate, as it has a gentleness to it, all this from a “cheap” kit! Do not serve too cold as this kills the taste. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Brewmaker IPA      1.8Kg, 1Kg sugar (830 g used)

After finally reading the instructions for the Victorian Bitter I actually boiled the wort as suggested! No ABV quoted.

11.6g per litre sugar used (PET bottles). At 1 month it had a poor but long-lasting head, VG condition & colour about the same as the label (25), the yeast in the bottle was very stable. A gentle tasting, easy drinking beer, some maltiness but no real hop character (IPA!). EXCELLENT.

Brewmaker Pilsner Lager      1.8Kg, 1Kg sugar

Colour about 10 EBC darker than shown on label. Good initial head did not last long, condition O.K. Not unpleasant but more like a bland beer than a Lager.

Brewmaker Victorian Bitter   1.8Kg, 1Kg sugar

The kit does not now include any (un-necessary) nutrient & finings. Alan, from Doncaster Home Brew Supplies. pointed out that the otherwise reasonable instructions failed to mention any priming sugar. Oops! A star-bright beer with a good, tiny-beaded & long-lasting head, lots of clinging to the glass side (big lumps) & a good condition. Ignoring the harshness, there was some bitterness in the taste & aftertaste, some graininess & quite dry (a high efficiency yeast?). HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Brewmaker Yorkshire Bitter    1.8Kg, 1Kg sugar

A reasonable tight-bubbled head maintained by a VG condition. Colour slightly darker than the picture. Whilst not bad, especially for the price, I thought it inferior to the Victorian Bitter, even more so to the IPA. Needs about 2 months or so in the bottle before drinking.

Brewmaker Best Of British Beer Yorkshire Bitter    3Kg

The Gervin yeast is the most stable (in the bottle) I have ever come across. A small long-lasting head/condition & the colour is possibly towards the top end. A sweetish (high FG?) very malty taste that reduced at colder temperatures but not a lot of hop character. Not a bad beer by any means but not really to my taste.

Brupaks Bavarian Wheat Beer (“Beers of the World”)  1.5Kg

The yeast packet contains 12.5g & is bottom fermenting yeast! Saccharomyces cerevisiae – bread yeast (top!). A “tea bag” of Hallertauer Hersbrucker pellets weighing 200g & a “tea bag” containing some spices/grains? (18g of crushed coriander seed & 20g curacao bitter orange peel? I forgot to weigh it!) Finished in a DAY!

VG head/cond., colour in the late teens. Very spicy & overpowering, very long aftertaste. Subtle it aint!

Brupaks Brewer’s Choice Best Bitter 1.5K (Dry), 1Kg sugar.

1.5K DME, “tea bags” with approx. 26g caramel, 25g crushed crystal, 2 lots of hop pellets 25g & 12g (1 Challenger?) & 6g yeast. A noticeable sweetish taste to this brew, less hoppy than I would have expected, stable yeast, O.K.

Brupaks Brewer’s Choice Premium Lager 1.5Kg (Dry), 1Kg sugar, 3.8-4%  ABV.

1.5Kg DME, “tea bags” with approx. 25g crushed grain (colour 40-50 EBC in 2 litres hot water after 20 min.) & 2 lots of hops 25g & 1.5g). 12g Brewferm lager yeast. VG head/cond., slight haze, given time, the beer was acceptable.

Coopers Brewmaster Selection Pilsener   1.7Kg (+500g dry), 1Kg sugar

Note Cooper’s lack of an apostrophe in the name & the spelling of PILSENER! Uses Saaz hops for aroma & genuine lager yeast. 500g dry malt extract is recommended, this boosts the costs somewhat. Slow fermentation that smelt nice. Around 10EBC with a V good condition & a massive, quite long lasting head. The (Cooper’s) yeast is well known for being a bit on the “loose” side but it added to the character of the beer. This needs to be served quite cold but it is the perfect antidote to the pathetic lagers we get here ostensibly from Australia (& America, & Canada, & Europe etc.!)

Coopers Lager 5.3%     1.7Kg, 1Kg sugar

A perfectly acceptable “lager”, good head/cond., colour around 10EBC with some haziness. Gentle hops in aftertaste.

A subsequent brew looked & tasted like a CIDER!  Nice solid yeast though. Terrible consistency between the Cooper’s kits.

Coopers Stout (5.3%?)    1.7Kg, 1Kg sugar

After just 6 weeks the beer had an adequate head (too dark to check the cond.). It came across as a “learner’s” stout, nothing wrong with that, it had no obvious faults & was pleasant to drink. At 3 months it came of age.

A second brew was very disappointing, thin tasting with no character. The kit may have been made using poor quality extract or even some impurities added, like sugar.

Coopers Real Ale     1.7Kg, 1Kg sugar

“Classic” top fermentation for 2 days, then like bottom fermentation. Star-bright after “resting”. Note that Cooper’s mention the effect of priming sugar on a finished beer & shew how to calculate this effect. A nice coloured beer, twice as dark as the label shows &, unfortunately, as flat as a proverbial, with little condition. The taste was quite malty. At 5.3% ABV I thought this was a bit too strong for this type of beer. NOT RECOMMENDED.

Festival Landlords Finest Ale 4.3%   3K  sugar

Kit contains 2 x 1.5K bags LME, 50g Celeia & Admiral hop pellets, 100g priming sugar, 10g yeast & 1 filter bag & detailed instructions.

Disappointing! The dry hop pellets were overpowering, not subtle as hoped. 20EBC, VG yeast. Not to my taste.

Finlandia Lager     1.5Kg, 600g - 20 litres

Two options are given – 25 litre & 200g sugar & 20 litre & 600g, I chose the latter. The instructions loose a little in translation (from Finnish) & recommend 3 tsp primer/litre! (I used 2.) Otherwise the instructions are OK. Easy to open ring-pull. After 1 month head/cond. were OK, colour about 10 & a mild, clean tasting lager. Excellent yeast!

Finlandia TalviØlut (Winter Beer)   1.5Kg, 1Kg sugar

Very thin initial head whist fermenting, very soon it disappeared, a vigorous lager fermentation. About 50EBC, twice the shown colour on the label, good head/cond. Good (very) for a cheap kit – interesting taste.

Geordie Lager     1.6Kg, 1Kg sugar

Reasonable TOP fermentation, no problems, quite solid sediment left. Rested for a week, 10g/l fermenting sugar. Head O.K., lots of bubbles rising. Colour, a little darker than the label, around 10. Yeast a bit loose, keeps O.K. after opening. Improved noticeably within a short maturation period. Not really like a lager to me but still very drinkable. Not the best or worst lager I’ve tried (kit or bought!), still RECOMMENDED.

Geordie Mild     1.6Kg, 1Kg sugar

Reasonable fermentation, no problems. Rested for a week.

Very clear, 100+ EBC, big initial head soon disappeared but good condition. Not a great deal of taste but went down very well! Kept well after opening & a good yeast. RECOMMENDED.

Geordie Yorkshire Bitter    1.6Kg, 1Kg sugar

Classic fermentation. Poor head, fair condition, a bit thin, not much taste not disappointing for the price, next time use more priming sugar! Best after 3 months. (Bottled with 1dsp sugar/2l.) O.K., especially for a 1.6Kg kit. RECOMMENDED.

John Bull Best Bitter    1.8Kg, 1Kg sugar

Quite clear, around 20EBC, poor head, good condition & good yeast performance (especially for the price). This was quite thin & lacked taste, otherwise NOT UNPLEASANT. Improved somewhat after 4 months.

John Bull Best Bitter (MODIFIED)  1.8Kg, 1Kg sugar

Made with 500g Spraymalt & 350g sugar. A much smoother drink using the Spraymalt, otherwise very similar to the “normal” kit. Note the higher F.G.

John Bull Brown Ale     1.8Kg, 1Kg sugar

Classic fermentation. Big initial head was short lived but there were lots of bubbles rising, around 100EBC or more. A touch of sourness, otherwise not a lot of taste. NO PROBLEMS WITH DRINKING IT

John Bull IPA      1.8Kg, 1Kg sugar

A fast starting & good fermentation. Left to mature for about three months this had a decent initial head, fair cond., colour about the same as shown on the label (a definite “+”), about the mid–twenties. This beer doesn’t like to be cold when the hops come through as being harsh, at warmer temperatures they had a much “sweeter” hoppiness. The yeast deposit in the bottle was firm & unobtrusive. A pleasure to drink.

John Bull Irish Stout     1.8Kg, 1Kg sugar

Very drinkable at 6 weeks old. Good cond. & long lasting, fine bubbled head, colour as expected. The initial taste grabbed you by the throat. The taste had tar, roasted malts, acrid bitterness & some sourness. Foreign Extra Stout is the only Guinness that can beat this! Finishing a bottle opened the previous night developed a less aggressive taste, almost like a good red, THE BEST IRISH STOUT KIT I’VE EVER TASTED! BETTER THAN MOST COMMERCIAL BREWS.

John Bull Premium Trad. Bitter    1.8Kg, 1Kg sugar

Wow what a head! Quite well maintained, good condition & slight clinging to the glass, darkish bitter colour & good mouthfeel. Keeps O.K. but slightly hazy. Yeast performance quite good. Needed 3 months to come good, then RECOMMENDED

Milestone Crusader,    3Kg

The box/instructions still no ABV details anywhere & the instructions contained differing fonts & thickness, very amateurish for such a kit, still uses “Americanisms”. A bit slow in starting (a comment, not a criticism), V. good fermentation. Very clear with solid yeast. Good balance, a disappointing beer but it can beat most pub beers.

Munton’s Connoisseurs Pilsner    1.8Kg, 1Kg sugar

Good initial head, colour darker than on the label, a chill haze (for a PILSNER?), some clinging to the glass, quite a weak but not unpleasant taste, yeast a bit “swirley”. Much improved all round after 2 months or so, head retention not too bad, but did not really taste like a Pilsner. Despite the rather negative comments this was rather nice to drink, RECOMMENDED although a little pricey.

Munton’s Gold Old Eng Bitter  3Kg

Rested for a week. Very slow yeast took 36hrs before (vile smelling) action. Virtually no head/condition, after 2 months it smelled & tasted like burnt plastic. THROWN AWAY!

Muntons IPA Bitter   1.8Kg, 1Kg sugar

Muntons give good information on their labels - 20-28 EBC, 17-23EBU.

Boiled 15min with a few Challenger & Fuggles. Re-hydrated yeast added. Fermented O.K. Rested for a week.

Very clear, 30 EBC, poor head but good condition. what taste there is slightly malty, grainy dry & astringent. Kept well after opening & a good yeast. A bit pricey but still RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS.

Munton’s Nut Brown  1.8Kg, 1Kg sugar

Poor head, fair condition, very dark ruby colour, dark taste – black treacle, Demerara sugar, some sourness, a bit thin, very slight clinging to glass. not disappointing for the price, next time use more priming sugar! (Bottled with 1dsp sugar/2 litres.) O.K.

Munton’s Yorkshire Bitter  1.8Kg, 1Kg sugar

Poor head never quite disappears, good condition, slight clinging, colour around 30 as quoted, bitterness O.K. (30-40 quoted), decent taste but a bit thin. Still improving after 3 months. Not disappointing for the price, but not really worth the full £10. (Bottled with 1 rounded dsp sugar/2 litre.) Yeast seems good, keeps well after opening. O.K.

Munton's Wheat Beer     1.8Kg, 1Kg sugar

Head not too good but thin streams of bubbles rising, a "cloudy bright" appearance, very loose sediment. Not a strong taste but nice (subtle?) aftertaste, which seems stronger than the real taste. Head & taste improved with a little age, best when not too cold. RECOMMENDED.

Northern Brewer Bitter      1.8Kg, 1Kg sugar

Left a solid pancake of easily removed yeast. Fantastic head/cond. very clear, slightly red, around mid/late-teens EBC. No faults with the taste, a good quality, competent brew with no particular “outstanding” features when not too cold. VG yeast.


Ritchie’s Festival Landlord’s Finest Bitter     4.3% 3K g.

Kit contains 2 x 1.5K bags LME, 50g Celeia & Admiral hops, 100g priming sugar, 10g yeast & 1 hop bag & detailed instructions. Unfortunately, this was not “my cup of tea”.

Tom Caxton Best Bitter            1.8Kg, 1Kg sugar

Easy to make, poor head & condition, taste & aftertaste quite full but not really to my "taste". For some reason I expected better. NOT RECOMMENDED.

Tom Caxton Lager     1.5Kg, 1Kg sugar

Rested for a week. Does not taste much like British Lagers, more like a beer. Slightly hazy, yeast a bit unstable. not really to my taste, but otherwise O.K.

York Brewery Stonewall    2.8Kg*

1.8Kg* liquid malt & 1Kg* Spraymalt plus 50g hop pellets (Goldings?), 7 EBC, 25-35EBU (32 Est.), 4.2%.

Colour nearer the 14EBC mark, once again a highish F. G. (live yeast from brewery used). A slightly grainy taste, WELL WORTH A TRY.

York Brewery Yorkshire Terrier   2.8Kg*

1.8Kg* liquid malt & 1Kg* Spraymalt plus 45g hop pellets (Goldings?), 7 EBC, 25-35EBU (28 Est.), 4.2%.

Colour nearer the 14EBC mark, once again a highish F. G. (live yeast from brewery used). Hoppier than it’s kennel-mate above, WELL WORTH A TRY.

York Brewery Yorkshire Terrier      2.8Kg*

An unusual kit to me, it contained 1.8Kg* liquid malt & 1Kg* Spraymalt plus 50g hop pellets which looked like “Technicolor” mushy peas during the brewing process. An uneventful fermentation which finished about 6° higher than the quoted S.G. Racked off a very solid “pancake” of “sludge” & rested for a week. Before bottling, still quite hazy.

Decent condition & quite a long lasting head that tended to cling to the sides of the glass. Quite hazy with a colour possibly twice the quoted 7 EBCs. A full-flavoured beer with a long dry bitter aftertaste. This kit was fairly difficult to make in comparison to the usual kits & better instructions would have helped some. Despite my criticisms, which after all is the reviewers job, I’ve drunk beers (including “real ales”) much worse than this in Pubs, VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Woodforde’s Admiral’s Reserve    3Kg

A Real Ale kit to celebrate 200th anniversary of Trafalgar (21st Oct. 1805)

Basically a “normal” Woodforde’s kit with a sachet of (Challenger) hop powder. If you like hoppy beers then this probably one for you! With a superb (tight-bubbled) head & condition it stuck to the glass sides quite well. It was very drinkable after only a month and improved with age. EXCELLENT.

Woodforde’s Nelson’s Revenge   3Kg

Massive, classic fermentation. O.G. 1049, F.G. 1012. After only 1 month it had a good initial head which did not completely disappear, good condition, colour around 20-30 EBC with slight chill haze from fridge (had this before with Woodforde’s). Very flowery/malty/perfumey with some bitterness in the finish, pear drops & raisins, its quality reminded me very strongly of some of the “classic” bottled beers.

Woodforde’s Norfolk Nog 4.5% ABV    3Kg  

Boiled 5 min with few Challengers, sugar & extra water added as last batch was too strong a flavour for me. Classic fermentation. Rested for 1 week. 21l bottled with 1 rounded dsp/2l. Poor head & condition, colour est. 150+ EBC. Some roast grain (less apparent than last time), “dark” raisin & some perfumy taste, quite bitter with some smoothness, dry & astringent.

Woodforde's Norfolk Wherry    3Kg

Unfortunately, this beer is somewhat variable in quality but I consider it as one of the best.

Woodforde’s Sundew 4.2% ABV  3Kg

Apparently Woodforde’s use Munton’s Premium Gold & Amarillo hops in this ale. I thought that a different yeast had been used as the fermentation was totally different to the norm. Munton’s re-assured me that this was not the case.

After 2 month it had a poor head/fair condition & around 20EBC (label!). Very temperature dependant, does not being too cold. The taste was lacklustre & forgettable with no redeeming features. At four months it was acceptable & a disappointing for Woodforde’s! Bring back the GWR! (P. S. the yeast was very stable in the bottle.)

Wilko Dark Velvet Stout    1.5Kg, 1Kg sugar

Mountainous head after 15 hrs. Not as malty or hoppy than I expected but the label said “Velvet” I must agree with the name. An un-demanding yet very pleasant stout with a nice, gentle hop finish. V. good value. Yeast stable.

Wilko Real Ale 4% ABV     3Kg

Big head, excellent cond. & around the 40EBC mark (label!). Tasted horrible! The hops were replaced by a strong chemically taste. It three months maturation (min.) to come “OK”. Beware of drinking too cold.

Young’s Harvest    1.5Kg, 1Kg sugar.

Made during very hot weather. Not very pleasant, poor yeast. NOT RECOMMENDED.

Young’s Barley Wine (24 pints)   1.5Kg, 1Kg sugar (900g used).

After 2 months in the bottle it had a good condition but a poor head, colour around mid 40’s EBC. Not as hoppy as I expected for a barley wine, but it was much better than I expected from Young’s. VG yeast stability.

BEER KITS                      WINE KITS


Beaverdale Barolo

Very dark ruby colour, star-bright, good body without being overpowering, lots of character, not an easy-drinking wine but one to be savoured. (Note that only half the oak granules were used as I am not keen on oaky wines.) In my opinion this is probably THE BEST RED KIT I’VE EVER TRIED!

Beaverdale Blush      1.25Kg 1075/80  990/996

More red than blush. Worth keeping/maturing over 6 months.

Beaverdale Chamblaise     1.25Kg 1075/80  990/996

Well up to the Beaverdale standard but the yeast was unusually a little unstable.

Beaverdale Chardonnay    1.25Kg 1075/80  990/996

Very sluggish starting, a dash of nutrient seemed to improve things slightly. Not bad after 1 month, after 3 months it was compared with Lindeman’s Chardonnay, I preferred this!

Beaverdale Californian White  1.25Kg 1075/80  990/996

Matured in bulk for 2 month. Not too bad but improved greatly with age.

Beaverdale Gewürztraminer    1.25Kg 1075/80  990/996

Very solid yeast deposit. Quite spicy but has a slightly “watered-down” taste. Improved with time.

Beaverdale Merlot      1.25Kg 1075/80  990/996

Star-bright with nice dark ruby-red colour & a decent flavour. WELL WORTH THE MONEY.

Beaverdale Muscadet    1.25Kg 1075/80  990/996

Approx. 4l started on the day, the rest made up after 6 days. After 4 months, although not my favourite style, had all the right characteristics. NOT DISAPPOINTING.

Beaverdale Rojo Tinto (old Beaverdale Rioja)    1.25Kg 1075/80  990/996

Excellent! The Soup Dragon’s favourite. The quality is a least comparable to commercial wines costing £8 or more (2017 prices).

Beaverdale Sauvignon Blanc     1.25Kg 1075/80  990/996

After three months in the bottle it was not too bad but seemed a bit “lacking”. Improved greatly with age – V. good flavour, taste & finish.

Beaverdale White Bougeron   1.25Kg 1075/80  990/996

Star-bright, darkish straw colour with citrus & melon in the taste. V. Good.

Beaverdale White Burgundy  1.25Kg 1075/80  990/996


Brewmaker Medium Dry Essential Wine Kit    900g

Calculated to add 425g sugar (OG 1080), decided to make a dry wine. Remained clear throughout the fermentation!!!! After a couple of months it was a pale lemon colour with some lemon flavour but not the acidity, a slight sweetness was noted. A GOOD BUY.

California Connoisseur Chianti     1.5Kg  1080/95 <995

Lovely clear, deep garnet colour & a slight bouquet, unfortunately there was very little taste & virtually no finish. INITIALLY LACKING BUT IMPROVED WITH AGE.

California Connoisseur Gewurtztramminer   1.5Kg   1080/95 <995

O .K. I suppose but I’VE HAD BETTER.

California Connoisseur Liebfraumilch    1.5Kg   1080/95 <995

The dried elderflowers were a bit of a problem. Unfortunately the finished product tasted like a slightly overpowering cheap elderflower wine. Not quite “bright”. VERY DIASPPOINTING.

California Connoisseur Pinot Blanc    1.5Kg   1080/95 <995

Uses Llalamand Lalvin Champagne yeast which was foam-free & working after an hour! The comprehensive instructions came in the form of a record sheet complete with gravity “targets”, this would have been ideal for novices if only the process were a little simpler. This kit just oozed quality, from the “named” yeast (rather than the usual non-descript packages provided) to the instructions and the 6 bottle labels supplied. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

California Connoisseur Sauvignon Blanc    1.5Kg   1080/95 <995

Fermentation over in 7 days. Pale lemon colour with a taste of gooseberries which was expected, a touch of citrus & a slight fustiness, ultimately a bit one dimensional. O.K. I suppose but not one of the best, especially at the price, Beaverdale may cost slightly more but are better tasting, more complex & much better value for money.

Windsor Cellarcraft Peach Chablis    7 Kg net 0  >998   23 litres.

Made for the Soup Dragon after a sample was given by “Doncaster Homebrew Supplies”. After 3 months I found it a little bit rough. It has improved quickly & considerably, the wife loves it (a lot more than me!).

Young’s Country Definitive Black Cherry  1Kg, sugar 450g     1000/1006

This used twice the amount of sugar I would have expected for a kit of this type, especially when considering that the kit contained glucose and glucose-fructose syrups. The lovely dark ruby coloured wine had more than a hint of “chemicals” in the bouquet, taste & after-taste. It had been matured in bulk for 4 months but bottled only 2 weeks earlier, hopefully it will improve with age. (It didn’t improve significantly.) The wine was also drier than I expected for a F.G. of around 1004 (not a problem, well within the quoted range). NOT RECOMMENDED.

Young’s Definitive Chardonnay Style    900g, sugar 450g    995/1002

Very poor yeast, would not work for 3.5l, had to top up to 4.5l ! Took almost 2 month to ferment! (I may have had a duff yeast, it does happen.) The results were much better than expected, a beautifully star-bright wine with a light lemon colour & had very strong flavour which was possibly too powerful & had a hint of “chemicals”.

Kit mod

Kit Modification