A few weeks ago I helped a mate get himself sorted with some home brew kit from Grain and Grape in Yarraville. Graham got kitted out with the whole setup, fermenter, bench capper, all the hydrometers and other stuff. And a fresh wort kit.
Yesterday Graham texted me asking “why is the treacle better than the wort kit?”. Yes, this doesnt really make sense. Maybe it’s because he’s English? Anyway I translated his question, I think. By treacle he means a canned home brew kit. I was driving then so I’m responding now.
So whats the difference, and which is better?
OK the difference, the canned product and the fresh wort kit are more of less the same with the exception of water. The canned kit is basically the fresh wort kit that has been evaporated down and put into a can. Its malt extract and hops, minus a bunch of water in a can. Being in a can if gives the impression that it will last for ever (and I suppose it will?). Who knows what hops they used or what kind of malt they used? It will however make you beer if you add some water and yeast.
Now to the fresh wort kit. This is basically no chill brewing where someone else has done the brewing for you. It still has most of the water in it, therefore it hasn’t been boiled/cooked for hours and the hop flavors may have actually hung around a little bit. Cooking wort for the hours that it would take can’t be great for beer flavor, especially on the hop side of things. Also the fresh wort kits are inclined to be made by people who like craft beer, not someone in a factory.
However get a can kit, add some fresh hops and ferment it well and you could get a good beer. Treat a fresh wort kit badly it’ll turn out a dud.
So Graham why is the fresh wort better than the treacle? less cooking time, more hop flavor, more thought process into the crafting of the product, and if you look after it properly it has the potential to be a better beer. Thats about it really, it’s just better. Well I think so anyway.