Cost Comparison: Kit Cost vs Individual Ingredients – A Look at Five Kits


Here’s a look at five Northern Brewer Recipe Kits with a cost comparison on buying the kit vs buying individual ingredients and some general thoughts on the subject.


First, A look at Northern Brewer’s most popular kitDead Ringer IPA


All Grain Version
The all grain kit costs $25.45 excluding yeast and priming sugar.  This, along with the rest of the kits and ingredients mentioned here, qualifies for Northern Brewer’s Flat Rate Shipping Promo.

Piecing it out:

11-lbs. Rahr-2-Row @ $1.29/lb – $14.19
1-lbs. Briess Caramel 40 @ 1.79/lb – $1.79
5.75-oz. Centennial -(you must buy 6 ounces) @ $2.25/ou – $11.25

Total = $27.23


You save 7.5% by purchasing the kit


Extract Version

The extract kit costs $40.45 excluding yeast and priming sugar.

Piecing it out:

1-lbs. Briess Caramel 40 @ 1.79/lb – $1.79
9.15 lbs Gold malt syrup (1 x 6 lb + 1 x 3.15 lb) – $25.98

6-oz. Centennial - @ $2.25/ou – $11.25

Total = $39.61

You save .2% by purchasing individual ingredients

Next.. A look at Northern Brewer’s Kiwi Express.  This is the most recent beer that I’ve brewed.  I’ll be kegging it soon and look forward to giving it a try.
All Grain Version
The all grain kit costs $32.45 excluding yeast and priming sugar.

Piecing it out:

11.5-lbs Malteurop American 2 row Pale (You must buy 12 lbs) – $17.88
0.5-lbs. Briess Caramel 20 (You must buy 1 lb) – $1.99
1-oz New Zealand Nelson Sauvin – $3.30
2-oz New Zealand Motueka – $5.98
4-oz New Zealand Wakatu – $6.36

Total = $35.81


You save 9% by purchasing the kit


Extract Version

The extract kit costs $45.45 excluding yeast and priming sugar.

Piecing it out:

6 lbs Pilsen malt syrup – $17.99
2 lbs Briess Pilsen DME – $9
0.5-lbs. Briess Caramel 20 (You must buy 1 lb) – $1.99
1-oz New Zealand Nelson Sauvin – $3.30
2-oz New Zealand Motueka – $5.98
4-oz New Zealand Wakatu – $6.36

Total = $45.21

The kit vs individual ingredients are almost identical in price, just 24 cents separates them.  You save .005% by purchasing individual ingredients.

A look at one more beer… The All Grain Version of Cascade Mountains West Coast Imperial IPA.  I have this kit slated for an upcoming brew day.  A friend of mine brewed this and it’s a great beer.  I was interested to see how this one stacked up primarily because of the copious amounts of ingredients.
The all grain kit costs $42.24 excluding yeast and priming sugar.

Piecing it out:

10-lbs. Rahr 2 row – $12.90
4.5-lbs. English Maris Otter (You must buy 5 lbs) – $8.95
0.50-lbs. Briess Caramel 10 (You must buy 1 lb) – $1.79
2-lbs. Corn Sugar – $5
2-oz Summit – $3.50
8-oz Cascade – $14 

Total = $46.14


You save 8.5% by purchasing the kit


General Thoughts:

With this small sample size, it appears that extract kits are about identical in price and you can save some money by going with the kits for all grain recipes… between 7.5% and 9% savings.

Beyond savings, kits can also be a way to obtain more difficult to find hops.  Some retailers will hold back popular ingredients for use in their kits.

It is a bit of legwork to do these price comparisons.  You also increase your chances of ordering incorrectly when piecing out a recipe.


An advantage to piecing together recipes is some additional control over the recipe including the ability to scale up or down the for volume or efficiency reasons.  Of course, you need to have the recipe to do this.  If a vendor is unwilling to share this information, buy the kit and the recipe is yours for a future batch.  


Another ancillary benefit to piecing together… You may end up with a few odds and ends left over for a future batch.  I have bunches of odds and ends around, which makes me feels good, but in practice, I rarely go back and use stuff.  I’m sure some people do.

Of course, more savings can be realized by buying hops and grain in bulk.

Bottom Line: There are savings to be had with some kits.  Unless you want or need more control… buy the kit.  If you’re on a strict budget (or you need something to do :)… put pencil to paper at your favorite retailer and consider bulk purchases.

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5 thoughts on “Cost Comparison: Kit Cost vs Individual Ingredients – A Look at Five Kits

  1. Jake

    Buying your base grain (like Pauric mentioned) and hops in bulk have a massive savings. If you don’t brew often then for the sake of ease, kits are well worth it.

    Few examples of buying grain and hops in bulk below.

    50 lb bag of Rahr 2-Row Malt is $34.99 or $0.70/lb.
    1 lb bag of Rahr 2-Row Malt is $1.29 or $64.50/50 lb.

    50 lb bag of Rahr Pale Ale Malt is $49.99 or $1.00/lb.
    1 lb bag of Rahr Pale Ale Malt is $1.49 or $74.50/50 lb.

    1 lb bag of UK Kent Golding hop pellets is $24.99 or $1.56/oz.
    1 oz bag of UK Kent Golding hop pellets is $2.25 or $36/lb.

    1 lb bag of Sterling hop pellets is $19.99 or $1.25/oz.
    1 oz bag of Sterling hop pellets is $1.75 or $28/lb.

  2. Anonymous

    And don’t forget the cost of the yeast running anywhere from $4-$8 or more a batch. After the base grain this can be the second most costly ingredient of basic ale batches. I regularly brew batches with 8-10lbs of base grain at a cost of $10 give or take. The yeast alone can account for 1/3 of the combined base malt/yeast bill in an all grain system. Doing all grain if you can control your expenditure for grain and yeast you can really bring down the cost of your beer. Saving your yeast from one batch to the next is fairly easy once you get the hang of it and can reduce the yeast bill to mere penny’s plus your time to save the yeast. If convenience is more important to you than cost then you can get kits about anywhere of course and pay for the convenience by upping the cost of all grain ‘scrounging’ by double or triple.
    Different means for different folks……..enjoy!

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