A month ago I noticed something new at my local homebrew shop. It’s called the Big and Easy bottle brew. The Big and Easy is a two liter “no brew” beer brewing kit and I can honestly say there is no easier way to make beer. The kit comes in three flavors, Mexican cerveza, premium pilsner, and red lager. With these “fancy” beer styles, I must admit I had serious doubts about any possible quality the beer kit might have. I tried the Mexican cerveza at the suggestion of the store clerk.
While making the beer my six year old quickly pointed out, “You are not making beer daddy. You are just dropping yeast into a bottle”. She couldn’t be more right. To make the beer, you twist off the bottle cap, drop in a capsule of dry yeast, and then screw on a new special cap. Store the bottle and wait for the fermentation to complete. The whole process takes 30 seconds to make, and about 2 weeks for the fermentation.
The special cap is similar to the “balloon brewing” from days past. The special cap serves as the airlock for your fermenter. The cap is a normal soda bottle cap with a hole drilled through it. The hole is covered from the inside with a rubber bladder. The bladder has a tiny pin hole. CO2 produced from the fermentation escapes the bottle through the tiny pin hole.
Even though all three beers are lagers, you can ferment the beer at room temperature. I fermented mine at 65 F. Since the fermenter is a two liter bottle, you do not need much room. You can brew this beer anywhere. It is perfect for anyone short on space (like a dorm room – but you never heard that from me), or anyone who wants to get their feet wet with home brewing.
The beer produced was mostly clear. It had a very slight haze, but it was much clearer than I expected. The beer was clear as possible without being filtered. The bottle instructions recommend you store the beer in the fridge 10 hours before serving, but I kept mine chilled for about 2 weeks. This wasn’t planned; I wanted to wait until I had several people to help me drink it.
The color was a very good light gold color. The cerveza had a good head to it, but dissipated quickly. The head lasted as long as you would expect for the beer style. Other than the very slight haze, I could see nothing wrong with the looks of the beer.
There was very little aroma from the beer. It had a very slight hint of hops. It might be unfair to comment too much on the aroma, since it was in line with any other Mexican cerveza I’ve had. The beer has the same aroma you might get from a Dos Equis.
The taste of the beer was far more than I would ever expected. Yes, I did drink the beer while watching a Denver Broncos win, but at the time I opened the bottle the game was tied at 6 apiece so the positive review isn’t due to “home team winning” euphoria. The beer has great flavor. It has much more body than Corona or Dos Equis, and the beer was slightly maltier. The Big and Easy bottle brew tastes great, and is very impressive for a two liter “no brew” beer kit. I was really surprised how the beer stayed carbonated. The cap holds just enough pressure to keep the beer carbonated.
I’m planning to try more of the Big and Easy brew kits. I really enjoyed this beer. I think the kit does take all the fun out of making it since you just drop in a pellet of yeast, but it does make a great introduction to homebrewing. In fact the kit is perfect for someone who might want to try homebrewing, and doesn’t want to invest in equipment. Everything you need comes with the kit.
I saved the cap so I can try experimenting with 2 liter brews. It would be fun to make small test brews during the winter, without bringing all the equipment into the snow. I’ll write about future projects with the bottle cap.
The kit cost me $7.99, but I’ve seen it for $5.99 on the internet (more proof my favorite homebrew store is a bit spendy, but that’s another story). Either way, I’d recommend the kit as something fun to try. The kit takes little effort, and it produces a good beer. I give it 10 2L Coke bottles out of 10.
© 2008 – 2010, fermentarium. All rights reserved.
Don't forget to "like" fermentarium on facebook