Monday, 18 April 2011

Brupak's BruBox

So following on from the homebrew memories post, i left it talking about my dad's Xmas present, a Brupak's Brubox. This is an all in one beer kit,  a plastic cube with a tap that you ferment in and dispense from, unless you decide to bottle it. My dad  bought me an extra fermenting bucket and siphon tubing, being concerned about it sitting in all the sediment and dead yeast whilst pouring your pint.
This one was the London Bitter kit.

I looked the kit up online for reviews and found two interesting entries, one who enjoyed it and thought the end product not to bad but the instructions a bit confusing, and this one which is a retailer (who no longer sells refill kits though) who gave a great step-by-step guide to brewing with the kit. On the Beoir forums some people had also posted questions regarding its use.

I agree with the first poster, the instructions were a little unclear in the draught or bottling section with regard to adding sugar. I started with the sterilizing, then onto the grains and hops bags which are left stewing basically for 25 minutes in total.

Malt extract added, water, yeast and then should be placed in a warm place for 7 to 10 ten days, tube in place in the water.
This is where it got me in trouble with my wife. The problem is i have no where really to brew beer, no where safe enough from childrens fingers, or out of the way enough to not annoy my wife. I found however that our bedroom keep a pretty constant 20 degrees that was required so i moved the Brubox and water jug into my wardrobe.
All was fine until i was awoken at 4am by my wife elbowing me asking what that noise was. "what noise?" i reply until 30secs later i hear loud bubbling coming from the wardrobe area.
Like a proud father i lovingly claim "oh good its started fermenting" to which i am briskly ordered to move a big liquid bag of beer down the stairs in complete darkness.
Placed under the stairs its temperature was an average 16 degrees, and i did try to insulate it, and sometimes moved it back up stairs during the day to bring it back up again to nearer 20 degrees.

Between days 7 - 10 after the bubbling had slowed down i then added the sugar, removed the tubing and left it to settle, removing some gas via the tap when the bag looks like its about to explode!
Eventually i poured myself a glass, two days after moving it into its dispensing position in its box.

Not a bad colour, but a bit murky, little carbonation also. Taste wise, well its wasn't dreadful. It did have bit of a twang to it, reasonably malty but being a bit flat didn't help. I may have drunk a pint or two but i think it would be difficult to have the whole lot. I do see how it was described as a softer version of London Pride though, shame it didn't come out right.

I am assuming that the fluctuations in temperature during the fermenting stage didn't help, i do not think it was the kit that failed but more my process. And i was reasonably encouraged to defiantly try again. Homebrew experts please comment if you think that was probably the fault.

Whilst it was brewing i looked at the BruPaks literature for other kits i saw the pilsners require a lower temperature, ideal for the spot under the stairs, and its better bottled. So with a holiday in March with some friends in mind i ordered and started over again!
Update soon on the North German Pilsner.


  1. Ive been tempting brew kits recently but been very worried as to temperature as each room in my house seems to be a different temp. If that really did lead to you're brew being flat would like to know to see if its worth me having a go too.

  2. i would prefer to brew a little more traditionally than the brubox but its my best solution.
    I think the fermentation was so interrupted it just did it no good at all. I would say have a go, you can also get heating mats which give a constant temperature, might be worth considering that scott?

  3. Me too but ive never brewed before so i thought it would be best to learn the basics first as even though i know most of the practical side of it i only know it in writing, but yeh ive heard of them and may make an investment in one, cheers arn!

  4. If i had the space i would go down the more traditional kit methods rather than the brubox though.
    Perhaps i should say that you can only use it for about 6 brews then i'll need a new brubox cube, whereas if you get the bug and have the 'normal' beer kit equipment you continue to use it.

  5. Ah, cheers i got your e-mail, i have seen some more professional starter brew kits for around £50-£60 which includes a basic bitter or other low abv beer. Would you say this was an alright price as its doesn't include an after packing e.g. bottles or keg.

  6. The fluctuation in temperature wouldn't necessarily be to blame for the lack of carbonation. If the fermenting beer didn't get above 20/22C then it would be fine - lower temperatures would just mean it takes a bit longer for fermentation to complete. The carbonation bit would come from the priming sugar you added afterwards. I'm guessing you may have released too much gas - if it has nowhere to go, it will be absorbed by the beer, making it fizzy. Co2 is more readily absorbed at lower temperatures too - I've never used a Brubox, so I have no idea of what instructions they give you, but my view would be to add the priming sugar, keep warm for a week, then place the box somewhere cool for the co2 to be absorbed. A fridge will be fine. After about 3 days I'd remove the box from the fridge and leave it to come back to serving temperature. You should then have nicely carbonated beer.

  7. Scott - not sure myself having never bought one of those kits, i suppose i would shop around to find out what you can get, some shops on ebay also i think.

    Mark - thanks interesting stuff, i thought the flucuations was more the cause of the colour and taste being off, with regard to the Co2 - the box when tube remove, sugar added and left for 5 days or so does expand quite rapidly, i was letting gas out for fear of explosion!