Is a DIY beer kit that declares it can sling suds in 24 hours a godsend, or just plain witchcraft?
We set about about acquiring a WHYM homebrew kit to find out.
The claim: "Build Your Own Beer In Only 24 Hours".
Which is ... impossible. Depending on your preferred style of beer, it takes several weeks alone to knock out the yeast and raise the alcohol. So, we tested out the limited-run kit to see if its creators are worthy of admiration or burning at the stake for false sorcery.
The WHYM arrives in a compact box small enough to open up on a kitchen counter top and contains all the tools (growler, funnel, carbonation cap, steeping vessel, recipe book, et. al.) you’ll need to get to work building a beer that should be ready in a day.
After unpacking the kit, you'll wanna make sure you have all the ingredients needed on hand as well as four 16-ounce cans of Base Beer — all of which, because of U.S. alcohol restrictions — can only be purchased from Drizly. The five available recipe kits include: Intense Wheat, India Pale, Lemon Shandy, Maple Nut Brown or Hopback Golden Amber Ale.
For the Amber Ale, we steeped two kinds of malt, mixed them with boiling water, strained and then combined that mixture with hops and the Base Beer inside the growler before carbonating the blend with a C02 cartridge. The whole process took 30 minutes, was fairly easy and made our kitchen smell like fresh hops, simmering malt and flavorful beer — all good things.
Which leads us to the answer to the $1 million question … Did the kit make beer after 24 hours?
Yes. Yes it did.
Is it the best beer you’ll ever have? No. Is it the worst? Not by a long shot. Are you actually brewing beer? Not exactly.
What's happening here is you're flavoring and carbonating an already existing beer. Which is fine by us, because brewing beer is not truly the claim. While homebrew aficionados will wanna experiment with the Base Beer, that's just not possible with the WHYM. That said, the beer the WHYM produced was noticeably better than any beer we’ve made with other homebrew kits. The real fun comes when you're comfortable enough to use the Base Beer as a jumping off point to experiment beyond the suggested recipes.
All in: though the WHYM’s ends might not be at the top of the charts, the means by which they are produced are enjoyable to take part in, educational to some degree and they smell good. Also, when you consider the kits cost $80 (ingredients extra), you really can’t go wrong.
WHYMs are currently only available in Manhattan and the original run is limited to 200 units.