Regarding NB Shipping

Hey all, I am new to this all and have been looking to start off with a starter kit from NB. Noticed they had a sale going on to save 17.76 off $100 and have heard great things about the site to decided to use NB to start it all off. However, I am a bit confused about what kit to start off with. I was looking at the essential brewing starter kit, seems to have everything i need minus the kettle.

Is that a good kit to start off with, will i be able to make great beer with this kit?

Also, what is wrong with the shipping for the site? I add the kit and its 20$ shipping. I add anything else, even tubing and the shipping jumps right to $30, no point having $17.76 off when the shipping is a bit absurd?

Shipping can be hard to bear. UPS charges more for size. Big items mean less can be loaded in a truck. Weight is less important, up to a point. That is the reason some of the bulky items don’t get flat rate shipping. Where the flat rate shipping really pays off is ordering kits and supplies. I’ll order four to five kits at a time, with supplies, for the $7.99.

The essential kit looks fairly good. You will need sanitizer. Kit comes with some One Step, but not much. Starsan is about the best to use, and is no rinse. Largest size is the most economical, if you have the cash handy. The large bottle should last at least five years if you save your solution brew to brew. Same with the cleaner, PBW, large size is more economical.
Wing capper is a fairly good starter capper. Doesn’t cap some commercial bottles if you are recycling. The Super Agata bench capper is an excellent capper, but I can get one locally for $39.00.
You will also need a hydrometer for measuring specific gravity.
Fermometer strips to track the fermentation temperature, or a digital thermometer, to attach to the outside of the bucket is also a necessity. Letting a fermenting beer get to hot, in most cases, will make it undrinkable. The thermometer strips are very accurate as long as they aren’t submerged in a swamp cooler.
A couple extra air locks are good to have on hand. The three piece, with one-half inch inside diameter tubing, can be used for a blow off tube assembly. Except for blow off use, I prefer the S-style air lock.
Make sure you have enough bottle caps on hand. I buy locally to save money. Bought some from NB a while ago. They were defective from the manufacturer, problem most likely taken care of by now.

I started with a 5.5 gallon stainless steel stock pot, with glass lid and rubber gasket, from Walmart for $62.00. Thick clad bottom to prevent scorching. Flat bottom for use on an electric range. It is also used for cooking the larger size meals.

The new site design shows for each item which ones qualify for flat-rate shipping, and which do not.
You may need to play with your order to see if it’s more expensive or cheaper to mix-n-match eligible and non-eligible in the same order.

I did have one order where the web site screwed up, and tried to charge serious shipping when everything should have been flat rate. I did an online chat and the CSR took a couple minutes to confirm everything’s eligibility; he was then able to correct the order once I gave him the order number.

i ordered a 1 gallon starter kit and it came with a 2 gallon pot plus I ordered two additional beer recipe kits and i only paid $7.99 for shipping.

24.99 shipping cost for a plastic big mouth bubbler and some citra hops. Ouch. Nearly doubled the cost of the items. Unfortunately our LHBS didn’t have either item(s).

Thank you for the replies. I will look into getting some of the stuff you mentioned. Should i go with this kit or is there another kit you would recommend? I did take a look at the deluxe but for 60$ shipping, it was a bit much.

I got the deluxe kit January of 2013 and it cost $26.49 to ship to my house. Now it’s showing up as estimated at $55 which likely would have made me think longer and harder about the kit. The fermenters are the items that are not flat rate eligible due to their size. I personally use glass carboys but you can use buckets just as easily. Do you have a local Homebrew shop? You may be better off buying your fermenters from them if you have one. You can piece out the rest of the kit and it’s all flat rate eligible, including the extract kit. Bottles are very easily obtainable if you don’t mind de-labelling ones you purchase full of beer. :lol:

I have purchased other items since I got the deluxe kit but it really had everything I needed for my first year of extract brewing. I really like the glass big mouth 6.5 gallon carboy I just picked up this year. The shipping estimate for that to my house is about $12 currently which isn’t too bad. If you are shipping sensitive, you could order the pieces from the kit together with an extract kit from NB and potentially either place a separate order for your fermenters or pick them up locally.


edit after piecing together the deluxe kit with pbw and star san instead of one step and no fermenters, it comes to $68.72 plus $7.99 shipping. You can add a kit to this for another $20-$60 depending on which one you choose and still keep the flat rate shipping.

With regard to the shipping cost, it does give a bit of sticker shock, but I will say, at least in the case of the deluxe starter kit, the package is both bigger and heavier than I had anticipated. When the UPS man showed up at my door and I saw what he had, I definitely thought the shipping made more sense (and I think my wife was wondering what the heck was going on).

If you do pull the trigger, by the time you start placing more orders–kits, ingredients, replacement/supplemental pieces–those will qualify for the flat shipping. If you think about the shipping cost as part of the total cost of the kit, rather than a separate line item, it becomes more palatable. That said, it is still a significant outlay of cash, so you do need to ask yourself why you’re doing this. If your interest is “well, home brewing would make great beer, cheaper than I can buy it,” that’s true, but it will take a while for that to happen. If your thought is “I am interested in this hobby,” then you just need to decide if the costs associated are worth it. Most hobbies cost some money, so you need to keep that in mind.

If you are unsure if you are going to like it, you may want to start with a one gallon kit, either here, or elsewhere (you can probably find some in stores, so shipping wouldn’t be an issue). I did that, and that’s what convinced me to pull the trigger. Yes, it does mean that I’ve now paid for a 1 gallon in addition to everything else, but I do still brew 1 gallon batches, mostly if I am trying to experiment with something that I might move to 5 gallons later.

The other thing is, most brewers, including NB, run promos pretty often. So definitely get on email lists. Deleting an email is easy, but getting lots of email can save you lots of $. I was going back and forth on which setup I wanted, and literally when I had the starter kit in my cart, I got an email offering 20% off of one item. So I immediately changed course and upgraded to the deluxe.