Why do kit instructions suck so bad?

As a brewer with 95 batches under my (slightly growing) belt on various systems of various sophistication/automation, with sensory training/accreditation, several BOS comps and more medals, and having read several of the brewing bibles numerous times, I am more than happy to provide advice on pitching rates, ferment temp, and sanitation practices, and other basic advice for newer extract brewers. (All reach-around back patting aside).

But it seems like these instructions that come with these kits have not been updated since homebrew was, well, ‘homebrew’ and fermented with Fleishmann’s yeast. I think the people that write these instructions should be mandated to drink all the bad beer they are responsible for creating.

I get that its not an easy thing to do: that is distilling the brewing process down to a recipe sheet that can be followed by someone with zero experience. But one packet of yeast for a 1.080 beer!? Come on!

But if you pitch it at 80 degrees it starts right up!

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It’s a good question. My experience with kits is rather limited, I brewed two Brewer’s Best kits and four or five Northern Brewer kits. Both seemed to be somewhat more in depth than what I’ve heard of some other ones, but I learned rather quickly that even those instructions are a little less than precise. When I started disregarding the timetable for racking and bottling, I started having less issue with overcarbed beers. When I ignored the “use 5oz priming sugar packet” and began weighing out my own priming sugar, overcarbed beer became a thing of the past.

I realize that there may be a reason found in that new brewers might feel a bit overwhelmed with the complexity and timetable required, and many may not make it past their first beer or two when they find that it can take a couple months instead of a couple weeks to have drinkable beer. But that’s still not really an excuse. I hate waiting as much as anyone else, but I love being able to sit down with a brew (and a fine cigar) and say… “Yea, I made that, and it’s good.”

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The recipie kits have pretty good hop schedules, so they’re not completely useless.