Homebrew beer and cider kit review: We put The Pinter to the test

Pete Wise
·6-min read
<p>It’s a great first step into the world of home brewing</p> (The Independent/iStock)

It’s a great first step into the world of home brewing

(The Independent/iStock)

Homebrewing has a long history of helping us through hardship. It was a life and death matter for ancient civilisations, where many of the brewers were women, who used brewing to convert impure water into potable beer.

In the post-war decades, it kept beer on the table while the nation rebuilt. And in the here and now, homebrewing seems to be helping lots of us stay cheerful and stimulated through the pandemic.

As new brewers often find, the only real problem with homebrewing is that it’s very hard to get right.

Traditional homebrewing involves an unwieldy array of processes and techniques, from laboriously cleaning sediment-encrusted tanks to siphoning big batches of beer between vessels. The equipment, the brewing conditions and the ingredients need to be just right – and even then, there’s no guarantee of a tasty brew.

If you’re looking for a more approachable way to brew tasty beers and ciders during lockdown and beyond, we heartily recommend you check out The Pinter from The Greater Good Fresh Brewing Co. Read on for our review and to find out if you should buy it.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

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The Greater Good Fresh Brewing Co. the Pinter bundle

This clever system from The Greater Good Fresh Brewing Co. offers supremely simple gear, plus a range of pre-mixed beer or cider ingredients. It’s a great first step into the world of home brewing.

The Pinter itself is a barrel-shaped fermentation vessel with a 10-pint brewing capacity. It has a tap and handle for pouring your beer and comes in a jazzy range of colours – from frost white to hot red.

To use The Pinter, you’ll also need a Pinter Pack containing the ingredients for your drink. This will include some purifier, brewer’s yeast, and a bottle of “fresh press”, which is a concentrated mix of ingredients made by The Greater Good Fresh Brewing Co.

Choosing your fresh Pinter pack

There are currently seven packs available, all of which can be bought separately from The Greater Good Fresh Brewing Co. These include the cloudy nine cider (£10), Lockwood pilsner (£15), fresh republic lager (£13), public house IPA (£14), stars and stripes APA (£13), Waltham Forest dark fruit cider (£10) and a dark matter stout (£15).

Think carefully about whether these options appeal to you before you buy The Pinter. If you use any other ingredients in the vessel, you’ll invalidate its one-year warranty, so you’re technically limited to these drinks.

The good news is that The Greater Good Fresh Brewing Co. is planning to bring out new drinks roughly every few months.

The Pinter and Pinter Packs are available exclusively through The Greater Good Fresh Brewing Co. website, so, unfortunately, you won’t be able to grab one at your local shop.

Testing The Pinter

There are quite a few steps involved in using The Pinter – just enough to give you a sense of achievement as you take your first sip.

We suggest you use the online guide for The Pinter throughout the whole beer-making process. With a combination of written instructions and animated graphics, it’s excellently crafted and covers the four stages of making drinks with The Pinter: purifying, brewing, conditioning and cleaning.

Purifying The Pinter is relatively easy, simply add water and some purifying granules (included with each Pinter Pack), then swilling the mixture around. There are some crucial extra details to this process, so be sure to follow the instructions carefully.

The more exciting second phase is adding the ingredients for brewing. Admittedly, The Pinter’s system makes this pretty simple: you add cold water, plus the brewer’s yeast and fresh press from your chosen Pinter Pack, then seal The Pinter and leave it to brew for a few days. For a novice beer-maker, it was interesting to see the yeast spreading across the top of the liquid inside the vessel.

After brewing, The Pinter can be placed in the fridge for conditioning, which takes a few days (the exact period varies from drink to drink). If you have an average-sized fridge, you’ll probably need to devote most of a shelf to The Pinter during this time. Unfortunately, those with small, under-the-counter fridges may struggle to find space.

Last and probably the least enjoyable is the cleaning process. Getting The Pinter clean is relatively easy, compared to your average brewing equipment. However, it still takes a while – about 15 minutes, in our experience – and we sometimes found it tricky to remove all the residue from inside the tank.

Reviewing the drinks

Firstly, let us just say that The Pinter produces some really nice beers and ciders. The drinks we made during testing were lively, refreshing, and hit the spot in a way bottled or canned beer usually just can’t.

The public house IPA is very malty, with a thick, frothy head and a rich fragrance. Its colour is dark brown, quite akin to some table beers we’ve tried. Do we detect a hint of liquorice?

We’re particularly big fans of the stars & stripes APA, which has a mellow, fruity flavour. It’s super-light and dangerously drinkable.

The Waltham forest dark fruit cider – a sweet, syrupy drink demonstrates the versatility in The Pinter’s repertoire, we were impressed.

The Pinter Packs are all designed to suit various water types. We tested ours in an area with hard water.

Should you buy The Pinter?

The Pinter is an accessible, enjoyable and efficient way to brew fresh beer and cider from home. It takes the hassle out of home-brewing, and its fresh-poured drinks are a vast upgrade on your average canned or bottled beer.

Another benefit of The Pinter is its money-saving potential. Pinter Pack ingredient kits tend to cost around £13 each, which means you’re looking at paying approximately £1.30 per pint of beer you make.

The one limitation to it is the relative lack of variety, but we’ve been assured new drinks will be coming out every few months, so soon this won’t be an issue. We would also like to see the possibly of some options to tweak drinks to your personal taste, too.

All things considered; we are mightily impressed with The Pinter. Buy one, and you’ll be rewarded with the lip-smacking revelation of fresh beer, on tap, at home.

Buy now

Buy now £75.00, The Greater Good Fresh Brewing Co.

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