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Old 02-18-2009, 02:14 AM   #1
kylerwilliams19
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Default beginner needs help on equip decisions

so i am new to brewing but getting very excited about starting my first batch.

so i have a few questions in regards to equipment, i know that different people prefer different things so just let me know what you like and why. that would be great thanks.

as far as primary fermenting buckets do you just like to use the typical 6 gallon brew buckets, or do you like better bottles plastic carboy, or do you use glass carboys?

for airlocks/blowoff do you prefer to use a 3 piece airlock, bubbler type of airlock, or do you use a blow off hose into some sanitizer?

do you use a wort chiller or not and what is the best way about getting one? make it yourself or just buy it?

and as far as sanitizer goes what do you like to use. i am looking for the no rinse type...

thanks a lot.... hope to hear from the vast experience that is on HBT

thanks a lot and happy brewing

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Old 02-18-2009, 03:06 AM   #2
Yankeehillbrewer
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I like fermenting in buckets, for the simple reason that it's easier to dry hop. I use 3 piece airlocks because that's what I've always had. Definitely get an Imersion Chiller or a chiller of some kind, I don't have one but wish like hell I did. I use Iodophor as my sanitizer because that's what my LHBS carries.

Just remember that it all makes beer and for the most part there are no rights or wrongs. Once you decide on what you want use, nail down your brewing process so you can make the best Beer possible. Sanitation is probably the most important aspect of this hobby. You're off to a good start just by being a part of this forum.

Happy Brewing

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Old 02-18-2009, 03:08 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kylerwilliams19 View Post
as far as primary fermenting buckets do you just like to use the typical 6 gallon brew buckets, or do you like better bottles plastic carboy, or do you use glass carboys?
I have all three and they work just fine...

Buckets : Pros = Cheap, readily available... Cons = Not glamorous, can't see fermentation happening other than airlock
BB : Pros = Lighter than glass, less chance of a break resulting in stitches / major surgery, racking adapter is pretty cool... Cons = Expensive accessories, can scratch and harbor cooties, oxygen permeability still in question...
Carboys : Pros = Time tested, scratch resistant, last forever if taken care of properly... Cons = Heavy, if it breaks there is a serious potential of injury...

Quote:
for airlocks/blowoff do you prefer to use a 3 piece airlock, bubbler type of airlock, or do you use a blow off hose into some sanitizer?
Again, all three will accomplish the same thing... Three piece airlocks are my standard, unless I am making a 'bigger' beer, then I use a blowoff tube...

Quote:
do you use a wort chiller or not and what is the best way about getting one? make it yourself or just buy it?
Heck yes... Great investment... Bought an immersion cooler first, then made a CFC... If you are mechanically inclined, check out one of the many threads about making a chiller...

Quote:
and as far as sanitizer goes what do you like to use. i am looking for the no rinse type...
I use StarSan and am very happy with it...


Hope this helps a little...

Good luck!!
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Old 02-18-2009, 02:41 PM   #4
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Fermenters - I have all 3 also. I mainly ferment in buckets now just because it is easier and the novelty of watching the fermentation take place has worn off. If I use a secondary, (which is infrequent) I normally transfer to a 5 gal. glass carboy.

Airlocks/blowoff - I use 3-piece airlocks just because that's what I have. For a bigger beer I will always start with a blowoff. It is good to keep a blow of rig handy just in case things go ape ****e.

Chillers - I have a 3/8" x 50' copper immersion chiller which I built myself. Copper prices are going down and they are pretty easy to build yourself.

Sanitizers - I use Starsan. That's what I started with and haven't had any problems so far. I have had no reason to try anything else.

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Old 02-24-2009, 05:42 PM   #5
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Fermenters: I have buckets and carboys, both 5 and 7 gal glass. No better bottles. I just bought a minibrew fermenter that I'll be using for 10 gal batches. haven't used it yet, so no comment on that. I'm a bit leery of the better bottles. I'll wait a few years to buy one. 7 gal carboys are amazingly heavy compared to their 5 gal counterparts, so stay away unless you need it (we use it mainly for wine, which is 6-6.5 gal batches). All that being said, I usually use the 5 gal glass carboys for primary. I assume you will be bottling to start with. When I was bottling, I would secondary into the bottling bucket.

airlocks/blowoff: I use 3 piece. As with most, a blow-off hose for the bigger fermentations. These aren't always with "the big beers". I have had one stopper blow off and fermenting beer blow to the ceiling and stain it. I had an airlock blow out another time. Both times were with a (light) brown ale. I don't like the squiggly/bubble airlocks. They are a pita to clean if you get crud blow/off in them, and I find them to be just as much of a pain to get the water level right.

I use PBW for cleaning. For Sanitation, I love Iodophor. It's cheap, readily available, easy to use, and has been used endlessly for restaurant sanitation. Star-San is good, but much more expensive than Iodophor, and it has caused people some ocassional problems.

I love brewing, love drinking, HATE waiting. The two best investments I've made have been a 240,000 btu propane burner, and a chiller. The burner took about 45 minutes off my boil times (I do full 5 gallon boils - start out at just under 6 gals). The chiller took my cool-down time from a sink and freezer (ice, ice-packs) hogging 45-60 minutes down to a 5 min ordeal.

I can now do full 5 gal boils for the full 60 minutes, and my start-to-end time (putting ingredients on the counter to finished cleanup) is about 75 minutes.

One other piece of advice if I may.. get yourself a 2l flask, stopper, and airlock. Make a full 2L starter the night before you brew. You'll be surprised at just how large your starters should be if you want to do things right. Besides, if you see 2L bubbling, you won't have two days of worrying about whether that yeast pack you poured into the fermenter is actually going to work.

All of this rambling goes back to "Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew".

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Old 02-24-2009, 06:43 PM   #6
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I'm interested in hearing what kind of problems people have had using Starsan.

One thing I would argue is using an airlock for a starter. You don't want to because you want air exchange. Using an airlock defeats this.

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Old 02-24-2009, 06:45 PM   #7
SumnerH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atkinsr View Post
Fermenters: I have buckets and carboys, both 5 and 7 gal glass. No better bottles. I just bought a minibrew fermenter that I'll be using for 10 gal batches. haven't used it yet, so no comment on that. I'm a bit leery of the better bottles. I'll wait a few years to buy one. 7 gal carboys are amazingly heavy compared to their 5 gal counterparts, so stay away unless you need it (we use it mainly for wine, which is 6-6.5 gal batches).
A 7 gallon Better Bottle is remarkably light. I'm of the opinion that BBs are great for beer, but for wine it shouldn't even be a question--they transfer _far_ less oxygen than oak barrels, which even the most conservative taster will admit makes for world-class wine.

Quote:
All that being said, I usually use the 5 gal glass carboys for primary. I assume you will be bottling to start with. When I was bottling, I would secondary into the bottling bucket.
Don't you lose a lot of beer to blowoff doing 5 gallon batches in a 5 gal carboy? Most people prefer a primary that's bigger than the batch.

Quote:
Star-San is good, but much more expensive than Iodophor, and it has caused people some ocassional problems.
What problems, out of curiosity?

Both are fine sanitizers, at any rate. I use Star-San because it's cheaper (you can keep the mixed sanitizer for a month or more, which alters the cost equation substantially if you do that) and because I've heard some people have problems with iodophor discoloring certain tubes and such.

It probably comes down to "both are fine, use what you prefer".

Quote:
One other piece of advice if I may.. get yourself a 2l flask, stopper, and airlock. Make a full 2L starter the night before you brew. You'll be surprised at just how large your starters should be if you want to do things right. Besides, if you see 2L bubbling, you won't have two days of worrying about whether that yeast pack you poured into the fermenter is actually going to work.
+1 on starters (for liquid yeast or medium to big beers), though I do mine a couple days ahead of time and crash-cool in the fridge overnight before brew day.

Quote:
All of this rambling goes back to "Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew".
+1000 on this
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