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Old 05-26-2006, 06:30 PM   #1
the_bird
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Default Once you get your basic kit all set...

Greetings, all.

I've got a pretty straighforward brewing kit, one that SWMBO bought online and that seems to be pretty much what most people start out with. Got the basic gear to do straightforward extract-based brewing.

For the first time in a while, I've got a little money burning a hole in my pocket. Seems that having one of those cute lil' carbon-emitting tax deductions helps a lot when doing your taxes. Moreover, SWMBO just got her mother's day present, a better digital camera for HER new hobby, and as such she's perhaps a bit more willing to allow a modest spending binge that she would otherwise.

She also likes my new hobby, as it keeps me home on weekends as opposed to working at the office...

So with that said, and a working budget of perhaps a hunnert bucks or so, what would be the first pieces of "add-on" equipment you'd recommend I'd invest in? I don't have a carboy, so I'm thinking that's fairly important (and probably where I would start). Since I only have an electric stove, though, I have a little bit of difficulty maintaining a full, roiling boil without cheating a little with the lid. Should a turkey fryer be my emphasis? Wort chiller (which I'm inclined to make, not buy)?

I'm not going AG for a while, not until I get good at extract-based recipes.

Help a newbie burn some cash at the HBS. Where should I start in making myself a better kit?



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Old 05-26-2006, 06:39 PM   #2
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50 bucks at home depot. (bayou classic sq-14) Its good for extract, and even better for all grain which you will eventually do (unless your scared) just kidding...it will also fry a turkey if you like that sort of thing.



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Old 05-26-2006, 07:38 PM   #3
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A turkey fryer, a big enough pot to do full boils and an immersion chiller will be enough to greatly improve your beer.

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Old 05-26-2006, 07:41 PM   #4
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If you've got a basic kit, then I assume you are doing one batch at a time using a bucket primary and going straight from there into bottles.

Further assuming that you're happy doing partial boils and extract + specialty grain brewingfor the time being; two 5 gal. carboys, carboy caps, airlocks, and an auto-siphon will allow you to brew every weekend (allowing one week for primary and two weeks for secondary on each brew).

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Old 05-26-2006, 08:08 PM   #5
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Default And a book. Dont forget about a book!

And a book. Don't forget a book FYI, The Bird, lots of people here are probably going.... oh... and Beer Snob any moment now is going to suggest a book (hahahahahahahahaha) Well I guess they know me a bit by now. I love books, my apt looks like a library.

Two real good beginning books are:

Lots of people started with this one, which you could find at Borders or Barnes and Knobles....

The Complete Joy of Homebrewing Third Edition (Harperresource Book) (Paperback) , by Charles Papazian
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060531053/qid=1148673586/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/103-6235404-5069460?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

This is a very good one, but my opinion is that it is just a tad more complicated. But I love it just as well.
How to Brew : Ingredients, Methods, Recipes and Equipment for Brewing Beer at Home (Paperback)
by John J. Palmer
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0937381888/qid=1148673825/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/103-6235404-5069460?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

I also could not help but to notice that on the amazon site with "How to brew" they have a package deal that you can get "Designing great beers" with. If you are a history buff or want some more detailed information on ingrediants YOU WILL LOVE THIS BOOK!


Edit....
-------------------------
Oh I forgot... you will see this on other postings... but if you are AT ALL thinking of getting a wort chiller (I noticed you mentioned making one), get one NOW. It is now more expensive to make one then to buy one pre-made... but who knows for how long.

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Old 05-26-2006, 08:38 PM   #6
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Thanks for the ideas. I'm actually a little ashamed of the book that I *did* buy when I was starting, just because I knew it would get me a broad overview of how to homebrew.....

"Homebrewing for Dummies..."

But yeah, definately going to pick up a copy of Joy of Homebrewing, I'm probably not too far away from having enough points on my credit card to get it gratis from BN. And, you should see *my* house; it doesn't look as much like a library as I would like, more like a really, REALLY disorganized used book store.

Question on carboys; if I'm using these for secondary fermenation, do I want to go with 5 gallon instead of 6.5? I'll prolly keep using the bucket for primary fermentation, at least for a while. I'm assuming that using the 6.5 for secondary would be suboptimal because of potentially greater exposure to air; is that the case? Or, should I just buy a pair of 6.5s now in case (actually, for when) I decide to go to glass for primary fermentation?

As to the wort chiller, if I see a decent deal at the HBS, I may jump at it - but all things being equal, I'd rather make it. Tend to feel a lot closer to the final product the more my hands are involved in its manufacture, the same reason I suppose we've all gotten into this hobby. I sense that copper prices have probably peaked, they as well as all the other metals were getting quite bubbly, but have come down a bit in the past few weeks (copper not quite so much as the others). +/- $10 doesn't bother me too much either way.

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Old 05-26-2006, 08:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_bird
Thanks for the ideas. I'm actually a little ashamed of the book that I *did* buy when I was starting, just because I knew it would get me a broad overview of how to homebrew.....

"Homebrewing for Dummies..."

But yeah, definately going to pick up a copy of Joy of Homebrewing, I'm probably not too far away from having enough points on my credit card to get it gratis from BN. And, you should see *my* house; it doesn't look as much like a library as I would like, more like a really, REALLY disorganized used book store.
Oh yeah! Used book store look (ha!) I know exactly what you mean AS far as the Dummies book it is not a BAD book. I have looked through it while sitting in the coffe house at Borders. As you have guessed there are other books that are probably more detailed, but it should take you far enough to officialy 'Get the homebrewing bug". The author does not seem to like Aluminum I noticed. Although I would guess that Palmer's view on Aluminum might hold a bit more wieght then his.
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Old 06-02-2006, 05:07 AM   #8
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A bit off the subject...I haven't done much in the way of materials research...but I know copper is $72 for 50' of 1/2" tubing and ~$35 for 10', at Lowe's. Would it be possible to use aluminum or steel tubing for a wort chiller (I think those have pretty good heat exchange), and where could I get any of that?

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Old 06-02-2006, 08:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rewerb
A bit off the subject...I haven't done much in the way of materials research...but I know copper is $72 for 50' of 1/2" tubing and ~$35 for 10', at Lowe's. Would it be possible to use aluminum or steel tubing for a wort chiller (I think those have pretty good heat exchange), and where could I get any of that?

I'm pretty sure steel would rust, and I dunno if I'd use aluminum, but other people might not be afraid to use it.......



My vote for spending the_bird's money (and it's ALWAYS easy to spend someone else's money ) goes to a used fridge for lagering.
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Old 06-03-2006, 03:14 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by ablrbrau

My vote for spending the_bird's money (and it's ALWAYS easy to spend someone else's money ) goes to a used fridge for lagering.
There's a smallish fridge sitting in the basement of the office, an old dorm fridge but a little on the big side. I may speak to the owner of said fridge to determine whether it still works or not, and if so, I'm betting it could be mine for next to no money. The problem I have here is a very limited number of outlets in my basement, I've got to get an electrician in to run some more circuits for me.

But yeah, I definately want to be able to do some lagering in the future. I already have my basic idea for a non-lagery lager, one that's a little sweet and with maybe a whitish, cloudy hue - one that I can call "Lead Paint Lager". I just like the name, I need to design a beer around it!


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