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Old 11-30-2008, 05:03 PM   #1
BillyVegas
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Default Ultimate Beginner Kit?

Anyone know of the ultimate beginner kit? I see lots of different places with slight differences in beginner kits... but... What's the best of the best?

Is there a best kit, or am I better off assembling my own with more quality equipment?

Also, what about glass vs. plastic carboys? Glass would seem the best to me.. but I know both have pros and cons... what are your feelings?

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Old 11-30-2008, 05:07 PM   #2
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Ultimate beginner kit to me sounds like a single tier, 15gal AG setup with conicals, but I don't think that is what you mean. I got the one from Midwest Supply and love it. Easy to add on too and comes with everything you need (except pot).

As far as glass vs. better bottle (plastic carboys), people will argue one way or the other, but the honest answer is that both are perfectly fine. Glass is more expensive now and heavier, but a little easier to clean and won't scratch. I would say get whatever is cheaper

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Old 11-30-2008, 05:22 PM   #3
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Go with one of the Ale Pail or True Brew kits. This one is very well equipped, and at a good price: Beginner Kit. Regarding glass vs. plastic: For your primary, it's hard to beat an Ale Pail. They're much more user friendly, and have a number of benefits over glass. For a secondary, I was all for glass, then all for plastic, and now I'm back to glass. The only real detractor as far as glass goes is safety, but if you can keep your wits about you (and preferably get a carboy parka), you'll be fine. Avoid those cheap coated handels that attach to the carboy neck, as they're asking for trouble.

Some other gizmos you might want to invest in if you're going all out is an aeration system, 1-liter flask, stir plate, small stir bar, Schmidling Malt-Mill (if you see yourself going partial mash or all-grain), a pot that's minimum 5 gallons, and a good quality digital scale.

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Last edited by Pelikan; 11-30-2008 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 11-30-2008, 06:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pelikan View Post
The only real detractor as far as glass goes is safety, but if you can keep your wits about you (and preferably get a carboy parka), you'll be fine. Avoid those cheap coated handels that attach to the carboy neck, as they're asking for trouble.
Milk crate- Much easier to carry carboys (be it glass or better bottle) and protects glass carboys.

Some kind of wort chiller would be a plus. Are you planning on bottling or kegging the finished project?
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Old 11-30-2008, 07:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoRoToRiUm View Post
Milk crate- Much easier to carry carboys (be it glass or better bottle) and protects glass carboys.

Some kind of wort chiller would be a plus. Are you planning on bottling or kegging the finished project?
The parkas make it really easy to carry them, and they block light (win-win). I went back and fourth regarding a wort chiller, but decided for my needs (3-4 gallon boil) it made things unnecessarily complicated. An ice bath in the sink works well enough for those volumes, at least in my experience.
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Old 11-30-2008, 08:17 PM   #6
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I would think I would be bottling my first few batches, as I don't have ample refrigeration options for a keg... as of yet. I think I'll start kegging once I get a solid beer down.

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Old 11-30-2008, 09:06 PM   #7
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this is what I bought after carefully compairing prices and contents

Brewing Intermediate Kit w/Two 5 Gallon Glass Carboys :: Midwest Supplies Homebrewing and Winemaking Supplies

I also ordered two beer kits as the diff in freight was nil

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Old 12-01-2008, 03:23 AM   #8
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Along the same lines as the OP, what are the essentials of a good starter kit? Neither of the Midwest kits posted contain everything. What else is needed without necessarily going all out? I know I'll need a turkey fryer, bottles, and a recipe kit but I don't know what other odds and ends are necessary to begin brewing.

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Old 12-01-2008, 03:44 AM   #9
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All i use out of my original brewing kit is the hydrometer, plasic bucket/bottling bucket as primary, 5 gal carboy(secondary), 5 ft of tubing, auto siphon, racking cane, bottling wand and capper. I don't bottle anymore because of kegging but I incuded those.
Also Star-San is mandatory for easy sanitation.
And whirlfloc.
and a good thermometer.
you don't need a turkey fryer if you have a kitchen stove.
the book in that kit is nowhere near as good as this site.
no funnel needed with a bucket
I have only used the brush in the kit once and it wasn't for brewing. I cleaned a toilet with it.

Have fun is the most important part and if your careful you'll make a damn good beer.

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Old 12-01-2008, 06:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwind View Post
All i use out of my original brewing kit is the hydrometer, plasic bucket/bottling bucket as primary, 5 gal carboy(secondary), 5 ft of tubing, auto siphon, racking cane, bottling wand and capper. I don't bottle anymore because of kegging but I incuded those.
Also Star-San is mandatory for easy sanitation.
And whirlfloc.
and a good thermometer.
you don't need a turkey fryer if you have a kitchen stove.
the book in that kit is nowhere near as good as this site.
no funnel needed with a bucket
I have only used the brush in the kit once and it wasn't for brewing. I cleaned a toilet with it.

Have fun is the most important part and if your careful you'll make a damn good beer.
Pardon my ignorance, but what is whirlfloc? Also, as far as not needing a turkey fryer, will any kitchen stove work? I'm assuming I would then only need a brewpot; though I'm not sure what size would be sufficient. One last question, there are kit upgrades on Midwest, where I plan on picking up my kit from; are they necessary? The one I was considering comes with a carboy dryer/drainer, a jet bottle washer and faucet adapter, and a nylon grain/hop bag.
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Last edited by injendsm; 12-01-2008 at 06:08 PM.
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