I've done twenty-some batches so far; about 2/3 Brewhouse and Festa Brew kits and the remainder extract kits from Northern Brewer and a local supplier. I've got a few NB lagers left to do, but my days of kits and extracts are drawing to an end.
So given that Northern Brewer is having a 10% off sale ending in a few days and I have been procrastinating taking the AG plunge, the time has come. I know enough about brewing to understand just how little I know!
That's where y'all come in. The equipment I do have has been good for my purposes, but it seems likely I will have to upgrade to do AG. The question is, what do I really need to get to the next step? I'm fairly certain I can get by with what I have: basically a SS 22 quart pot I've been using for small boils on my stove. Deathbrewer's stovetop AG method would be achieveable for me.
But I'm interested in putting together a system that I'll be happy with in the long term and that will help me get better and better beer as I gain experience and knowledge. I think that starts with having the capacity to do full boils, so I am looking at at least an 8 and perhaps a 10 gallon good quality kettle. Along that line...do I need a BoilerMaker? Megapot? Polarware? A false bottom for the kettle?
The next issue I think I have relates to sparging. I've been working my way through the "no sparge" thread. I guess I need some advice on whether to pick up (or build) something like the NB deluxe AG system with two coolers, false bottom, valves, hozes, etc. Once again, though it's possible to brew (and probably make great beers) without all the extras, do I increase my upside potential with a "better" system? Do I make my brewday easier?
Any words of advice that can be offered are greatly appreciated.