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Old 08-01-2008, 07:10 PM   #1
bsay
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Default Another new guy - looking for comments on a possible setup, and a few questions

Hi, I'm new! Never brewed before in my life. That will all change tomorrow (hopefully) when I get to sit in on (or maybe help with) a batch that a soon to be fellow brewer is going to be making.

I have been researching for the past week, mostly reading these forums, and have a proposed initial setup that I'd like critiqued. Research I have done suggests ordering from Austin Homebrew Supplies, so all of these parts are from that website: ( [?] indicates a question to follow about specific item(s) )

Deluxe Beer Making Kit:
7 gallon plastic fermenter
5 Gallon Better Bottle secondary w/no.10 stopper
3-piece airlock
3/8" standard auto-siphon
6 feet of 3/8" siphon hose
Spring-loaded bottle filler
Nylon grain bag
Triple scale hydrometer
Floating thermometer
Bottle capper
Bottle caps
21" stainless steel spoon
Cleaner/Sanitizer
Beginner's Homebrew book (I am also buying "the complete joy..." as soon as I can get my hands on a copy)

To that kit, I am adding:
1 x 3-piece Airlock (so I can airlock the bucket and the BB at the same time)
1 x Carboy Brush (Since no brush included in kit)
1 x Bottle Brush (Since no brush included in kit)
1 x Plastic Hydrometer Test Cylinder (Not included with hydrometer in kit)
Maybe some extra Beer Bottles, though I will eventually be kegging.

Getting locally/already have:
21 qt. graniteware stock pot (partial boils)
Probe thermometer with alarm
Turkey baster to extract hydrometer samples
Empty non-screw-top beer bottles

Some brews I want to try for sure:
1 x AHS American Amber Ale (Extract)
1 x AHS Cherry Stout Ale (Extract)

Some "maybe later when I keg" brews to try:
AHS Blue Moon Clone
Any Mini-Mash kit
I'd like to make a Guinness clone, but would I need a nitrogen setup for kegging that?

I don't know if I will do secondary or not, give me your thoughts, if you'd like, about using a secondary with the kits I would like to try. I want to make the Amber Ale first, then try the Cherry Stout. If the Amber turns out good, some future in-laws (by then they'll be in-laws) who really like beer (especially Fat Tire) might find some bottles of homebrew under the tree.

Extra Credit Question:
SWMBO (my fiancee) really likes cherry soda. When I get into kegging, I'd like to try to make some cherry soda. I hear once a keg is used for beer or soda, not to change it to the other, but what about brew buckets? Can I mix up soda in my bottling bucket (since from what I understand, it gets bottled right away) and just clean it really well and sanitize it afterwards?

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Old 08-01-2008, 07:15 PM   #2
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Looks pretty good. You should read http://www.howtobrew.com/ as good as any homebrew book you will find and its free

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Old 08-01-2008, 07:32 PM   #3
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Welcome fellow future homebrewer and South Dakotan...I grew up in Rapid City..

Looks like you have amassed quite the startup or wish list there. I took a similar dive and purchased alot at once too. One but of advice, and this is hard to do I know, is to try to determine what level of brewing you think you'll stay at for a period of time or if you think you will ever go all grain or not. Then try to get the necessary equipment for that, brew at that size or method (extract, partial, full, all grain, etc.) for awhile and then progress.

MOST of the equipment you can continue to use as you progress through techniques and degrees of complexity. I would stay start small and add as needed, but I can't claim to operate that way so I don't know how valid that advice is.

As far as a secondary, you will hear many opinions. One school of thought is that for most ales and to start, you wont need one. Your beer can stay in your primary for 7-30 days with little effect on quality or potential autolysis. The other benefit, early in your brewing adventure, is that you wont risk additional contamination and stress about racking beer. Ferment it, put it in a keg or bottle it and be done.

You don't need beer gas to keg or serve a Stout. Guiness clone or otherwise. CO2 is fine.

If you can do anything to have the biggest effect on your beer it is temperature control. From beginning to end. Full Boils to Fermentation.

One final tip. Put at least 1 if not more bottles AWAY from your first batch..lock them up and don't drink it for a year. Then in a year, drink it and you can thank me later.

Have Fun !!

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Old 08-01-2008, 07:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsay View Post
1 x Plastic Hydrometer Test Cylinder (Not included with hydrometer in kit)
get a wine theif. it doubles as a way to easily get a sample out of the fermenter and to drop in the hydrometer
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Old 08-01-2008, 08:10 PM   #5
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I use a turkey baster. My suggestion would be use the plastic tube the hydrometer is packaged in as a test jar. It's what I do.


Also, since the better bottle is plastic I don't think you want to use a carboy brush for fear of scratching the plastic. Just soak in oxyclean or PBW. Someone else suggested stuffing a rag in it and shaking it around (the BB that is) to knock of anything stubborn.

Which brings me to my final thing, I see a lot of equipment and ingredient kits on your list but no mention of sanitizers or cleansers.

+ Star-San
+ Oxyclean (or store brand/generic) or PBW

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Old 08-01-2008, 08:12 PM   #6
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@ Parker36:

Will do, thanks!

@ MNBugeater:

I cannot say for sure the level of brewing that I will finally get into. If I can make good beer with extract/partial-mash kits, then I think I will continue to use those. I will probably not be doing full boils until I get a real house (with a yard for a dedicated burner, as my apartment stove probably cannot handle that much water. I eventually want to have a 2-keg CO2 system, with other kegs in reserve (read: aging). I also will want to bottle some of each batch to give away to relatives/friends.

@ AZ_IPA:

Just found the Wine Theif on Austin Homebrew, will add one to the wish list.

@ camiller:

Haven't finished my research on cleaners/sanitizers yet, I know the kit comes with some, but I do want to get the good stuff. I will look into those two brands (already have a giant tub of oxyclean). I really don't want to scratch the carboy, I'd rather spend some extra time tossing a soft rag around than lugging heavy breakable glass around....I'll take that brush out then.

@ Thread mover:

Yay I finally found the new guy forum! Thanks, I was looking for that (not very hard though, mostly reading about equipment).

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Last edited by bsay; 08-01-2008 at 08:30 PM.
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Old 08-01-2008, 11:20 PM   #7
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Another noob here. The "21 qt. graniteware stock pot (partial boils)" is that good for partial boils? I only hear about stainless steelthis, stainless steel that. The graniteware's are a LOT cheaper and would be easily found at a local store.

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Old 08-01-2008, 11:28 PM   #8
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get a bigger stock pot, at least 34 qt so you can do all grain once this thing consumes your life

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Old 08-02-2008, 02:45 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoNothing View Post
Another noob here. The "21 qt. graniteware stock pot (partial boils)" is that good for partial boils? I only hear about stainless steelthis, stainless steel that. The graniteware's are a LOT cheaper and would be easily found at a local store.
My research suggests it's good for partial boils. A search of the forums when I was considering using the graniteware yielded results such as "That's all I've ever used in 10 years of brewing" but it was cautioned that "When the enamel chips, you gotta get a new pot" I am getting a cheap one at the local wally world for $20.00, I'll get bigger stainless or aluminum one (maybe even with a spigot) once I have a stove that can heat it properly.
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Who says you can't brew all-grain indoors?
Brewing 2.5 gal batches with a 2gal cooler MLT in my cramped apartment. Pictures coming soon!

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Old 08-02-2008, 03:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsay View Post
My research suggests it's good for partial boils. A search of the forums when I was considering using the graniteware yielded results such as "That's all I've ever used in 10 years of brewing" but it was cautioned that "When the enamel chips, you gotta get a new pot" I am getting a cheap one at the local wally world for $20.00, I'll get bigger stainless or aluminum one (maybe even with a spigot) once I have a stove that can heat it properly.
Awesome, So it is my understanding now, that stainless steel is good for AG and a graniteware will work for Extracts. (I dont know this for a fact, still doing research)

And what is the reason when the enamel chips that the pot should be replaced? (knowing to why to do something is just as important as knowing to do it)
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