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Old 04-14-2011, 09:16 PM   #1
grace1760
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Default Assembling my Brew Equipment

After 3 decent brews about 2 years ago, I want to get back into homebrewing. Unfortunately, I have to re-acquire all of the equipment. I'm still a total noob but spending the past week on these boards has really helped me remember the basics (thank you all )

I've decided that I'm going to forego the secondary this time around. Seems pretty common to use primary only, then bottle.

I have an equipment question: I'm going to be extract brewing on my stovetop, and I'd like to do full boil (5 gal. batches). I can get a 40 qt. brewpot, but if I want the ball valve, it basically doubles the price. I want a quality kettle, but is the valve really necessary? What's the draw -- you can hook up a hose and drain straight to your primary bucket? I'm not planning on getting a wort chiller for now, so I'll need to move the pot from my stove to the sink anyway. Am I missing something? I'd hate to pay $140 now and want a $300 kettle down the road...

I also have a process question: I've never done a yeast starter, but seems to be the way to go, so I plan on incorporating this into my normal process. I've read various instructions/posts, and seems pretty straightforward, but where do you get the DME for the starter? Will I need to buy extra? I assume you don't want to take it from the kit, otherwise the OG will be totally off, am I right? Again, I'm sure I'm missing something

I'm really excited to get started on this! Hopefully by next week.

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Old 04-14-2011, 09:32 PM   #2
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The valve is amazing. As an alternative, buy a cheaper aluminum pot. There are valve kits that coat between $20 and $30. Just drill a hole, and install it yourself. You will save a ton of money doing it this way.

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Old 04-14-2011, 09:34 PM   #3
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I have never not had a ball valve on my kettle, so I can't give much input on that. But I do love having the ball valve as it make transferring to primary super easy. I don't know that you need such a large kettle if you are only doing extract. I might suggest going with a 32qt (8 gallon). See the link below. I have the same kettle, its great quality and has the ball valve for $160, free shipping. I do partial mash 5 gallon batches and the 8 gallon kettle works great.

http://morebeer.com/view_product/8419/

For the starter, you do not want to use the DME that is included with your kit. Wherever you are buying your kit from, or another place such as MoreBeer or Northern Brewer should have light DME that is perfect for starters. 1 pound should give you enough for a starter.

I think your next investment should be a wort chiller and a propane burner. Depending on your stove it might take quite a while to get 6 gallons of wort up to a boil.

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Old 04-14-2011, 09:37 PM   #4
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I would worry about being able to bring 6.5 gallons up to a boil on the stove top. Some folks have a real hard time doing so.

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Old 04-14-2011, 10:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
I might suggest going with a 32qt (8 gallon).
Yes, I don't know why I was looking at 40 qt., that's probably way too big.

Quote:
I would worry about being able to bring 6.5 gallons up to a boil on the stove top.
Wouldn't I only need to bring about 5 gallons to a boil?
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grace1760

Yes, I don't know why I was looking at 40 qt., that's probably way too big.

Wouldn't I only need to bring about 5 gallons to a boil?
Still impossible on some stoves. My max is 3 gallons, barely. I have an electric, glass top stove. I've since purchased a propane burner that I use to brew in the garage. I think I paid around 70 for the burner and a 30 qt pot, they were packaged together. I added a valve and sight glass to the pot, and it works out great.
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grace1760 View Post
Yes, I don't know why I was looking at 40 qt., that's probably way too big.



Wouldn't I only need to bring about 5 gallons to a boil?
You will need to account for evaporation during your 60 min boil. Depending on how rapid your boil is, you can boil off about 1-1.5 gallons in that hour. You want 5 gallons to be your post-boil volume.
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
For the starter, you do not want to use the DME that is included with your kit. Wherever you are buying your kit from, or another place such as MoreBeer or Northern Brewer should have light DME that is perfect for starters. 1 pound should give you enough for a starter.
1 pound of DME would probably be enough for several starters, right?

Quote:
I've since purchased a propane burner that I use to brew in the garage. I think I paid around 70 for the burner and a 30 qt pot, they were packaged together. I added a valve and sight glass to the pot, and it works out great.
I'd love to have a burner setup, but I unfortunately don't have the space for it. Maybe someday. I suppose I can always go back to partial boils if my stove can't handle 6 gallons.
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:32 PM   #9
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1 pound DME should be able to make a couple starters, assuming you are not doing a super high gravity beer. I believe a typical ratio is 1g DME to 10ml water. So for a 1L starter add 100g DME, then fill with water (boiled and cooled) to the 1L mark. If you are using cups, 1/2 c. DME to 2 cups water. I'm fairly new to doing starters, so do a search on here to double check that. Check mrmalty.com for a good pitching rate calculator.

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Old 04-14-2011, 10:37 PM   #10
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Yeah, 1 lb of dme will last you for a while. Just seal it up well and it should keep indefinitely. If you've already got a decent sized pot (3 gal) you can do partial boils pretty easy. Since you're just doing extract, you don't have to worry about incorporating a bunch of sparge water. Do a quick search for late extract additions, and that will help you out with any problems you might encounter with partial boils.

I'm doing stove top right now because I don't have any room for a propane burner, so I boil about 2.5 gal in a 3 gal pot (watching very carefully!). You're probably going to want an autosiphon and tubing anyways, so I use that to siphon the cool wort into the fermenter. Once I get the space to go full boils, then I'll consider getting a nice pot with a valve.

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