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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Beginner equipment question
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Old 11-09-2006, 01:04 AM   #1
ashtonb1
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Default Beginner equipment question

Firts off, I would like to state that I am not even a beginner, because I have not even begun to brew yet. With that said, I have been doing a lot of reading on the matter and I know I need to be dedicated. I'm very curious as to what equipment I should buy. I refuse the "Mr. Beer" method because I actually want to create eventually and not just follow a recipe. I found a kit on http://www.undergrounddigital.com/beginners_kits.htm that looks pretty good but I would appreciate any feedback. Here is a list of the equipment if you don't feel like going to the site.

Contains:
6.5 Gallon Primary Fermenter
6.5 Gallon Bottling Bucket with Bottling Spigot
5 Better Bottle PET Secondary Fermenter
Instructions
C-Brite Sanitizer
Twin Lever Capper
Triple Scale Hydrometer
Airlock
Drilled Universal Carboy Bung
Liquid Crystal Thermometer
Siphon Hose and Shut-Off Clamp
Fermtech Auto Siphon
Bottle Filler
Bottle Brush

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thank You very much, Ashton

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Old 11-09-2006, 01:20 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashtonb1
Firts off, I would like to state that I am not even a beginner, because I have not even begun to brew yet. With that said, I have been doing a lot of reading on the matter and I know I need to be dedicated. I'm very curious as to what equipment I should buy. I refuse the "Mr. Beer" method because I actually want to create eventually and not just follow a recipe. I found a kit on http://www.undergrounddigital.com/beginners_kits.htm that looks pretty good but I would appreciate any feedback. Here is a list of the equipment if you don't feel like going to the site.

Contains:
6.5 Gallon Primary Fermenter
6.5 Gallon Bottling Bucket with Bottling Spigot
5 Better Bottle PET Secondary Fermenter
Instructions
C-Brite Sanitizer
Twin Lever Capper
Triple Scale Hydrometer
Airlock
Drilled Universal Carboy Bung
Liquid Crystal Thermometer
Siphon Hose and Shut-Off Clamp
Fermtech Auto Siphon
Bottle Filler
Bottle Brush

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thank You very much, Ashton
Looks good, although I'm not sold on having a bucket only for bottling... You could also use a bottling bucket as a primary fermentor. But then again in never hurts to have extra buckets for doing multiple batches at a time. Other than ingredients, bottles/caps and a large stockpot, that should be enough to get you going.

I would order some extra sanitizer though, those c-brite packets don't last very long. A large thing of star san or idophor will last you quite some time and should run < $20.
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Old 11-09-2006, 01:20 AM   #3
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Quote:
Contains:
6.5 Gallon Primary Fermenter
6.5 Gallon Bottling Bucket with Bottling Spigot
5 Better Bottle PET Secondary Fermenter

Instructions
C-Brite Sanitizer
Twin Lever Capper
Triple Scale Hydrometer
Airlock
Drilled Universal Carboy Bung
Liquid Crystal Thermometer
Siphon Hose and Shut-Off Clamp
Fermtech Auto Siphon
Bottle Filler
Bottle Brush

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thank You very much, Ashton
Hey, welcome to the forum, and more importantly, welcome to the world of brewing!!

with that said, I think that you really need all of the things that I just put in bold above. I personally, as well as many other beginners, inter., use a plain 7.5 food grade bucket for primary, and a 5 gallon carboy for secondary. I don't have a bottling bucket, and I am getting along fine. I know that a lot of people like the better buckets, yet I haven't delt with any so far, and do not know that much about them.

Cheers!
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Old 11-09-2006, 02:29 AM   #4
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Looks like a good start. The C-brite sanitizer, if I am remembering correctly, is basically just crystallized bleach. A lot of guys around here don't care for that stuff, but if you rinse well (REALLY well) you'll be ok. Then do like debtman said and get yourself a good no-rinse sanitizer.
Also, you might want to look into getting a wort chiller. It's not a necessity, but IMHO it's the closest thing to it.

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Old 11-09-2006, 03:06 AM   #5
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100 bucks plus shipping, it's OK, but not great. Shop around some more. You'll get more support from an established mail order brew shop. There has been a lot of discussion on using anything other than glass for the secondary. I'd personally go with a 6.5 gallon fermentor, 6.5 gallon glass carboy. As others stated, you can double up the fermentor as a bottling bucket and save a few bucks, just get a bottle wand and practise your siphon technique with water first. Trust me, it ain't as easy as it looks the first go around and I've worked laboratories for a few years.

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Old 11-09-2006, 03:18 AM   #6
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If money is an issue, you can get free 5-gallon food-grade buckets at many resturaunts. You can also get carboys for free or cheap from recycling facilities. Eventually you will definitely want a carboy for secondary fermentation, but a beginner doesn't have to implement one. I totally agree that Mr. Beer kits are a bad idea because they don't allow for any improvement in beer-making capabilities. I think they appeal mostly to those who are interested solely in the product, not the process. The kit you cited looks pretty comprehensive, but like I said, if money's an issue, there are tricks to bypass that aspect of brewing. Good luck!

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Old 11-09-2006, 02:12 PM   #7
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I got my kit from them, but not through the mail order, so I didn't pay shipping. Their shop is near my office, so I can just pop in there and pick stuff up. They really know their stuff and can gave me some pretty good advice for a beginner.

I got the kit without the Better Bottle, though. I did my first two batches with just the primary fermenter. I got a glass carboy for the secondary fermenter with my third batch. I don't know about the discussions about glass vs. the Better Bottles on this site, but from what I've read glass is much easier to clean (which makes sense).

The bottling bucket they sell with this kit is pretty handy - it has a spigot on the bottom that has an attachment that controls the flow of beer into the bottles. It makes bottling pretty easy. It wouldn't be able to double as an extra primary fermenter, though (as someone previously suggested).

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Old 11-09-2006, 04:01 PM   #8
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Being a beginner myself, having done 4 real brews to date, I feel confident to weigh in on things a beginner might buy and then have to rethink shortly thereafter.

I felt like I could get away without an autosiphon, hydrometer, and bottle capper (PET bottles instead). It looks like your plan includes all three so good for you!

If you ever plan to overlap batches, which you absolutely must do if you want to accumilate a variety of brews that are ready to drink, don't think you're going to use your bottling bucket as a fermenter, etc. In fact, in some cases you're going to need an additional secondary. In my case, batch 3 was a lager so it's currently sitting for a month in secondary and I brewed batch #4. I need to either grab an additional better bottle or let this batch sit in the primary much longer than I'd like. Just something to think about.

Better Bottle vs. Glass Carboy? Highly debatable but with a little kid in my house I'd rather not risk shards of glass on the floor. Not only that but they're skinny enough that I can fit two side by side in my fermenting/lagering fridge.

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Old 11-09-2006, 05:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phan71
The bottling bucket they sell with this kit is pretty handy - it has a spigot on the bottom that has an attachment that controls the flow of beer into the bottles. It makes bottling pretty easy. It wouldn't be able to double as an extra primary fermenter, though (as someone previously suggested).
Why not? A bottling bucket is usually just a regular old plastic bucket fermentor with a spigot attached. I have two of them I use for primary fermenters... I can't imagine why you couldn't ferment in it, even if they don't ship a lid with it you can always buy a lid for it.
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Old 11-09-2006, 06:07 PM   #10
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I guess you could (I'm new to this, so what do I know?), I just thought that having the spigot on there would make it impractical.

Can you use the spigot to transfer to the secondary, or would that kick up some of the sediment? Or cause aeration problems?

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