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Old 03-21-2009, 10:39 PM   #1
dennyluan
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Default beginner's equipment

I am a newbie, yet to make my first batch. I've done all the reading and research, I just don't have any equipment. I am broke, but I want to make beer!

What sort of stuff do you guys recommend I can get/buy that I can get super cheap. I know stuff like a hydrometer I'll just have to buy from the homebrew store, but for a fermenter, can I just go to home depot and buy two big paint buckets? Is there anything else I will be needing that I can get cheap if I look around?

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Old 03-21-2009, 10:53 PM   #2
spitfire
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You really want to try to use a 6.5 gallon primary. The buckets from Home Depot wouldn't be a good choice as I am sure they are a #7 in the triangle on the bottom. If you want to use 5 gallon primary with a blowoff try to find a 5 gallon water jug with a 1 or 2 in the triangle on the bottom. You might be able to find a used pot but if you can buy a new I would do that. You don't need a secondary if you don't want one. A bottling bucket would be nice too.

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Old 03-21-2009, 10:56 PM   #3
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Look for PET plastic pails, I kind of doubt the big paint buckets will be food-grade plastic. I have heard of a lot of budget brewers starting off with big frosting pails from grocery markets, just make sure there wasn't anything in the pail that would impart undesirable flavours. Instead of buying a wine thief get a turkey baster! Don't bother buying a bottle tree for drying, find a friend that can drill a bunch of 1.5" holes (I believe that will be adequate) into a board for you.

A friend of mine brews wheat beer and only spent a total of perhaps $20 CDN on a ale pail, lid, bung and airlock to get himself going and he hasn't expanded yet. He just borrows my auto-siphon and bottling bucket every month or so and brings it back with a 12-pack of home brew hefe He doesn't bother with the hydrometer.

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Old 03-21-2009, 10:57 PM   #4
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The buckets from Home Depot (Homer Buckets) work just fine, and there are hundreds of homebrewers around here that use them.

That being said, there have been dozens of threads started about how to brew on the cheap. Search around the forum, and have a look. Others have gone down that road several times, and we've all contributed info about ways to get your brewing cost down.

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Old 03-21-2009, 11:00 PM   #5
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Looks like I gave some bad info. I would have thought the buckets from Home Depot would have been #7 sorry for the bad info

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Old 03-21-2009, 11:04 PM   #6
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one tip is to buy things that will last and you can use well. If you go cheap now, then you will eventually spend more money later. Get a good bucket from an online supplier. As for a kettle, you can get a small one now to boil extract but you will need a huge on if you go all grain. Northen brewers has a starter that is 74.99 and all you will need is the ingredients, pot, and bottles (go to recycling dumpster and pull them out, FREE). Just a warning be prepaired to go broke. Everyone starts saying the want to be cheap, but eventually spend all the hard earned cash on equipment on supplies!!! Welcome to the sickness!

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I cant stop buying supplies! It's a sickness!!!! First the beginner supplies, then some upgrades, then a fermentation chamber, and now all grain! When will it stop?

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Old 03-21-2009, 11:41 PM   #7
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Just to throw my thoughts in, because I wanted to go cheap. I got all my buckets for free from local grocery stores w/lids that have rubber seals, you just have to ask nicely.

And I got my 5gal. SS pot from Brewsterbrown.com for 27.00 shipped to me, this was my most expensive investment, but the cheapest route I found.

Saying that though aaronbeer is right you'll end up dumping more money than you wanted to at first due to the addiction!

Brewing your own beer does rock though, I can't stop!

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Old 03-22-2009, 12:39 AM   #8
dennyluan
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Awesome, thanks for all the info.

sahuro, what kind of buckets did you get from the grocery stores? Just large 5 gal plastic ones?

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Old 03-22-2009, 12:47 AM   #9
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A hydrometer is optional. As long as you use proven recipes and measure your ingredients carefully, your beer will turn out fine without one. I haven't use a hydrometer in years and my beer turns very good and very consistent.

Spend the money for a 6.5 gallon bucket. A 5 gallon buck doesn't have enough head space to contain a rapidly fermenting batch of beer. If you want to use a Home Depot bucket, use one of the translucent ones as a bottling bucket.

Bottles can be had for the deposit price at many beverage stores. As long as you buy something, most will let you buy some of their empties.

Hops are a major cost in brewing. They are basically weeds and you can grow your own very easily for next to nothing.

Yeast is also quite expensive if you use the liquid types. Those can be saved and re-pitched from batch to batch or if you want to go a step farther, it can be cultured and saved for future use. My beer costs me the price of the malt, grain adjuncts and sugar to bottle it.

Tom

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Old 03-22-2009, 12:51 AM   #10
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Ale Pales are like $12 with a lid. My friend got a stock pot and propane burner for $50 from a sporting goods store, may have been Dick's. Aluminum Stock Pots, Cookware, kitchen supplies at Instawares has great prices on stock pots if you can't find any cheap ones locally.

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