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Old 11-17-2007, 03:15 AM   #1
Legitikick
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Default Beginner's Equipment Kit Recommendations?

I'd like to start brewing, and I'm kinda overwhelmed with all the equipment needed. Can anyone recommend a decent starter's kit? I want something that I won't need to upgrade too soon, something that won't limit my brewing options, and something so that I can have two batches brewing at once. I'm a complete beginner, so this is all gibberish to me right now. Should I get a two-stage setup, or one?

Here's a kit offered by my local shop for $52.50

Primary fermenter (6.5 gal., food grade plastic pail w/ lid & spigot)
Four feet 3/8" siphon hose
Thermometer, stick on
Fermenter lock
Wing type capper
Bottle Caps: 1/2lb
Brewing Made Easy book
Bottle brush
Sanitizer, lodophor
Bottle filler

So what do you guys think? I can upgrade individual pieces. Anything else I need? I just don't want to find six months from now that I should have bigger/better stuff.

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Old 11-17-2007, 03:26 AM   #2
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$52 for just one bucket?!
For $59 you can get both a primary and a bottling bucket from most anywhere.

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Old 11-17-2007, 03:32 AM   #3
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my kit came with a nice hydrometer, too. I needed to buy a floating themometer for my steeping temps, but I have since upgrated to digital.

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Old 11-17-2007, 03:44 AM   #4
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They have a "Bottling pail / 5 gallon with spigot" for $8 more.

So you recommend a hydrometer over a stick on thermometer? They have that for another $8 too.

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Old 11-17-2007, 03:46 AM   #5
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I'm pretty happy with my basic starter kit from morebeer.com

2 buckets, some siphoning hose, hydrometer, bottle capper, caps, a book, airlock.... The only thing i wish i would have supplemented it with is a carboy.

the kit was 69 bucks.

The only extras i needed were a brew pot, bottles and ingredients. I think my total bill for everything was 120-140 ish.

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Old 11-17-2007, 04:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legitikick
They have a "Bottling pail / 5 gallon with spigot" for $8 more.

So you recommend a hydrometer over a stick on thermometer? They have that for another $8 too.
Get each.
+Bottling bucket: This really comes in handy for more than just bottling time. You can also use it as a real handy bucket for mixing up and holding your sanitizer on bottling day. It's got the room and you can store the equipment you're using in the sanitizer while you brew.

+Hydrometer: Many will say that one of these isn't required to make beer, and they're right, but it's nice to have all the info one provides, and you'll be able to find out fast if you've hit all your target numbers.

+Thermometer (stick on bucket type): Probably not as important, if you're very aware of the ambient temperature of your fermenting room, but again it's good to know especially if you're waiting for something like the right temp to pitch a yeast into a wort, or similar.

My ¢2
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Old 11-17-2007, 04:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legitikick
I'd like to start brewing, and I'm kinda overwhelmed with all the equipment needed. Can anyone recommend a decent starter's kit? I want something that I won't need to upgrade too soon, something that won't limit my brewing options, and something so that I can have two batches brewing at once. I'm a complete beginner, so this is all gibberish to me right now. Should I get a two-stage setup, or one?

Here's a kit offered by my local shop for $52.50

Primary fermenter (6.5 gal., food grade plastic pail w/ lid & spigot)
Four feet 3/8" siphon hose
Thermometer, stick on
Fermenter lock
Wing type capper
Bottle Caps: 1/2lb
Brewing Made Easy book
Bottle brush
Sanitizer, lodophor
Bottle filler

So what do you guys think? I can upgrade individual pieces. Anything else I need? I just don't want to find six months from now that I should have bigger/better stuff.
I would add...
6.5 gallon carboy or better bottle (if you get a carboy, make sure to request a handle for it, too)
also
carboy brush
hydrometer w/graduated cylinder
thermometer to clip onto side of stock pot (for when you steep adjunct grains)
large funnel
bottling wand (helpful)

Not sure if your "bottle filler" is a racking cane or bottling wand.
Anyway...I'm no expert either, but I think it would be a bad idea to leave your beer in a plastic bucket for the entire three weeks or so of fermentation. Plastic is porous and allows oxygen to get into the beer, thus introducing off flavors. If you're planning on kegging after the primary, this wouldn't be an issue but since you're a beginner, it seems like you're probably not going to go right into kegging? For your first batch, you could ferment it in the glass carboy or better bottle and keep it there for the entire three weeks until bottling time, or you could conduct your primary fermentation in the plastic bucket and transfer it to the carboy when your hydrometer shows that fermentation has ceased (about a week).

Do you have a good sized stock pot for boiling your wort? You'll need one that can hold the amount of wort in your boil, so it needs to hold about 2.5 gallons. I have a five gallon pot.

Since you are so new, I recommend looking at John Palmer's "How To Brew" online book. I think there's a link for it somewhere on this site, but if not, you can google it.

Keep us posted....this is an extremely exciting hobby, I can't wait until you get that first batch going!

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Old 11-17-2007, 04:29 PM   #8
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My kit came with:

Two 6.5 Gal buckets (one for primary, one for bottling)
Glass Carboy
Hydrometer
auto syphon
air lock and bung
tubing
bottling cane
bottle capper
bottle brush

all for $70.00 at the Bluff Street Brew Haus in Dubuque Iowa. I live in KY but I was snowed in in Dubuque because of a blizard, so I was walking around and happened to see the store. And thats how I started home brewing.

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Old 11-18-2007, 12:39 AM   #9
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I got the Delux Starter Kit from Northern Brewer, andI love it and recommend the company as well. Follow this link to see their starter kit options: http://www.northernbrewer.com/starterkits.html

Happy brewing!

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Old 11-18-2007, 01:15 AM   #10
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I think I got the best starter kit.

Thermometer
Hydrometer
30 qt pot
7 gallon bucket
7 gallon carboy
(4) 5 gallon carboys
(4) muslim bags
(5) cases 22 oz bottles
(2) cases grolsch bottles
capper and bottle caps
assorted brewing sugars etc


$75
Craigslist is a beautiful thing if you can have a little patience

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