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Old 08-06-2012, 02:52 PM   #1
loki993
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Default Beginning Brewing on a budget

ok, So I've been wanting to start brewing my own beer for a while now but the initial cash outlay has kept me from jumping in. I know the kits arent that expensive really but after buying my new house and things like that extra money just isn't there like it used to be.

I've been invited to my first homebrewing meeting tonight and I think its time to bite the bullet. I figure I can justify the cost of the kit by what I, theoretically, should be able to save from buying beer. Though I know how that ends up working out.

Anyway I was figuring on getting the basic brewers best kit and most likely starting out with one of their ingredients kits. I'm lucky in the fact that where I live in Michigan there are quite a few pretty good home brew shops nearby. A lot of them carry mostly Brewers Best Kits so that's about my choice for beer kits.

Once the basic kit is there what else should I need? Aside from bottles and caps that is.

Whats the best way to pull this off on a budget? It does really seem that once you have the initial cash outlay for the equipment it really isn't very expensive though.

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Old 08-06-2012, 03:01 PM   #2
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At a bare minimum you need the following:

1 Brewers best kit
1 pot capable of boiling 3 gallons of liquid with room to prevent boil over (so a 5 gallon pot of either stainless steel or aluminum)
1 hydrometer
1 good thermometer
1 6 to 6.5 gallon bucket with drilled lid and rubber washer (for the airlock)
1 3 piece airlock
1 auto-siphon and a few feat of vinyl tubing (which usually comes with the auto siphon)
some for of sanitizer (I'd suggest starsan)
48 beer bottles and caps
1 beer bottle capper.

As a bonus, I'd also suggest a immersion chiller, but you can get by with a bathtub full of ice water. I'd also suggest a bottling bucket and bottling wand to make the bottling time easier

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Old 08-06-2012, 03:19 PM   #3
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If you already have a meat thermometer for grilling than you can use that for now.

For a pot, target carries big 5g enamel coated pots for like 20 bucks, or if you have a good Hispanic grocery/Mart you can look for a cheap tamales pot.

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Even ales take too long. I need something I can ferment during the boil and drink from the kettle!
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Old 08-06-2012, 03:19 PM   #4
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Also Midwest supplies has a great groupon up fairly regularly...

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Even ales take too long. I need something I can ferment during the boil and drink from the kettle!
You have to grow old, you don't have to grow up.
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Old 08-06-2012, 03:22 PM   #5
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I have one of those aluminum or steel, not sure really, 5 gallon stockpots so that should be covered.

Id rather not use the bathtub so I think the immersion chiller would be a good way to go.

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Old 08-06-2012, 03:22 PM   #6
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+1. That's it in a nutshell. Any good homebrew store should sell a kit with nearly everything mentioned above and you're ready to brew. One caveat, don't start with the idea you'll save money on beer cause you probably won't buy at least you'll enjoy it more.

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Old 08-06-2012, 03:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by watersr View Post
+1. That's it in a nutshell. Any good homebrew store should sell a kit with nearly everything mentioned above and you're ready to brew. One caveat, don't start with the idea you'll save money on beer cause you probably won't buy at least you'll enjoy it more.
Yeah that's why I said theoretically, I know how these things are and how I am. It just lead to more. I know I wont save money, but I will have more tasty beer around that's for sure and hopefully after a while it will be exactly what I want it to be, not something close.
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Old 08-06-2012, 03:26 PM   #8
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immersion chillers are expensive...I just put my pot in the sink, run water on the outside while I stir the wort and replace the water as it warms. Once it's to about 100 I use ice water and that gets me down into the 70s.

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Even ales take too long. I need something I can ferment during the boil and drink from the kettle!
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Old 08-06-2012, 03:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loki993 View Post
I figure I can justify the cost of the kit by what I, theoretically, should be able to save from buying beer. Though I know how that ends up working out.
This is a tough one. I'm definitely saving money at this point, but it takes a while to hit that point. I usually don't recommend people get into brewing to save money.

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Originally Posted by loki993 View Post
Whats the best way to pull this off on a budget?
I'd recommend using a clean ale yeast (US-05 would be my choice) for all your batches until money loosens up. If you save the slurry from your first batch, you can split that and use it for at least two more batches. Continuing on this way for 2-3 generations, you can easily get 7-8 batches from a single yeast purchase. Some people save yeast even longer, but I get a little antsy after the third generation.

Once you're addicted to brewing (it won't take long) I'd recommend buying at least your hops in bulk as well. I use Hops Direct, and pay under a dollar an ounce for hops (even with shipping). It seems that $2 per oz is a more common price when you're buying them in smaller amounts.


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Originally Posted by rifraf View Post
immersion chillers are expensive...I just put my pot in the sink, run water on the outside while I stir the wort and replace the water as it warms. Once it's to about 100 I use ice water and that gets me down into the 70s.
I'm too cheap to buy an immersion chiller, and this is what I do. It works fine. It helps to freeze a couple Ziplocs of ice the night before to make sure you have plenty of ice, too.
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Old 08-06-2012, 03:30 PM   #10
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The beginner equipment kits are usually a decent value, but if you really want to start out as cheaply as possible you can just buy the essential pieces (listed in a post above) separately - some kits like to add extra stuff that you don't really need like plastic mash paddles, Palmer's 'How to Brew' book (which already available for free online), etc... You can save a few more bucks buying food grade buckets at Lowes (or finding free ones - grocery store bakeries usually have extra 5gal food grade buckets that they don't need) and drilling holes yourself for an airlock or bottling spigot.

If you want an immersion chiller, they're not that hard to build yourself. The copper can be expensive, but I've seen some people find good prices by ordering it online.

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