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Old 08-04-2010, 08:29 PM   #1
BrewNewbI3
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Default Best Kit Value for beginner?

i Recently brewed my first batch, it was extracts, actually a mr. beer kit just to see if i could possibly do this as a hobby, well i was bitten by the brewing bug, and i want to upgrade my equipment to a little more complex set-up any ideas on a good beginners?



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Old 08-04-2010, 09:15 PM   #2
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I just went through this and I would do it way different if I had to do it over again.

What you need to decide:

How big are your batches going to be (probably 5 gallons)

Do you want to do all grain or extract? There is nothing wrong with either choice - extract is less equipment intensive but there is much less choice in ingredients. You can still make excellent beer using extract - my current favorite was made with extract - a 10.25% Weizenbock.

What do you want to ferment in? The choices here are plastic bucket (ale pail), glass carboy or stainless steel corney keg. Most people use buckets - they are cheap but get one with a spigot - it make things much easier. If I had it to do over again - I would not have the glass carboy that came with my kit - it is heavy and I only use it to secondary ferment stuff which I don't do a whole lot of anymore. Used corney kegs are a deal at around $30 - $40 each - they seal up nicely and can be used for secondary fermentation just like the glass carboy only it isn't as heavy, won't break like glass and takes up less space if you want to put it in the fridge to cold crash (you will start doing this eventually).

Do you want to keg or bottle? if you bottle, you need to buy bottles (or recycle them), caps and a capping tool. The bottles can get expensive if you buy them from lhbs - I found it was cheaper to get bottles that had beer in them from the liquor/grocery store when there was a good sale on. I don't bottle much anymore since I got a kegerator. If you are going to keg, you need to get the corney kegs plus a co2 bottle/regulator plus a beer faucet of some kind. The beer faucet can be a $5 platic one or a $150 shiny one made for stouts or cream ales or whatever - sky is the limit. Kegging is easier once you get the hang of force carbing.

You need somethig to cook in - I started with my brother-in-laws turkey fryer. borrowing/stealing a turkey fryer that never gets used is definitly the preferred way to go for this cheapskate. I still use it - at least the burner - I got a deal for $60 on craigslist for a keggle. The cheap aluminium 8 gallon pot that came with the turkey fryer worked fine too.

You will also need assorted brushes and star san or somthing similar to clean things with - cleaning and sanitation is a big deal.

You will also need a few other things:

A big long spoon to stir the pot with
A siphon to move stuff around from bucket to keg/bottle. I highly recomend spending $20 on an auto-siphon - best $$ I've spent in a long time.
Hydrometer and long skinny tube to use it in
Thermometer to measure the temperature of the wort to see if it is cool enought to pitch the yeast in - I recomend getting a digital instant read one from Target / Osh / etc. They cost about $10.

I don't think I've left anything important out but I guess what I'm saying is that you don't need to buy a kit - just get the items you want from various places on and off line and you can save a few $$ and get exactly what you want.



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Old 08-04-2010, 09:38 PM   #3
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thanks i appreciate it great advice by the way

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Old 08-04-2010, 09:55 PM   #4
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buy the biggest pot you can afford and get a bag for brew in a bag BIAB. two pots and a bag made me some GREAT beer cheep

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Old 08-04-2010, 09:59 PM   #5
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There are some kits at Midwestsupplies. I bought this one (seemed like a good value and has everything you need minus brew pot). http://www.midwestsupplies.com/brewing-basics-equipment-kit.html

Also, buy the biggest pot you can. If you will be brewing on a kitchen stove take that into account. You will most likely want to brew larger batches later so if you get a decent sized pot it can be used later. We bought a 26 qt pot and really have no use for it now except for large soups (delicious btw). GL and welcome to the forum!

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Old 08-04-2010, 10:03 PM   #6
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don't get a kit with a capper, because those cheap wing-cappers just aren't that great. a bench capper, even a cheaper one (or used) is well worth the extra $30.

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Old 12-05-2010, 07:28 PM   #7
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As for kits, mid-west is where I got mine.

I thought this is good info on brewpots if you can get away with a 4 gallon to start.

I found a stainless pot set at Harbor Freight that includes a 1, 2, 3, & 4 gallon pot with lids for about $35 So I mainly use the 4 gallon for boiling. Last night I did two batches where I used the 3 & 4. In the 4 gallon I started an IPA and in the 3 started a wheat beer at the start of the boil of the IPA This way, as I finished the IPA, I transferred the wheat over to the larger pot and it really didn't take me much longer to do 2 beers than it does to do one... This was the first time I did two at a time and i definitely could have used another set of hands...



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