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-   -   Brand New, and Jumping in with both feet (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/brand-new-jumping-both-feet-359572/)

mjpeisher 10-08-2012 02:01 AM

Brand New, and Jumping in with both feet
 
Just wanted to introduce myself. I am a complete beginner in all this, but I am determined to have some fun, and I am about to begin my own homebrewing experience.

Today I made my first purchase of equipment. (I already bought, and read the beginner portions of Complete Joy of Homebrewing). I have been trolling craigslist for a while, trying to find a way into this at the same time as avoiding some of the up front costs (I even bought the Papazian books (2nd edition, 3rd edition, and the companion) at a secondhand book store.) I stumbled onto a guy selling his equipment for what I thought to be a good deal, and even though I was bargaining from a position of ignorance, he walked me through how he worked his rig, and I understood most of it, and we both walked away feeling like we have gotten a good deal.

I just drove home from a different state with the purchase(South Carolina to Georgia and back), and it is sitting in boxes in the garage, but a basic inventory that I got is as follows:
  • 3 corny kegs
  • 2 glass 6 gal carboys
  • (1) SS 7 Gal pot (turkey fryer) with stand, burner, and full propane tank
  • bench mounted mill/grinder
  • 3 hydrometers
  • homemade tube in tube reverse flow wort chiller
  • 40 qt igloo cooler converted to a mash tun, complete with sparging setup, "false bottom piping", and output spout
  • CO2/N2 Tank
  • O2 Tank
  • a full set of yeasts, grains, and various other goodies
  • bottle set w/ capper, various glass bottles
  • all sorts of other items

Once I get back into town next Friday, SWMBO and I will spend friday night drinking a few of our remaining store bought beer, cleaning all the equipment. and organizing our garage to hold this new hobby, and then on Saturday we will be making 2 batches of beer to begin with.

Wish us luck.

BamaRooster 10-08-2012 02:21 AM

Good luck....Greer, SC. I moved from Anderson a couple years ago.

Matt3989 10-08-2012 02:32 AM

Good luck, congrats on the new hobby. My advice is to just try an extract batch first, for one of the two at least.

It helps to get the steps down and understand things a little more before going to AG (all grain).

Also, some things you haven't listed (might be part of your miscellaneous stuff), but are useful:

StarSan no rinse sanitizer
Pbw cleaner
oxyclean (for delabeling bottles or just about anything)
An autosiphon
A swamp cooler (a rubber trashcan filled with water/ice to regulate fermentation temps) or a fridge for the carboys

There are plenty of other things i can think of, but I've gotta draw the line for beginner equipment somewhere.

signpost 10-08-2012 02:42 AM

Well, you weren't joking about jumping in with both feet. And the deep end, at that.

Well done. I've been brewing since January, and I don't have anywhere near that much equipment. I'll be lucky if I just get a new, larger kettle at some point, so I can do full volume boils.

Transamguy77 10-08-2012 04:22 AM

Welcome to the addiction! If you are going AG right away watch some brewing vids on YouTube there is a ton on there, BobbyfromNJ, Craigtube, hokiehomebrew to name a few channels. Reading through the stickies here will help also. Remember practice good sanitation, have fun and no matter how bad you THINK you screwed up you will still end up with beer. Cheers!

HopLife 10-08-2012 04:41 AM

Remember to ask questions. There is plenty of knowledge to go around.

Good luck...

What types of beer are you starting with?

Hackwood 10-08-2012 05:27 AM

Congrats on the find. You will love your new addiction. I find if I'm not brewing at least every other week I get a little grumpy!

duboman 10-08-2012 01:30 PM

Congrats on jumping in feet first, you're in for a great time! If you have not done so already I suggest you pick up a copy of Palmer's "How to Brew" and read it before doing anything and take notes to reference on your first brew day. In the excitement of doing your first brew you will for sure forget things to do and the notes will remind you.

With everything you have bought have you considered your fermentation temperatures? This is one thing that should not be overlooked and being in the south ambient temperatures should be a concern as most ales like 65-68F consistent.

Also, be sure you calibrate your thermometer and hydrometer before using them so your readings are correct.

By taking your time BEFORE brewing you will stave off a lot of "I brewed my first AG batch and can't figure out......" as well as trying to get answers to things in the middle of your mash or boil. :)

mjpeisher 10-27-2012 08:22 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Thanks for all the info. We are now in the consumption stage of the process. Of all the equipment, I have had to replace a few things. The sparge cooler developed a serious leak, so we ended up pulling the piping out, and tosses the cooler shell. The CO2 valve set has a leak, and I ended up having to replace the entire valve setup. Hosing was cheap, so I went with all new hosing, as some was severely kinked. Homemade chiller works like a charm. I cooled the entire chamber of 160 deg wort to 80 degrees in 1 pass. I left it in primary fermentation for 2 weeks, and skipped the secondary due work travel reasons, hopefully that won't come back to haunt me.

The first two batches were as follows:
1 - Hodge Podge using the remaining grains the craigslist guy sold me, and it turned out to be a low alcohol slightly (er... by slightly I mean alot) bitter ale. The picture below is the remains from the carboy that wouldn't go into the corny keg, we poured into 2 glasses for SWMBO and I.


2 - The darkest coffee chocolate oatmeal stout I have ever seen.

I got a chest freezer from sears for 260 (8.8 cu. ft. Kenmore) and followed other threads here to adjust the temp up to around 40 deg. I am piping the CO2 up as we speak.

We cleaned up after kegging, and immediately batched up an apple cider to sit in the carboy for a week or 2. No sense having an empty keg lying around and 2 empty carboys, right?

Anywho, thanks for the input.

dadshomebrewing 10-27-2012 10:56 PM

I jumped in with both feet a couple months ago, including starting with all grain... After 5 small batches with poor results in terms of flavor, I have shifted to using extract for a while until I get used to the techniques and favors and results... Figure I can go back to grains later if I want to...
So far, the results with extract are much better.

I'm not an expert, only a few batches ahead of you, but that was a big lesson learned for me.


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