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Old 10-25-2012, 09:32 PM   #1
wantonsoup
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Default Check my equipment list before I buy?

We're plastic-phobic in my house, so I'm planning on fermenting in glass. This is the equipment I'm thinking about buying. I foresee extract brewing only for awhile, I just know I'm not up for half/all-day brews being a dad of a 1 year old. Thinking about getting outdoor turkey fryer propane kit so I don't annoy wife with the mess, too.

8 gallon Stainless Pot (with drain valve if I find a good deal so I don't have to pour it, thinking about Bayou Classic)
Mesh grain bags
Fine-mesh hop bags
Floating thermometer for boils
25' copper wort chiller
Hydrometer
Strainer and funnel
6 gallon glass carboy (fermentor)
Stick-on thermometer for fermentor
carboy stopper with airlock
auto-siphon and tubing and siphon clip
5-6 gallon bottling bucket with spigot
Large spoon for stirring priming sugar
bottle filler and tubing
lots of dark glass bottles
Sanitation supplies (sanitizer, carboy washer, drying rack, bottle rack, big plastic tub to hold things, etc)

Look okay for a starter kit? Any advice or recommendations?

I'm not planning on using a secondary, I'll use Whirlfloc and give the wort a little extra time to settle in the glass before bottling.

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Old 10-25-2012, 09:52 PM   #2
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Looks good. Since you are blowing your wad here , get a vinator and a bottle tree! Seriously! Also, what are your plans for fermentation temp control? Also, you may want to at least plan some kind of blow off tube for vigorous fermentations. Apart from the fermentation temp control, I'd also suggest planning on an erlenmeyer flask and possibly building a stir plate for starters.

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Old 10-25-2012, 09:58 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wantonsoup View Post
8 gallon Stainless Pot (with drain valve if I find a good deal so I don't have to pour it, thinking about Bayou Classic)
Mesh grain bags
Fine-mesh hop bags
Floating thermometer for boils
25' copper wort chiller
Hydrometer
Strainer and funnel
6 gallon glass carboy (fermentor)
Stick-on thermometer for fermentor
carboy stopper with airlock
auto-siphon and tubing and siphon clip
5-6 gallon bottling bucket with spigot
Large spoon for stirring priming sugar
bottle filler and tubing
lots of dark glass bottles
Sanitation supplies (sanitizer, carboy washer, drying rack, bottle rack, big plastic tub to hold things, etc)
Get a bigger kettle. If/when you want to go all-grain that 8g pot will be really pushing the limits. It's not much more for a 10g, although if you're really wanting to brew on stove-top, you likely can't boil in a 10g pot unless it straddles two burners.

Get a dial thermometer or a good pen thermometer. Nothing worse than a cheap floating thermometer, made of glass (easily broken) and very possibly not accurate.

The stick-on thermometers aren't great either, but it gives you a general idea, at least...I don't even look at mine anymore, but I've got a probe for temp control measuring my beer.

Get a 6.5g carboy if you can. For 5g batches it's a huge help to have the extra headspace. If you're plastic-phobic, replace the bottling bucket with a 5g carboy in case you ever want to secondary. You can bottle from an autosiphon...I do. Don't need a spigot.

For sanitizer, use Star San. It's easy, no-rinse, and hella effective. For cleaner, oxyclean free (I use generic) or PBW (better, but more expensive).

Get a Brew Hauler. Glass is scary, people go to the ER because of carboys.

I'd also get the 50' chiller or make your own from soft copper tubing for $45 at Home Depot. You'll be glad it takes far less time to chill because at that point you're over it and want brew-day to be over.
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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:16 PM   #4
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Add a bottle tree. They are super handy when you're bottling.

Look at a brew-hauler too. Better than a carboy handle IMHO.

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Old 10-25-2012, 10:29 PM   #5
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lots of dark glass bottles
suggest buying beer with pry off tops = most craft beers...drink beers save bottles and fill with your beers...drink beers and reuse bottles

+1 on brew-hauler, vinator and bottle tree

I started with using glass carboys but buckets are way easier to clean and transport.
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:35 PM   #6
wantonsoup
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Thank you all for the feedback, it's much appreciated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by J187 View Post
Looks good. Since you are blowing your wad here
I don't think it'll be all that much more than going super cheap, to be honest. I mean, yeah I'm buying a more expensive kettle, but I figure if I keep homebrewing I'll buy it later so I'm saving money not buying a cheap one now. As far as glass carboys go, if I'm replacing plastic every year I'll hit $40 in a few years there too. And a little money is worth a lot of convenience and peace of mind IMHO.

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Also, what are your plans for fermentation temp control?
My basement is a solid 66°F regardless of the weather outside. I hadn't thought much of this yet.

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you may want to at least plan some kind of blow off tube for vigorous fermentations
Good idea - I'll get an airlock that can be converted to a blow-off and some tubing just in case.

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Originally Posted by tre9er View Post
Get a bigger kettle.
I'll consider that, thanks. I really don't see myself doing all-grain but you never know. For $30 it might be worth the investment. But as J187 pointed out, I'm letting the cost go nuts as it is right now..

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Get a dial thermometer or a good pen thermometer. Nothing worse than a cheap floating thermometer, made of glass (easily broken) and very possibly not accurate.
Thanks, didn't know that. My intro video used a floating one so that's what I thought was standard and accurate.

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Originally Posted by tre9er View Post
The stick-on thermometers aren't great either, but it gives you a general idea, at least...I don't even look at mine anymore, but I've got a probe for temp control measuring my beer.
How do you check the temp of the fermentor without introducing contamination? I've got an infrared thermometer but in a clear vessel I'm betting it won't be totally accurate either.

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If you're plastic-phobic, replace the bottling bucket with a 5g carboy in case you ever want to secondary. You can bottle from an autosiphon...I do. Don't need a spigot.
Hmm. Seems complicated to keep a siphon and fill bottles at the same time. I'm not the most coordinated fellow.

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Get a Brew Hauler. Glass is scary, people go to the ER because of carboys.
Didn't mention it, but I planned on it. And a milk crate and maybe a little furniture mover with casters to move it around if need be ($5 at Harbor Freight)

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I'd also get the 50' chiller or make your own from soft copper tubing for $45 at Home Depot. You'll be glad it takes far less time to chill because at that point you're over it and want brew-day to be over.
Thanks, I'll check out the pricing at Home Depot for that. I assume get the biggest diameter copper tubing they've got.

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I started with using glass carboys but buckets are way easier to clean and transport.
Ahh, my ever-present dilemma during my planning. We're those nutty people that believe the reports of leaching chemicals (although admittedly HDPE is the best, google "PET Leaching" for horror stories of why I'll never use a 'better bottle'). I figured maybe a bottling bucket was fine since the beer isn't it it long but for the long haul, glass to be safest.
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:39 PM   #7
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You don't have to keep a siphon. Your bottling below the level of the siphon, so it will keep flowing every time you put the wand into a new bottle. It's literally no different than using the spigot except you might need to adjust the siphon when the bucket is nearly empty, but you shouldn't lose siphon during the process at all.

I use 3/8" OD copper, but 1/2" is definitely better (and more expensive by a good bit). Stirring and cold water going through it is the key though. I'm looking at a pond pump to submerge in a bucket of ice-water and running that through the chiller. I want quicker chills and lower chills than groundwater can provide in summer.

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Originally Posted by davekippen View Post
Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:47 PM   #8
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It's literally no different than using the spigot except you might need to adjust the siphon when the bucket is nearly empty, but you shouldn't lose siphon during the process at all.
Okay, thanks for that info. What do most people put the full carboys on to rack / fill bottles? Up onto a kitchen counter? Or are there other methods of raising them up a bit for siphoning?
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:55 PM   #9
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For blow-off, don't connect tubing to the airlock, replace the airlock with tubing. With the glass carboy, you can either get the LARGE diameter tubing (rather stiff too) or get tubing that fits in the hole the airlock goes into. Get a bucket (1-2 gallon size) that you can half fill with sanitizer solution for the other end of the blowoff tube to go into. Keep that on the floor (you want to be sure none goes back into the carboy).

You can also get stoppers that have thermomwells in them. IMO, it's better to take the temperature in the middle of the batch, than the outside edge. Same as when you make a roast. Look at Amazon for thermometers with sensors that you can send down the thermowell.

Something else... Since you're anti-plastic (the PET carboys ARE 100% safe you know) you should start looking for used (decommissioned) 1/4 barrel sanke kegs to pick up. You can easily adapt those to ferment in. You can go as cheap as removing the valve/spear and pushing in a large universal bung/stopper (and airlock) to what I do (customized TC caps, gas fittings, etc.). You can also use the orange carboy caps on them and push the finished beer out with CO2. Scrap yards would be a good starting place for them. Recycle centers too. See if you can find out where any local breweries send their decommissioned kegs to, and see about buying from them.

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Old 10-26-2012, 12:29 AM   #10
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Extra bungs for the carboy, extra airlocks.
You will find that having a few extra of those will be handy and they are cheap.

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