Originally Posted by jasebrooker
So I visited my local home brew shop and got some bits and some advice. I couldn't find the book you all mentioned so I will try somewhere else, failing that I'll buy it online.
I'm going to do a few more kits as there are some good ones where you still have to do all the mixing but there is no boiling or crushing grain etc involved. The guy in the shop mentioned that to brew from scratch there are some pretty heavy start up costs, one of these is a water boiler. Now, I have a big electric tea urn kicking about, could I use this? I know you can do it on the hob in a big pan but I imagine that to be a bit of a pain.
You can find John Palmer's How to Brew
(vol. 1) online here
- for free. Vol. 2 is quite reasonable and available from amazon.com. Charlie Papazian's book is good for the beginning brewer and is available in hard copy or as a Kindle version.
If you are going to do 5 gallon extract brews on the stove top then I recommend a brew pot capable of holding at least 4 gallons or 16 quarts - 20 quarts is even better. It's nice to have a lot of head space when you're you boiling wort. The first time that I brewed I used a 12 quart pot and let's just say that it's difficult to keep the wort in the kettle during boiling; transfer to your sink for chilling is also easier if you don't have to worry about hot wort slipping over the sides and searing your wrists and forearms, lol...
Your main concern is an extract brewer imho is sanitation. I cleaned eveything that could touch my beer and then used StarSan as a final step. If I was in doubt then I used StarSan again. Putting some StarSan in a plastic spray bottle is also good for those small parts that you're not sure about. I probably "oversanitized" my equipment because I was so rigorous about it (but then again there is probably no such thing as "oversanitization.")
I felt that I made every mistake that could be made, and fretted as everything that could go wrong did go wrong - and my beer still turned out great. Your's will too.