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Old 08-07-2009, 12:30 AM   #1
Trooper-Orange
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Default First post! First time brewer suggestions and help.

Hello All,
Let me start by saying thanks for the forum. I have been lurking for about a month now learning, and reading.

I am taking the plunge to start home brewing. I am planning on buying all of my equipment from Midwest Supplies as they seem most reasonable, and I am on a budget. Any other suggestions of sites to shop would be welcome. My local shops seem pricey.

For a first time brewer would this recipe kit be a good and easy one?:
Autumn Amber Ale w/ Munton's 6 gm dry yeast :: Midwest Supplies Homebrewing and Winemaking Supplies

I am just looking for an amber ale of some sort.

Also any comments, suggestions etc... on equipment are welcome, here is what I plan on starting with:

Starter kit with BB:
Brewing Starter Kit w/Better Bottle :: Midwest Supplies Homebrewing and Winemaking Supplies

A 24 count of 22 oz bottles, and a 5 gallon pot.

If I am missing anything obvious please let me know.

Thanks again,
--jake

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Old 08-07-2009, 05:16 AM   #2
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Those kits sound great. I made my big purchases from midwest and was as happy as a clam. They can keep costs low bc they do such volume, also, they are extremely customer oriented. They had no problem replacing a malfunctional co2 gauge! I would recomment getting a smack pack liquid yeast, I find they are much easier to use and ensure a better brew and less lag time between pitching and fermentation start. Get yourself some oxyclean too or some more brewery cleaner (different from sanitizer like starsan or iodopher), since you can't use a brush on the better bottle due to scratching you'll need something that can lift off caked on yeast. Happy brewing!!!

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Old 08-07-2009, 07:29 AM   #3
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Most of my suggestions will be the same as above and double check that it does not come with your kit already because I did NOT double check.

- Starsan
- Spray bottle for Starsan (walmart, home depot, lowes)
- Wine Thief or turkey baster (for sampling beer and taking hydrometer readings)
- I would suggest a slightly larger brew pot around 7.5 gallons if you can swing it. This will allow you to do a full boil which will make better beer with less chance for contamination and will allow an easy transition to all grain brewing if you go down that road.
- Save your money on the bottles and look around at local bars, distributors. They often have bottles they can give you. It will be a while until your beer is ready. You can always buy some beer and save the bottles for not much more than you have to pay for empty bottles.
- You will be getting an autosiphon with your kit which is great.

Those are my suggestions. Take them as you like but I'm relatively new to brewing so these suggestions are fresh in my head. Have fun!

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Old 08-07-2009, 11:44 AM   #4
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Well, mnm129 hit the points I was thinking plus a few more.
If you find yourself addicted to this hobby you will always be able to step up to bigger equipment and I'm sure you will always find a use for a 5 gal until you go real big.
Even if you do buy those bottles, start scrounging for more now. You only have too much when you start stubbing your toes on them. Even though I keg %99 of my homebrew I still don't have enough good bottles, or storage space.
In a crunch, you can use diluted bleach to sanitize, but rinse with boiled water, it taste nasty.
Otherwise, relax.
Just do it and have fun, its a hobby at first. Give it a few months to become an obsession.

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Old 08-07-2009, 02:42 PM   #5
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Thanks for all of the advice, much appreciated.

shotorum - Good idea on the cleaner, didn't think about having to clean out the BB.

mnm - 7.5 Gallon pot would be fantastic for a full boil. I don't know if that would work with my setup though, I have an ordinary electric stove. Also I live at around 6,000 feet altitude, I think water will boil at a lower temperature, don't know how that would affect it. Also good advice on the bottles, I wish I hadn't thrown away all those nice New Belgium Tripple bottles over the years. lol I will pick up a wine thief, good idea.

Kauai Kahuna - Thanks for the tip, I will start collecting bottles now. I would like to think that someday I will be real big into it with constant rotations of wonderful creations going. I need to test the waters first though and start learning the trade.

Thank you all for the advice, as always any other advice is welcome. I am going to place my order this weekend. I am sure I will be seeing everyone in the forums, can't wait to share my first success someday.

--jake

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Old 08-07-2009, 05:39 PM   #6
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I go out and get a six pack of pop top bottles too.24 22s might be just a little short.Theres nothing worse than when you have 4 more beers in the bucket and nothing to put them in

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Old 08-07-2009, 06:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trooper-Orange View Post
mnm - 7.5 Gallon pot would be fantastic for a full boil. I don't know if that would work with my setup though, I have an ordinary electric stove. Also I live at around 6,000 feet altitude, I think water will boil at a lower temperature, don't know how that would affect it. Also good advice on the bottles, I wish I hadn't thrown away all those nice New Belgium Tripple bottles over the years. lol I will pick up a wine thief, good idea.
--jake
+1 on the bigger kettel. You can get a turky fryer at Academy for $25 that will bring 5gal to a boil faster than a 2gal boil on the electric stove (and i bet it would be cheaper for propane than the electricity)

just get an imersion chiller to cool it quickly, and enjoy brewing outside.
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkador View Post
+1 on the bigger kettel. You can get a turky fryer at Academy for $25 that will bring 5gal to a boil faster than a 2gal boil on the electric stove (and i bet it would be cheaper for propane than the electricity)

just get an immersion chiller to cool it quickly, and enjoy brewing outside.
That is a great idea, hadn't though of that. Forgive my ignorance, but is Academy a brick and mortar store or an online store or what? I am up in Colorado, and it doesn't ring a bell.

Something like this might suffice, it is 7.5 gallon, should be able to do a full boil.

Amazon.com: Bayou Classic 3066A 30-Quart Outdoor Turkey Fryer Kit: Patio, Lawn & Garden

With regards to the immersion cooler. The reason I hadn't figured one in to begin with was price. How big of a cooler would it take for a setup with a turkey fryer?

Would a wort chiller like this suffice I wonder? Stainless Steel Immersion Wort Chiller w/Garden Hose Fittings :: Midwest Supplies Homebrewing and Winemaking Supplies

Outdoor brewing might be fun. In the winter the wort would be a lot easier to cool assuming I could get the wort to boil in freezing temps with a turkey fryer.

--jake
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Old 08-07-2009, 10:10 PM   #9
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Many people use turkey fryers including myself. I do all grain and it works great for those starting out all grain and those who do extract and want to do a full boil. Plus it SUCKS brewing in the kitchen. I started brewing in the kitchen and you quickly realize that half of your brew day is spent wiping up water from the floor, cleaning sticky crap off of everything and listening to your wife complain that it stinks.

A lot of people use that same turkey fryer. I ordered the exact same one but later found one on Craigslist that was much cheaper at $40 new. Search craigslist if you are interested in getting one, many find great deals on them.

Typically people build 25-50 foot immersion chillers. I built a 50 foot one to decrease waiting time and it becomes more important during warmer times of the year when tap water isn't that cold. Almost everyone uses copper to build them and copper is rather cheap right now. Check out coppertubingsales.com. They also list stuff on ebay and have by far the lowest cost I have seen. Look at HVAC copper as this has a thinner wall and is the cheapest and best for our application.

You will def. be able to get a full boil in the winter with a turkey fryer.

Don't worry too much about having all of this equipment for your first batch. If you can find a relatively big pot ~2-3 gallons you can make your first batch and determine if you would want a 5 gallon pot for a partial boil or a 7.5gallon turkey fryer and IC to do a full boil. It's a learning process but it sucks when you don't buy the right equipment to begin with.

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Old 08-07-2009, 10:24 PM   #10
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Thanks mnm, answered all of my questions.

So the hunt for a turkey fryer and copper tubing begins. hahaha

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