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Old 01-20-2009, 07:58 PM   #1
jrodincincy
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Default Good Starter kit?

I've been looking at kits to get started with. I found a kit that is in my price range from Midwest.

Its $89 and includes.

• 71 page instructional book
• 5 Gallon Glass Carboy
• 6.5 Gallon Plastic Fermenter with Lid 6.5 Gallon Bottling Bucket with Spigot
• 8 Oz. of Easy Clean No-Rinse Cleanser
• Drilled Universal Carboy Bung Airlock (Keeps air out of the fermenter)
• Hydrometer (Determines alcohol content)
• Bottle Brush
• Carboy Brush
• Twin Lever Red Baron Bottle Capper
• Bottle Caps
• Liquid Crystal Thermometer
• Bottle Filler
• Fermtech AutoSiphon upgrade
• Siphon Tubing
• shutoff clamp

Am i missing anything or is there too much? Oh.. what size brewing Kettle should I obtain?

Now I just need to find out what beer I want to brew. I'm thinking of getting the "Bohemian Dark Lager w/ Saflager S-23 dry yeast" kit. I'm a lover of just about all Dunkel!

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Old 01-20-2009, 08:16 PM   #2
strider
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Kit looks good. I would not do a lager for ur first brew. They take considerable more time and are a bit more involved w/ temp control. As far as pot size, I would say as large as u can that ur stove will accomidate.

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Old 01-20-2009, 08:26 PM   #3
Shawn Hargreaves
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+1 on avoiding a lager for your first brew.

Probably the easiest thing to brew (and hardest to go wrong with) is a pale ale. I helped a friend with his first brew a couple of months back, and we made an APA using the starter recipe from the Radical Brewing book, which I can highly recommend. It's simple, tasty, and I also really like the way he presents it. Rather than just a magical set of instructions that you have to follow without properly understanding why, he gives a set of options plus choices for how you can vary them. Like "start with 3/4 lb of crystal malt to steep. If you want a maltier beer, use a full pound, or if you want a drier lighter result, use just half a pound".

That approach worked for my friend much better than going with a premade kit, because it set him up with an understanding of which variables he can play with in subsequent brews. Now the first one turned out well, he's full of plans to make the same basic recipe again but with some tweaks to hopefully perfect it...

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Old 01-20-2009, 08:28 PM   #4
ThatGuyRyan
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I would add a 16+" SS spoon and a clip on thermometer for the brew pot along with some Star San cleaner and a faucet bottle cleaner. Rinsing bottles without one takes a long time. For me the cheapest pot I found was a 6 or 6.5 gal turkey fryer at Walmart. I can do a full boil on my stove and in the summer I can take it outside. I think the fryer cost me $45-50. It is thin aluminum and will be replaced but its good enough and cheap enough to get started.

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Old 01-20-2009, 08:29 PM   #5
jrodincincy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strider View Post
Kit looks good. I would not do a lager for ur first brew. They take considerable more time and are a bit more involved w/ temp control. As far as pot size, I would say as large as u can that ur stove will accomidate.
Thank you for the quick response. I think this might be the kit I'm going to go with, but I'll first look around some more.

As for the beer, would you or anyone else have a recommendation other than the dunkel? As for Lager taking more time, how much more time?

Still still a decent amount I need to learn I guess. Things such as what temps the different styles of beers need to be at. I'm finding a lot of good information on these boards. I'm looking forward to brewing my first batch soon, but first I need to educate myself a little more.

::EDIT::

Well it appears there were some posts while I was typing this one. Thank you Shawn and Ryan for your responses. Shawn the real reason I wanted to go with the beer kits is to first familirize myself with the process of brewing, then later move to more receipes from what I would consider (scratch.)

For the Kettle, maybe I'll search through my mothers cookware to see if she has anything I can steal (I mean Borrow.)
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Old 01-20-2009, 08:33 PM   #6
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As for the beer kit I only ordered two online both from Austin Home Brew and they were easy to follow with good instructions. I would not hesitate to buy from them again.

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Old 01-20-2009, 08:56 PM   #7
Shawn Hargreaves
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I highly recommend getting a book that will cover things like the difference between lager and ale fermentation, optimal temperatures, etc. These boards are awesome, but forum posts tend to give you information in a piecemeal fashion with bits missing, while a good book will present everything together in a nice logical order.

I highly recommend "Radical Brewing" even for beginners (it's nowhere near as radical as the title may suggest, just takes a fun and interesting approach to subject matter that could easily be dry and boring). "How to Brew" is good too.

There isn't really much difference in my mind between brewing from a kit or following a recipe from a book (unlike formulating your own recipe, which is a whole other kettle of fish). Whichever way you go, the nice thing about having a book is that will explain more of the why's as well as the what. Without that, you could brew 5 different kits, using 5 different set of ingredients, but not really be learning about why each kit is the way it is and what makes them difference. A good book will give you the material to understand what makes each recipe unique, what each ingredient is contributing, what differentiates one style from another, and so on.

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Old 01-20-2009, 09:02 PM   #8
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For a brewpot, the minimum would be a 4 gallon (16 qt) stock pot. They can usually be found for around $30-40. However, the bigger you can get, the better. If you can swing for a 24-30 qt stock pot (or larger), then it will serve you better in the long run. Keep in mind though, you will be limited by your stove in terms of how much you can reasonably boil. I have one of those fancy glass top stoves and it's limit is about 3 1/2 - 4 gallons.

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Old 01-20-2009, 09:13 PM   #9
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Default Brewing Books

You can get the whole "How to Brew" by John Palmer on line for free. JUst go to howtobrew.com. Being new this is the only source I have, but plan on getting the Radical.

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Old 01-21-2009, 03:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrodincincy View Post
As for Lager taking more time, how much more time?
To give you an idea, lager is German for to store. It is, by definition, a time-intensive style. It generally requires a dedicated refrigeration setup and a few months.
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