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Old 04-04-2006, 04:45 PM   #1
El Pistolero
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Default How Do I Get Started?

Q: I've been thinking of trying to make my own beer. How do I get started?

A: One great way to get a quick introduction to home brewing is by reading John Palmer's online manual, How To Brew. This will give you a good intro to the process and terminology, and in particular the section on Brewing Your First Beer is a great step-by-step reference for your first brew session.

Beyond that, lurk here and ask questions as they come to you. Everyone here is either a beginner, or was one once, and we're all more than happy to share our experiences.

Most importantly, Relax, Don't Worry, Have A Home Brew.
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Old 04-04-2006, 07:29 PM   #2
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Great advice. I'm new at brewing and before I started I read Palmer's book (in paperback) front to back. I still refer back to it time to time, especially when things don't look right.

And of course, let's not forget about the excellent advice I've gotten here on this forum.

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Old 04-05-2006, 05:46 PM   #3
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I would also say that it is a good idea to get a good starter kit of equipment that includes at least one glass carboy for fermenting. So many of the questions/problems I see in this forum seem to have to do with using a plastic bucket for a fermenter. My LHBS had very nice kits. I think mine was about $100 and included everything I needed to do extract brews with steeping granis. About the only major things I have added so far are a secondary carboy and an auto-siphon.

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Old 04-05-2006, 05:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmditter
I would also say that it is a good idea to get a good starter kit of equipment that includes at least one glass carboy for fermenting.
I agree with you 100% What would be cool would be if someone posted a list of everything that would be included in a good starter kit...such a list could find itself elevated to FAQ status.
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Old 04-05-2006, 05:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Pistolero
I agree with you 100% What would be cool would be if someone posted a list of everything that would be included in a good starter kit...such a list could find itself elevated to FAQ status.
I would be willing to offer up a list of basic equipment for extract + grain brewers, highlighting places where money can be saved (since I'm a cheap bastard) and what equipment is optional vs necessary.

I'd have to let an AG person do the AG kit write-up.

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Old 04-05-2006, 06:00 PM   #6
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Hmmm...

[edited per Walker's suggestion]

Basic Basic starter kit:

16 qt minimum kettle
long SS spoon (or plastic--not wood)
6.5 gal plastic fermenter w/ lid
plastic airlock
racking cane and siphon tube OR auto siphon
bottle capper
bottle caps
bottles
bottling wand
sanitizer

For two-stage fermentation (and some other nice extras):
5 gal glass carboy
carboy cap or bung
hydrometer
hydrometer flask
Jet bottle washer
one or more additional airlocks
instant-read thermometer

Extremely useful extra toys:
wort chiller
more carboys, airlocks
stick-on thermometer strips
large funnel
large SS strainer
hop bags
various drilled rubber stoppers
large tub for sanitizing
wallpaper tray for sanitizing long skinny items

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Old 04-05-2006, 06:07 PM   #7
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see.. I would say that a number of pieces of gear listed in your basic starter kit are not necessary, cweston. You are assuming 2 stage fermentation, hydrometer use, bottle washer, etc. I have never owned a bottle washer (I consider that to be a fancy gizmo and not a necessity), rarely use a hydrometer, and did quite a few batches with out a secondary fermenter early in my brewing career.

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Old 04-05-2006, 06:11 PM   #8
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It could easily be broken out into basic, less basic, and "approaching obsession" level, sure.

I'm not surprised about the hydrometer. I know I find that I use mine less and less all the time, but as a true beginner it was nice to be able to use it to confirm that the process was working.

I'm surpised about the bottle washer. Pretty cheap (I'm a cheap bastard, remember) and worth it's weight in gold, IMHO. Great for rinsing carboys, too.

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Old 04-05-2006, 06:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cweston
I'm surpised about the bottle washer.
when I open a beer, I pour it into a glass and rinse the bottle out immediately with hot tap water. The only thing I have to do before re-using that bottle is sanitize it.

For carboys, I just run some hot tap water into them, shake them around, and drain them.

I'm not saying the bottle washer is useless, but that is one piece of gear that can't ever see myself owning or wanting.

I think gear can be divided up into 4 main groups (examples listed in parenthesis), and this is what I am offering to do.

(1) necessities (bucket)
(2) up-grades/improvements (carboy)
(3) conveniences (auto-siphon)
(4) obsessions (brewpastor)

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Old 04-05-2006, 06:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imperial Walker
I think gear can be divided up into 4 main groups (examples listed in parenthesis), and this is what I am offering to do.

(1) necessities (bucket)
(2) up-grades/improvements (carboy)
(3) conveniences (auto-siphon)
(4) obsessions (brewpastor)
Good scheme. I think my edited list comes pretty close to conforming with your first three categories. Some of the things in my second category could get downgraded to "conveniences."
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