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-   -   Lots of newbie questions (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/lots-newbie-questions-103913/)

kylerwilliams19 02-17-2009 03:33 AM

Lots of newbie questions
First off i am new to the site but have been researching and interested in homebrewing for quite a while.

First off i will start off by saying that i have bought how to brew by john palmer so if you would like to refer to that book that is totally fine by me.

2nd i recently got my first brewing kit for valentines day from my girlfriend (true brew, german light style) and i was looking at the instructions that come with the kit and they are nothing like what i have read in mr. palmer's book as well as on here. So i am wondering where to begin, to i follow the rules that true brew wants me to use, or should i boil for an hour and do things like mr palmer suggests.

3rd i still haven't bought any equipment yet and i am looking for suggestions of good kits, i am not looking to go cheap on this, i am definitely looking to make a good solid investment with the equipment that i will need. I do not really want to have to add on for a little while enough equipment to ferment 2 at once possibly.

all of your input and suggestions are greatly appreciated, i am happy to be joining this great community.

thanks a lot


Rhymenoceros 02-17-2009 03:43 AM

Sorry, I dont really know the kits, but is the extract pre-hopped or not, if it is not pre-hopped follow palmer or this thread: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/beginner-extract-brewing-howto-99139/. I don't know anything about pre-hopped, so the kit instructions would work ok...?

For the kit I would suggest finding a home brew store near you, its invaluable to talk to some one and see what you're buying. Thats how I started and it made me feel so much better talking to the guy at the store. They are really helpful. The only extra thing you need to do 2 at once is another fermenter set up (i.e. carboy and air lock)

llazy_llama 02-17-2009 03:45 AM

Personally, I tend to ignore the instructions that come with kits. They often will tell you to ferment for a week, then go straight to bottles. That, in and of itself, is enough reason for me to toss 'em. I do, however, tend to follow the hopping schedule. If it says to add 2oz at 60 minutes, 1 oz at 15, etc... That much I'll listen to.

As for starter kits, I started with this kit from Midwest Supplies. If you would like to keg your beer as well, you can look at the Master kit. With that, you can even tack on a few extra corny kegs. I will say that I should have also bought 1-3 more primary fermenters (6.5 gal buckets or 6 gal Better Bottles) because the 5 gallon carboys that come with the kit aren't as big as I would like. They tend to have a good amount of blow-off, so I got a couple of 6 gallon carboys and now use the 5 gallons for secondary or Apfelwine.

Oh, and you'll probably want a wort chiller. That's another thing I wished I had starting off.

kylerwilliams19 02-17-2009 04:03 AM

okay first off this kit is NOT pre hopped and to eliminate further confusion the kit is as follows:

3.3 lbs of light malt extract (liquid)
1 lb of rice sugar solids
1 lb of corn sugar
1 oz of UK first gold hop pellets (alpha 7%)
7g brewing yeast
5 oz priming yeast (dextrose)

that kit on midwest supplies was basically what i was looking at, except i was thinking 6gal better bottles instead of the 5 gal buckets. does that make sense?

i was just going to go the nearest home brew shop (in ann arbor) and talk to them and basically follow what that kit shows, except for like i mentioned the fermenting containers.

i appreciate the help, keep it coming

llazy_llama 02-17-2009 05:00 AM

The buckets that kit comes with (fermenter and bottling bucket) are both at least 6 gallons. Probably closer to 6.5, but I haven't personally measured mine.

You could always get the kit, tack on a few 6g Better Bottles, then just use the 5 gals for secondaries or for brews that don't have much krauzen.

Really though, get a wort chiller too. You'll thank yourself later.

kylerwilliams19 02-17-2009 01:07 PM

yeah i am looking into getting a starter kit and then adding a couple of 6 gallon better bottles, i will probably use the better bottles as primaries and use the bucket as either a secondary or just will not use it too much at all.

i am still wondering thought whether to use palmers methods or to just use the kit methods, i am leaning hard to useing palmers techniques as they seem like they would produce a much bettter brew than what comes with the kit.

yeah the idea of getting a wort chiller does seem like a good one and if i can find one for a reasonable price i may just invest in one of them now. what am i really looking for when i go to purchase a wort chiller.

and for some of the other equipment, any things i am looking to definitely NOT get? any help you can give is priceless information.... thanks!

Weizenheimer 02-17-2009 01:30 PM

I agree get yourself a chiller and spend a few extra bucks and get a large kettle and propane cooker so you can do full boils.

llazy_llama 02-17-2009 01:33 PM

Most people use copper wort chillers that they either bought or made themselves. Personally, I use a stainless steel one because it was much cheaper ($50). Be sure to understand that the ones you buy will generally come with hose fittings that won't fit on your kitchen sink. The adapter for that is a buck or two more if you plan on chilling in your kitchen. Some of them have hose fittings on the input and output ends, some have short lengths of hose attatched to either end. Again, it all comes down to whether you plan on chilling in your kitchen or in your yard.

As for using the buckets as secondaries, you'll get different opinions about this. The general arguement is that you want as little headspace as possible to prevent oxidation. Many people still use 6 gallon containers for 5 gallon batches without a problem. Someone (I believe it was Yooper) suggested that you could always sanatize a bunch of glass marbles and dump them in before you rack to take up that extra space. I've only ever racked into a 6 gallon secondary once, no marbles or anything, and that brew isn't ready to drink yet. I'll know in a few weeks how it turns out, but I'm sure it will be fine.

I can't really think of any equipment you should definitely not get... I guess you don't really want a carboy brush since they can scratch up plastic containers which gives bacteria a nice place to hide. I just soak for 24 hours in PBW and call it clean. I don't own a bottle tree... I know a lot of people love them, but I just couldn't justify the money when I can just use a spray bottle with Star San to sanitize my dishwasher and use that. A bottle/carboy washer is an awesome investment. Just like with the wort chiller though, it's designed for hose fittings, so you'd need that same adapter. Good thing there is that you only need one, and it can run double duty.

There's a million other little things that are nice to have, but aren't 100% necessary. I could go on if you want.

kylerwilliams19 02-17-2009 01:36 PM

unfortunately doing full boils (with an outside propane burner) isn't really possible in my apartment. what should be the amount of liquid though that i am trying to boil on my stove, becuase that is abuot the only way i am going to be able to do it here.

i would obviously like to do as much of a boil as possible though boiling all 5 finished gallons of wort will be tough on my stove.
thanks for the advice

sterling214 02-17-2009 01:40 PM

I would suggest picking up another can of malt extract, or a couple pounds of dry malt extract, and using that instead of the "1 lb of rice sugar solids and 1 lb of corn sugar". What you have will make beer, but if you substitute malt extract for the sugar you will have a better beer. If you follow Palmer's instruction, you will more than likely end up with an excellent first beer, and the beginnings of the obsesi... I mean hobby that is home brewing.
Most starter kits come with a bottling bucket, and a primary bucket. Premium kits may also include a 5 gallon carboy for a secondary. These sets have everything you need to make very good beer. I still primary in the bucket that came with my starter kit, and probably will until it wears out.
A wort chiller would be nice, but isn't dead necessary until you start getting into doing full 5 gallon boils. I made mine from some old copper tubing that was laying around my house.
I would personally buy a turkey fryer and do your boiling outside before I should start buying more fermenters.

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