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Old 11-30-2012, 01:14 AM   #1
brewmasterswife
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Default Need some advice QUICK!

Hello beer folk! My husband is a beer lover and has expressed to me that he would like to start his own home brewing. Well, I'm thinking for Christmas I'd like to surprise him with a start up kit. I've seen and read reviews about that Mr.Beer kit you can get at department type stores and I want something better. Something around $70-$100. If someone could point me in the right direction that'd be epic. I know there is a home brew store around town so he can pick up his own ingredients and he's saved up bottles. I've been cleaning and getting the labels off them. So websites? Kits? Other essential items? Thanks a bunch!!

-Kirsten

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Old 11-30-2012, 01:21 AM   #2
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Don't bother with a Mr. Beer kit. Go with a regular starter kit where he can begin with extract brews and work up to all-grain as he buys more toys to brew.
http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/e...arter-kit.html
http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/d...arter-kit.html
http://www.midwestsupplies.com/brewi...pment-kit.html
http://www.midwestsupplies.com/homeb...cipe-kits.html

A few links to get you started but there are many, many more to chose from.

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Old 11-30-2012, 01:23 AM   #3
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Since you're in TN, check out Rebel Brewer's offerings... They offer a basic kit and an expanded deluxe equipment kit. I would also suggest, once you've given him the kits and before he brews something, he join up here and review the updated information (compared with what's in books). Especially not racking to secondary for every single recipe/brew. There's more things, but that should at least get him going in the right direction.

BTW, Rebel Brewer is about 3 hours drive from where you are. You can do UPS ground (or just ground shipping) and get things the very next day (most likely). It could also be a good 'day trip' so he can talk with some great brewers.

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Old 11-30-2012, 01:32 AM   #4
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@gold thank you! I think the deluxe kit for $150 is what I'm going to get him. I noticed in the comments someone mentioned maybe getting a "wort chiller" I'm not sure what that is but does he need one?

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Old 11-30-2012, 01:35 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by brewmasterswife View Post
@gold thank you! I think the deluxe kit for $150 is what I'm going to get him. I noticed in the comments someone mentioned maybe getting a "wort chiller" I'm not sure what that is but does he need one?
It's either that or use an ice water bath in the kitchen sink (or tub) to chill the wort from a boil to pitching temperature. If you have a good size pot (I'd go with at least a 4-5 gallon for starting off) then an immersion chiller would be a good idea. You connect it up to a hose fitting installed in the kitchen sink faucet and then run the waste hose down the drain...

I would place a call to Rebel in the morning (check their hours) and get advice that way. Tell them it's going to be a holiday gift, so see if you can get a good return policy (most places offer that this time of year).

This would be a good 'my first wort chiller' for him... Sort of like his first bike...
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Hopping Tango Brewery

跟猴子比丟屎 ・ Gun HOE-tze bee DIO-se

On Tap: Caramel Ale, Mocha Porter II, MO SMaSH IPA
Waiting/Carbonating: 12.5% Wee Honey II, 8.9% Old Ale, English Brown Ale, Lickah ESB, Mocha Porter II
Fermenting
K1:
K2: Epic mead
K3: TripSix
On Deck: Caramel Ale
Aging:mead
Mead [bottled]:Oaked Wildflower Traditional, Mocha Madness, Blackberry Melomel, maple wine
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Old 11-30-2012, 01:42 AM   #6
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It is possible to brew without the wort chiller, however it does make the process MUCH easier. After the wort is done boiling you have to be able to cool it down quickly - the wort chiller is one of the most common among home brewers in doing so. There are sites that offer pre-made wort chillers, and some offer all the supplies to make it yourself. My local home brew supply store sells all the components for about $20 cheaper than buying it already put together.

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Old 11-30-2012, 01:45 AM   #7
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Using a wort chiller, you can get 4-5 gallons of boiling hot wort down to pitching temp, in maybe 1/4 of the time it takes to do it via sink baths (at the most, more likely faster). Where it could take an hour, or two, in the sink, it could be 10-15 minutes via the IC (be sure to either move it around in the pot, or stir the wort around the IC).

Plus, there are other benefits to chilling faster. Better cold break, less chill haze (in glass) to name just two. Of course, there's also the done sooner so he can properly thank you factor.

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Hopping Tango Brewery

跟猴子比丟屎 ・ Gun HOE-tze bee DIO-se

On Tap: Caramel Ale, Mocha Porter II, MO SMaSH IPA
Waiting/Carbonating: 12.5% Wee Honey II, 8.9% Old Ale, English Brown Ale, Lickah ESB, Mocha Porter II
Fermenting
K1:
K2: Epic mead
K3: TripSix
On Deck: Caramel Ale
Aging:mead
Mead [bottled]:Oaked Wildflower Traditional, Mocha Madness, Blackberry Melomel, maple wine
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:15 AM   #8
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I say get the starter kit and leave out the wort chiller for now. He gets to see what it't like without one and some people are fine with that. Worst case scenario he has an excuse to run to the homebrew shop which he will more than likely become obsessed with.

Cheers by the way on being pretty much the best wife ever! Just an FYI: had to throw this out there just in case. My girlfriend thought she was being the best girlfriend ever by cleaning and scrubbing off labels for me and I'll admit it was a mighty impressive task she accomplished. About 60 bottles all in all. Problem is about half of them were twist off bottles.... which we don't really use... So, just a precautionary tale.

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Old 11-30-2012, 02:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golddiggie
Since you're in TN, check out Rebel Brewer's offerings... They offer a basic kit and an expanded deluxe equipment kit. I would also suggest, once you've given him the kits and before he brews something, he join up here and review the updated information (compared with what's in books). Especially not racking to secondary for every single recipe/brew. There's more things, but that should at least get him going in the right direction.

BTW, Rebel Brewer is about 3 hours drive from where you are. You can do UPS ground (or just ground shipping) and get things the very next day (most likely). It could also be a good 'day trip' so he can talk with some great brewers.
Rebel Brewer is awesome, but if you're in Knoxville any time soon, you can get a starter kit from Allen Biermakins or Fermentation Station. When I lived in K-town I frequented The former. The shop is in Vestal near King Tut's and the owner is very nice.
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:25 AM   #10
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A lot of new brewers don't use wort chillers. They take your wort from boiling temp to 70F so you can pitch the yeast. I have access to an unlimited amount of ice so that works better for me.

One great thing about brewing is there are many ways to do it and they are all correct. It can take a while to figure out what works best for you.

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