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Old 05-05-2009, 10:03 PM   #1
sticcs
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Default new. need advice (equipment)

Hi all,
My name is zack and I am new to the site as well as home brewing. I have been doing much research and before purchasing a kit figured I'd as for some guidance. I've looked primarily at Brewers Best, Mr Beer, and some kits from midwestsupplies.com. I was wondering which kits are better overall and also which are not good (lack pieces, bad quality, etc..). Also, I am wondering whether I need one or two carboys and what the pros/cons are... What about Better Bottles? why is the set cheaper and would you recommend? Finally, if you don't mind take a look at Compare All Kits :: Midwest Supplies Homebrewing and Winemaking Supplies
and tell me which set youd advise for me and if none, where else to look.
One last thing. I am looking at some cobalt or amber flip top bottles. Other than price, any cons?... If it helps I am planning to start out with either English pale ale, amber ale, or some kind of ipa... please break and down and give me any feedback. Thanks a lot!

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Old 05-05-2009, 10:13 PM   #2
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I would start with the Stickies read through them!!
Several members have put lots of work in to these

there are several just for the topics you are interested in !

-Jason

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Old 05-05-2009, 10:19 PM   #3
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I'm pretty new to brewing as well. I've been at it for about a year now and have to say I am very satisfied with the hobby. I got my kit from Midwest. Went with the plastic bucket fermenter. I have been tossing around the idea of a carboy but the cleaning looks to be somewhat of a pain. You can check out Northern Brewer and Austin Homebrew for kits as well. I'm happy with the one I got from Midwest. I did break the racking cane just last week but I don't think it was due to faulty construction. I have used some Grolsch bottles a few times and they are convenient. I don't know of any draw backs to them other than price. As far as multiple carboys, that just depends on whether you want to have multiple beers fermenting at once or use on for a secondary. I use a Corney Keg for secondary right now. I would say that if you have the cash then another carboy would be a good idea as homebrew doesn't last long. At least, it doesn't in my house! HA! Good luck and I'm sure you will enjoy the obssession as much as the rest of us. There is a ton of good advice and experience on this forum so browse away.

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Old 05-05-2009, 11:55 PM   #4
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Welcome! I bought my kegging kit from Midwest, and am very pleased. I drool over their catalog each night, as well...

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Old 05-06-2009, 12:02 AM   #5
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Really can't go wrong with the starter kits from Midwest. The equipment is good and will last for years.

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Old 05-06-2009, 12:29 AM   #6
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Hi Zack and welcome to a fun hobby.

I only use the cobolt blue in my mead making. I have not tried that color of bottle with beer, I have stuck to amber and brown bottles.

I would go with a kit from midwestern or from Austin Homebrew or your local homebrew store. I had the stuff from making mead so I just purchased a bottling bucket to make the setup complete. I think you will find that you will outgrow the Mr Beer quickly...

How many carboys to get? Well, how many can you afford? I currently have 8 carboys; 2 of the 6 gallon Better Bottles, 2 of the 3 gallon glass carboys for mead and 4 of the 6.5 gallon glass carboys. I am in a lucky spot this week, I actually have 2 empty carboys at this moment! I find that I like to brew about 1 - 2 batches per week to rotate them. I have lots of friends and like to keep the pipeline stocked with beers that need to age a long time (such as stouts and porters) and faster beers like pale ales and wheat beers. I find each 5 gallon batch makes about 2 cases plus a six-pack. If I keep 1 batch per week going, I can fill 4 carboys in rotation. I also have one bucket but I only use it when I am doing a secondary onto fruit...

You will find many opinions between if glass or plastic is better. I like my 6.5 gallon glass carboys better because I find I don't need to attach a blow-off tube with the amount of headspace left in the carboy. They are heavy as hell and it is a good idea to keep them in milk crates for easy lifting and keeping them from getting broken. I love the lightweight and non-breakability of the better bottles but you need to be careful with them and not use a brush to clean them so they don't get scratched. (Oxyclean is great for cleaning them) I always attach a 1/2 inch blow-off hose to the airlock and I have found that the blow-off tube is always a mess after the first few days.

I hope this helps you a bit. Read the past posts and you will get a ton of information! There are lots of great folks on this board! Their advice has helped me make some killer beers and make this a really fun hobby!

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Old 05-06-2009, 03:15 AM   #7
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Whoah! Speedy and verrry helpful responses. Thank you all. Hopefully I will be able to get started soon!... Laurie, any reason you dont use the cobolt blues for bottling? Also, any specific brand of recipes anyone would recommend? By the way, it's nice to hear such positive things about Midwest Supplies.. it's the one I wanted to go with originally. Talk to yall soon!

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Old 05-06-2009, 05:56 PM   #8
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If you don't have a LHBS close then I assume you will be ordering ingredients or kits. I have had great success with kits from Midwest and Nothern Brewer. I currently have a Northern Brewer Extra Pale Ale bottle conditioning and a California Common from them in the primary. You can't go wrong with either.

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Old 05-06-2009, 06:05 PM   #9
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Hi Zach, Midwest will be great for you. Other than pricing, shipping costs and quality, I would say that proximitry to your location is something to consider when ordering. Shipping from Midwest to your location will likely take UPS or Fedex two or three days with ground shipping.
when you order yeast and hops, you need to remember that you don't want that in a hot truck or warehouse for very long.

Welcome!

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Old 05-06-2009, 06:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sticcs View Post
Whoah! Speedy and verrry helpful responses. Thank you all. Hopefully I will be able to get started soon!... Laurie, any reason you dont use the cobolt blues for bottling? Also, any specific brand of recipes anyone would recommend? By the way, it's nice to hear such positive things about Midwest Supplies.. it's the one I wanted to go with originally. Talk to yall soon!
Cobalt blue bottles don't block light the way the brown ones do. You're much better off with the amber bottles.
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