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Old 02-24-2009, 05:16 PM   #1
spitfire
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Default Newb alert!!!!

So obviously I am a newb when it comes to brewing.

I have learned that I am better off piecing my equipment rather than buying a "kit"

I will be going around to the flea markets/yard sales/craigslist in search of supplies such as carboys, coolers, kegs, etc

I do plan to go with keg rather than bottle as it seems much easier.

Here are a few quick questions. I would like to start brewing ASAP evening if I don't have all the supplies for more complex brews. I seen listed in the "store" section on this site the Coopers beer kits. What additional to the kit do I need to brew this? Just a 5 gallon pot and pot for fermenting? I see a lot of places are offering plastic containers now, anything wrong with them? Any reason why I couldn't just use the ones they sell at grocery stores?

Cost, once I have all the things needed, how much does it cost on average to brew a batch, in terms of ingredients? I know you can't really out a price on brewing your owing VS buying a case of beer but would you said a 5 gallon batch cost 30,40,50+ to brew? Keep in mind, I do not have any supply stores around here so i have to order online. I know I will have a million other questions but this is all I can think of right now.

Thanks
Jason

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Old 02-24-2009, 05:23 PM   #2
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Welcome to the wonderful world of brewing! You can most certainly ferment in a 5 gallon plastic bucket with lid. Lots of folks do that. I like fermenting in glass carboys personally, but it is a preference/cost thing. You can find extract only beer kits all over the internet and your local brew shop should have them too. They run anywhere from mid $20s on up - depending on the kind of beer. If you never have brewed, I suggest one of these extract only kits. Then you only need a big stainless pot, a good sanitizer, thermometer, hydrometer, fermenting bucket, and bottles (or keg). Voila - beer!

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Old 02-24-2009, 05:24 PM   #3
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the plastic 6.5 gallon bucket is extremely common for fermentation, some chose the glass carboy. you can expect to pay anywhere from $26 to $45 dollars for most extract kits. You should probably get a siphon too. Not sure what else you'll need for kegging, I bottle.

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Old 02-24-2009, 05:25 PM   #4
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Cool, I get to reply to this thread of yours too!

Quote:
I would like to start brewing ASAP evening if I don't have all the supplies for more complex brews. I seen listed in the "store" section on this site the Coopers beer kits. What additional to the kit do I need to brew this? Just a 5 gallon pot and pot for fermenting? I see a lot of places are offering plastic containers now, anything wrong with them? Any reason why I couldn't just use the ones they sell at grocery stores?
You need a large enough pot to boil and a fermentation vessel of some sort. A quick trip to your local big box store (Lowe's or Walmart) will yield HPDE plastic buckets with a lid. #1 and #2 are considered food-grade.

A starter kit as that available from the OHBS is going to suit you well and will likely be less expensive that cobbling together equipment; Midwest Supplies, Northern Brewer, Austin Homebrew Supply, Brewmaster's Warehouse.

As far as process, definitely check out How to Brew - By John Palmer to get acquainted with the process, sanitation, etc.

Good luck and ask away!
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Old 02-24-2009, 05:28 PM   #5
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Plastic fermenters are fine, just make sure they are food grade and you can get an air lock on them. As for cast, after you have all the equipment, the ingrediments will only be about $30-40 for an extract brew. All grain is cheaper as far as ingredients are concerned.

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Old 02-24-2009, 05:29 PM   #6
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From my experience, I would recommend buying an equipment kit to get started. It's not that expensive and it is cheaper than buying everything you need individually in most cases. It has everything you need to get started, and it's the RIGHT stuff. You won't have to worry about the 'will it work or not' question.

The bare minimum of equipment you need is a pot to cook in, a container to ferment in. When the fermentation is complete, the beer has to go somewhere else, whether it be kegs or a bottling bucket.

Beer ingredients kits range in price from about $25 up to $80 or so for some extract brew kits.

I would highly recommend spending some more time researching the processes involved before you decide what equipment you want to buy.

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Old 02-24-2009, 05:32 PM   #7
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Jason,

Well, I'm opposite. I would rather get my equipment in one fail swoop than run around piecing it together, but that's me. I would think it would take a lot of time and running from place to place to piece it together.

On the plastic bucket. I'm told the buckets from the brew store are "food safe" and that is important because you don't want the alcohol leaching out some kind of chemical or something. I'm not really sure how much I buy that. At any rate, my certified homebrew bucket is HDPE#2 and so are many other plastic buckets so you decide what you want to do. The main thing is that you do need a 6.5 gallon bucket and those are hard to find. There are 5 gallon buckets everywhere but not many 6.5. Also, you have to consider what was in them before you got them. I know I can get 6.5 gallon pickle buckets from a local deli but I only use them in the garden. I don't want my beer tasting like a kosher dill.

Really, you will be best served if you get all the basic brew equipment before you start. There isn't really a minimal amount of equipment you need less than the basic kit.

The style of beer dictates the cost somewhat due to the ingredients used. But a simple kit for a simple beer, say kolsch, brown ale or something would run in the neighborhood of $25 to $30. It may be more to mail order though because of shipping. I have a local store I can go to so I re-use my container for extract and that saves me $3 and I have no shipping. I don't use them but I think I have seen some kits online for $20 and $25 plus shipping. I don't know how good they are though.

Dennis

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Old 02-24-2009, 06:01 PM   #8
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Dang, you guy's are fast! Thanks for all the replies. I have been reading the site and will continue to do so an find more questions as I go I'm sure. I will rethink my kit VS no kit idea for a while longer to make the best choice. For some reason I thought grain brewing would be more expensive than extract. Most people prefer all grain? That way you can do your own recipes and what not?

When I look at pictures here it doesn't look like there are many people using the items that actually come in the kits, that is another reason why I thought just by what I need. Are these setups maybe AG setups VS extract? Plus, if I am able to buy used carboy's that seems to be a big chunk of the cost of a kit. When I mentioned plastic, I was actually talking about the plastic water jugs that are used on water coolers to ferment in.

Also, I think I have a 2 contact where I might be able to get a keg or 2 to boil in. Are their pros/cons to this?

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. I know I have more but I can't think of them at the moment.

Jason

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Old 02-24-2009, 06:08 PM   #9
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Another quick question. What are the legalities of shipping beer? If I know somebody who lives in Florida and they can't get a brew that is available in my area, can I ship them a bottle or two? I am not talking about my homebrew but something purchased from the beer store.

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Old 02-24-2009, 06:15 PM   #10
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I did a combo of the two schools of thought. I found several offerings on Craigslist for entire collections of equipment. So I basically got complete kits, but for $15-20 a pop rather than $50-100. Saved money, but I didn't have to piecemeal everything together. I'd definitely recommend it.

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