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Old 11-13-2007, 11:02 PM   #1
ArcaneXor
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Default Please tell me about equipment starter kits

I am planning on upgrading from my Mr. Beer to a "real" homebrewery after Christmas. Space and money are somewhat of a concern, so I don't want to go overboard and I also want to get equipment that is durable and will last for a while.

Some concerns:

- I do not like the idea of fermenting in plastic pails (I like to see what's going on), and glass carboys are not an option (big glass containers, all-tile floors and a young child = bad combination), which means that Better Bottles are pretty much the only option for me.

- I do not necessarily need a two-stage system to begin with - adding another Better Bottle later on is not a problem.

I am looking at the following:

Northern Brewer Basic Kit: $67.99 + $7.99 shipping.
Positives: Comes with AutoSiphon, which I like. Can use the primary bucket as a sanitation bucket instead.
Negatives: Seems to be the cheapest possible bottle capper, I would need to buy a Better Bottle separately.

Midwest Supplies Brewing Basics Kit $59.95 + $9.49 shipping
Positives: Instructional DVD, Thermometer, slightly better bottle capper than NB kit, Can use the primary bucket as a sanitation bucket instead
Negatives: No AutoSiphon, I would need to buy a Better Bottle separately

Austin Homebrew Supply Deluxe Beer Making Kit (modified) $99.99 + $6.99 shipping
Positives: Owner is willing to substitute a 6-gallon Better Bottle for the 5-gallon glass carboy that usually comes with this kit, includes thermometer, has AutoSiphon, reasonably affordable stockpot upgrade, Can use the primary bucket as a sanitation bucket instead
Negatives: unknown Bottle Capper type

Considering the need for a Better Bottle, all three come out to about the same price. So I was wondering: Is there any reason to prefer any one of the kits over the others? if not, I'll probably go with the AHBS kit.

Finally, will my Mr. Beer keg have any use after I upgrade? Would it make a good backup bottling or sanitation bucket?

Thank you for your help!

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Old 11-13-2007, 11:21 PM   #2
El_Borracho
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The midwest kits have the option to swap out the the carboys for better-bottles.

http://www.midwestsupplies.com/produ...Cat=11166&fd=1

http://www.midwestsupplies.com/produ...px?ProdID=7255

A plus about AHS is that the owner posts here. You're shipping prices are so cheap compared to mine, same kits and my shipping is 20 bucks at the cheapest.

You can use your mr.beer fermenter for apfelwein I think

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Old 11-13-2007, 11:32 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Borracho
The midwest kits have the option to swap out the the carboys for better-bottles.

http://www.midwestsupplies.com/produ...Cat=11166&fd=1

http://www.midwestsupplies.com/produ...px?ProdID=7255

A plus about AHS is that the owner posts here. You're shipping prices are so cheap compared to mine, same kits and my shipping is 20 bucks at the cheapest.

You can use your mr.beer fermenter for apfelwein I think
The problem I see with the Midwest upgrade is that it is a 5-gallon Better Bottle, which may not have enough headspace for use as a primary (plus, that would bring shipping up to $18.97). After the autosiphon, the cost would be higher than from AHS.

Any comments on the Midwest instructional DVD? If it is really helpful, it may be worth spending a few extra bucks and ordering from them.
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Old 11-13-2007, 11:34 PM   #4
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if you didnt have to worry about the shipping i would say go with Midwest....but thats just because they are my LHBS =)

its a good video, alot of the basics. good tips and tricks you can probably find just as easy online, but its demonstrational

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Old 11-14-2007, 12:19 AM   #5
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As someone who recently purchased a $59.99 kit just like the Midwest one from my LHBS, I think you might consider throwing together the kit you want "A la carte".
In this post I totaled my expenses (not including another few bucks I spent today at the LHBS)

Seems to me, a long as you're already set on not using the buckets with the kit you might as well put together a shopping list. You could start with the items most of us upgrade to anyways, like an auto siphon rather than the plain racking cane, and carboy caps rather than stoppers.

Just throwin' it out there,
Matt

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