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Old 10-02-2008, 02:04 AM   #1
TuffNutts
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Default Purchasing a starter kit

I have yet to begin this journey! Does anyone have any recommendations on purchasing a beginner's brew kit? Where and how much should it cost? What different items should I look for beyond the carboy, brush, spoon, fermenter w/ lid, etc.

Also I'm not sure that my kitchen stove will be able to boil the wort, should I invest into a propane burner?

How about any books, or DVD's (I'm not much of a reader).

Happy that I have found this place, and I look forward to posting my progress!

Thanks,
Tom

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Old 10-02-2008, 02:41 AM   #2
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Welcome, I'm on batch 3 and 4, concurrently. My equipment kit came from Midwest. Good prices, even with shipping--check their website. Comes with a decent (not fantabulous) in-house produced instructional DVD. Beyond the basic equipment kit, I also bought an autosiphon ($11) and Star San, 2 cases of bottles ($12 / case). I already owned a 5 gal stainless steel pot (ironically enough I opposed my wife buying this years ago)

I have bought some other equipment since then, and find myself wanting more and more. This is addiciting. X-mas gifts will likely be gift certificates to Midwest, Austin Home Brew or Northern Brewer.

I like the Palmer book, "How to Brew". The 2nd ed. is available online (free) at
How to Brew - By John Palmer

Good luck!

Primary: Holiday Ale
Primary: Edwort's Apfelwein

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Old 10-02-2008, 03:32 AM   #3
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Depending on what you get it can range from $75-$300. At minimum you'll need a fermenter, hydrometer and bottling equipment. Be sure to take into account whether it comes with an ingredient kit, they can run $25-$40. A secondary is nice, but not necessary. Austin homeberew, Northern brewer and midwest brewing supplies are good retailers to look into.

Your kitchen stove should be fine, you probably won't be boiling the entire volume at once so you don't need THAT much heat. Some electric cooktops are a bit weak, or thermostat controlled (which can hurt you with large boils) but you should be fine at least initially.

How to Brew is the best starting point, great read.

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Old 10-02-2008, 03:40 AM   #4
Schoffleine
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Is there a concise list of everything needed to get started brewing?

Like I know I need:

Airlock
Carboys (6.5 and 5 gallon)
Siphon
Hydrometer
Bottles (capper, caps, etc).

and the various grains/extracts/malts/whatever to support the method you're planning on using. What else?

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Old 10-02-2008, 03:41 AM   #5
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Thanks for the great tips!

It looks like all the kits are the same for the most part. A few dollars here and there. I'm going to check out a local brew shop, to build good faith with my future ingredient providers.

That online book is awesome!

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Old 10-02-2008, 03:55 AM   #6
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I'm on my first batch.
Purchased a kit from Midwest. Got the Starter kit with the Better Bottle.
Things I added was a wine/beer thief, long stir spoon, StarSan......think that was it.

I did a test boil on my flat top stove.....2.5 hours of waiting.....no boil on 2.5 or 3 gal.
So, I picked up a propane burner, worked great.

Oh, I also picked up a cheap-o 5 gal bucket from the local hardware store to use for the sanitizer.


Only thing that was a bit tricky was the cooling of the wort.........but I have some better ideas on what to do next time. I'm going to have my top off water nice and cold to use it too help cool when mixed.

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Old 10-02-2008, 04:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schoffleine View Post
Is there a concise list of everything needed to get started brewing?

Like I know I need:

Airlock
Carboys (6.5 and 5 gallon)
Siphon
Hydrometer
Bottles (capper, caps, etc).

and the various grains/extracts/malts/whatever to support the method you're planning on using. What else?
Cleaner--I use Oxyclean free or Powdered Brewery Wash. Midwest's kit comes with some cleaner I've never used
Sanitizer (Star San for me; iodophor, bleach?)
Bottle filler
Thermometer
Bottling bucket
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Old 10-02-2008, 04:09 AM   #8
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well, i'm onto my 5th brew so i can still remember these purchasing questions... fwiw i ended up pricing a kit out at my local homebrew shop and i brew on an electric stovetop with good results

for the basic 1 brew on the cheap bare minimum (to see if you like it), i would recommend having on hand...

1. 1x 6.5 gallon or greater plastic fermenter with lid!
2. 1x airlock (i like the 3 piece airlock, you can actually clean it)
3. 1x bottle capper
4. 24x 22oz bottles (or ~48 12oz bottles)
5. a brewing kit like brewer's best...
6. thermometer (be sure it can read down in the 70-80 F
7. a big pot, a least 2 gallons
8. some iodophor or star san sanitizer!
9. tubing (for siphoning)

thermometer (5-10 bucks at local walmart/target)
plastic fermenter + lid (20 bucks)
airlock (1-2 bucks)
bottlecapper (15 bucks retail, i think)
brewer's best kit (~40 bucks depending on variety/brand)
iodophor (small one is 4-5 bucks)
tubing (3-4 bucks)

scrounge some bottles and assuming you have a big pasta pot, you're ready to rumble!

so that bare minimum runs you ~100 bucks including a brewer's best ingredient kit, not bad.

i'm finding out that more and more people do only a primary fermentation for 2-3 weeks then straight to bottle. i've since adopted this practice but i did buy a secondary better bottle carboy. instead of having it empty all the time, it is now a dedicated apfelwein maker

i'd say, get the minimum equipment and spend the extra dough on the brew ingredients. that way you'll find out what equipment you'd like to have along the way.

if you're committed to the hobby, i'd suggest adding an auto siphon and a thief. another item that everyone says is indispensable is a wort chiller. i'll let you know how indispensable that is once i get mine in 5 days

enjoy!

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Old 10-02-2008, 04:36 AM   #9
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Since this is a beginner thread, and a basic question, I'm gonna pose it here instead of starting a new thread.

I read Dave Miller's homebrewing guide : everything you need to know to make great-tasting beer, I felt it was too advanced for me so I briefly skimmed it and focused in on the beginner parts. I'm gonna check out Palmer's book next.

What is the best method for filtering? I haven't seen it discussed on here and can't seem to find an answer. Obviously, I'm just not looking in the right places. Do many of you filter? I do not like a bottom layer of yeast, am I just being anal about it?

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Old 10-02-2008, 05:01 AM   #10
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The yeast on the bottom of your bottle is normal for any bottle conditioned beer. Adding priming sugar when you bottle gives the yeasties the food they need to carbonate the beer. The side effect is you get more yeast in the bottle (which eventually settle out to the bottom).
I've heard of folks with kegging systems force carbonating their beer in a keg and then dispensing it to bottles and capping. I believe BierMuncher posted a how-to on this. (I'm too lazy/druck to go looking right now) Somebody who has done it can step in and correct me, but I believe you could run your beer through filters before the force carbing to get a beer with no sediment in the bottle. I don't know if it's really worth it though. I've made some nice clear beers without all that bother. The sediment will stay in the bottle if you're careful about your pour.

Terje

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On deck: Something crazy to use up the 3+ pounds of hops sitting in my freezer

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