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Old 10-31-2012, 11:09 AM   #1
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Default Question about starting out...

I'm ready to purchase my first set up and I'm at a bit of a crossroad. I will be starting with extract brewing to get my feet wet, but want to get into all grain eventually. I had planned on buying THIS kit to start out with, but my local brew supply shop is telling me to not bother with the wort chiller and larger kettle to start off with, and not to use a carboy. My feeling is that I will want this stuff soon after I make a few batches so why not get it to start off with? What are peoples thoughts on this? Any input is greatly appreciated....thanks fellas...

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Old 10-31-2012, 11:29 AM   #2
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I think you should get that stuff. Carboy's are the way to go. Buckets can scratch easily and as soon as they are scratched, you will need a new one. The only thing I would say is see if you can get that kit with a larger pot. You will want a larger pot with going to all grain. 8 gallons is barely big enough to do a 5 gallon batch. 8 gallons in completely full, no more room, so figure 7 gallons is the most you can fit in, and then you run a serious risk of boil overs.... I have a 15 gallon pot and I start my 5 gallon batches with around 8 gallons. That is my 2 pennies...

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Old 10-31-2012, 11:33 AM   #3
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I'm only 1 1/2 batches into home brewing, so everyone else here will have more wisdom on this, but I'm in Texas, and a wort chiller is essential to getting the wort temp down in time. I can imagine if you're up north, it wouldn't be as much of an issue.

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Old 10-31-2012, 11:37 AM   #4
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I've been brewing for 10 years and have used many types of fermenters- I continue to resort to plastic buckets. They can scratch if you're not careful, but I can get 4+ years out of one. Glass carboys break and kill . Regardless, I'd get the whole kit, particularly the chiller. You can use the carboy for making mead, cider, etc. Cheers!

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Old 10-31-2012, 11:37 AM   #5
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If your first beer is good you will want to expand quickly.... I wish I would of had a chiller when I started trying to cool with ice takes forever...

See if Midwest has their groupon going it comes up all the time ..it includes a cheap beginner kit then buy a big pot and chiller.... Your money will go further

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Old 10-31-2012, 11:59 AM   #6
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I just started brewing 8-10 weeks ago. I started with a Mr. Beer kit and after my 1st batch was fermenting I knew I was doomed to and immediate upgrade.
I purchased Northerbrewer's deluxe starter kit. After brewing my first batch last weekend, and tons of reading, here are a few observations. 1) I love the glass carboy for primary fermentation. There's just something so cool about watching those yeast do their thing, especially for a new brewer. 2) I wish I'd gotten two 6 gallon carboys for primary's, rather than one primary and one 5 gallon secondary. Just starting out I don't really need a secondary, but want to get started with my 2nd batch ASAP. So I'll have to rack my primary when it's done to my secondary, just to free up my primary for another batch. 3)There's a current thread about how soon did people buy and immersion chiller after starting. The general feeling is sooner than later. I've only brewed one 5 gal batch, and just ordered one. 4) I bought a 5 gallon kettle. I now wish I'd gone to at least 8, preferably 10 gallon. I won't be able to be able to brew a full boil batch with my 5 gal kettle. That's a nice looking kit in my not so expert equipment. Good luck and welcome to the obsession

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Old 10-31-2012, 12:02 PM   #7
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Personaly, I wouldn't buy the additional equipment, but I'm kinda a minimalist. Been brewing for.... A while now and never used a wort chiller. Also I wouldn't get a pot larger than 4 gallons because most stove tops can't keep anything large at a rolling boil.

I just looked over the equipment that is advertised there. It's all marketing hype. Don't buy into it. Beer is not better because you spend $100 dollars on it. That kettle is way to big unless you get a propane burner to use outside with some serious BTU power. I use glass carboys, but only because someone told me they were the thing to use when I was getting started. If I had to do it all over, I would just use plastic buckets. Easier to clean and cheaper. I've been using the same bucket that I bought in 1998. If you use the soft side of a sponge or a rag to clean, it will not get scratched. The thrill of seeing yeast activity isn't worth the extra cost.

All grain BIAB is all I need. Check out my you tube channel in my sig for video tutorials.

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Old 10-31-2012, 12:24 PM   #8
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I have been brewing for 2 years. Always used plastic buckets. IMHO, glass carboys are the primary reason why new brewers post all those "is my batch infected" threads. Fermentation is not pretty. That's why there is no blockbuster movie featuring fermenting beer. I use starsan to sanitize and PBW no rinse claner to clean. Never cleaned with anything other than cleaner, tap water, and my hand. No scratches so far. My starter kit was a setup from Brewers best that included a fermenter and a bottling bucket. I quickly added 2 more buckets. One is used to mix up a batch of starsan on bottle/brew day and the other is used on the rare occasion when I brew a 10 gallon batch. I also purchased the wort chiller. Whether it is necessary for you depends on how cold your tap water runs. Try a few batches without and decide for yourself. My first kettle was a 7.5 gallon turkey fryer. Fine for part boils but my electric stove takes about 60 minutes to boil 4 gallons of water, so full boils had to wait til this spring when I got a 15 gallon boilermaker and a propane burner. This winter I will probably go back into the kitchen and do part boil AG or extract and steeping grains.

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Old 10-31-2012, 02:14 PM   #9
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I guess my only dilemma with the bigger kettle is how I would heat it. I want to be able to brew in my home, but I have a glass top electric stove. I would love to use a propane burner but I would have to do that part outside, and having to run in and out seems like a pain in the a$$. If I start out with the smaller kettle I can still boil in the kitchen.

Ugh, I can tell this is going to be drive me nuts for awhile already heh

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Old 10-31-2012, 02:40 PM   #10
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Plastic buckets are my choice - I have a carboy as well, but the buckets have been working great for me.

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