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Old 09-12-2011, 05:14 PM   #1
eloro
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Default Should I make the transition?

Hey guys. Really just started into the world of homebrewing and I'm discovering that I enjoy it... a LOT. It is a lot of hard work sometimes, but I enjoy just about every aspect of it... especially drinking the product!

I'm debating whether I or not I should go ahead and transition away from using my two Mr Beer Fermenters and go for the real kit, or get a few more batches under my belt and save money to do so.

Here is my equipment so far:

-(4) 5 gallon water jugs (one filled with red wine, one with EdWort's Apfelwein) two empty

- (2) Mr Beer Fermenters

-About 100 empty brown bottles that I have been saving

-Capper

-(3) Bungs and airlocks

-Siphoning hose and wand

-Hydrometer

-Now I can probably use my old turkey deep fryer burner, and the pot that came with it if I cleaned it well. I am guessing... the pot is probably at least 6-7 gallons.

I know I still need a thermometer, and possibly different bottles as I'm not quite sure about whether I like the idea of using water bottles instead of glass carboys or better bottles... And a wort chiller... and probably more stuff!

Should I go ahead and buy a kit, or buy just separate pieces? What exactly would I need besides what I have to start brewing without my Mr Beer kits? I enjoy the Mr Beer and all, but it is starting to feel like I'm riding a bike with training wheels.

I'm looking to keep cost down as much as I can, but still would like to be able to brew my next batches without the Mr Beer. Advice?

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Old 09-12-2011, 05:20 PM   #2
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Look like you got the brew pot, capper and the basic stuff. I would get acouple 6 gallon carboys(I like glass) and a wort chiller. I would also buy a bottling bucket, a bottle filler wand and some blow off tubing Other then that buy ingredients(grains/extract) or beer recipe kits.

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Old 09-13-2011, 03:43 AM   #3
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Couldn't I go ahead and start brewing now theoretically with what I have?

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Old 09-13-2011, 04:01 AM   #4
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Yeah, you can start with what you've got. I'd look into setting up a blow-off tube for the water jugs, since they're only 5 gallons.

I'd be cautious to look for boil overs with a 6 gallon kettle, but if you're cautious, you should be able to do full wort boils. If not, lots of 5 gallon kits are designed around partial boils. With the full wort boil, having a immersion chiller cuts down a lot of the time vs chilling in an ice bath. Partial boils are still easily chilled in the sink.

Add as you go to make your life easier, but once you have your thermometer it looks like you've got everything required for extract with steeping grains or even partial mash.

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Old 09-13-2011, 04:07 AM   #5
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Wort Chiller, Bottling Set-up, Caps, Sanitizer, a BIGger pot for boiling and if you make the jump eventually to AG. A notebook or document to take detailed notes.

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Old 09-13-2011, 04:12 AM   #6
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Oh, possibly a glass carboy or better bottle... from what I've read I am not so sure about O2 seeping in over long periods of time...

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Old 09-13-2011, 04:20 AM   #7
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With what you have you should easily be able to use Northern Brewer's extract kits. (probably others but I am not familiar with their recipes) They start with 2 1/2 gallon boils. When you have done a couple you will determine what additional equipment you need/want.
You should get the stopper and blow off tube though as the water bottles will be very full. I would think that the Better Bottle blowoff assembly that Northern Brewer sells would fit. I would check mine, I have a water bottle that I store Starsan in, but the blowoff is being used at the moment.

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Old 09-13-2011, 07:58 AM   #8
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I think these guys just about nailed it, and gave you sound advice. My wife and I started brewing partial mash batches on our back patio with a 7 gallon pot and a turkey fryer. We used that pot and burner for our all grain setup until we got the fully digital B3 1100.

I would reiterate the 6 gallon glass carboys, wort chiller, PBW, and star San. I personally stay away from anything plastic, but many folks have great luck with it. I just like to get in there and scrub until I know my equipment is clean. Plastic does not allow you this luxury.

Check out www.morebeer.com for equipment. Their prices are reasonable, and they offer free shipping on orders over 50.00.

Lukehenslick@Facebook.com

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Old 09-13-2011, 12:44 PM   #9
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You could always just do 4 gallon batches and use the 5 gallon jugs as fermenters. It is easy to scale recipes down.

I do that all the time since I very rarely do a secondary and I have a couple of 5 gallon carboys around. I usually use them for brews that I know will take a long time, like a big Belgian, so I don't tie up my fermenters for too long.

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Old 09-13-2011, 01:03 PM   #10
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First, you could easily start doing full extract batches. But you are oh so close to doing AG now with what you have.

I'd buy buckets for primaries or just use your plastic water jugs (If they are PETE #1) for primaries and scale the recipe down slightly to fit.

If you have a turkey fryer, clean it up and use it! You can fit a full batch in there and may just have to keep an eye on boilovers or add some baby gas drops to control the foaming.

Start looking for a yard sale cooler to make into a mash tun. Until then, you could do BIAB AG batches.

You're almost there!

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