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Old 11-16-2008, 11:24 PM   #1
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Default Some basic equipment questions for a rookie

Hello,

After tasting a friends home brew (one of the better beers I have ever had) I am now hooked on this. After reading a couple of books, Home Brewing for Dummies and Joy of Home Brewing, I think I'm ready to buy some stuff. I am going to get the brewing starter kit with the glass secondary from midwestsupplies.com and a 30qt. stainless pot. I have a big A** stainless spoon already and plenty of bottles I've been collecting. Is there anything else from anyone's personal experience that makes your brew day easier or better. I want this to turn out good! Any suggestions on a good all extract kit or partial mash that yall might suggest for my first brew. It has to be good and nothing too exotic, It has to be good and drinkable to prove to my skeptical girlfriend and co-workers that you can make some damn good stuff at home.

Thanks guys,
Brian



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Old 11-16-2008, 11:59 PM   #2
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I just want to say welcome, and from my experience, the first time you brew can get a little chaotic. Just follow all of your directions exactly and don't panic. Things to watch out for IMO, boilover!! and make SURE you anally sanitize EVERYTHING after your boil. Really, sanitize the sh*t out of everything! Good luck!



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Old 11-17-2008, 12:09 AM   #3
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Just follow all of your directions exactly and don't panic.
Just be sure you're following the right directions. I've never done an extract kit, but I hear it's advisable to follow the directions in a reputable brewing book. I followed the directions in How to Brew by John Palmer. Best of luck.

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Old 11-17-2008, 12:09 AM   #4
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my first kit was from Listermann.Com - Home Page and they are pretty much fool proof, they are extract kits, but they have decent shipping and i can normally get 46-50 bottles per run. Everything is included and directions are complete. I recommend eitherh the amaerican Amber or american brown, amber is a little more zesty i guess the brown has some chocolot malt and is pretty heavy.

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Old 11-17-2008, 12:20 AM   #5
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I would go hang out w/ your buddy and sit in on one of his brewdays to get some pointers. I mean you have him there why not use is experience
Cheers
JJ

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Old 11-17-2008, 12:22 AM   #6
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I would go hang out w/ your buddy and sit in on one of his brewdays to get some pointers. I mean you have him there why not use is experience
Cheers
JJ

+1000, it's always better to have a brew buddy.
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Old 11-17-2008, 12:25 AM   #7
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I really like High Gravity's Kits. They are very easy to make and the service is great, especially when you have questions (and you will). Plus, most of the extract kits are specialty grains + extract, which improves the flavor over extract only kits IMHO.

That said. If you want something to be 'easier' for brewing, i'd suggest skipping the glass secondary and get a better bottle. Hang around here enough and you'll hear all kinds of opinions on plastic vs. glass, but no one can dispute the fact that BBs are easier to deal with as far as weight and safety.

Star San no rinse does make lots of things easier, as well. My only advice would be not to get too wrapped up in equipment just yet. I find that starting with something basic and getting a few kits under your belt will give you a much better understanding of the process and what equipment you want to spend your $$ on right away and over time.

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Old 11-17-2008, 12:42 AM   #8
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+1 star san- "no-rinse" threw me off of using it for a while, but John Palmer has done experiments proving that star san foam has no effect on taste

it has one minute contact time, it works in cold water, it stays viable through tons of knick-knacks sanitized and for half a day or more-trust me, star san makes brewing much, much easier

also, dont get the 30 qt pot, IMHO

i have a pot thats 8 gallons, and i find it often insufficient for five gallon batches, although i supposed with extract brews its not as big of a deal

id go ten gallons, stainless or aluminum, because you'll never find it obsolete no matter how far you take brewing- even for ten gallon batches or larger it can be used for sparge water and a million other things

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Old 11-17-2008, 04:38 AM   #9
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Quote:
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I would go hang out w/ your buddy and sit in on one of his brewdays to get some pointers. I mean you have him there why not use is experience
Cheers
JJ
I would absolutely do this but he lives in OKC and I'm in Houston. But it is good advice.

Thanks for all the other great advice also guys. Keep it coming. I got the star san stuff already so that is what I will be using. Kinda a clean freak anyway so hopefully that won't be a problem.

I have a hook up at a local sporting goods retailer than can get me a pretty damn big aluminum pot, like 60 quarts or something, for about 40 bucks. Is the aluminum ok as long as I don;t scuff it up too much? Also I have a pretty big enamel pot that is clean and no chips i use for gumbos sometimes. Can it be used on a open low pressure propane burner for now or should I just go ahead and spend on the new metal pot?
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Old 11-17-2008, 05:05 AM   #10
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regarding pots, etc.

I have a 5 gallon pot = 20 quarts. I also have a 2.5 gallon pot.

I do all grain with it, on the stovetop.

I think, sometime, I'd like to get a bigger pot, but no worries.

In the past, I had a thin stainless pot - it eventually got a hole in the bottom. Because of that, I prefer to have one with a solid bottom now.

Aluminum is fine for brewing in. Your enamel pot is also fine, as long as it doesn't have any chips.

If you plan on doing extract, then a smaller pot is fine. If you want to do all grain, and have a propane burner, then you should get a pot that is at least 7.5 gallons.

I prefer glass carboys. I don't use any plastic fermenters myself. I'm very careful with the glass, but I did have one break once.



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