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Old 11-06-2013, 02:26 PM   #1
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Default Start a Brew Rig on a Budget

I'm an enthusiastic beginner. I have a budget of up to $1k USD to get started - how should I spend it? Currently I have a 5g brew pot, an Ale Pail and bottling bucket, a 5g glass carboy and a few odds and ends (basic siphon hose, etc).

For now I'm doing extract brewing but I'm hopeful to graduate to partial or AG brewing at some point, after I have the basics down.

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Old 11-06-2013, 02:36 PM   #2
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Start with fermentation control and then full boil volumes. Get a chest freezer and a 15g pot. I'd then look to a chiller of some sort, quickly cooling wort would be your next best direction. I'd recommend listing to the Brew Strong podcast on equipment, they did a very good "what order should I buy stuff" segment and i have found it very true.

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Old 11-06-2013, 02:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by torontosudz View Post
I'm an enthusiastic beginner. I have a budget of up to $1k USD to get started - how should I spend it? Currently I have a 5g brew pot, an Ale Pail and bottling bucket, a 5g glass carboy and a few odds and ends (basic siphon hose, etc).

For now I'm doing extract brewing but I'm hopeful to graduate to partial or AG brewing at some point, after I have the basics down.
If I were you, hit up this deal right now, to get a couple of more fermenters for a good price.



Get yourself a good 10 gallon or larger brew pot. 12+ gallons would be recommended, since at some point, you may be making a larger stout, or similar, where you may be boiling 8 gallon or so at the start.

Pick yourself up a couple of things of StarSan or Iodopher now, to make sure you don't run out of them.

Buy a refractometer(~$40+).

If you have that much money, you may want to go ahead and pick up a used chest freezer or refridgerator(under $100), get a couple of kegs(~$100), and a 5# or 10# CO2 tank(under $100). I wish I would have done this a long time ago, now that I keg

You could also buy a nice plate chiller or counterflow chiller instead of a wort chiller. Go ahead and buy yourself a 10 gallon igloo, 52 quart or 70 quart coleman extreme cooler, and start making a mashtun out of it, for the future.

I can go on and on and on.

Also, with $1K, get on craigslist, who knows, for only $200 - $400 you may be able to pick up someone's used system that is upgrading for a great deal!! Cheers.
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Old 11-06-2013, 03:10 PM   #4
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With some smart buys and Craiglist deals you should be able to get a full setup from Kettle to kegerator with a $1K budget.

It not going to be a top-tier Blichman sculpture, but it'll make good beer.

Actually, you could probably do it for $700 or so.

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Old 11-06-2013, 03:11 PM   #5
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Thanks guys, I've made the mistake with other pursuits (music being the main one) where I buy something 'ok' then upgrade to 'good' and then buy 'what i really wanted' and end up spending way more than if I just saved and purchased the good stuff in the first place... so if i can avoid that i'll be happy

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Old 11-06-2013, 03:26 PM   #6
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Start with fermentation control and then full boil volumes. Get a chest freezer and a 15g pot. I'd then look to a chiller of some sort, quickly cooling wort would be your next best direction. I'd recommend listing to the Brew Strong podcast on equipment, they did a very good "what order should I buy stuff" segment and i have found it very true.
+1 I agree with this post. ANd if there is any money left:

I would build a 12-15 gallon cooler mash tun. about $70 for a bazooka tube and a ball valve. This should be all you need to go all-grain. Or simply just buy a grain bag and do BIAB for like $10.

If you can get good deals on grain sacks I would get a grain mill.

$80 forA 2L flask and a stir plate for making starters.

$20 for a water test from Ward Labs.

$10 A scale for hops and grains

$15 for a Vinator to wash bottles.

$150 Might wanna pick up a used fridge to store all your beer in. Hops freezer too.
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Old 11-06-2013, 03:32 PM   #7
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I agree with temp control, don't forget a burner if you don't have one alread.

Grain mill! They pay for themselves quickly when you buy grain in bulk.

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Old 11-06-2013, 03:38 PM   #8
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Haha I laughed when I read the title because you never stop upgrading. My budget went way over as I got more in to brewing and wanted to improve. Something that would of helped me is to have someone help make actual purchase decisions so I did not end up with parts or equipment that was wrong or that I would realize soon after would need upgrade because I went cheap.

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Old 11-06-2013, 03:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by torontosudz View Post
Thanks guys, I've made the mistake with other pursuits (music being the main one) where I buy something 'ok' then upgrade to 'good' and then buy 'what i really wanted' and end up spending way more than if I just saved and purchased the good stuff in the first place... so if i can avoid that i'll be happy
Well, it sounds like the BREWHA kettle is for you
Not sure if an "upgrade" currently exists?

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/brewha-kettles-440996/

Just kidding, you can make great beer with a $40, 10 gallon aluminum pot...just sayin.
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Old 11-06-2013, 08:17 PM   #10
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To be clear, by fermentation control, you guys are talking about a temperature controlled fridge for fermentation? I think that would be a pretty good start too.

(My current batch is in the basement, temperature down there was fluctuated quite a bit this week from icy cold to pleasant and I think I raised the temp too much using one of those dopey brew belts.)

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