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Old 12-04-2012, 04:55 PM   #1
brewlong1
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Default Starter kit for new brewer

I am getting ready to enter the word of homebrewing (very excited), and I want to know people thoughts on equipment I need to start. I am thinking of purchasing a starter kit which includes the following ( I am going to start with extract brewing, to learn the process and possibly move to AG in the future):

6.5 Gallon "Ale Pail" Primary Fermenter with Drilled & Grommeted Lid
6.5 Gallon "Ale Pail" Bottling Bucket with Bottling Spigot
Easy Clean No-Rinse Cleanser
Airlock
Auto Siphon & Bottling Set-up
Home Beermaking Text
Hydrometer
Bottle Brush
Twin Lever Capper
Liquid Crystal Thermometer (Strip)
5 Gallon Plastic Better Bottle
Carboy Brush
Better Bottle Bung
5 Gallon SS brew pot
Lab Thermometer
Brew Paddle

Am I covered by the above equipment to start brewing? I have been collecting bottles etc sink am not worried about that. Anything else you think I should have on hand to start? Thanks.

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Old 12-04-2012, 05:05 PM   #2
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A couple tips with that kit:
1) If you go with a Better Bottle (good choice, by the way - I've got a few of them), forget that you own a carboy brush. The brush is a good way to scratch a better bottle, and those scratches can harbor infection-causing bacteria. Fill your better bottle with PBW or OxiClean free and let it soak overnight to clean, and you'll be golden, no need to scrub with that brush!

2) Go ahead and use up that easy clean no-rinse cleaner but, despite whatever the instructions tell you, rinse the stuff off, and make sure to pick up a good no-rinse sanitizer to go along with your kit and use it with everything that touches your wort post-boil. I swear by StarSan, but many folks also swear by Iodophor. Both are great alternatives, it's just a matter of preference which works best for you. And once the easy clean stuff is gone, either pick up some PBW or some OxiClean Free as a good cleaner. Both will do pretty much the same job, one will save you some money but lacks the "brew shop blinginess."

Aside from those two points, looks like you've got your bases covered to get started... Aside from maybe some caps to go along with those bottles you've been collecting!

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Old 12-04-2012, 05:23 PM   #3
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You will probably need a plastic container to take the gravity readings in. My kit came with the hydrometer but not the vial.

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Old 12-04-2012, 08:00 PM   #4
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Thanks for the tips. How about stove type, I have an electric stove, is that going to handle a 5 gal SS pot, or are most people using propane/ gas burners?

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Old 12-04-2012, 08:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewlong1 View Post
...Bottling Set-up...
if that includes a GRAVITY tip bottling wand, get rid of it and get a SPRING tip. gravity tips can get stuck open and spill beer.

which is a bad thing
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewlong1 View Post
Thanks for the tips. How about stove type, I have an electric stove, is that going to handle a 5 gal SS pot, or are most people using propane/ gas burners?
Probably not, but it depends on your stove. You want to be able to heat 40lbs of water to a rolling boil. That can be tough to do. One thing you could try is boiling in two pots. You can also boil in a lower volume that 5 gallons and then top it off at the end.
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:38 PM   #7
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You dont need it but a wort chiller will improve your beer and shorten your brew day. You will almost certainly buy one at some point in the future, might as well start off with it IMO. Also, a vinator bottle rinser will make bottling day and sanitation much more enjoyable. I'd highly recomend you consider one. http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/v...le-rinser.html

Good luck!

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Old 12-04-2012, 08:42 PM   #8
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I suggest getting some Oxyclean Free (unscented) for cleaning and Starsan for sanitizing.

You might consider skipping the 5 gallon Better Bottle. Use the bucket for primary for 3 or so weeks then bottle. You might get a 6 gallon one for primary, I actually prefer them to the bucket.

Get more than one vessel for fermenting, you will soon be wanting to have a couple (several) batches going at the same time.

Make sure you get a good thermometer and check it's calibration.

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Old 12-04-2012, 08:47 PM   #9
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A vinator & bottle tree makes things quicker & easier. & the bottles only take up a 2 square foot footprint. If your hydrometer comes in a plastic tube,use that like I do for tests. I got some aftyermarket burners from amazon for my electric stove that heat faster & more evenly. Link in My Profile. I can get a 3 gallon partial boil boiling in 18 minutes vs a couple hours before. Most home brew kits are designed for partial boil anyway.
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewlong1 View Post
Thanks for the tips. How about stove type, I have an electric stove, is that going to handle a 5 gal SS pot, or are most people using propane/ gas burners?
Well, keep in mind that a 5 gallon SS pot is not going to boil 5 gallons of wort. You're going to boil 4 gallons, tops - you want some space left over to avoid boil overs. Also, once you boil that wort for an hour (or more, in the case of some recipes), you'll lose at least a gallon of water volume, so you're going to need to top off the volume in your fermenter to get back up to 5 gallons or so.

So, that said: the one time I attempted an indoor boil, I had a LOT of trouble getting just 3 gallons to boil on my electric range. I had to wrap my SS pot in Reflectix insulation and keep it mostly covered (not ideal - you really want to boil uncovered to allow a compound called DMS to boil off), and even then it was a pain in the butt to keep it to a boil.

If you want to go for a full volume boil, look into an outdoor, propane fired turkey fryer set-up. This time of year you shold be able to find them on clearance, and most of them even come with a good 7-8 gallon aluminum pot. Aluminum is perfectly acceptable for brewing in (I used one for a long time before I went bigger and moved to a keggle) so long as you make sure to boil water in it first, and then make sure NOT to scrub the resulting oxidation layer off of the inside of the pot.
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