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Old 11-24-2009, 07:56 PM   #1
PhattieM
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Default Starting a Batch

Hello,

I believe this is my first post and I wanted to talk about my first beer I PLAN to make. I've read the 'how to brew' book multiple times, but I keep getting bogged down in detail and I want to get some hands on experience so that I can really relate to what goes on in the book.

I would like to make a dark oatmealish stout, preferably with specialty grains. I've perused the site and I have to admit there are a lot of details and every thread is interesting but not exactly what I want (even though the information may be buried in pages and pages of the thread).

My first question is, what is ALL the equipment I will need? The starter kits like:

the deluxe

don't really include EVERYTHING. Id like to know which cleaners to use for both cleaning and sanitizing. I also would like to buy the right brewpot, preferably enough for a 5 gallon batch.

So far I've found that Star San is a good sanitizer because you can just thrown your stuff on top of the foam after you drain it without rinsing. What about something scentless for washing? Also, S. San is probably the best with a glass carboy because then you don't really have to use a carboy cleaner to scrub too hard (I'm worried that I won't reach all the spots).

Also, I will probably buy a wort chiller but I don't know exactly how it works. If I buy one, it should come ready to hook up to a sink? How do I clean the wort chiller before placing it in the pot?

Any advice would be very helpful. I mostly looked to start a thread so that I have a place I can ask questions as I buy the different components.



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Old 11-24-2009, 08:17 PM   #2
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Congratulations on taking the plunge into homebrewing. I've just started as well and have taken almost the EXACT same path as you. I read How to Brew (cover to cover twice) and the homebrewing for dummies book.

Some of my recommendations are:

Brewpot: They can be really expensive, or really cheap. I was able to find a 4 gallon brewpot for $14 at the local Job Lot. Its stainless steel, pretty flimsy, but gets the job done. I'm happy with it. I'll buy a bigger one down the road but not right away.

Cleanser / Sanitizer: I've used idophor and Star San. I prefer Star San and have no complaints with it. I like to have it stored in a spray bottle as well for use constantly.

For a cleanser I've heard nothing but the best about Oxiclean free. It's similiar to PBW but cheaper. Supposedly will also delabel bottles within 3 hours or so in hot water.

Wort Chiller: YES! If you can afford it, get it. They are awesome. In RI I can cool my wort down to 65-70* outside on my deck in less than 10 minutes (This time of year)!

A Couple of other things. Read around this forum and a lot of experienced people will tell you that secondary fermentation is not really necessary unless you will be adding hops, fruit, etc and/or leaving it to clear for quiet some time. So its not a requirement to rack to a secondary, however having a 5 gallon carboy as a secondary can help free up your primary if you want to brew your next batch.

In regards to the stout. Make what you want to make, definitely (My first beer was a scotch ale with an OG of 1.075). However I will say that for your first batch its easy to become impatient and "big" beers take longer to condition before they come into there own. If you think you might tend to slight impatience maybe make a beer that will be ready to drink a little faster.

This is just some thoughts from a fellow "noob". I'm sure the "big boys" will give you a lot more (and better) advice.

Good Luck and Enjoy!!!!!

Brad



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Old 11-24-2009, 08:19 PM   #3
PhattieM
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Actually, if I wanted a Better Bottle setup what would I need to buy? So far I understand I would need:

2 Better Bottles (is 6 gallon the size I need for 5 gallon batches?)
2 Racking Assemblies (or do I only need 1?)
1 Dry Lock
2 Ported Closures with Plugs
1 Funnel
1 Installation Rod

Is this right?

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Old 11-24-2009, 08:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bce22 View Post
Congratulations on taking the plunge into homebrewing. I've just started as well and have taken almost the EXACT same path as you. I read How to Brew (cover to cover twice) and the homebrewing for dummies book.

Some of my recommendations are:

Brewpot: They can be really expensive, or really cheap. I was able to find a 4 gallon brewpot for $14 at the local Job Lot. Its stainless steel, pretty flimsy, but gets the job done. I'm happy with it. I'll buy a bigger one down the road but not right away.

Cleanser / Sanitizer: I've used idophor and Star San. I prefer Star San and have no complaints with it. I like to have it stored in a spray bottle as well for use constantly.

For a cleanser I've heard nothing but the best about Oxiclean free. It's similiar to PBW but cheaper. Supposedly will also delabel bottles within 3 hours or so in hot water.

Wort Chiller: YES! If you can afford it, get it. They are awesome. In RI I can cool my wort down to 65-70* outside on my deck in less than 10 minutes (This time of year)!

A Couple of other things. Read around this forum and a lot of experienced people will tell you that secondary fermentation is not really necessary unless you will be adding hops, fruit, etc and/or leaving it to clear for quiet some time. So its not a requirement to rack to a secondary, however having a 5 gallon carboy as a secondary can help free up your primary if you want to brew your next batch.

In regards to the stout. Make what you want to make, definitely (My first beer was a scotch ale with an OG of 1.075). However I will say that for your first batch its easy to become impatient and "big" beers take longer to condition before they come into there own. If you think you might tend to slight impatience maybe make a beer that will be ready to drink a little faster.

This is just some thoughts from a fellow "noob". I'm sure the "big boys" will give you a lot more (and better) advice.

Good Luck and Enjoy!!!!!

Brad
Thanks! What wort chiller do you use? Counter-flow or immersion? I'm worried for a counterflow chiller I'll have to get a pot with a spigot which appears to be quite expensive...

Also, I don't mind waiting for this brew. In fact, I'll probably start a 'faster' one to help me pass the time.
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Old 11-24-2009, 08:21 PM   #5
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I wouldn't think you need 2 racking assemblies. Also, I would recommend using a blow off tube when making higher gravity beers. there's plenty of info on HBT about blow off tubes.

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Old 11-24-2009, 08:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhattieM View Post
Thanks! What wort chiller do you use? Counter-flow or immersion? I'm worried for a counterflow chiller I'll have to get a pot with a spigot which appears to be quite expensive...
I use an immersion chiller. I found it online for $65 or so from one of the online brewer supply stores. I bought the sink adapter for it as well. When I received it I submerged it in white distilled vinegar to clean it prior to use. I remembered reading in Palmer's book about how shocked people where about how clean their chiller was after it was sitting in the wort so I figured better safe than sorry.

I think mine was 25ft.
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Old 11-24-2009, 08:25 PM   #7
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so a 5 gallon batch in a 5 gallon bottle will necessarily require a blowoff tube? i don't mind buying some PVC. So you think the racking assemblies are best put off for now and instead I use an autosiphon? What about its usefulness with bottling?

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Old 11-24-2009, 08:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhattieM View Post
so a 5 gallon batch in a 5 gallon bottle will necessarily require a blowoff tube? i don't mind buying some PVC. So you think the racking assemblies are best put off for now and instead I use an autosiphon? What about its usefulness with bottling?
I'll let someone else provide more info about the racking assemblies. I haven't got the experience with better bottles to be helpful.

I've used the autosiphon many times (on my few beer batches, wine batches and with friends) and its really easy to use for racking. I sanitize it, then start my siphon with sanitizer solution, transfer the autosiphon to the beer and run off the sanitzer into a pot or cup, then once beer starts coming out move the tube into the bottling bucket or secondary fermenter. Its really easy!

In regards to a blow off tube, I travel sometimes and I don't want to worry that I'll come home and see that my fermenter blew its lid and I got beer everywhere but in the bucket. I feel better with the blow off.
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Old 11-24-2009, 08:36 PM   #9
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But there probably needs to be some way of preventing bacteria, etc. from entering the airlock? Unless the positive pressure from the CO2 is good enough?

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Old 11-24-2009, 08:42 PM   #10
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and yes, you will need a fermenter bigger than 5 gallons for a 5 gallon batch. Remember that as the beer ferments, it will create a krauesen that will be taller the more narrow the vessel. Given the narrowness of a 5 gallon better bottle, you'd definitely need a blowoff tube, unless you like wort stains on the sealing



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