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Old 04-12-2011, 10:26 PM   #1
trevor_b
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Default Are these the essentials to begin brewing beer?

I have been reading/researching on here and homebrew supply shops trying to find the right starter kit. All of them seem to come with stuff I do not need or without stuff I need. So, as of now, I'm looking at piecing together a kit myself at Austin Homebrew Supply.

Are these the essentials?

-Primary fermenter (bucket/carboy)
-Airlock
-Bottling bucket
-3/8" Auto-siphon
-3/8" Auto-siphon clamp
-3/8" plastic bottle filler
-6ft siphon tubing
-Bottle capper
-Bottle caps
-hydrometer
-floating thermometer/dial thermometer/etc
-long spoon (SS or plastic)- might have this already
-sanitizer
-cleaner
-5 gallon SS boil kettle
-bottle brush
-shutoff clamp (what is this for?)
-recipe kit
-48-52 beer bottles (12oz)


Thanks in advance for any feedback or input!

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Old 04-12-2011, 10:35 PM   #2
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Looks about right, although I'm not sure what the Auto-siphon clamp is (I just use a simple siphon, not the auto variety). Also, either make sure the kit comes with bags or add some grain and hop bags to the total (my preference, but it sure makes things cleaner when you're just getting started).

For the hydrometer, you may want a sample tube and a turkey baster or wine thief as well.

Regarding the bottle brush, I have one, but almost never really use it. I prefer to just rinse my bottles as soon as they're emptied. Your mileage may vary . And no idea on the shutoff clamp. Make sure your bucket/carboy comes with a lid/stopper too!

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Old 04-12-2011, 10:38 PM   #3
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well, if you are going to go with full boil, 5 gallon kits. that boil kettle will be too small. if you're doing partial boil, you can usually get away with a 3 gallon pot. I don't believe you'll need the shutoff clamp. The rest looks good.

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Old 04-12-2011, 11:12 PM   #4
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Not sure what the shutoff clamp is exactly, but it sounds like a clamp you'd use on a piece of rubber hosing to squeeze it shut. Not sure where you'd ever need that, unless you were planning on forgoing the bottling bucket and bottling wand (definitely go with the wand).

I'll second the concern on the pot size. Are you planning on doing boils on the stove, or are you thinking about getting a turkey fryer setup for driveway brewing? If you're gonna boil in the driveway, get at least a 7-8 gal pot so you can plan on boiling about 6 gal and still have room to control boilovers. I've heard of people getting pretty close to the top using fermcap, but then that's one more thing to put on your list. Stove-top brewing is dependent on how much you can reasonably boil.

If you decide to go with a carboy to ferment in a funnel makes some steps easier. You can usually siphon wort in and slowly pour water for washing, but a big funnel will make less of a mess. I'd also get a blow-off assembly setup for initial fermentations. With carboys you can generally just get a couple feet of 1" hose for that, for a bucket you can get a hose that will fit over the center post in the 3-piece airlock.

Nothing wrong with using dry yeast, but if you are thinking about using liquid yeast you might also consider a vessel for starters. Similar to bottles this could be something you just have around anyways and don't need to buy (growlers are good), but starters will definitely help out your liquid yeast. And don't worry, every batch from now on you'll come up with one more thing you just have to have .

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Old 04-12-2011, 11:17 PM   #5
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I just got a Midwest kit with a ton of stuff, and wound up buying at least 6 or 7 things on top of it, some for convenience, some because I didn't realize at the time I'd need them. Things like a wine thief, better grain bags, wort chiller, oxiclean, bottle drying rack.

But yeah, even after doing one brew, I think most of those will come in handy.

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Old 04-12-2011, 11:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smagee View Post
(I just use a simple siphon, not the auto variety).
auto-siphons are awesome. WAY easier to get the siphon going than just a racking cane and hose.
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Old 04-12-2011, 11:26 PM   #7
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What kind of sanitizer are you going to use? I've become a huge fan of Iodopher or any other Iodine solution.

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Old 04-12-2011, 11:36 PM   #8
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I'm going to start off with extract brewing on the stove-top. I might move to mini-mash later on but have no plans for AG in the near future (distant future perhaps). So a 5 gallon brew pot will work right? 2.5-3 gallon boil and top off the fermenter with water?

As far as sanitizer, either StarSan or Iodophor.

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Old 04-12-2011, 11:37 PM   #9
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yep that's fine

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Old 04-12-2011, 11:40 PM   #10
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you don't really need a separate bucket for bottling either, especially with an auto-siphon. More than one bucket is usually helpful though, especially if you want to get a pipeline going.

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