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Old 03-10-2010, 08:09 PM   #21
Mirage
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Yea, we got the $60 kit. I was mistaken. Just get the one with the carboy too as earwig said if you plan on using a secondary. You won't look back.

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Old 03-10-2010, 08:28 PM   #22
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A few other items I can't live without now that I have them... you may want to get them up front! I am not suggesting that you buy them from these suppliesr/stores, just providing the links so you can check out the products.

Bottle drying tree: http://www.midwestsupplies.com/45-bottle-drying-tree.html

Star-San: http://www.midwestsupplies.com/io-star.html

Bottle Jet Washer: http://www.midwestsupplies.com/jet-bottle-washer.html

Some extra muslin bags (large and small) http://www.perfectbrewingsupply.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=379

Avinator bottle rinser: http://www.beer-winemakers.com/shop/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=55&idcategory=52

A digital instant read probe cooking thermometer: http://tinyurl.com/yejjo3j

Some extra siphon tubing: http://www.midwestsupplies.com/3-8-siphon-tubing-per-foot.html - so you can go from the spigot on the bottling bucket into the bottles without having to use the same siphon tube. I would say to get a 1 foot section to bottle with.

OxyClean Free: http://www.drugstore.com/products/prod.asp?pid=195604&catid=157185&aid=337953&aparam =oxiclean_versatile_stain&CAWELAID=220130589

A spray bottle (for star san)

Some scour pads

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Old 03-10-2010, 08:46 PM   #23
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I bottle in the kitchen and dont need the tree. I just but them on those pins in the dishwasher.

If you have got $250-$300 to spend on this you can get a really nice kit and a couple of recipes.

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Old 03-10-2010, 09:39 PM   #24
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Okay guys don't start telling him that he needs to spend $200+ on stuff, that's pure BS. Brewing can be extremely simple, people just keep buying themselves things because they think they need it.

A couple of the following aren't required, but the alternatives aren't very friendly. This is what I am going to say you should have at the minimum:

1. Two buckets. A fermenting bucket with a lid and a bottling bucket with a spigot (lid is optional but recommended)
2. Some tubing for siphoning/bottling/blow-off (just get 15 feet or so because its cheap and handy for other things)
3. Autosiphon. yes I am putting this under requirements.
4. A good no rinse sanitizer, I like StarSan.
5. If you wish to bottle using glass, then you will need bottles, caps, and a capper.
6. Some sort of pot that can hold 2 gallons or more. (Highly recommended to get a large one)

I am assuming that you will have some basic things in your kitchen like a large spoon to stir, or a thermometer should you wish to monitor temperatures.


Things you don't need but will probably want eventually:
1. A temp gauge for your fermentor
2. Hydrometer. Yell at me all you want for not listing it under requirements, but I don't use one and don't think it's needed for basic brewing.
3. A very large brew kettle, 5 gallons is a great size. Any larger and it gets tough and dangerous to move around after boiling.
4. Copper wort chiller
5. Bottling wand
5. Friends to help

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Old 03-10-2010, 10:07 PM   #25
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If you get the $60 kit, you cover everything on the mandatory list and a few things on the "non-mandatory" list. I personally think a bottling wand is mandatory because bottling is already an arduous task and the bottling wand makes it less so. I personally think all the things in the non-mandatory section are required except the wort chiller as an icewater bath for a 5 gal batch doesn't take too long. The other items may not be technically necessary to actually brew, but they are essential to trying to make better beer as they help to isolate problems. Temperature of the fermentation being one and missing starting and final gravities being another. But again, those things come with the kit and should be used. I agree though that you don't have to spend $200 on equipment if you are just starting. A large pot is something to definitely consider though seeing as how you have to buy one anyways. Just my .02

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Old 03-11-2010, 12:12 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IceFisherChris View Post
Okay guys don't start telling him that he needs to spend $200+ on stuff, that's pure BS. Brewing can be extremely simple, people just keep buying themselves things because they think they need it.
If you were talking to me... I wasn't telling him that he needs to buy everything I listed - I was just trying to help Of course you can use cheaper alternatives or do things differently, I was just making suggestions about products that have made my life a lot easier.
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Old 03-11-2010, 02:21 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by mrdonbonjovi View Post
As mentioned by Mirage above, watching yeast go crazy in beer is its own amazing spectacle. Because of this important memory, it’s hard for me to recommend a white bucket for the primary (unless you’re already “over that”). If you’re not all revved up on getting your equipment now, try using freshly emptied 5 gal plastic water bottles (for primary and secondary) for a few rounds. They are effectively free, and cleaning is so darn easy (you just return them). You’ll just need a couple of #10 plugs to put air-locks in, assuming you want to rack to a secondary [which some would debate as even being needed], and a little bottling stick (now you can just use Coopers drops). That’s the ghetto rout.

Sounds like you may go with white plastic though. If so, and if you use Iodophor, be sure to follow directions so you don’t stain your rig – forever. I would just install spigots down the line vs. using the auto-siphon. But since I started with carboys, the auto-siphon just changed everything. It was miracle product in like 2002 or whatever – and to my mind is essential equipment. If you want to ferment to smaller 1 gal carboys, you’ll need the smaller diameter version too.

I dare say the biggest purchase “mistake” homebrewers claim making is getting anything less than a 30qt (7.5 gal) SS brew kettle. It doesn’t sound like you’re a quitter; so you’ll grow into it. Some may scoff at the large size, but I’ll bet even more people would up that to a 10gal. I have a cheesy electric home stove, yet can get a vigorous boil with a full batch, uncovered, no problem (albeit at sea level).

Do you have a ref. to support a 5 gal keg? Since you mentioned the keg, you may want to just use that as your secondary and force carbonate. In that way you can save a bucket (and the hassle). Then if you get a Blickman gun, you don’t need the bottling bucket either – nor the hassle of priming beer or having to wait three weeks for conditioning. Sometimes expensive equipment saves money. As my roommate said when I queried him about his new $250 wingtip shoes, he said: “I don’t make enough money to buy cheap shoes”. A classic truth! So beware the bumpkin too, who might try to steer you away from prideful ownership of quality gear that you will use to brew with your children and possibly grandchildren. I suspect the majority of long time homebrewers regret under spending and wanting upgrades than over spending up front. Sure, you don’t “need” any of this, but do you want it? Throw some perspective in: how many gallons of beer a year do you expect to make?



Lastly, regardless of what anyone says, and particularly if you’re doing smaller batches, I highly recommend completely bypassing the whole hydrometer hassle and just throwing another $20 at it and getting a Brix. Getting a few drops of liquid is just so much easier than getting out a cup or whatever to measure at various points. It pays for itself quickly in beer and time (and elegance.) Be sure and get the right model for homebrewing. Different models have different visual scales inside.

What I would do is go to your closest homebrew shop, if you are blessed to have one within driving distance, and patron them with your business. This will go a long way to helping your beer taste better (Read: the flow of knowledge.) That being said, the two exceptions of all your equipment may be the SS kettle and the Brix, which can be as much as half price on Amazon and eBay respectively, which is where I got mine.

(Wait – those are the only things I really mentioned. Some would say, “It’s the thought that counts”. Also, I’m totally new to this board, so probably should STFU and read more before I post. I just wish someone would have written me this email when I was staring off – as cliché as that sounds.)

Lastly, let me make it very clear that Isla scotch (preferably Lagavulin or Laphroig) is what land wights prefer in air-locks (would you want just water?). Indeed the wee people consume some over the course of a couple weeks. Your beer cannot be guaranteed to be looked over by them if you skimp on the air-lock juice.

Good luck in the great quest!
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Old 03-11-2010, 12:00 PM   #28
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Hmm, I might try the brix with the hydrometer for a couple of batches. Does this one look okay?

And my understanding is to ensure it works there are a couple calculators I can use:
http://brew.stderr.net/refractometer.html
http://onebeer.net/refractometer.shtml
And I really like this last one as it allows me to record my information...
http://morebeer.com/public/beer/refractbeer.xls

Even if the conversion is off I won't get an accurate ABV but I can still tell when fermentation has completed when the Brix level stops changing?

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Old 03-11-2010, 01:12 PM   #29
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If you were talking to me... I wasn't telling him that he needs to buy everything I listed - I was just trying to help Of course you can use cheaper alternatives or do things differently, I was just making suggestions about products that have made my life a lot easier.
No no! not you specific. I just mean that in general, I see a lot of people talking about all the stuff you "need" for brewing and then they tell someone to spend $250 worth of stuff. You could brew with nothing more than your kettle if you really wanted to!
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Old 03-11-2010, 01:23 PM   #30
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I like what ipso is saying. The secondary in the corny is a great idea as you can get a corny keg for around $20-$25. You also don't need the Blichman beer gun to transfer if you don't want to spend the money. There is a thread on here called "we don't need no stinkin beer gun" and there are instructions on how to make your own (apparently a lot cheaper than buying one). Good advice by all though! I am sure you will be all set up in no time!

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Next: Thunderstruck Pumpkin Ale and Pliny the Elder Clone

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