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-   -   what's the best starter kit for me (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/whats-best-starter-kit-me-50088/)

canesfan44 01-05-2008 06:59 AM

what's the best starter kit for me
 
I'm looking to get into brewing and want to know what everyone feels would be the best kit for me. I'm willing to spend up to $300, but what I'm really looking for is the best starter kit that leaves me with the possibility to upgrade to bigger things if I decide to get really big into home brewing. I've used the MrBrew cheap kit years ago and was impressed with the beer that I made, it wasn't that bad! That made me want to get a better brew kit and start making all sorts of beers. I was looking at a bunch of kits, like http://www.highgravitybrew.com/productcart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idcategory=212&idproduct=1452, the Northern Brewer Deluxe kit, etcrt, etc. I just want your opinions of what is the best starter kit. Basically I just want to know, if you were new to brewing, but know all that you know now about home brewing and have a budget of less than $300, what kit would you get. Any help and opinions will be greatly appreciated.

Jekster 01-05-2008 01:14 PM

If you're willing to spend $300 on the get go I would personally look around and do some research into what you need to brew and then pick and choose your stuff individually.

If you haven't already, a great place to start reading is www.howtobrew.com. Decide which type of brewing you want to do (Extract, Partial Mash, All Grain) and then get gear to fit your needs from the home brew store of your choice. If you do a few searches you'll find plenty of information on the big ones (Norther Brewer, AHS, Morebeer etc.) Also, don't forget that you might need to invest in stuff that is beyond what a kit provides. Do you want to brew outdoors? You'll need a big kettle, propane tank and burner. Do you want to brew inside? You'll still need a decent kettle. How are you going to chill your wort?

Like I said, do some reading, decide what you need, and piece it out for yourself. It's what I did to start and I'm really happy with the results.

Cheers and welcome to the hobby!

malkore 01-05-2008 02:08 PM

first question, and its a big one: are you sticking to extract kits, or do you want to move to all grain brewing?
its debated a lot, but I think AG gives you a little better beer. It undeniably gives you more control over the finished product.

if you do go AG, you'll need to be able to boil 6-7 gallons of wort all at once...which is where the turkey fryer/propane enters the equation. you can find those really cheap and on clearance right now...check Lowe's, Home Depot, and similar stores...even Costco and Sears stock them.
you'll need a wort chiller to cool that much wort in a reasonable time too.

beyond that, you don't need anything too special: a good thermometer, a long spoon, a bucket for primary, a carboy for secondary, and a bottling bucket (unless you are kegging)

Blender 01-05-2008 02:09 PM

Check the Super Deluxe starter from Austin Homebrew. It has most everything needed including a chiller. You will need to get a boiling pot so keep that in mind for the 300.00 budget.

TheJadedDog 01-05-2008 03:09 PM

If it were me I'd go with one of the more basic starter kits and save some of that money for items you determine you want after you've done a little brewing. I got a basic kit for around $100, a year later and I had spent close to $1k on brewing gear (this includes a full kegging step-up and kegerator mind you). As I brewed more and more I decided what I really needed.

Sea 01-05-2008 03:23 PM

Here's A kit you can brew with out of the box for $160:

http://www.midwestsupplies.com/products/ProdByID.aspx?ProdID=7587

I would add: another 5 gal carboy with bung/airlock, How to Brew - by John Palmer, and a bottle washer.

That being said, there are a lot of options out there. Picking and choosing isn't a bad idea either, if you do some research.

mikeyc 01-05-2008 05:17 PM

WOW!!! I second that kit from midwest supply. All of that for $160.00. When I bought my first kit, I spent $140.00. I got a pale ale recipe kit, and everything in this one minus the kettle, and the bottles. But I would've gladly spent an extra $20.00 bucks for that! I'd go with this one. Then you will have $140.00 to spend on ingredients for another batch. Or upgrade the equipment.

canesfan44 01-05-2008 09:27 PM

thanks for the quick replies. Luckily I already have a nice big turkey fryer for boiling the wort and a seven gallon kettle. All of your replies let me know just how uneducated and inexperienced to brewing I am and that I need to read up. I'll have to find a good local home brew store. Home brewing is something I want to do with my father. I'm a huge beer drinker, especially Belgian and wheat beers, and I have gotten my dad into the wonderful world of beer, not just the Bud and Lite you find at a convenience store. I think I'm going to buy the kit from Midwest and everything that Sea recommended. In the meantime I will be doing a bunch of research on howtobrew.com. Once again I thank you all for your input and replies, and I look forward to home brewing and sharing my experience and ideas with you all.
-Blair :mug:

ScubaSteve 01-05-2008 10:26 PM

I started with a kit from midwest...the intermediate w/better bottles. Their kits were the best value IMHO. You won't be disappointed. If I could do it again, I'd go with the master brewer setup....you'll save mega bucks, especially since they offer a discount on the corny kegs.

Zul'jin 01-06-2008 12:55 AM

I just ordered my first kit from Midwest. I got the "Everything" kit with out the carboy. Their site says that kit comes with a 4 gallon pot instead of a 5 gallon pot. I called them. It is listed correctly. I figure my starter will make up some of that 5th gallon. For me, with shipping, the carboy in the "Everything + a Carboy" kit, that does come with a 5 gallon pot, would cost $40. Two local brew shops sell 5 to 6 1/2 gallon glass carboys for $20-$25.

Midwest sent me an email saying that with holiday down time and increased holiday demand, they are a few days behind in shipping. That's understandable.

Any way I price it, those two kits from Midwest look like the best deal by $50 plus. Stainless steel pots get pricey.

I'm doing Irish Stout.

Edit- I keep calling them Northwest. They're Midwest.


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