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Old 01-04-2007, 09:24 PM   #1
KeYz
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Default Online Kit vs. Home Depot Shopping List

I was unsure as to whether or not to post this in the Beginners forum or here in the DIY Equipment, but I think it has more to do with equipment than anything else.

As the title suggests, I have been interested in starting to brew some beer and now find myself with several options. I was looking around online a little while back and saw the "Mr. Beer" brewery and that opened my eyes into the field of homebrewing. Since then I have been reading up about the process daily and saw that there are many options out there. I decided not to mess around with the toy-like Mr. Beer product and get something a little better.

I am aware of the basic setup, and it looks very simple as far as the equipment list. That is how I am left with this question. I can either order the complete kit online, or make a shopping list and buy my own products locally and assemble it myself. I know it would be easier to get it online and premade, but considering the equipment needed is so simple, I had thought I could save on both shipping charges and assembly fees if I choose the latter.

The more specific question would be: Which site is the best to get a premade brew kit, or: what are the exact items I would have to purchase if I were to buy and assemble it on my own.

I would like to have a 5 gallon setup, it seems to be the standard as far as beer recipe kits.

I am new to both this site and brewing as a whole, I am very relieved to have found a forum dedicated to it because I have seen from other DIY projects that having a forum is very helpful. Thanks for your thoughts.

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Old 01-04-2007, 09:44 PM   #2
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After shopping around I felt like I got the most for my money with a kit from http://www.midwestsupplies.com

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Old 01-04-2007, 09:52 PM   #3
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DrugCoder's suggestion is good. Any of these kits will get you started. Just watch out. My initial $55 investment has since gone up 10 fold as I've decided to get into kegging and now all grain.

It's a great hobby, especially if you have a little extra money to spend every now and then.

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Old 01-05-2007, 01:36 AM   #4
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Here's an AG kit from Northern Brewer that I'm finding is hard to beat by putting it together yourself:

"Deluxe All-Grain System"

Ask not what you can do for your system; ask what your system can do for your beer. The components in our Deluxe AGS will enhance your brewing experience with ease of use and efficiency. The mash/lauter tun is a Rubbermaid cooler fitted with a stainless false bottom and a brass ball valve spigot; the sparge water tank is also a cooler with the same ball valve spigot and Phil's Sparger. The system also includes 3/8" barb fittings and hi-temp vinyl tubing to connect it all. When covered, an insulated cooler will keep a mash at steady temperatures for hours on end and won't bleed away heat during the sparge. The brass ball valve offers superior flow control, minimizing the risk of clogging and stuck sparges. Our custom-built stainless false bottoms help set up a solid grain bed and high mash yields.

Like the Basic AGS, the five-gallon version of the Deluxe AGS is capable of mashing and lautering enough grist for a five-gallon batch of even a fairly heavy beer — it maxes out at about 15 pounds. Unlike the Basic, however, you won't have to insulate the tuns. The ten-gallon version of the Deluxe AGS can accommodate grist for batches of five to ten gallons plus extra infusions of hot water.

#7528 Deluxe AGS - 5 Gallon $159.95
EACH
#7529 Deluxe AGS - 10 Gallon $205.00
EACH


Dual Cooler Setup

If no one can beat that, I think I'll be diving into AG VERY soon. The 10 gallon version of course.

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Old 01-06-2007, 11:48 AM   #5
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Knowing now what I wished I knew then I would go with the Brewing Intermediate Kit w/ Better Bottles for $109.00. Everything there you need to get started brewing except a good size kettle and a big stirr spoon. If you wanted to go AG (all grain) those cooler conversions that spyk'd mentoned look like a good deal once you add up the inital cost of the coolers, the false bottom, the ball valves, the cooler conversion bulkhead and the fly sparge arm. If you knew what you were doing you could make that same thing for much less... but you would have to weigh the time involved. If you make minimum wage and aren't so much a do it yourselfer a day of overtime would be all the difference between a DIY home project and having something shipped to you ready to go. As for a burner I STRONGLY reccomend THIS ONE. I own one and my converted keg sits atop it just fine. Full with 15 gallons of water it dosn't wobble a bit! If you wanted to get a smaller stockpot it would have NO problem heating it and you will own it for years. There is also a Stainless Steel version for $88 instead of $48. The first time I used mine the paint in the center burnt off, kinda wished I had got the SS version but I'm still VERY happy with what I have. When I started brewing I bought a 20qt stockpot. You can do 3-4 gallon boils in it just fine. If you are doing extract, maybe steeping some grains, it will do wonderful but I suggest something you can do a full 6 gallon boil in if you think you might want to even try all grain some day. I would stronly recommend a 30qt stockpot. It might be more expensive but what's more expensive? Buying the cheap alternitave now then buying the more expensive model later or just doing it right once? I would also highly recommend an immersion wort chiller. Got mine from my LHBS for $50.
ok, so lets recap, a kit like the Intermediate kit w/ better bottles or glass carboys, a 30qt min (IMHO) stock pot, a nice big spoon plastic or stainless, and an immersion wort chiller. If you want to boil it outside THIS burner or the SS version would be my choice and if you want to go all grain the dual cooler idea by mentioned by spyk'd sounds like a good deal as well.
I hope I was of some help, as long winded as I am(and a terrible speller, when is this site going to get spell check?!?!?!?!? ) This is the greatest hobby I have gotten into and I hope if you decide to delve into it you enjoy it as much as I do. HAPPY BREWING!!!

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Old 01-06-2007, 12:55 PM   #6
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Have you checked in your yellow pages for a local brew store? some times its easier to drive a half an hour and talk to someone who knows what you need rather than buying it online. Where are you located .. some people here may be able to point you in the right direction.

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Old 01-07-2007, 06:56 AM   #7
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I went to china town in NYC and bought used equipment in the resturant area of canal street.

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