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Old 10-07-2006, 01:45 PM   #1
JnJ
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Default Newbie looking for advice

Hello all! Well I’m about to take the plunge…again. Many years ago (about 14) I got a Mr. Beer and made a couple batches. They were ok, but I was in Germany at the time and it was easy to get much better beer. So, in the last year or so I’ve gotten bit by the bug to start brewing again. This time going beyond the Mr. Beer kits. I will start with extract brewing and eventually may be AG. I’ve done a ton of reading on this forum and others for the past few months and will be getting my equipment soon. I want to bottle and keg. I’m hoping you all can help me out with my equipment choices.

I will start with the Midwest Intermediate kit consisting of;

Instructional Homebrewing Video or DVD • 71 page instructional book • 6 Gallon Better Bottle • 5 Gallon Better Bottle • 6.5 Gallon Plastic Fermenter • 6.5 Gallon Bottling Bucket with Spigot • 8 Oz. of Easy Clean No-Rinse Cleanser • two #10 Rubber Stoppers • 2 Airlocks (Keeps air out of the fermenter) • 8 Inch Funnel • Hydrometer (Determines alcohol content) • Bottle Brush • Carboy Brush • Twin Lever Red Baron Bottle Capper • Bottle Caps • 2 Liquid Crystal Thermometers • Bottle Filler • Fermtech AutoSiphon • Siphon Tubing • shutoff clamp

I like the idea of the better bottles and I plan to ask if they can put spigots on the better bottles and the plastic fermenter. I want to be able to have two brews going at a time.

Additional items;
Liquid tube brush
3 piece airlock
Better bottle handle
Plastic lid drilled for airlock (for bottling bucket to use as a primary)
Boiling bag
18” plastic spoon
Hydrometer test jar
Stainless measuring spoons
Double bottle washer
Airlock brush
Wine thief
8” stainless steel strainer
2 Ingredients kits
Cost: $237.75

So to keg I added their Kegging system which includes;

1 Cornelius Keg
1 5lbs CO2 tank
Duel gauge regulator
Hand tap
Hoses and connectors
Cost: $164.95

Total with shipping: $472.12

My budget is $500.00. I still need a brewing pot, do I get a 20 qt and partial boil for now, or what? Can I trim any of this stuff to save some $$? Would I be better off getting the kegging stuff individually? I see kegs for $15, and may be I can get the tank from a local welding supply shop? If I get the kegging stuff in pieces, what type of hosing and stuff will I need?

Sorry for the long post, thanks for any advice.


Thanks,
John


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Old 10-07-2006, 02:19 PM   #2
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That's quite a shopping list!

There's a few odds and ends that may not be necessary, but I doubt they would save much money. Your list is very similar to where I was after about three months of brewing.

You can upgrade your better bottles with spigots, but that will add about $50 to your bill (for two bottles).

I do my primary brewing in plastic fermenters with spigots, and it works great. Makes transfering to the secondary a breeze. It does make cleaning a bit harder since you have to disassemble the spigot to get things clean - but it's not a big deal. Just double-check the seals since you'll be keeping liquids in there for longer than a bottling session.


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Old 10-07-2006, 02:47 PM   #3
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You said you may want to go all grain. That is a step i am currently in the process of making. The 20 qt pot you mentioned will not even get you to the starting line of brewing AG. Its is a bit more money but go ahead and splurge on the 40Qt Stainless Steel pot right now, it will make the transition to AG alot easier when the time comes.
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Old 10-08-2006, 12:01 PM   #4
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Thanks for the advice. What about getting the kegging stuff piece by piece vs. buying the kit I listed above. Will I be able to save $$ that way?
If I buy the bigger pot now, I'll need the gas burner setup too, my stove is electric. I figured I could get the 20qt and do partially boils for now until I have the $$ for the turkey fryer setup. The 20qt wont go to waste, we can cook other stuff in it.
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Old 10-08-2006, 02:05 PM   #5
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You can save some money by buying a used keg, new ones run around $90. Some welding shops lease CO2 bottles.

A 20 qt. pot is ok for partial boils. You can even do mini-mashes in one.
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Old 10-09-2006, 06:14 PM   #6
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You won't need the kegging stuff for a month. I'd try finding CO2 stuff used- lots of contractor use them for nail guns- $20 for tank and reg? I think for the $164, you are getting a used corny, and new CO2 stuff. Cornies show up at swap meets too, $5?.

My own little CO2 tank was a fire extinguisher, re-hydro'd and change the valve. Empty fire extinguishers are REALLY cheap. Oh, the new tank is probably empty form the HBS, can't ship full ones.
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Old 10-09-2006, 06:56 PM   #7
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Micromatic has about the best pricing on Kegging Equipment. Here's what you need to get started (not counted a Corny Keg)

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Old 10-09-2006, 07:07 PM   #8
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"If your going to be a Bear, be a Grizzly Bear!!!"
I'm still a newbie having just put my second batch into the secondary, but the first thing that I thought from your post was Wow!!!. So many things to learn and procedures to get comfortable with. Are you trying to bite off too much at one time?? Kegging is of great interest to me too, but that is going to be down the road when I am feeling comfortable with everything else that I am doing. My thought would be save the money on the kegging equip and get at least 7 1/2 gal pot for your future plans. You still will have to get bottles (drinking or from LHBS) so there is another expense. Once you have a comfort level with these steps then you hopefully will have another budget to do the kegging later on.

Just my $0.02 worth. It just sounded like too much to keep up with and learn to make the homebrewing experience an enjoyable one. JRHAHB!!!
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Old 10-09-2006, 10:26 PM   #9
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Or really go nuts and become a polar bear. Get a couple retired half barrels and cut a 12" diameter hole in the top of them. (plazma cutter works like a dream) Then invest in a propane burner. Toss in a modified 52quart cooler, and rock and roll 10 to 12 gallons at a time... Well, it took a few years for me to go this nuts...
Carry on......
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Old 10-14-2006, 06:28 PM   #10
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Well I ordered my startup stuff. I decided to find the kegging stuff seperately instead of spending an additional $160 or so for a kit. I'm really looking forward to the FedEx shippment. Here is what I ordered;

Qty. Description

1 Liberty Cream Ale w/ American Ale Wyeast 1056
1 Liquid Tube Brush
1 Airlock Brush 5/8"
1 Airlock 3 piece type
1 Plastic lid with drilled hole for airlock, for 6.5 gallon fermenters.
1 Boiling bag (NYLON) 8 1/2" x 9 1/2"
1 18 inch Plastic Stirring Spoon
1 Stainless Steel Brewing Pot (5 Gallon)
1 Hydrometer test jar 12" plastic w/ screw on base
1 Stainless Measuring Spoons
1 Jet bottle washer faucet adapter
1 Fermtech Blast Bottle and Carboy Washer
1 Airlock brush
3 Bottles 12 oz. Amber (per 24)
1 Fermtech Wine Thief
1 Happy Holiday Brew w/European Ale Wyeast 1338
1 Brewing Intermediate Kit- with Better Bottle Carboys (5 and 6 gallon)
1 Stainless Steel Strainer, 8" diameter

I'll do partial boils until I get a turkey fryer, but that comes after the kegging supplies.


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