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Old 10-02-2010, 03:32 PM   #1
Raider21
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Default First Time Brewer, Which Kit to Buy?

Good morning fellas,

I am looking for some suggestions on picking a brewing kit. Planning to spend between $150 and $300. I have found several kits, shown below, but don’t know about the quality or the advantages of one over the other. Any feedback on the following kits, or recommendations of another manufacturer would be greatly appreciated.
Oscar

Here's what I've found in my price range:
Austin Homebrew Supply Deluxe Brewing Kit - $240.49
The kit includes:
• 7.9 gallon plastic primary fermenter
• Your choice of a 5 gallon glass or plastic carboy secondary fermenter. See menu below.
• 3-piece airlock
• 3/8" standard auto-siphon
• 6 feet of 3/8" siphon hose
• Spring-loaded bottle filler
• Nylon grain bag
• 21" stainless steel spoon
• Triple scale hydrometer
• Fermtech Thief
• Floating thermometer
• 7 gallon bottling bucket w/spigot
• Bottle capper
• Bottle caps
• Cleaner/Sanitizer
• 33' wort chiller
• Faucet adapter
• Advanced Homebrewing Book
Toll-Free Technical Support

Brewers Best Advanced Home brewing system $169.95
Beer Making Plus Kit with Secondary Fermenter and Ingredients
Includes:
• 6.5 gallon fermenter with lid
• 6.5 gallon bottling bucket with spigot
• Two 3 piece air-locks
• One-step sanitizer
• Siphon unit (racking cane, 4 ft. hose & springless bottle filler)
• Crystal thermometer
• Triple scale hydrometer
• Bucket clip
• Quality bottle capper
• 50 Bottle Caps
• Bottle brush
• "Home Beer Making" book
• 21" Stainless steel spoon
• Fermtech Auto-Siphon
• John Palmer's "How to Brew"
• 5-gallon Better-Bottle plastic carboy
• Rubber stopper
• Your choice of one Alpine Brew Kit
• Step-by-step instructions


Midwest Homebrewing Supplies - $169.
The Complete Brewing Package Equipment Kit #2 with Irish Red Ale Includes:
• Instructional Homebrewing Video or DVD
• 71 page instructional book
• 5 Gallon Glass Carboy
• 6.5 Gallon Plastic Fermenter with Lid
• 6.5 Gallon Bottling Bucket with Spigot
• 8 Oz. of Easy Clean No-Rinse Cleanser
• Drilled Universal Carboy Bung
• Airlock (Keeps air out of the fermenter)
• Hydrometer (Determines alcohol content)
• Bottle Brush
• Carboy Brush
• Twin Lever Red Baron Bottle Capper
• Bottle Caps
• Liquid Crystal Thermometer
• Bottle Filler
• Fermtech AutoSiphon upgrade
• Siphon Tubing
• Shutoff clamp
• A 5-gallon Stainless Steel Brew Kettle
• Irish Red Ale Recipe Kit
• And 2 cases of 12 ounce bottles


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Old 10-02-2010, 03:52 PM   #2
Germelli1
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The brewers best is WAAAAAAAAAAY overpriced. I got a similar one for about $70. The other two look good though.

The main things you need are:
1) Aluminum or stainless brew pot
Size is up to you but if you have any trouble deciding or want to use it as you get more advanced I would get at least 8 gallon
2) Plastic or glass fermenter with airlock-6.5 gallons or more
3) Bottling bucket with spigot
Not required but a huge help
4) SANATIZER (you can use bleach and vinegar safely diluted in water)
4) Siphon tubing and bottle filler
5) Capper and caps
6) Utensils and measuring devices-thermometers, HYDROMETER, stirring spoon, etc


Everything else is just toys that make the process easier or more fun. You can collect your own bottles or ask a bar/resturant/party venue for their empties.

I would personally reccomend piecing together your own kit with a brewpot add-on or buy your own from a resturant supply store, or like many of us, get a used or new turkey fryer. I personally prefer aluminum brewpots so I am going to upgrade with one from a resturant/food service supplyer. A secondary is not typically necesary and I am glad I spent money initial buying more fermenters and waiting for a carboy to pop up on craigslist for $10


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Old 10-02-2010, 04:14 PM   #3
Strangebird
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The Austin kit looks WAY overpriced as well. The midwest one looks by far the best considering the price and that it also comes with a brew pot which the others don't. I'd go with that one or put one together yourself.
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Old 10-02-2010, 04:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strangebird View Post
The Austin kit looks WAY overpriced as well. The midwest one looks by far the best considering the price and that it also comes with a brew pot which the others don't. I'd go with that one or put one together yourself.
Our kit ships for FREE. You have to add the fact that Midwest will charge you $40 to ship the kit to you. If you still think you will get a better deal at Midwest let me know. Send me a PM.
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Old 10-02-2010, 04:51 PM   #5
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besides free shipping the austin kit also comes with a wort chiller unlike the others. only other thing you'll need is a kettle and I'd get at least an 8 gallon
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Old 10-03-2010, 12:20 AM   #6
Raider21
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Gents,
Thanks for all the feedback. I'd like to build my own kit, but can't seem to find a homebrew store in northern Virginia area. Where do the experts shop near Fredericksburg, VA?
r,
Oscar
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Old 10-03-2010, 12:45 AM   #7
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+1 on germelli's first response to this post. keep it simple. you do not need to spend anywhere near 300 for equipment for your first batch. people do, but to me, it seems like you get a better feel for the basics by keeping it simple. for your first brew, personally, i'd stay away from anything called "deluxe." that is a word the marketing people of the world just love but means nothing. kettle (aluminum or steel). water. dry yeast. malt extract. hops (pellet or whole). long spoon. primary fermenter. priming container with spigot. basic kitchen strainer. siphon hose. that is ALL you need to be successful on your first try. there is a lot more that you will want on batch 2 but it's better to start with the bare minimum and then figure out for yourself what stuff will help next time. $100-$125 is all you need to brew a great 1st batch, equipment and ingredients included.
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Old 10-03-2010, 12:46 AM   #8
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I am not pushing Austin but they have some good items in there. I built my own, but for a one-fits-all kit I would go with Austin.
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Old 10-03-2010, 12:48 AM   #9
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austin is a great site to order from IMHO though. very competitive prices.
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Old 10-03-2010, 12:50 AM   #10
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also...you don't need a friggin wort chiller. if you've got a tub, water, and 2 bags of ice, that is fine. worry about the chiller in a few years after you've brewed a few batches.


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