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Old 11-06-2011, 06:08 AM   #1
Nov 2011
Painesville, Oh
Posts: 259
Liked 18 Times on 18 Posts

Knowing what you know now, what would you buy starting out?

How many buckets, carboys, etc? I plan to start with 1 extract and 1 all grain. Which ingredient kits would you suggest for my first time? 2 more questions,

What equipment is necessary and what is recommended?


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Old 11-06-2011, 06:13 AM   #2
Inverted_Giraffe's Avatar
Sep 2011
Sioux Center, IA
Posts: 83

Personally, I wouldn't go extract and all-grain 1:1; I'd start with extract, or at the most partial-mash, to dial in your process and get familiar. With all-grain, you will not have the benefit of making mistakes and allowing the extract to make up for it, as well as not needing to worry about the in's and out's of your water source.

I'd start with a 6 gallon glass carboy with airlock, a bottling bucket and go from there.

All my starting equipment if I started from the beginning:
  • 6 gal glass carboy
  • bottling bucket with spigot
  • grain bag
  • hop bag
  • metal spoon
  • 8 gal brew pot (can be used to mash in)
  • 5 gal pot to sparge
  • easy siphon
  • propane burner
  • digital thermometer
  • stopper and airlock
  • bottling wand
  • the thief
  • hydrometer
  • iodophor (I use bottling bucket to fill with iodophor to sanitize equipment)
  • funnel

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Old 11-06-2011, 06:18 AM   #3
Polboy's Avatar
Jun 2011
Chicago, IL
Posts: 917
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Hym I would like to start with 4 or 6 buckets and 2-3 carboys. In this setup u can make lots of beer, age some of them, have a lot of fermenters to play around, try different recipes, yeasts ect.

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Old 11-06-2011, 06:23 AM   #4
CrystallineEntity's Avatar
Feb 2009
San Jose, CA
Posts: 6,221
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Who's Hym?
I had to do number 2 at the Burger King. I probably have crabs now. - Reelale

I fit right in with the people I admire most - David Yow

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Old 11-06-2011, 06:42 AM   #5
Inverted_Giraffe's Avatar
Sep 2011
Sioux Center, IA
Posts: 83

Originally Posted by CrystallineEntity View Post
Who's Hym?
I would fathom Hym is Hmm with his mouth open?

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Old 11-06-2011, 06:45 AM   #6
Golddiggie's Avatar
Dec 2010
Posts: 11,995
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If I was starting out again, knowing what I know know...

10 gallon BoilerMaker kettle (for ~5 gallon batch boils)
keggle mash tun
At least a 40 plate chiller (which I have now)
All 3 piece stainless ball valves
Monster Mill (2" hardened rollers) with hopper extension.
Two Blichmann burners (I picked up a KAB4 burner to start with).
Pony kegs to ferment ~5-6.5 gallon batches in.
Kegging gear
Oxygen infusion system (stone, wand, O2 tank and regulator with a flow meter)

Basically pretty much what I have now. I went cheaper on some things initially, only to get the better items over time. I would rather have spent a little more to get those items from the start since it would have cost me less in the long run.

Next up is getting a larger place where I can brew without worrying about the LL getting a hair across his bunghole over it.
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On Tap: Caramel Ale, Mocha Porter II, MO SMaSH IPA
Waiting/Carbonating: 12.5% Wee Honey II, 8.9% Old Ale, English Brown Ale, Lickah ESB, Mocha Porter II
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K3: TripSix
On Deck: Caramel Ale
Mead [bottled]:Oaked Wildflower Traditional, Mocha Madness, Blackberry Melomel, maple wine

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Old 11-06-2011, 07:09 AM   #7
Jun 2011
Newberg, OR
Posts: 134
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts

Fermometers on all carboys/buckets!

I would have gotten a normal hydrometer container to do measurements in, in addition to having a wine thief to get it out of the bucket. I still have to get one, actually. I hate having to balance it perfectly in the wine thief because it's so dang hard and it bumps around constantly!
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Secondary: Edwort's Apfelwein
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:06 AM   #8
Nov 2010
Solway, MN
Posts: 10,040
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I have a suggestion. Think about stacking glass carboys. Think about stacking plastic buckets. See how many you can stack in a 2 foot square.

Price out the carboys. I'd personally want to be able to have at least 3 batches fermenting at the same time so I'd need at least 3. Price out the plastic buckets. Hmmm... It looks like there is a price difference. Enough difference to buy another extract kit and make another 5 gallons of beer.

Grab a bucket by the handle and then drop it a couple inches to the floor. It should just bounce. Want to try that with a carboy?

Now for the original question. I bought a very basic kit that contained 2 buckets, a lid, airlock and grommet. It had a capper and a hydrometer and some tubing. I already had a 20 qt stock pot. That's enough to start and see what brewing is all about. If you decide that brewing isn't for you it isn't a lot of money wasted. If you find you like the process and the results you will have a pretty good idea of what to add by the time you have the second batch.

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Old 11-06-2011, 02:03 PM   #9
runningweird's Avatar
Dec 2009
State Line, PA, Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,068
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I would buy/find:

15.5 gallon keggle
a malt mill( I have a schmidling)
big thing of Star San
immersion chiller
sight glass - still need one
8 large better bottles - I have to keep up with 6 taps
Orange cooler mash tun with round false bottom
Temperature controller for fermentations
fermentation fridge/freezer. I have a 26 cubic foot monster and as you can see I might need more space!
My 6 Tap Long Draw Tower Build:

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Old 11-06-2011, 02:44 PM   #10

Aside from the obvious (fermenter, carboys, etc.): fermentation is everything. So, temperature control and oxygen are two things you can do to greatly improve your beer. Many ales are great when fermented in the low 60s but very marginal fermented at room temperature; then there are lagers. So a temperature controller and chest freezer are great investments. O2 kits are very reasonably priced, and you will see more vigorous fermentation and improvement in your finished beer right away IMO.
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