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Old 04-30-2007, 04:14 PM   #1
CollinsBrew
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Default Good Kits?

Since I am just starting with AG brewing I was planning on buying a couple of basic ingredient kits from Norther Brewer or Midwest Supplies. Does anyone have any better suggestions on where to buy ingredient kits?

I want to make a 5 gallon batch of Hefeweizen and a 5 gallon batch of Oatmeal Stout to start since I have enough fermentation equipment to handle 10 gallons at once. I know that these kits come with the grain, hops, yeast, and sugar for carbing. The ones I have found on those two websites haven't been real clear on whether its dry or liquid yeast or if anything needs to be done to prepare it.

I know that dry yeast may have to be rehydrated but how do you make a starter with liquid yeast if you are doing all-grain? Do you have to buy malt extract to make these starters beforehand?

I'd appreciate any input since I will be brewing my first batch hopefully this weekend!!...


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Old 04-30-2007, 04:26 PM   #2
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IMO you get ripped off buying kits from online stores. Your going to pay more than you would if you just ordered the grains you need.


Look in our recipe section. There are many Stout and Hefe recipes.

As for the starters. I keep a couple lbs of DME on hand and make the starter early on in the week.


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Old 04-30-2007, 04:36 PM   #3
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Midwest and AHS are fairly straight forward about the yeast that comes with the kit since you have to pay an upcharge for liquid (and they specify the strains recommended when you select the upgrade). Look again at their pages. I haven't ordered from northern but if you click on the inventory link in the kit descrip, it lists the yeast.

AHS frequently has some sale kits that are a good option for the value minded. I have ordered with out a yeast option in the past when I want use my own or a cake.
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Old 04-30-2007, 04:55 PM   #4
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If that is the case Chimone, where are some places that I can purchase pre-crushed grain in less-than bulk amounts. I haven't quite graduated to that yet.
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Old 04-30-2007, 05:07 PM   #5
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You can buy your grain from any store- I like AHS, Northern Brewer, Morebeer.com, and Midwest.

I actually found one kit, the Fat Tire clone, at AHS to be a bit less than buying all the ingredients separately. It really depends on the amounts of grain, etc. I didn't want to buy a pound of some things, so I bought the kit. You could take a look, and see what looks good and see if the price is reasonable.
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Old 04-30-2007, 05:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper Chick
I actually found one kit, the Fat Tire clone, at AHS to be a bit less than buying all the ingredients separately. It really depends on the amounts of grain, etc. I didn't want to buy a pound of some things, so I bought the kit. You could take a look, and see what looks good and see if the price is reasonable.
I think a lot of their kits are like this. In the kits they will split stuff that they don't offer in small quantities. Plus they throw in the priming sugar for free. The extract hefeweizen is cheaper in the kit.
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Old 04-30-2007, 06:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimone
IMO you get ripped off buying kits from online stores. Your going to pay more than you would if you just ordered the grains you need.


Look in our recipe section. There are many Stout and Hefe recipes.

As for the starters. I keep a couple lbs of DME on hand and make the starter early on in the week.
I have priced buying the ingredients vs. buying the kits and in most cases buying the kits are around the same price or slightly higher. The only way I have seen where buying ingredients is drastically cheaper is when you are buying more in bulk.

For example a Cream Ale AG kit from Northern Brewer:
Kit = $19.57 w/ liquid yeast (Wyeast Smack pack) w/ crushed grains

Ingredients from NB:
7 lbs. Rahr 2-Row Pale = $7.63 ($1.09 per lb (crushed))
0.75 lbs. Gambrinus Honey Malt = $1.60 per lb (crushed)
0.25 lbs. Dingemans Biscuit = $1.60 per lb (crushed)
1 oz. Mt. Hood = $1.25
1 oz. Willamette = $1.30
Wyeast #1056 American Ale Yeast = $5.75
Total = $19.13

Buying the ingredients is $.44 cheaper but you have to measure out some grains because they only ship in whole pounds. I don't know about you but I don't have a scale yet and have no means of measuring out .25 a pound.

Unless you can find a couple of recepies that have similar ingredients then you can buy more in bulk and make a couple of brews. You would also need a grain mill or you risk your cracked grains going bad before you use them all up.

I have only done 2 AG brews (so I'm no expert) and have done both in kits. Anyway the long and short of it is your not getting "ripped off" IMHO.

Just my 2¢.
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Old 04-30-2007, 06:35 PM   #8
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Thanks for the info! I am perfectly capable of following a recipe but since this will be my first brew session and I'm starting with AG, I think I want to go with a kit. At least this way I don't have to worry about storing leftover grains and everything will come together so all I have to worry about is brewing.

After a few batches and getting things all worked out I can start buying separate ingredients to brew my own concoctions. That will require a few more pieces of equipment (grain mill, storage containers) that I will have to convince SWMBO are a necessity to make brewing more "cost effective," if that's even possible.
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Old 04-30-2007, 07:01 PM   #9
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The Grape and Granary also has what appear to be some nice kits. I have been impressed with the ingredients I have bough from them so far. The kits include dry yeast but the check out recommends the liquid yeast you could use with the kit.

Craig
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Old 04-30-2007, 07:11 PM   #10
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I think you're right to do some kits initially. They will make the switch to all grain easier. If you are planning on a few kits AHS is a good deal. ($6 shipping no matter the order size, but kit prices are a little higher tham others.) NB has great prices on kits, but sometimes hipping adds up.

I have had great success with both, but I am still at the extract/steeping grains stage. Good luck.


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