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Old 04-20-2012, 07:11 PM   #1
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Default basic kits

I am interested in trying a kit for beer. Do the basic equipment kits from midwest brewing, northern brewer etc really have everything needed or are there other materials needed to have a first batch come out good? Would anyone recommend one over the other? groupon has one at midwest for approx $69 including the extract kit

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Old 04-20-2012, 07:15 PM   #2
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I got a kit for Christmas a few years ago and ingredients for my first batch and it came out great. At least, I thought it was great then. I would like to think I have improved since then. It's very easy to go nuts in this hobby and buy new toys but it really doesn't take much to brew your first batch of extract beer.

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Old 04-20-2012, 07:19 PM   #3
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It really depends on the kit. Equipment kits are usually pretty complete, but you will always need a brew kettle and bottles. You will probably need a sanitizer, a thermometer and a good scale. Also, ingredient kits often don't come with priming sugar or bottle caps. There is also one (can't remember which) that doesn't send a muslin bag with steeping grains.
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Old 04-20-2012, 07:21 PM   #4
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It has everything you need to brew beer and for it to turn out well. Just be prepared because you're probably going to want to buy more stuff.
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Old 04-20-2012, 07:21 PM   #5
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$69 is great as long as you have the essential items. I paid about $80 for my True Brew Kit.

The only thing I would recommend the first time around (that I was unaware of) is that some extract kits come with not-so-great yeast. Get a good yeast. Also, you may want to get a blowoff tube. The airlock becomes insufficient with good yeast. All you would need is a hose that fits snug where the airlock is and a small bucket. Might cost you $10 to convert to that. Search blowoff tube in this forum and you'll find great ideas.

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Old 04-20-2012, 07:23 PM   #6
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I'm sure the Midwest kit from Groupon is good. I don't know exactly what's in the kit, but these are some basic things you want to have to help you make beer:

- Fermenter
- Airlock for fermenter
- Bottling bucket with spigot
- Autosiphon with tubing
- Hydrometer
- Preferrably a wine thief to take samples for the above hydrometer (can use turkey baster)
- SANITIZER! (very important)
- Bottle filler

I think the above things are in most kits because they are pretty standard stuff. Additional items like secondary fermenters, bottling trees, aeration stones, etc. can be useful stuff to acquire later on, and are not necessary to help make good beer.
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Old 04-20-2012, 07:23 PM   #7
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You can brew beer with their basic kit, a brew pot and bottles.
you'll find out what you want to add after the first few batches.
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Old 04-20-2012, 07:24 PM   #8
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In general they are complete, but there are a few different kits and some are more complete than others

In any kit there will be things that you will WANT to upgrade over time. But for the most part any beginner's kit should have the basics needed to do the job. I'd suggest getting a kit to fit your brewing style. For instance:

I'd go with buckets only, to start with. I ferment in buckets and a glass carboy would not be used for making almost every beer I brewed. And buckets are cheaper than Better Bottles and just as useful IMO.

I'd make sure the kit had the tubing necessary to rack beer and an autosiphon to make racking cooled wort/beer easier. You gotta have a hydrometer too.

Make sure you get two buckets, a 6.5 gallon or larger for fermenting in, and a 5 gallon for bottling in. Also a bottling wand is mighty handy at bottling time.

And you need a capper of some sort. And a way to sanitize everything. I use StarSan and recommend it for cost and ease of use.

That's a pretty basic kit. Some might like to go with better bottles, or even glass carboys for various reasons, but that's a personal preference, not a major upgrade IMO.

Most all of the online places have comparable kits, but FYI Midwest has Groupon deals pop up all the time and they are great ways to save money on a starting kit.

Also know that no matter what you get you will probably want to add to it or upgrade certain things down the road. It's the nature of the hobby.
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Old 04-20-2012, 07:33 PM   #9
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I started a full mash kit from Brooklyn Brew Shop 5 days ago and I thought it was great. The only extra supplies needed were pots, a fine mesh strainer, and a funnel. The only minor inconvenience was that their instructions are all online, but they do have videos to accompany them. The kit with supplies is 40$ and refill kits are 15$ for 1 gallon batches - which I thought are very fairly priced. Some recipes also have recommended (but not required) ingredients like coconut, coffee grinds, light brown sugar and maple syrup for their Coffee Donut Stout. They also change of their kits as the seasons change.

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