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Old 11-30-2012, 05:09 PM   #1
drewN
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Default First Kit

Hey guys - just started surfing these forums a few days ago and have been looking at information and some folks stories about brewing, i tried to resist buying a kit but have finally caved, i got
http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/e...arter-kit.html
along with a gravity testing kit as everyone suggests it.
Im wondering if this kit was a good idea and how easy it will be as ive never brewed, never seen a brew, don't know anything about fermentation but eager to learn and try to make some sort of concoction of my own when im fimiliar with the process.

Additional bonus questions:
After how many brews did you change from extract to all grain brews and how difficult was the change over?
Where do you find cheap but quality ingredients?


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Old 11-30-2012, 05:14 PM   #2
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Most starter kits are a great way to start. They include the basic tools necessary to brew, instructions, and are a great way to save a few bucks compared to purchasing piecemeal.

Bonus:
1. From our experience it varies per person; neither are hard to do, one just has additional steps/equipment required. Any experienced can make excellent extract brews. We see many all-grain brewers switch to Extract during holiday times when free time is at a premium.

2. Cheap =/= quality for the most part; just like most things in life. The best way to find quality ingredients is to purchase from a Homebrew Store. Most online vendors and LHBS have a very fresh selection.

Hope this helps, good luck!


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Old 11-30-2012, 05:16 PM   #3
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The kit looks to have most of what you'll want. I'd pick up a hydrometer as well, to test your gravity (the only way to *really* know when your beer is done fermenting/if you have the proper mix of wort/water after a partial boil), and a stick-on thermometer to monitor your fermentation temperatures.

In terms of ingredients, Northern Brewer, Midwest Supplies, Austin Home Brew are the spots most will send you to, along with some sites like MoreBeer and BrewmastersWarehouse

Edit: to add to what Love2BrewCrew said, local stores are a great resource, both for fresher ingredients (you can check what the dates are on things before you buy them, especially important with extract brewing), and for finding a brewing community, people to bounce ideas off of, people to help you pick the right ingredients for a particular recipe (once you move on from kits).

Edit 2: whoops, didn't see you'd already got a hydrometer, n/m on that one
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:17 PM   #4
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That kit looks like exactly what I have, but I got mine from Midwest. Starting with the pre-made kits from NB or Midwest, or others, is the best way to go. All ingredients are there and you can learn the process before creating the recipe. Look through some of the how-tos on here and Palmer's online guide to get some good basics under your belt and you will be good to go. Typically, as long as you keep good sanitation, you will make decent beer. Other things to consider are your temp control aspects. I use a swamp cooler, which is just a rubbermaid bin my bucket goes into and I toss some frozen water bottles in to keep the temp down in range, usually mid 60s.

I'm getting antsy, so I'll be converting to BIAB for now until I can get a cooler to convert, but it's completely up to the brewer. I believe some on here have been nothing but extract brewers for years. I've made some really good extract brews, so it's up to you and the effort you want to put in.

Most of the major websites have quality ingredients. I've never had an issue with anything from Midwest, expect yeast, doesn't always travel well. But I'm sure there are hundreds of threads on here for places to get ingredients.

This site is the best in the world, IMO, for homebrewers. Use the search function at the top and we're always ready to help out if you can't find what you're looking for. Good Luck!
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:18 PM   #5
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Watch the DVD,that should help get you started with the basics. The beer kit should have instructions. But the time table for how long to ferment,etc can be off. You can get help with that here. Plus you'll need about 2 cases of pop top bottles.
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:26 PM   #6
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Very similar starter kit to the one I bought at my LHBS....you will be fine.

You will need a thermometer (like a digital probe thermometor or a SS clip on thermometer that attaches to kettle side).

You will of course also need a brew pot...at least 5 gallon.

Northern Brewer has plenty of extract kits.....pick a beer type you like and go with it ( I did Brewers Best Kolsch as my first one....was very good)

WARNING....throw the directions with any beer kit you get out (not literally).....most kits will have you drinking your beer in 3 weeks....which is ridiculous......I normally do 3 weeks min in primary and 3 weeks min in bottles to condition.....

I recommned before you do your first brew.....post a thread on here with exactly what you will be doing...a step by step procedure for yourself....based on what you have learned....and let your fellow Brewmasters give you some guidance (that is what I did and I got awesome feedback of course)

Now....go buy some commercial beer (amber bottles...not clear or green) that have pop tops and drink it so you can save the bottles to bottle your beer when its done!

Oh...and I did 3-4 extract brews before I went all grain myself.

AND....welcome to the obsession!

Where will you be fermenting your beer ?? Basement?? What is the temp there this time of year....temp very important!
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unionrdr View Post
Watch the DVD,that should help get you started with the basics. The beer kit should have instructions. But the time table for how long to ferment,etc can be off. You can get help with that here. Plus you'll need about 2 cases of pop top bottles.
comes with 60 bottle caps !
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:36 PM   #8
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But the typical kit only makes 5 gallons,so that's 48-53 bottles. My 6 gallon Cooper's/DME/hops batches are 6 gallons & give about 62 bottles on average. So 2 cases of pop tops should do it,plus maybe a 6 pack to cover extra amounts.
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgortel View Post
Very similar starter kit to the one I bought at my LHBS....you will be fine.

You will need a thermometer (like a digital probe thermometor or a SS clip on thermometer that attaches to kettle side).

You will of course also need a brew pot...at least 5 gallon.

Northern Brewer has plenty of extract kits.....pick a beer type you like and go with it ( I did Brewers Best Kolsch as my first one....was very good)

WARNING....throw the directions with any beer kit you get out (not literally).....most kits will have you drinking your beer in 3 weeks....which is ridiculous......I normally do 3 weeks min in primary and 3 weeks min in bottles to condition.....

I recommned before you do your first brew.....post a thread on here with exactly what you will be doing...a step by step procedure for yourself....based on what you have learned....and let your fellow Brewmasters give you some guidance (that is what I did and I got awesome feedback of course)

Now....go buy some commercial beer (amber bottles...not clear or green) that have pop tops and drink it so you can save the bottles to bottle your beer when its done!

Oh...and I did 3-4 extract brews before I went all grain myself.

AND....welcome to the obsession!

Where will you be fermenting your beer ?? Basement?? What is the temp there this time of year....temp very important!
is the 5 gallon brew pot simply a carboy? I think i could find one here.

I'll be doing it in the basement. As i let it sit for the couple of weeks that, im not sure, depending on how cold it is outside maybe outside? (i live in northern canada its getting pretty cold here)
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:36 PM   #10
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I brewed 10 extract brews before switching to AG. Don't be in a rush to switch. There are a ton of things to learn about yeast and fermentation temperatures that are more important than switching to AG.

Just remember two things...sanitize everything that touches your wort after its cooled...and relax, it will be beer!


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