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Old 04-21-2008, 04:24 PM   #1
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Default Do I have to do all 5 gallons?

Hello all, I have been askign lots of questions in the Chat room, figured I woudl chime in here as well, I have been torn by not being sure waht to get..

I have read alot of information that makes the Mr. Beer sound like a great way to start into brewing, and I could get one brand new from craigslist for $10-$15, now my other option is that I can get the "True Brew Gold kit" for $79 at the mall here in a german store.
True Brew Gold (complete) equipt. kit. Includes: 7.8 gallon fermenting bucket w/d&g lid, 6 gallon glass carboy, hydrometer adhesive fermentation thermometer, drilled stopper, 3 piece airlock, True Brew rack and fill kit, Double Lever Corker, 30 Altec corks, C-brite sanitizer
I keep hearign to just splurge and get the True Brew, because if I will outgrow Mr. Beer rather quickly.

My problem is this.. I like Mr. Beer for the size, presently I dont see myselg doign any 5 gallon batches in the next year or 2, is it possible to do a 2.5 gal batch in the the 6 callong Carboy, or would I be better off getting the Mr. Beer for that and eventually upgrading..

Same question for kegs, if you have a 5 gallong do oyu have to use all 5 gallons or can you do smaller then that as well. I have not purchased anything at this point.. but will be soon..

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Old 04-21-2008, 04:31 PM   #2
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Yes, you can do smaller batches -- 2.5 or even 1 gallon batches of beer. This is a good start, and in the future, it's sometimes a good way to test out new recipes or recipes you aren't sure you will like.

For the most part, your recipes will just cut everything in half -- hops, malt, etc. The yeast is the only real dilemma -- the liquid yeast smackpacks will have too much yeast and be too expensive, so for smaller batches you can use cheaper dried yeast.

If you are doing a small batch, it is easier to ferment in a smaller glass jar or bucket if available. The 7.5 gallon fermenter will leave a lot of air in there and you may not create enough Co2 to push the oxygen out. However, as long as you don't shake it up too much, Co2 is a heaver gas than 02 and will stay on top of the beer like a blanket.

Hope this helps


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Old 04-21-2008, 04:32 PM   #3
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Just to make sure, you do know that a 5 gallon batch produces just a few more bottles than two cases of beer, right? In the grand scheme of things, that's not really that much beer, especially if you're like me and not only like to have at least one beer a day, but also like to share your beer from time to time with friends and family.

I'm not familiar with True Brew. My Brewer's Best kit came with a primary fermenter Ale Pail and a bottling bucket, no carboy. It was $20 less than the kit you mentioned. I'm not saying don't get the Mr. Beer, but if you are into the more "craftbrewed" beers, rather than the standard Bud or Miller stuff, I'd probably advise you to go with the bigger kit.
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Old 04-21-2008, 05:14 PM   #4
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I bought a Mr. Beer kit but only did one batch with it before upgrading to a 5 gallon kit. In a way I'm glad I bought the Mr. Beer kit because I wouldn't have started this homebrewing hobby without it, but if I had my time back I wouldn't have bothered. Making 5 gallons of beer takes the same about of time as a Mr. Beer kit and doesn't cost a whole lot more. I agree with ma2brew, 5 gallons isn't as much as it sounds like. I don't think you'll have any regrets with that True Brew Gold kit.

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Old 04-21-2008, 05:38 PM   #5
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+1 on 5 gallons not beeing as much as it sounds like. It takes about the same amount of time/work to brew 1 gallon, 5 gallons, 10 gallons, or even 50 gallons. If you are like some of us you will start out thinking 5 gallons is a lot, but rapidly look into doing 10-15 gallon batches....
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Old 04-21-2008, 05:53 PM   #6
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Give half away.

Problem solved.
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Old 04-21-2008, 05:59 PM   #7
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You'll be surprised once you crack your first great beer, how fast 2 cases will go...When I started, I wondered the same thing, especially since I live alone...

Between sharing with friends, other brewers, and just sheer enjoyment, the beer goes surprisingly quickly.
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Old 04-21-2008, 10:54 PM   #8
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5 gallons is just 2 cases of beer (you'll always be short the first batch or two).

invite 4 buddies over on a friday and that's half your supply GONE.

and i just don't care for the proprietary nature of Mr. Beer.
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Old 04-21-2008, 11:52 PM   #9
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Welcome Timber! (About time you chimed in on threads!)

It sounds like you're getting your plan together. As you already know, my vote is for the True Brew kit over Mr. Beer.

Did you look at some of the 2.5 - 3 gallon canned kits we talked about the other night? Lots of folks start with the no boil canned kits and they produce a nice beer. What is the name of the beer you said you liked? Someone could probably point you in the direction of a similar canned kit to start with.

My advice to you is JUST DO IT!
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Old 04-22-2008, 12:22 AM   #10
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I got the True Brew kit right from the start (the cheaper one, with two buckets and no glass carboy); before I was done fermenting my first brew I decided I NEEDED to add a couple Better Bottles, Oxyclean, StarSan, a larger brew pot, etc. After bottling one batch of beer in bottles, I now want to move into kegging and plan on buying a chest freezer this coming weekend.

Bottom line: if you have the slightest notion that you might want to expand your brewing in the future, skip Mr. Beer and go with a more flexible starter kit from the beginning. You can build on a True Brew kit much easier.

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