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Old 12-26-2008, 03:01 PM   #1
Nov 2008
Charlotte, NC
Posts: 70

I just got this kit for Christmas and I have a couple of questions.
Brewing Starter Kit :: Midwest Supplies Homebrewing and Winemaking Supplies

1) I also have an ingredient kit, so I think I am only missing one thing to get started... a mesh steeping bag. I was planning to pick up one of these from my local store, but unfortunately it isn't going to be back open until mid january.
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Does anyone know if there are other places where I could get a steeping bag locally without having to wait for shipping? I was wanting to brew tomorrow. Bed Bath and Beyond or somewhere like that?

2) I have a newcastle clone 5 gallon extract kit. Would there be any harm in dividing everything in half and just making 2.5 gallons for my first batch. I really don't know what I'm doing and I'd had to my 5 gallons of awful beer.

3) Is there anything else I need that isn't included in my starter kit. How important is a chiller?

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Old 12-26-2008, 03:12 PM   #2
MX1's Avatar
May 2008
Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 1,218
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Your kit did not come with a bag?

Go to your local hardware store and get a paint strainer bag. It will work as well, and be cheaper. Or order a grain bag online and it shoud get to you in a few days.

If you follow the instructions, and take your time you will not make awful beer.

Relax and enjoy.

"The ART of brewing Beer, is the ACT of brewing Beer"

Ferm 1: Irish Red Ale
Ferm 2:

On Deck: American Wheat

Keg 1: Un-Common
Keg 2: Switchback Stout

Total Gallons brewed (2015) - 10

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Old 12-26-2008, 03:29 PM   #3
McGarnigle's Avatar
Jul 2008
Posts: 1,926
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You may be able to make a grain bag out of cheese cloth, which you can but at BB&B and other places.

The problem with a half batch is the LME won't store all that well. Might as well make the whole batch. Your beer may seem bad at first, but there's a good chance it will improve in weeks or months.

Are you doing a full boil or partial? If full, you need to make sure your stove top is strong enough and a wort chiller would help. But the instructions are probably written for a partial, and you can use your sink too cool.

Edit: If you chose the Midwest Newky Brown clone kit, it apparently does come with a grain bag but uses Dry Malt Extract, which stores better. Doing two half recipes will be more work on your end, but I can see doing it. You'll be able to brew your second batch sooner, and it's good experience to brew again.

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Old 12-26-2008, 03:34 PM   #4
Dec 2006
Doylestown, PA
Posts: 3,725
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I've use a standard kitchen strainer to separate the grains...I used to put the strainer in the steeping water, pour the grains into the strainer, steep then separate. I would however avoid aggressively pouring your steeping liquid through the strainer and minimize the possible aeration of the liquid.

You can search the forum for all sorts of partial boil chilling methods

You could do a half batch but I would go for the full 5 and chalk whatever happens up to a learning experience. My my pref to get acquainted with the process in its full form.

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Old 12-26-2008, 03:37 PM   #5
Dec 2008
Posts: 276
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Welcome to HBT. Go ahead and do the whole batch for the reasons that Mc. states, plus you may have too much head space between your wort and the top of the fermentor bucket or carboy IMHO. BTW I have that same kit on order from Midwest also. Should arrive next week!
Chisholm Trail Brewery

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Old 12-26-2008, 05:58 PM   #6
Dec 2008
Fairborn, OH
Posts: 24

I have a Midwest Basic Kit, and am using a Better Beer Irish Stout recipe kit as my first try and homebrewing. The kit had some grains in it, and had a grain bag along with all the stuff. If you're recipe kit uses grains, it may have the bag in it for you .

Happy Brewing,


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Old 12-26-2008, 06:08 PM   #7
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Jun 2008
Pflugerville, Texas
Posts: 5,447
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I use 5 gallon paint strainer bags (sold in the big box hardware stores by the paint sprayers) for mashing small batches and as hop bags. At $2.50 a pack they are wonderful. The 5 gallon size is big enough to fit over a orange pail, I mill my grains right into the bucket and then tie up the bag for the mash!
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Old 12-28-2008, 02:00 AM   #8
Nov 2008
Charlotte, NC
Posts: 70

Thanks for the help guys... I ended up finding another homebrew store about 30 minutes away so I went there and picked up a couple of things. I think I'm all set now.

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