Best starter kit to get....?

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CaptKiRkLeS

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...if this was already discussed please direct me that way. (I am still tryin to get the hang of thse threads)
If not, I am looking into the Mr. Beer kit but after some reading there are mixed reviews but as a noob to the home brew scene, it does not seem it would be a horrible way to start. I started looking into other kits but I am so lost as to exsactly what I need and how to start. (Mr. Beer seems to be the easiest way to start)

Any and all suggestions would be appreciated. I just orderd How to Brew by Palmer and I am continuing my online research. I want this to turn into the hobby that everyone seems to rav about and get the enjoyment of sipping my own brew!

thanks!
 

HOOTER

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Assuming your going to at least start out as an extract brewer, you'll need something like this and this. You don't want to necessarily start with the "easiest" way, because you'll find yourself buying more equipment very soon. This stuff will probably get you by for quite a while.
 
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CaptKiRkLeS

CaptKiRkLeS

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so basically go with something more advanced that Mr. Beer because if I do get more into this (which i hope) I will be buying this stuff anyway?
 

gmaupin

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the kit that he posted is the better I started out with MR.Beer and trust me as you start growing your equipment you will spend more so I would go with the most bang for your buck I bought a basic equipment kit and then had to add a better bottle auto siphon carboy cap etc..... so that kinda saves you money for more ingredients. Happy brewing
 

HillbillyDeluxe

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I reccomend the brewers best kit, and a turkey fryer setup. That will be a good start. I started with mr beer as well and would have saved a fortune if i had just done that instead.
 

HOOTER

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so basically go with something more advanced that Mr. Beer because if I do get more into this (which i hope) I will be buying this stuff anyway?
Yeah. Homebrewing is like crack, once you start you can't stop. :D
If you are fan of quality beer and like a variety of beer types, you'll love homebrewing. You might as well get a decent kit to start out with. If your a BMC drinker, don't bother.
 

feedbag

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Those northern brewer and midwest setups are all really great. I started with this and it has served me very well. It even comes with ingredients for your first batch. You would need a pot still though, I started with an enamel steel 5 gallon at wal-mart, I think it was only about 20 bucks. If you have some extra money to spend I would go with this. It includes a pot and immersion chiller, excellent deal and plenty to get you running for quite a while. Good luck and welcome to the hobby!
 

pretzelb

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I'm on my 7th batch and I think the nice thing about the Northern Brewer or Midwest kits suggested is that IF you learn to like the hobby these kits will keep you going for a long time. They can keep you going indefinitely really. Think of kits like those as building blocks that can be added to and built upon. You could also end up replacing everything in those kits but it's easier to see someone leveraging those kits for a long time.
 

cryptonic84

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I started with a deluxe basic kit and bought a 5.3 gallon stock pot. I wanted to go the mr beer route but quickly decided that the worst case scenario was i would ebay my kit if i hated brewing. Unfortunately for me, I am beyond hooked. I am already planning on my next house and what all i will need in order to have my brewery and bar and maybe a place to lay my head down at night.
 

DOGBOY

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I found this kit after i pieced one together,i wish i bought this one, good luck
Coopers Microbrewery Kit comes with the following * 1 Plastic 30 liter fermenter with lid (and o ring), * 1 Hydrometer * 1 Sediment Reducer
makes 23 liters (6 Gallons)
* 1 Plastic Spoon * 1 "Little Bottler" tube and bottling valve * 1 Tap
* 1 Airlock* 1 Airlock grommet * 1 Thermometer* 30 740ml PET bottles and caps
* 1 Instruction booklet* 1 Instructional DVD 1 CooperLager Beer Kit Package# 1 1.7kg Coopers Lager Beer Kit Concentrate with yeast# 1 Bag of Carbonation drops
# 1 1 kg Coopers Brewing Sugar see at www.makebeer.net
 

HillbillyDeluxe

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I started with a deluxe basic kit and bought a 5.3 gallon stock pot. I wanted to go the mr beer route but quickly decided that the worst case scenario was i would ebay my kit if i hated brewing. Unfortunately for me, I am beyond hooked. I am already planning on my next house and what all i will need in order to have my brewery and bar and maybe a place to lay my head down at night.
Same here, i just bought a house. I selected it because it had a finished garage with enough room for me to pit in a brewery, temp controlled fermentation room and a bar..:rockin::rockin: And swmbo demanded it!!!!!!:ban::ban:
 
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CaptKiRkLeS

CaptKiRkLeS

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thank you all for your response. I am looking at the Northern Brewer Deluxe kit. What else would you recomend I need? I know I will need a pot, an ingredient kit, bottles, caps, sanitizer.....I know I'm missing something. I just ordered the How to Brew book....will that be good enough to guide me through this?
 

Richabt

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As much as I can appreciate what the Mr. Beer kits have done in bringing new people into home brewing. I really think getting a good basic kit as mentioned above is the way to go.
Initially you are spending a small fortune, but every batch thereafter will be fairly cheap. Your cost for ingredients for a 5 gal batch is about the same as what you would pay on the Mr. Beer set up, which I think is about 2.5 gal.
Whatever basic setup your LHBS or the many fine online retailers have should be a perfect start.
 
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CaptKiRkLeS

CaptKiRkLeS

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Do you guys think it is ok starting with a two stage fermentation kit? If so, do I need to condition the bottles after the second stage? I am sure I will get most of this information when I get everything but I like know ahead of time. thanks!
 

jgaepi

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Considering mine is the only one I cannot find listed here, I personally really like mine. I got it from Williams Brewing, the intermediate kit with 8 gallon kettle, fermenting bucket and bottle filling bucket. Best part is that it is all syphonless. When you are just starting out, like me, and making a dozen other mistakes, like me, then you want to mitigate any further mistakes. So the syphonless is great. My kit came with everything I need, including a wort chiller. The only things I needed to add were a ferment bucket thermometer, burner (which I just borrow from my neighbor) and glass bottles. I got the American IPA as the starter beer.
 

HOOTER

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Do you guys think it is ok starting with a two stage fermentation kit? If so, do I need to condition the bottles after the second stage? I am sure I will get most of this information when I get everything but I like know ahead of time. thanks!
Two stage is the way to go, especially if your going to brew lagers or high gravity brews. Many folks here don't bother with secondary, but I'm of the opinion that bulk aging in secondary can work wonders for a brew. This will still require a few weeks in bottles minimum, mainly for carbonation purposes.
 
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CaptKiRkLeS

CaptKiRkLeS

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Ok, thats what I have been reading. I assuming that is with conditioning the bottles?
 
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CaptKiRkLeS

CaptKiRkLeS

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well thanks again all. After some shopping around I found two sites to put this all together...the only thing is I found out i will soon be unemployed so this dream will be delayed till xmas (as I will be asking for this for xmas). I did find everything i will need to start for about $250, not bad right?
 

Brewfyre

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I went with Northern Brewer's deluxe kit, plus a 5 gal kettle, extra star san, 48 bottles, a stirer, and a nut brown ale recipe kit with liquid yeast and corn sugar. Cost me a total of 297 and some change. And I honestly couldn't be more happy. Just racked my first batch last night. I didn't use the secondary as it not a lager or HG batch, mind you I could have, personal choice. Mine was ready for bottling after bout week and a half, 3 days of constant hydro readings and 1 more to be sure lol. Can't wait to taste it carbed and chilled! Actually couldn't wait had a flat warm one lmao.
 

Gildog

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*chokes* AAARGGG

you spent WHAT?

im glad youre happy, but for the others reading this thread, i would like to introduce you to the world of CHEAP brewing.

first off, fermentation buckets. go to the bakery of your favorite mass market grocery. ask for any icing buckets that you can get. they will be mroe than happy to give you all you can use. these are food grade plastic buckets, the same as the ones you can get in a kit. just drill a proper diameter hole in the lid, and you can slap a rubber stoper and airlock on it. theres your fermentation bucket.

next, NEVER buy a kit, they charge you for putting it together, just download a program like beersmith, its only a 30 day trial, but there are other free programs to use once you get the hang of it. and it allows you to put your own recipes together. then go order your ingredients seperately.

next, the dollar store is your friend. i have repeatedly found brewing equipment and ingredients at dollar stores. from grits and rice for my american ales to oats for my stouts. you can also find tubing and various other equipment.

and bottles, im most cases, its cheaper to buy the bottles WITH beer than without. there is a list on this site of what beers have pry off bottles. and you can always go with grolsch lager, they come in swingtops.

another idea for bottles, see if you can find a local bottle return place. you can usually buy cases of bottles for little more than the deposit on them.

starsan is pointless, you have to rinse it just like bleach, so use bleach. again dollar stores are your friend. ive even found NO rinse sanitizer at dollar stores. just spray it inside your buckets liberally, drain the residue and let dry.

im not trying to rag on you, but i know what its like to want to brew your own beer and feel like its not an acheivable goal becuase of the cost.

i made a mistake by buying a starter kit to start with. i wasted money on it when i realized the individual parts were cheaper than buying the kit. especially if you make your own bottling bucket. it sounds hard but its just drilling a hole in a bucket and inserting a spigot you can buy for 4 bucks at the brewstore.

you can have a large format brew setup, making 4+ brews at a time for alot less than you think, so long as you keep your mind open about where you get your supplies.

maybe its just the tightwad in me.
 

HOOTER

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starsan is pointless, you have to rinse it just like bleach, so use bleach. again dollar stores are your friend. ive even found NO rinse sanitizer at dollar stores. just spray it inside your buckets liberally, drain the residue and let dry.
You make some decent points. With some creativity and ingenuity you can make just about anything brewing related for a fraction of the cost. Your statement about Starsan is inaccurate though. I personally don't use it (I use Iodophor) but I know for a fact Starsan is a no-rinse sanitizer. It can also be used in a spray bottle for quick sanitation. I personally would never recommend the use of bleach and comparing it to Starsan is very misleading.
 

Handle

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maybe its just the tightwad in me.
I'm the same way. I was bit by the brewing bug months ago, but it was only today that I bought a kit. I was searching online, but I refused to pay upwards of $50 for what was essentially some buckets and tubing. I almost broke down and did just that last night, however, until I saw a posting on Craigslist for a starter kit.

It's a typical two-stage kit with a 5 gallon carboy, all of the accessories, 72 clean, brown bottles and a California Common kit. All for the whopping price of $50 (which is still probably more than making your own kit). Picked it up this morning.

I'm glad I went the cheap route. If, for whatever reason, the hobby isn't for me, I'm not out much and can probably sell off my equipment for what I paid. If I really dig the hobby (and I really think I will) and later upgrade equipment, I'm not out much at all.

So glad to pick up my kit today, and I hope to brew next weekend!

:mug:
 

Gildog

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I'm glad I went the cheap route. If, for whatever reason, the hobby isn't for me, I'm not out much and can probably sell off my equipment for what I paid. If I really dig the hobby (and I really think I will) and later upgrade equipment, I'm not out much at all.


:mug:
good job on cheaping out. i guarantee you will be in brewing for a while. the startup cost of brewing is the only limit on who can and cant homebrew.

as far as the starsan statement goes, maybee im confusing it with something else, but i recall reading the starsan label on my starter kit, and it REQUIRES rinsing, and that means its no better than proper bleach dilution.

i have used nothing but bleach for 10 straight bottling sessions, and ive never had any problems.

most of the time when it comes to sanitiing bottles, its just more cost efficient to use bleach.

i want to make sure that i emphasise, that DILUTION STRENGTH is key to using bleach, if you dont know exactly how much water your sink holds to provide the proper dilution strength dont use it. and RINSE RINSE RINSE.

i would rather rinse twice at pennys a gallon of sanitzer than use expensive sanitizer and rinse once.

and i want to also add that I found a no rinse sanitizer at the dollar store, so for everything but bottles i use that. bottles are just too large a task for that.

if im wrong and im confusing starsan with whatever was included in my starter kit, then i apologize. but its still cheaper to use bleach, end of story. just make sure you rinse.

cheers:mug:

and props to the pennywise homebrewer.:tank:
 
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