Equipment Checklist (Adapted)?

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SCBrazil

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Hi,
I'm a newbie to brewing. Living in Brazil I do not have access to all the great equipment kits I've seen photos of on here. So I am going to have improvise my setup with household stuff.
Does anyone have a checklist of the 'absolute must have' basic equipment to get a first batch started? I've looked through some of the pictures on here but it is difficult to decipher what much of it is. I'm sure most of the commercially made equipment could be adapted from things around the house but first I need to know exactly what I'll need.
Incidentally, carboys are in abundance here so I'm okay on that front. If anyone could post a quick list or a link to a list of all the other stuff (not commercially produced), I'd be grateful.
Thanks
 

llazy_llama

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Absolute minimum:
(Note that this list might not necessarily produce the 100% best beer possible, but it will result in beer)

  • Fermenter. A carboy, if available in 6+ gallon range is ideal.
  • Airlock. A rubber stopper, drilled to receive a commercially available airlock is ideal. Sanitized tinfoil is a close second.
  • Sanitizer. Star San or Iodophor are ideal. If those are not available, Bleach and vinegar can be used to form a no-rinse sanitizer. Listen to Charley Talley from 5 Star Chemical (the company that makes Star San and IO Star) talk about proper and safe usage of bleach/vinegar here: Podcast.
  • Brew Kettle. If you already have a Stainless Steel or Aluminum stock pot, that is ideal. If you have an enamel stock pot in decent condition, that is close enough.
  • Stirring device. A Stainless Steel whisk is ideal, a plastic spoon will work almost as well.
  • Fire. A propane burner is ideal, a gas stove is second, an electric stove will work, and you could probably burn some wood in the back yard and make that work if you needed to.
  • A funnel. You need something to transfer your wort from the kettle to the fermenter.
  • Ingredients. For beer, the absolute basics are hopped malt extract and yeast.
  • Bottling bucket.
  • Sugar for priming. Cane sugar will work, corn sugar is ideal (in my opinion, but there is some controversy here.)
  • Bottles/caps. You can reuse glass beer bottles if you have a capper and extra bottle caps. If not, PET soda bottles will work.

If there's anything that I'm forgetting, either someone else will chime in, or I'll remember it in the next few minutes and will reply again.
 
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SCBrazil

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Thanks for the help.
I seem to have everything on the list;
- Fermenter - 20 litre (5.3 gallon) carboy (as many as needed)
- Airlock - I thought I'd drill a hole through the original plastic cap of the carboy (sold originally with water), push a PVC transparent tube through it, seal it well and put the other end of the tube into a small drinking water bottle half filled with water.
- Sanitizer - will have to use bleach/vinager - the podcast is downloading right now.
- Brew Kettle - I have an aluminium stockpot aprox 3 gallons
- Stirring device - steel whisk
- Fire - gas house stove
- Funnel - OK
- Ingredients - OK
- Bottling bucket - Can this be a food grade plastic bucket?
- Sugar - Cane sugar
- Bottles - OK
- Tubing - OK
What is racking cane?
I can also get the copper tubing I saw in the photos of some kits. Is it possible to bend/shape it myself?
As I seem to have all the basics, is there anything else I could include that wouldn't be specially made?
Also, if anyone could point me to a simple recipe for a first timer, I would be grateful.
Thanks again for your help.
 

jrph22

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Well I figure my first post on homebrew talk should be to try and help someone else out. I figure I'm going to be needing all the help I can get in the future.
A racking cane is essentially tubing used to transfer wort or beer from one container to another minimizing its exposing to oxygen (preventing oxygen exposure is especially important for transfering the fermented beer into your bottles or into secondary fementer).
A racking cane's design is usually a hard plastic portion that is straight with a bend at the top and the bottom portion having a cap to keep it from sucking up trub from your fermenter (I've heard of people using nylon stockings or other items instead of the cap to help keep out trub). The hard plastic portion is connected to a soft plastic tubing that can be placed into the new container.
For using copper. Technically I guess you could use it to make the stiff portion but I haven't seen it done. Most times it is food grade plastic or stainless steel. For some reason I have this thought in my head that cheap copper may contain trace portions of lead which you have to be careful of (more experienced people may be able to chime in on that topic).
Finally, the only other thing that I would add would be a filter of some type..ideally SS so that you can filter going into your fermenter. Hope that helps.
 

RIBeer

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I'm guessing that the copper tubing you see in the kits is an immersion wort chiller. Lots of us have bought tubing and made our own chillers. Hose clamps, some vinyl tubing and garden hose fittings and you're good to go. I used a small metal garbage can to wrap the tubing around to make the coil, and a spring-type tuning bender to make the tighter bends for the inlet and outlet parts. There are plenty of threads in these forums that give good instructions for how to make one.

Good luck - it's a fun adventure, and it keeps me off the street.....
 

SumnerH

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Thanks for the help.
I seem to have everything on the list;
- Fermenter - 20 litre (5.3 gallon) carboy (as many as needed)
- Airlock - I thought I'd drill a hole through the original plastic cap of the carboy (sold originally with water), push a PVC transparent tube through it, seal it well and put the other end of the tube into a small drinking water bottle half filled with water.
- Sanitizer - will have to use bleach/vinager - the podcast is downloading right now.
- Brew Kettle - I have an aluminium stockpot aprox 3 gallons
- Stirring device - steel whisk
- Fire - gas house stove
- Funnel - OK
- Ingredients - OK
- Bottling bucket - Can this be a food grade plastic bucket?
- Sugar - Cane sugar
- Bottles - OK
- Tubing - OK
What is racking cane?
I can also get the copper tubing I saw in the photos of some kits. Is it possible to bend/shape it myself?
As I seem to have all the basics, is there anything else I could include that wouldn't be specially made?
Also, if anyone could point me to a simple recipe for a first timer, I would be grateful.
Thanks again for your help.

You can certainly make do with what you have.

The 3 biggest things I'd want to upgrade here are:
1) A no-rinse sanitizer (e.g. StarSan, iodophor) is much more convenient than bleach/vinegar
2) A bigger pot would be better
3) Bottling is going to be a hassle with your equipment; a bottling wand would make things much easier.

A bottling bucket has a spigot at the bottom to make filling bottles easier. It would eliminate a lot of hassle if you could get a bottling wand at some point down the road--that's a length of tubing with a spring valve on one end, so that when you have a bottle over it beer can flow but it shuts off immediately when you don't. In the USA, they cost about $3; they're small enough that it shouldn't be much of a hassle for someone to tuck one in their luggage if you have any friends/family who travel much.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewi...tling-accessories/fermtech-bottle-filler.html
 
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