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Fed up with Mr. Beer, moving to real equipment

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Jesse Seymour

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Hello everyone.

I am fed up with the cheap Mr. Beer equipment. As I was bottling my Blue Lightning the tap on the Mr. Beer keg kept getting clogged with chunks of blueberries. This would force me to push harder to the tap handle and now the tap has a perpetual leak.

My wife (not sure what SWMBO means, can someone explain that?) said that this could be the "catalyst that moves me to get real equipment and start brewing like a man". I think she has ulterior motives here because I promised to brew her a good cherry beer.

Anyway to make a long story short (too late) I did some browsing online at Midwest Supplies and decided to acquire the following equipment:

  • 2x 3 Gallon Glass Carboys - I thought about using pails but I like to be able to see what is going on in there.
  • 1x Thermohydrometer - Just a hydrometer with a built-in thermometer
  • 2x #7stoppers, drilled

I am not sure if I should use blow-off tubes or airlocks. I want to stick with microbatches (around 2 gallons) for now but will be moving to five gallon batches hopefully by Christmas. I have two Mr. Beer cans of extract and Booster left so I will continue to brew those in this equipment.

Does anyone see anything that I am missing or could offer any additional advice?

I want more :mug: and less :mad: with this hobby so I need to get on real equipment but budget is a very limiting factor.
 

splat

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Personally I would not get 3 gallon carboys....I would go straight to 5....It doesnt cost that much more to brew 5 gal, instead of 2-3 with the same amount of work..I started with Mr. Beer and went to 5 gal and am VERY happy I did...The beer is better, and you go through more of it when you have people over. I now have 1 fermenting bucket(5 gal) and 3 better bottle 5 gal carboys(which are all full)...If you go with 3 gal stuff I think you will be sorry in the long run and when you do go to 5 gal batches you will be stuck with the small stuff. Also the cost between 3 and 5 gal stuff isnt much different...

Here is a link to my LHBS for $70 bucks...Add shipping, so probably 85 bucks total for a good starter 5 gal kit....

Good Luck....

http://www.brewbeer.cc/index.php?CustomerID=&ProductID=72&Detail=1
 

Yooper

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And the guys in Appleton know their stuff and can be very helpful. That's where I go when I get the chance. I'm sure the one in Stevens Point is too, but I've never been there.

I use airlocks and have only used a blow off tube one time. And airlocks are cheap, so get several. Stock up on some dry yeast to keep in the fridge just in case you ever get a stuck fermentation- Nottingham is a good one. Also, get more than two #7 stoppers. Trust me on that. You also need siphoning equipment, and an autosiphon is a good bet. You need a bottling bucket and a bottling wand, too.

Keep in mind that you can buy kits at many places, but they all make 5 gallons. You can half them, but it's just as easy to make 5 gallons as it is 2.5 gallons. So, I'd recommend an ale pail and/or a 6.5 gallon carboy.
 

uglygoat

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if you are going to get five gallon carboys, you'll need a 6 or 6.5 gallon carboy to ferment in. you can condition in the five gallon jugs, but you will want some head space for the fist stage of fermentation.

read that palmer's how to brew website that's stickied as well. good luck and have fun!
 

splat

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uglygoat said:
if you are going to get five gallon carboys, you'll need a 6 or 6.5 gallon carboy to ferment in. you can condition in the five gallon jugs, but you will want some head space for the fist stage of fermentation.

read that palmer's how to brew website that's stickied as well. good luck and have fun!
+1 on the bigger carboy to ferment in...6.5 would be better....I have a 6.5 gal bucket and the last batch was still foaming out the airlock till I installed a blowoff tube....

+1 on the auto siphon...TOTALLY worth the $9.99 it costs... wish I would have bought one sooner....
 

Fingers

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Jesse Seymour said:
My wife (not sure what SWMBO means, can someone explain that?) said that this could be the "catalyst that moves me to get real equipment and start brewing like a man".
I think in this case we absolutely need to define the acronym SWMBO for this guy. It's so appropo.

SWMBO = She Who Must Be Obeyed


Make it so.
 

Gammon N Beer

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There is also a HB shop in Green Bay. I forget the name of the place.

My advice is to take deep breath. Read more, learn more and define where you want to go with this hobby. Then, begin to plan a strategy on how to get there.

Don't buy equipment twice. Buy what you need, but don't short yourself to the point you will have to replace a perfectly good piece of equipment soon.
 

Spyk'd

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Jesse Seymour said:
My wife (not sure what SWMBO means, can someone explain that?) said that this could be the "catalyst that moves me to get real equipment and start brewing like a man".

This is the ONLY time you will ever hear these words. Buy ALL of the equipment your credit card can support RIGHT NOW!

:cross:

Once she see's all of the equipment piling up and the time you spend brewing, it will be more like "you need to buy MORE beer equipment, AGAIN?!!?? All you think about is brewing BEER! If I knew when I bought you the Mr. Beer Kit it would lead to this...etc, etc..."



And Fingers...BOO!!!

:p
 

Bernie Brewer

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Gammon N Beer said:
There is also a HB shop in Green Bay. I forget the name of the place.

True, but rumor has it that they have gone way downhill, and are barely holding on by a thread.
 

oms1981

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Bernie Brewer said:
If you feel like taking a drive, there are homebrew shops relatively close to you. There is one in Appleton and one in Stevens Point. Each would be able to provide you with whatever you need and you wouldn't have to pay shipping.

Appleton: http://www.homebrewmarket.com/

Stevens Point: http://www.pointbrewsupply.com/
Not trying to hijack the thread here, but do you have any idea if there is a similar store in the greater Milwaukee area? I need just a few odds and ends and dont feel like ordering.
 

Fingers

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Spyk'd said:
And Fingers...BOO!!!

:p
C'mon, Spyk'd, you said so yourself. This is a special situation. It's the first, and quite likely the last time that he'll be given the green light. It's also the first time that he'll be referring to her as SWMBO. Ya gotta give 'em at least one!
 

Spyk'd

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Fingers said:
C'mon, Spyk'd, you said so yourself. This is a special situation. It's the first, and quite likely the last time that he'll be given the green light. It's also the first time that he'll be referring to her as SWMBO. Ya gotta give 'em at least one!

I'm not worried about him knowing, so easily, it's the rest of the er, new folk!

:p


I'm totally not serious as the smiley indicates...



Carry on!
 

Poindexter

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Jesse Seymour said:
the "catalyst that moves me to get real equipment and start brewing like a man".
Get the entry level ~$60-70 kit with the 6.5 gal bucket, add a 5gal glass carboy for another $25 and tell SWMBO thank you. Use the Mr. Beer stuff for small experimetal batches, maybe your first Apfelwine?
 
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Jesse Seymour

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Thanks for all the replies - it's property tax time so I may not be able to get the stuff right away but it definitely sounds like I should get a starter kit and then add a glass carboy if I want

I told my wife what SWMBO meant and she started laughing, think I may have made a bit of a mistake there. I checked on the Mr. Beer website and to replace the tap assembly they want 2.95 for the tap and then 10.98 to ship the dang thing... any one know what size stopper fits in the Mr. Beer keg nicely so I can still use the keg to ferment/condition small batches?

Thanks again for all the help!
 

bayoubabsy

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Spyk'd said:
This is the ONLY time you will ever hear these words. Buy ALL of the equipment your credit card can support RIGHT NOW!

:cross:

Once she see's all of the equipment piling up and the time you spend brewing, it will be more like "you need to buy MORE beer equipment, AGAIN?!!?? All you think about is brewing BEER! If I knew when I bought you the Mr. Beer Kit it would lead to this...etc, etc..."



And Fingers...BOO!!!

:p

+1 on the above
 

Bernie Brewer

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oms1981 said:
Not trying to hijack the thread here, but do you have any idea if there is a similar store in the greater Milwaukee area? I need just a few odds and ends and dont feel like ordering.

There are several. I took the liberty of Googling it for you.;)
 

david_42

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Small batches are fine. They take about the same amount of time, but you can have more variety. With two 3 - gallon carboys, you'll even be able to split batches and experiment. Like making a wheat - half blueberry and half cherry.

I still split batches after seven years of brewing. There are times when you don't want 5 (or 10 or 25) gallons of a beer. I have five one gallon bottles that I use for meads and dry hopping experiments.
 

jfliv

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High BTU outdoor burner (turkey fryer, or the like)... will really cut down the time spent brewing..

Wort Chiller (I use the immersion type... you can search for a discussion on the various types) ... this will make your beer better, and speed up the brew process.

I got those 2 things after a couple of years of brewing on the kitchen stove only when there was a couple of feet of snow to cool the wort in.... it would take about an hour to boil, and 45 min. to cool.... now (with much bigger volumes) its more like 10 min. to boil and 10 min. to cool...

enjoy!
 
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