Initial equipment order advice

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bismarckbrew

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Alright, I've been reading about it, contemplating it, and now I'm ready to make the plunge. I'm ready to start brewing my own tasty goodness. Herein lies the first chance of a newbie mistake, what equipment to get, or not to get. This is why I ask your advice.

After some research, I decided a few things are a must:
1. I would like to do a full wort boil. This will require a propane burner, as my stove is cheap, electric, and from the 70's.
2. I want better bottles since I'll be dragging them around from outside to in. Tendons come in handy.
3. Do it right the first time. All grain will be down the road as I develop, so I want to buy equipment that will last and will function for AG.

I want your advice on my equipment purchase. Is there anything I need and missed? "You don't need that" or a different approach all together?

Let me know, I appreciate it.

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Item # Description Quantity Price Ext Price

7603B Deluxe Starter Kit w/ plastic carboys $156.99 $156.99 Delete
details:
Six gallon carboy (your choice of glass or plastic)
Six gallon bottling bucket with spigot
Funnel
Blowoff hose
Fermentation lock and bung
Siphon tubing
AutoSiphon
Bottle filler
Bottle brush
Carboy brush
Bottle capper
144 bottle caps
Beer thief
Thermometer
Hydrometer
8 oz One-Step Sanitizer
Complete instructions
2 x Fermometer
Extra fermentation lock
Carboy dryer
Bottle capper (upgrade to red "Emily" capper)
Test jar

1010 Irish Red Ale Extract Kit $24.99 $24.99 Delete

Y1272 Wyeast American Ale II $6.25 $6.25 Delete

2201 Priming Sugar 5 oz. $1.15 $2.30 Delete

1090 St. Paul Porter Extract Kit $29.99 $29.99 Delete

Y1187 Wyeast Ringwood Ale $6.25 $6.25 Delete

7931 Star San HB 32 oz $15.50 $15.50 Delete

7317 21" Stainless Steel Spoon $7.99 $7.99 Delete

7316 Muslin Mesh Grain/Hop Bag $0.59 $5.90 Delete

7612 Starter Kit Kettle Pkg 2 $136.99 $136.99 Delete
details:
7.5 gallon stainless steel with immersion wort chiller.

Wort chiller improves clarity and reduces risk of infection
Good for extract or all-grain brewing

40202 Low Profile Banjo Burner (burner and stand) $77.99 $77.99 Delete

Subtotal $471.14
 

ZBrewMan

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Just ordered about the same amount of stuff for my startup. Wish I had submitted my list for scrutiny first. Good idea.

It lists "bottle capper" twice.... should it?
 

Beerzoid

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You can skip the bottle brush and also the carboy brush if you're using Better Bottles. Also I'd change out the One-Step for some Starsan. Other than that it looks like a good list for starting up.


Are you only getting one Better Bottle? You'll want at least two or three so you can use one for a secondary while another is fermenting.
 
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bismarckbrew

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Oh, I missed that in my copy/paste. It has 2 bottles, a 6.5gal and a 5gal. Should I get more, if so, which size(s) do need to have two going at once? Also, I'm getting 32oz of starsan, but the list is kind of hard read. Thanks!
 

phatuna

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bismarck, this looks like a great setup. a couple of small items:

1 more stick on thermometer for your extra carboy (unless your kit come w/ that)
you may consider an extra hydrometer, you will break yours at an inopportune time :)

nice work! Looking forward to hearing how your first brew goes.
 

dap325

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Just ordered about the same amount of stuff for my startup.
Same here! I just placed a similar order with Midwest Supplies. Everything looks good to these rookie eyes. The only thing I did different was to order more fermentation bottles, and some Apfelwein ingredients. I know once I get one brew under my belt, that bucket and a carboy isn't going to be enough. Good luck!
 
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bismarckbrew

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Just ordered about the same amount of stuff for my startup. Wish I had submitted my list for scrutiny first. Good idea.

It lists "bottle capper" twice.... should it?
It's an upgrade. I pasted the lists of the base and upgraded kits.
 
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bismarckbrew

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bismarck, this looks like a great setup. a couple of small items:

1 more stick on thermometer for your extra carboy (unless your kit come w/ that)
you may consider an extra hydrometer, you will break yours at an inopportune time :)

nice work! Looking forward to hearing how your first brew goes.
Great advice... Thank you!
 

ZBrewMan

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I know once I get one brew under my belt, that bucket and a carboy isn't going to be enough.
Yep, I went with two primaries and two secondaries. More production capacity! :ban:

It's an upgrade. I pasted the lists of the base and upgraded kits.
I kinda figured it was something like that, but just wanted to point it out just in case.
 
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bismarckbrew

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Yep, I went with two primaries and two secondaries. More production capacity! :ban:



I kinda figured it was something like that, but just wanted to point it out just in case.
My kit comes with a 6.5 and 5gal BB. Do I need another 6.5 and 5 to do two batches at once? It was my noob understanding that it only stays in the primary for approx. a week. If that is the case, couldn't I get a way with another 5gal secondary, and space the batches out a week?
 

coffeegod

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What are you planning to do your boil in? If you are planning to go all grain in the next 6-12 months you will need a 10 gal kettle. I love my Polarware with spigot and thermometer.
 

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My kit comes with a 6.5 and 5gal BB. Do I need another 6.5 and 5 to do two batches at once? It was my noob understanding that it only stays in the primary for approx. a week. If that is the case, couldn't I get a way with another 5gal secondary, and space the batches out a week?
I ordered the same kit (minus the burner and wort chiller) from NB a few months back and have been extremely happy.

As you mentioned, the only thing I wish I had was a 2nd secondary so I could brew every 2nd week. If you order it up front, you might get the cheap shipping, whereas shipping thereafter on large carboys is kind of expensive.

But that said, if you are just getting started with the hobby, there's no reason to jump in headfirst. It doesn't hurt to get your feet wet a bit and then figure out what you want to add to your kit, based on your first couple of experiences.
 
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bismarckbrew

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What are you planning to do your boil in? If you are planning to go all grain in the next 6-12 months you will need a 10 gal kettle. I love my Polarware with spigot and thermometer.
A 10gal pot for a 5gal batch? I've grazed over AG and seen some mash tuns made from coolers, but I thought that along with some other cheap stuff would be all that is needed. Could you please explain why the larger pot is needed? I'll change my order if it's necessary. Thanks.
 
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bismarckbrew

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I ordered the same kit (minus the burner and wort chiller) from NB a few months back and have been extremely happy.

As you mentioned, the only thing I wish I had was a 2nd secondary so I could brew every 2nd week. If you order it up front, you might get the cheap shipping, whereas shipping thereafter on large carboys is kind of expensive.

But that said, if you are just getting started with the hobby, there's no reason to jump in headfirst. It doesn't hurt to get your feet wet a bit and then figure out what you want to add to your kit, based on your first couple of experiences.
I'm debating that right now. With NB the shipping is 8 bucks regardless, so it wouldn't hurt to put it on the next order. I like the delusion of spreading the spending out. I can say "It cost me under $500" which just sounds better.
 

Beerzoid

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For when/if you do AG batches you'll want the 10 gal boil kettle because you'll usually need to boil more than 6.5 gallons of wort down to 5 gallons. So the larger kettle is nicer.

As for the Better Bottles you should be good with just the two. The 6.5 Gallon to primary ferment in, and the 5 gallon to use as a secondary. This way you can have two beers going at once.
 

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A 10gal pot for a 5gal batch? I've grazed over AG and seen some mash tuns made from coolers, but I thought that along with some other cheap stuff would be all that is needed. Could you please explain why the larger pot is needed? I'll change my order if it's necessary. Thanks.
I do all grains in a 8 gallon pot but there are times I wish it was larger for some additional space. In the future you may want to make 5.5 gallon all grain batches so that at the end there is a good 5 gallons to bottle or keg. That said you will likely need 2 kettles when going all grain to boil and to heat water.
 
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bismarckbrew

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I do all grains in a 8 gallon pot but there are times I wish it was larger for some additional space. In the future you may want to make 5.5 gallon all grain batches so that at the end there is a good 5 gallons to bottle or keg. That said you will likely need 2 kettles when going all grain to boil and to heat water.
Then I could use my 7.5 gallon as the other pot and buy a 10 gallon when I make the switch? Those 10 gallons are pricey.
 

ZBrewMan

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My kit comes with a 6.5 and 5gal BB. Do I need another 6.5 and 5 to do two batches at once? It was my noob understanding that it only stays in the primary for approx. a week. If that is the case, couldn't I get a way with another 5gal secondary, and space the batches out a week?
Well, this will be a case of the blind leading the blind, 'cause I'm certainly an uber-n00b. I do believe that you can move most of your beers into a secondary fermenter after a week. So yes, theoretically you could have a new batch every week. You might run into problems if you wanted to age some of your beer for a longer period of time.

My guess is that you would be just fine with just another 5g secondary.

Which one of your extract kits is gonna be the first into your primary?
 
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bismarckbrew

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Well, this will be a case of the blind leading the blind, 'cause I'm certainly an uber-n00b. I do believe that you can move most of your beers into a secondary fermenter after a week. So yes, theoretically you could have a new batch every week. You might run into problems if you wanted to age some of your beer for a longer period of time.

My guess is that you would be just fine with just another 5g secondary.

Which one of your extract kits is gonna be the first into your primary?
I can drink a lot of beer, but that might be pushing it. :mug: There are some events coming up where I may want to stock up, like the 10,000 lakes festival and a bunch of Disc Golf tournaments. It would be nice to be able to brew more for these occasions.
 
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bismarckbrew

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Which one of your extract kits is gonna be the first into your primary?
That's up for debate. I've heard darker beers are more forgiving, but the Irish Red is calling my name (it's my favorite brew style right now). I want to start with the Red but I don't know if getting a batch under my belt first would be a better idea.
 
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bismarckbrew

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Well it's on. I placed the order after adding another hydrometer and double bottle sprayer. I plan on ordering another 5 gallon BB with my next supplies, but until then I work with the two. I'll start a topic of my first brew with some video. Someone call it - St. Paul Porter or Irish Red
 

ZBrewMan

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Well it's on. I placed the order after adding another hydrometer and double bottle sprayer. I plan on ordering another 5 gallon BB with my next supplies, but until then I work with the two. I'll start a topic of my first brew with some video. Someone call it - St. Paul Porter or Irish Red
I think you might be happy with just two BBs in the long run.... but who knows maybe you'll upgrade and become a master brewer! :rockin:

I vote St. Paul Porter. I think a dark beer would be fun to watch ferment. I'm gonna do a stout for my fourth batch.

I don't think I've ever felt more impatient for a UPS delivery...
 

eroth

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well, if you stick to the 1-2-3 rule of thumb, you'd need 2 secondary's to be able to brew each week.

if you can brew each week, then that's impressive. i just wouldn't be able to find the time, so I'm perfectly happy with a single secondary and being able to brew bi-weekly. I'd imagine once I have a few batches drinkable, this will slow down as well.
 

SumnerH

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Primary buckets are cheap. I find that even though I average less than once a week (more like every 3-4 weeks), it's nice to have the flexibility to be able to decide that I want to brew 2 batches in one weekend or something.

Also, most beers don't need a secondary. Leave in primary for 3 weeks and bottle--having another primary around lets you avoid racking just for the sake of freeing up a primary.

Picking up another bucket for the $10 or whatever was well worth it (I have 2 6.5 gal primary buckets, one 5 gal better bottle for the rare beer than needs a secondary, and a bottling bucket).
 

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I usually use 6.5 gallon carboys and skip the secondary. If I need a secondary, I am usually adding fruit or something to it and then I use a fermentation bucket.

So far, the 3 weeks in primary, 3 weeks in bottles rule has been working really well for me. I am just a lazy mamma and I would prefer to not have to go to a secondary if I don't have to do it! Staying in primary cuts down on the risk of any nasties infection my brew or my accidental over-oxygenation of it.

Don't forget your blow off tube! Revvy has a great thread about making a blow off tube with an airlock in here somewhere...
 
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bismarckbrew

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Primary buckets are cheap. I find that even though I average less than once a week (more like every 3-4 weeks), it's nice to have the flexibility to be able to decide that I want to brew 2 batches in one weekend or something.

Also, most beers don't need a secondary. Leave in primary for 3 weeks and bottle--having another primary around lets you avoid racking just for the sake of freeing up a primary.

Picking up another bucket for the $10 or whatever was well worth it (I have 2 6.5 gal primary buckets, one 5 gal better bottle for the rare beer than needs a secondary, and a bottling bucket).
Thanks! I will have those times, winters up here are extremely cold and since I have to brew outside it will important that I stock up. I like what you said about the primaries, I was under the impression most beers benefit from a secondary.

Two questions:

Will it hurt to use a 6.5 gallon for a secondary if need be?

I like mainly medium and darker beer, will it help for those to have 2 stage fermentation?

Thanks for the help everyone!
 

LaurieGator

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Hi!

I am currently using a 7 gallon bucket for a secondary with no problems!

I have also brewed some darker beers (amber ale and a milk stout) and both stayed in primary. A longer primary (3 weeks) helps the yeast to finish up their work in your fermentation. Most folks don't have a problem with yeast autolyzing even with 4 weeks in the primary.
 

eroth

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Two questions:

Will it hurt to use a 6.5 gallon for a secondary if need be?

I like mainly medium and darker beer, will it help for those to have 2 stage fermentation?
i don't think it'd hurt to have a larger secondary. I was actually thinking about getting a 2nd 6.5gal carboy to add to my 5gal and 6.5gal, rather than the smaller one...just for flexibility moving forward.

I think every batch is different, and someone more experienced than myself would give a better answer...but from what i've read around here, many people like to leave their stouts and other dark beers in secondary longer than the prescribed 2 weeks.
 
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bismarckbrew

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Hi!

I am currently using a 7 gallon bucket for a secondary with no problems!

I have also brewed some darker beers (amber ale and a milk stout) and both stayed in primary. A longer primary (3 weeks) helps the yeast to finish up their work in your fermentation. Most folks don't have a problem with yeast autolyzing even with 4 weeks in the primary.
i don't think it'd hurt to have a larger secondary. I was actually thinking about getting a 2nd 6.5gal carboy to add to my 5gal and 6.5gal, rather than the smaller one...just for flexibility moving forward.

I think every batch is different, and someone more experienced than myself would give a better answer...but from what i've read around here, many people like to leave their stouts and other dark beers in secondary longer than the prescribed 2 weeks.

Thanks for the advice! I'll do research on each type and buy
6.5 gallon boys from here on. Thanks again...
 

SkiTownUSA

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Two questions:

Will it hurt to use a 6.5 gallon for a secondary if need be?

No. Some might say that a 5 gal would be better to limit the head space (less oxygen above the beer) but you will be fine. Typically 6.5gal would be used as the primary to allow for the krausen/foam, and a 5gallon as your secondary. If you don't want to spend the extra money, I'm sure you will be fine with a 6.5 gallon.



I like mainly medium and darker beer, will it help for those to have 2 stage fermentation?

Yes and no. You will do just fine with a single stage fermentation. Using a secondary helps to clarify your beer and possibly make it taste better. Using a secondary also will increase the chance of infection and oxidization. It's a toss up. I've used a secondary on all my beers and haven't had a problem.
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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Buy some Fermcap-S and your kettle will be fine for 5.5g batches. This inhibits boilovers and allows you to boil more aggressively for a much better hot break.
 
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