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SillyWabbit

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Hey everybody, my name is Sean, from Northern CA, and I'm just trying to get started on my home brewing journey. My goal is to start small; 5 Gal. extract brewing; and work my way up to 10 Gal. all grain brewing. I know that doesn't sound like a huge leap for many, but right now, I'm not in this to get crazy pilot brewery serious, so it's about as far as I see myself going for the foreseeable future. Anyway, my first question, or rather poll of sorts is, I'm trying to assemble the equipment necessary to do what I want to do, but, like many of you all I'm sure, on a budget. I don't want to buy stuff now that I can't use later, but I'm not down for dropping $800 to $1000 right off the bat. I've got a couple options put together to get myself started; one is a 2 burner and 30 qt pot, but very basic plastic bucket and bottling bucket fermentation set-up which I call my "cooking" capacity option. The other is basically a turkey fryer and 30 qt. pot, but glass Carboy and secondary kit which is my fermentation capacity option. Both cost just about the same and will get me started with what I want to do, but my question is, which of those two set ups would you all start with if you were just starting out? Which is going to be more expensive for me to expand in the long run? I'm guessing, like a lot of brewing related options, this will come down to personal preference, but I just wanted to poll some of the folks who are already in it. So, sorry if this rambled on a bit, but I appreciate and thank you for your input and look forward to getting into this brewing adventure!
 

Piratwolf

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I think you're right about personal preference. But FWIW, here's my advice after 13 mo.s of intense brewing:

1) glass carboy isn't necessary. Better Bottle is cheaper & you can still see thru it to watch the yeast play. If you don't care about visuals, go with food grade plastic buckets as the cheapest option.

2) if you're going to go to 10 gal batches eventually, then buy a 15-gal pot. Buy once. Mine cost me ~$125 including SS ball valve.

3) Watch Craigslist for a cheap (free?) dorm fridge to use as a fermentation chamber. Buckets fit in there easily. Then get (or make) yourself a temp controller (Johnson, Ranco, or check threads on DIY temp control) b/c that and pitching the right amount (see mrmalty.com yeast calculator) of healthy yeast are arguably the most important single things in making good homebrew into GREAT BEER :)

FWIW, I got 2 dorm fridges (CL & a friend) and a digital Johnson temp controller (pexco.com) for at total of $78.

Could go on all day, but that's the important stuff!
 

rhamilton

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Definitely go with Better Bottles; get two 6 gal and two 5 gals to get started. If you are stuck on glass, there is a seller on Amazon who runs a sale ever 4-6 months so it's best to wait for that. IMO, use BB until they go on sale and you can switch.

Craigslist is king. All sorts of homebrew equipment is moved on CL so that is a great resource.

If you are 100% sure you are going to move to 10-gallon batches, like Piratwolf recommended, buy once.
 
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SillyWabbit

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Sweet, thanks for the input!! Sounds like for as inexpensively as I can get Better Bottles and other fermentation equipment, a better initial investment would be a large pot and more burners. Think I'm going to start with the Northern Brewer's Irish Red Ale extract kit for my first go 'round! Should be fun.
 

chickypad

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a better initial investment would be a large pot and more burners. .
Actually you don't need more burners. I would go with a big pot and a single burner that can handle it. Then stock up on buckets or a combo of buckets plus plastic carboys if you want to watch the beer. Many folks do all grain with a single burner, cooler for a mash tun, then one other vessel of some sort. You can always decide later if you want to go with a multiple burner set up.

NCal's great for brewing year-round. Happy shopping!
:mug:
 
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