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Moving, but not necessarily graduating, from Mr. Beer to a simple brewing kit

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ghostofdavid

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Ok... I sought the sage advice of the forum and figured I would give it another go. I bought a Mr. Beer kit. I am unsure if I am happy with it, because it isn't finished yet. I knew that I would want to upgrade, so I went ahead and bought some more brewing equipment knowing that I would enjoy it immensely.

I bought one of the basic "Pail Ale" kits. You know the kind that hover in the 50 dollar price range that come with everything one needs to brew in plastic buckets. Minus a kettle. And a spoon. And a few other necessary items. Ironic, eh?

I went back to the store purchased a better bottle 5 gallon carboy (25% off) for second stage fermentation. A six gallon (hencho in mexico) glass carboy and a candy thermometer.

I still need the following:

Whatever caps or plugs that I need to use my carboys instead of buckets. I don't know what those are, so any suggestions would be helpful.

A brewing kettle. What are your recommendations for size? I read the very interesting sticky about materials and critique of them. Any recommendations?

A spoon. Does it have to be slotted? Non slotted? Any recommendations?

Hydrometer. I don't know what it is or how it works, but I was told it would be helpful. I read the short paragraph about it in William Moore's "Home Beermaking" but I'll research it more. Any recommendations?

What else do I need, besides patience? I want to hurry up and drink my own beer. :mug:

Am I forgetting anything? Thanks!
 

Beerthoven

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ghostofdavid said:
The wiki says a different size for kettles than I thought.. is 16 quarts not big enough?

Also, I couldn't find out what things I needed to convert my buckets to carboys.

I am a total n00b.
16 quarts is a big enough pot to do partial boils on your stove. It will work just fine.

What do you mean by "convert my buckets to carboys"? Buckets and carboys serve the same purpose - fermentation vessel. What are you trying to accomplish?

For your carboys you will need a drilled stopper and an airlock. Did your original Ale Pail kit come with an airlock?

Any spoon that is long enough to reach the bottom of the pot will work. Slotted or not, it doesn't matter. I wouldn't use wood, though, because it may be hard to keep clean.

Any basic hydrometer will work. Make sure the scale runs from 1.000 to 1.070 at the least, wider if possible. Be sure to also get a sample tube.

Like GaryA said, buy yourself a copy of How to Brew. It will change your life forever.
 
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ghostofdavid

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For your carboys you will need a drilled stopper and an airlock. Did your original Ale Pail kit come with an airlock?
It did come with one but I don't think it is the same size as my glass and better bottle carboy. What I meant, is that I wanted to either replace my buckets with the plastic/glass combo that I have or use them in addition to the buckets so I can have more than one batch going at once. I want to be able to see what I am doing. I was excited to get that 5 gallon Better Bottle for about 15 bucks.

I think before I appear any more foolish, I'd read more of John Palmer instead of the book that came with my Ale Pail kit.

Sorry guys, I am anxious. Surely you can remember being that way, eh? ;)
 

Beerthoven

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ghostofdavid said:
It did come with one but I don't think it is the same size as my glass and better bottle carboy. What I meant, is that I wanted to either replace my buckets with the plastic/glass combo that I have or use them in addition to the buckets so I can have more than one batch going at once. I want to be able to see what I am doing. I was excited to get that 5 gallon Better Bottle for about 15 bucks.

I think before I appear any more foolish, I'd read more of John Palmer instead of the book that came with my Ale Pail kit.

Sorry guys, I am anxious. Surely you can remember being that way, eh? ;)
I understand now. Its definately a good idea to have more than one batch going at the same time.

A #10 stopper should fit that 5 gallon better bottle. I'm not sure what size would fit your glass carboy. Maybe take it to a homebrew supply shop or hardware store and see if you can find one to fit it.

Definately read the Palmer book, but don't stop asking questions! That's what we are here for.
 
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