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couch

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Is there any way to get around not buying kits and instead just using stuff around the house?
 
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We have a LHBS that will let you brew in their kitchen with expert guidance for $55.00 a batch.
You do need some specialty stuff, but you can sure get away with a lot less than what's in a kit. Depending on what you want to do and how much. I have made a few batches of wine in Milk Jugs, and a LOT of test batches in 1 gallon wine bottles.
 

Rick_R

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if you have 5 gallon food grade buckes with lids,
food grade tubing and the supplies to brew
(See, Cheeto, you'll fit right in behind the wall.)

As to the original question, you're basically using, at minimum, pots and buckets. My "brew pot" was a five gallon pot I already had. You could use a food-grade bucket for a primary and not worry about a secondary. But the bottling bucket would be the toughest to do without because you have to transfer the beer to the bottles somehow. I guess a sanitized funnel and sanitized large measuring cup (which, I would think, would work faster than a ladle) would be doable but a pain. Reuse empty soda bottles and you don't need a bottle capper, though you'll have to keep them out of the light (doable).

A minimum kit would be bottling bucket, a primary fermenter (plastic bucket) with lid, and an airlock. At a guess, under twenty-five bucks. Sanitize with bleach,
save soda bottles, it could work.

[edit: I assume you're talking about a hardware kit; you'll still need the ingredients to make the beer.]
[edit2: oh, and welcome to the forums here at HBT]

Rick
 

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If I were to start over again, I'd probably still go with a basic kit, as long as it was done right. A brew bucket, airlock, cheap capper, some hose. I 'd find a plastic carboy, and a good deal on a brew pot (~5 Gallon aluminum, procelain, or Stainless Steel).

This will get you to doing 5 gallon extract recipes. But, if you look around for a brew bucket, then you can save a good portion of the cost. Get a food grade bucket with a lid. Buy a spigot and drill and mount it yourself.
 
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