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Thinking about getting back into the hobby- Anvil Foundry

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Oldpaddy

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Hi all, I used to brew bucket beer with extracts many moons ago. Unfortunately it was so long ago I don't remember much and am pretty much starting at the beginning. I'd really appreciate some guidance regarding what I'm going to need. I think I'm going to go with a anvil foundry all in one kit and do all grain. I'm going to be bottling it. So other than the kit, what do I need? I don't see a fermentation bucket in the kit or capper. So I'll need those. What else?

Thanks
 

VikeMan

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Can you provide a link to the kit you're talking about?
 

AkTom

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Hydrometer, carboy of one kind or another. Capper, bottling wand. A few soda bottles for checking carbonation.
I’m going to be ordering a Foundry this week.
Cheers
 
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Oldpaddy

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I do all bottles and about a year ago I bought a drying tree with the optional bottle sanitizer right on top. Less than $50 total. Couldn't imagine being without it now. Slainte!
Bottles have gotten expensive. Do you use regular bottles or the kind with the fancy flip tops?
 

madscientist451

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Look on craigslist, there is usually brewing stuff for sale and often bottles are included with the lot.
If you go to a homebrew club meeting and ask around, many brewers have extra bottles they'd like to be rid of (including me).
Or buy some cases of Sierra Nevada or Sam Adams beer, the labels come off those real easy.
All you really need is a pot, a BIAB bag and some grain and you can start brewing on your kitchen stove.
Watch some you tube videos and see which of the various methods works for you.
I would recommend starting out with 2.5 gallon batches, the bottling is less tedious on smaller batches, you'll get some variety and get some experience.
Is this the equipment you were thinking of buying?
 
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Oldpaddy

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Look on craigslist, there is usually brewing stuff for sale and often bottles are included with the lot.
If you go to a homebrew club meeting and ask around, many brewers have extra bottles they'd like to be rid of (including me).
Or buy some cases of Sierra Nevada or Sam Adams beer, the labels come off those real easy.
All you really need is a pot, a BIAB bag and some grain and you can start brewing on your kitchen stove.
Watch some you tube videos and see which of the various methods works for you.
I would recommend starting out with 2.5 gallon batches, the bottling is less tedious on smaller batches, you'll get some variety and get some experience.
Is this the equipment you were thinking of buying?
Thanks for the advice! Unfortunately I live in the boondocks and I doubt there's much for me to find out here on craigslist and I doubt anyone is meeting up around here.
That is the kit I was looking at. Any thoughts on it?
 

matt_m

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If you order your Foundry from Great Fermentations, they have a kit with all the basics you should need and can put together a recipe kit for you. Good people.
https://shop.greatfermentations.com/product/basic-brewing-starter-kit/brewing-equipment-kits You'll probably find there are items you want to upgrade pretty quick (a good spoon comes to mind) but it will get you started. Probably want to acquire bottles locally but you can get them with drinkable beer while you wait because Anvil can't keep up with Foundry demand so you it will be a little while before you get one.

Also don't buy the 6.5 if you are thinking about smaller batches. They now have an insert for the basket that covers the side holes and makes it possible to brew small batches in the bigger system. Its ~$30. Don't see it on GF's page but I would suspect they have or can get it.
 
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VikeMan

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First, you realize that that tun/kettle is for 2.5-3 gallon batches, right? I only mention it because they call it a "6.5 gallon" system, which is a little misleading IMO. But there's nothing wrong with 3 gallon batches, if that's what you want.

Looks like a nice piece of kit. You mentioned a fermentation bucket. You could ferment in a bucket (lots of people do), but IMO "Better Bottle" type plastic carboys, glass carboys, and (especially) stainless steel conicals are all superior, from the standpoints of oxygen exclusion (all three) and sanitation (glass and steel). I also have to say (perhaps irrationally) that I have a hard time aesthetically picturing a system that starts off so high tech and ends in a plastic bucket.

Whatever you decide to go with for a fermenter, make sure the capacity is right. In general, I'd recommend a volume that is about 30% larger than the batch size, to allow adequate head space.
 
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Oldpaddy

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First, you realize that that tun/kettle is for 2.5-3 gallon batches, right? I only mention it because they call it a "6.5 gallon" system, which is a little misleading IMO. But there's nothing wrong with 3 gallon batches, if that's what you want.

Looks like a nice piece of kit. You mentioned a fermentation bucket. You could ferment in a bucket (lots of people do), but IMO "Better Bottle" type plastic carboys, glass carboys, and (especially) stainless steel conicals are all superior, from the standpoints of oxygen exclusion (all three) and sanitation (glass and steel). I also have to say (perhaps irrationally) that I have a hard time aesthetically picturing a system that starts off so high tech and ends in a plastic bucket.

Whatever you decide to go with for a fermenter, make sure the capacity is right. In general, I'd recommend a volume that is about 30% larger than the batch size, to allow adequate head space.
Good point. I'll probably go with the 10.5 gallon system. Yeah, I think I'll go with a ss fermenter. I was watching a video and the guy drained out the fermented beer into another container and then added priming sugar to the batch and then bottled. I like that idea better than adding it straight to the bottles, but then I'd have to buy another container with a spigot or use a racking cane.
Mmmmmm I can almost taste my knockoff sammy smith nut brown ale. I used really enjoy the flavor of my homebrewed beer. It's been too long.
 

AkTom

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Bottles, depending on where you live... I have gotten quite a few bottles from the recycling bin at the dump. Otherwise buy beer and recycle the bottles.
Cheers
 

cmac62

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Good point. I'll probably go with the 10.5 gallon system. Yeah, I think I'll go with a ss fermenter. I was watching a video and the guy drained out the fermented beer into another container and then added priming sugar to the batch and then bottled. I like that idea better than adding it straight to the bottles, but then I'd have to buy another container with a spigot or use a racking cane.
Mmmmmm I can almost taste my knockoff sammy smith nut brown ale. I used really enjoy the flavor of my homebrewed beer. It's been too long.
If you are going to go with SS, I'd go directly into the bottle with carb drops, this way you at least minimize the O2 exposure. :mug:
 

madscientist451

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Thanks for the advice! Unfortunately I live in the boondocks and I doubt there's much for me to find out here on craigslist and I doubt anyone is meeting up around here.
That is the kit I was looking at. Any thoughts on it?
Here something from a month ago in your area:
https://capecod.craigslist.org/for/d/carver-brewing-supplies/7096026485.html

I'm sure those all in one systems work ok initially, but I'm somewhat skeptical that the cheap heating elements and electronic controls are going to last. One component goes out, the whole thing is probably junk. You won't be able to get parts and trying to trouble shoot will be a nightmare.
So if $400 is no big deal for you, go for it. If you are on a budget, spend that money on a small chest freezer and temperature controller for your fermentation and make wort on your kitchen stove using BIAB. The freezer can double as a a cold storage for kegs and you'll have cash left over to buy some. Brew two batches and ferment in the freezer, then keep the kegs in there till they run out.
Having temperature controlled fermentation and using kegs really helped me improve my beer.
Just my 2 cents, do what you think is best.
:mug:
 

Jim R

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I bet there are very few people that spend money like this on nice SS equipment and then screw around with bottles. I would do the research on kegging for convenience, simplicity, ease of carbonation not to mention the cool factor with tap beer at home.
 

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I gave up for 9 years. Took a couple of batches, but everything came straight back. I would recommend buying a cheap beginners kit and an extract batch to start with, just to get you back into it. Most everything in a beginners kit will continue to be used no matter what set-up you go to.

If you buy the Anvil system, go for the 10 gallon. The 6.5 gallon set-up will only get you a case of bottles ..... a lot of work for not too many bottles.

I find it better to mix the sugar with the beer in a bottling bucket, and bottle from there (the cheap starter kit will give you a bottling bucket). I can't understand why anyone would buy bottles from a store - they are way over-priced. Buy the beer and save the bottles. If you are bottling, Bombers are the way to go ..... half the bottles to clean, and half the bottles to fill. I do 6.5 gallon batches, I usually fill 12 small bottles (to give away) and 25 Bombers for myself. I have not seen a reason to go to kegs, but I'm sure someone could easily put together an argument showing savings when compared to the 3 hours it usually takes me to bottle (sanitize bottles - rack to bottling bucket - bottle - cap - label and store bottles - clean up and sanitize equipment ready for next time). It's a hobby, and I actually enjoy bottling!
 

madscientist451

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I have not seen a reason to go to kegs, but I'm sure someone could easily put together an argument showing savings when compared to the 3 hours it usually takes me to bottle (sanitize bottles - rack to bottling bucket - bottle - cap - label and store bottles - clean up and sanitize equipment ready for next time). It's a hobby, and I actually enjoy bottling!
I barely have time for brewing, so kegging saves me a lot of time.
Also, transferring the beer to a bottling bucket is more exposure to oxygen and possible contamination. I also make cider, wine and mead and I'm considering kegging all those as soon as I can get another freezer.
 
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Oldpaddy

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I have my old kegerator that I haven't used in almost a decade in my garage. I checked it a few months ago and it still works, but I'd have to replace all the lines and get a new co2 tank. Then again, I'm not sure I have the space to set it up. I'm a family man now with little space to spare and I'm about to lose space through a remodel. Besides that, I hear there's a co2 shortage that is going to get worse before it gets better. Which is what got me thinking about brewing my own again. That and I need something to keep my mind busy while stuck at home with my kids, mother who moved in a month ago and 4 dogs. Two of those dogs are young great danes and one is pretty much a puppy chewing on everything in sight. Life is pretty stressful right now and I hope brewing some beer relieves some of that stress.
 
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Oldpaddy

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One of my hobbies is gardening. This year I'm doing two gardens and growing a ton of vegetables and some fruit. A few years ago I fenced in my half acre lot with 3 rail split rail fencing and covered it in wire mesh. I just ordered some fuggles and ekg rhizomes that I'm going to plant up against the fence lines. I've wanted some vines to cover the road facing fence line. Hopefully these will do the job and if I get back into the hobby it'll be two birds with one hoppy stone.
 
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Oldpaddy

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Just ordered the anvil 10.5 kit. The site said it's in stock, but I kinda doubt it since they would be the only place that has it in stock right now. I'm guessing I'll get it late may/june. Just as well because I have a lot more stuff to buy. Fermenter, various tools, ingredients and I'm also going to rebuild my kegerator and get a couple of corny kegs. I'm pretty excited. Not excited about the cost, but hey, I'm putting money back into the economy and I'll get some fine tasting beer in a few months.
 
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Oldpaddy

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I want to do a samual smith nut brown ale type brew. Do you guys think I should start with a kit like this or buy everything individually?

Also, should I get the grains milled or buy a mill? I grind my coffee because it tastes better than pre ground coffee. I'm guessing the same goes for grains.
 

VikeMan

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Also, should I get the grains milled or buy a mill? I grind my coffee because it tastes better than pre ground coffee. I'm guessing the same goes for grains.
If you believe you are in this for the long haul, then get a grain mill. Not only will the grains be fresher (I mill right before dough-in), but you'll be able to dial-in the crush that works best in your system.

Regarding pre-ground coffee, etc., I find it baffling that so many brewers understand staling of ingredients when it comes to just about anything in their kitchens, but for malt, "it doesn't matter."
 

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Also, should I get the grains milled or buy a mill? I grind my coffee because it tastes better than pre ground coffee. I'm guessing the same goes for grains.
If you plan on brewing it right away, I think buying the grains pre-milled will be fine. For me, whenever I can have someone else do a few parts of the process it is a benefit to me. I do mill my own, but I also have bulk malts. I just recently got some grain bins and they are great. Good luck and enjoy getting back into the brewing. :mug:
 
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Oldpaddy

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Golden and fuggles rhizomes came in today and they are planted! We'll see how they do. The guides all say full sun, but I've read numerous people claiming they have had problems with them getting scorched in the summer heat. The sun definitely beats down during the summer here. I bought 5 of each and spread them out between full summer sun and mostly full sun. It'll be interesting to see how they do.
On another note, I plugged my kegerator in yesterday and it's not holding a temp. Guess I'll be getting another kegerator :(
Not the end of the world since I was going to spend hundreds replacing the tank, lines, couplers, etc. At least it died now and not after I bought that stuff.
Before the kegerator I plan on buying a fermenter. I'm thinking of the anvil stainless steel 7.5gal because of the price and reviews. Do you guys have any recommendations?
 

cmac62

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is the foundry set up to do closed transfers? This is one thing I would look for in a new fermenter. I have a SS brew bucket and like the ease of use/cleaning with the Stainless, but it is not set up for closed transfers. I also have a fermzilla, it looks cool, but the design is a bit wonky. I haven't yet used the yeast trap, but getting it off during fermentation seems to be a pita. :mug:
 
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Oldpaddy

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is the foundry set up to do closed transfers? This is one thing I would look for in a new fermenter. I have a SS brew bucket and like the ease of use/cleaning with the Stainless, but it is not set up for closed transfers. I also have a fermzilla, it looks cool, but the design is a bit wonky. I haven't yet used the yeast trap, but getting it off during fermentation seems to be a pita. :mug:
 
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Oldpaddy

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Just talked to the seller and they haven't even been able to place my order with the manufacturer. So I'm thinking about canceling my order and just buying the parts individually and brewing on my stove. I already bought a 7.5 gallon anvil fermenter. I have all the ingredients for an all grain brew. Anyone want to give me list of decent goods I'll need to start brewing? I liked the idea of an all in one setup, but we don't always get what we want.
 

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