totally new/what do I buy?

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horsejody

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My husband wants to start brewing beer. Actually, he has left it to me to find the kit, and I will most likely do a lot of the brewing. What is the best home kit to buy, and what equipment do I need for bottling? I was hoping to not spend a ton of money. Please let me know what you think.
Thanks
 

Jumbo82

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A basic kit from one of the big online stores is a good way to get started. If you have a local homebrew store, even better. You'll save on shipping and usual get some great advice. As for which kit, brew what you like to drink.
 

carnevoodoo

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Look at the beginners kits at austinhomebrew.com, morebeer.com, northernbrewer.com, or find a good local home brew store. All of the beginners kits should come with some caps and a capper, and will get you on your way. A lot of them will even throw in an ingredient kit.
 

HOP-HEAD

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I got the Brewer's Best Deluxe kit at my local store for about $85. Was a good way to go about starting off cheaply.

Contains:
-6.5 Gallon Ale Pail Primary Fermenter with Drilled and Grommeted Lid
-6.5 Gallon Ale Pail Bottling Bucket with Bottling Spigot
-5 Gallon Glass Carboy
-Home Beermaking Book
-Easy Clean No-Rinse Cleanser
-Twin Lever Capper
-Triple Scale Hydrometer
-Airlock
-Drilled Universal Carboy Bung
-Liquid Crystal Thermometer
-Siphon Hose and Shut-Off Clamp
-Fermtech Auto Siphon
-Bottle Filler Stick
-Bottle Brush
-Instructions

I then added a wine thief and a better thermometer and was off an brewing that day with one of their all-in one beer kits and a couple cases of bottle.

Since then, I've added alot of goodies, but a few I'd get him right away in addition to the kit are:

-John Palmer's Book: How to Brew
-Some Starsan No Rinse Sanitizer so you can throw the supplied crap away.
-A nice big stainless spoon or plastic paddle.

This is a cheap way to get started, but be prepared, the spending doesn't stop.....
 

camiller

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One of the vendor members here is Brewmasters Warehouse. The equipment kits he has are at this page: http://www.brewmasterswarehouse.com/equipment/equipment-kits A lot of the other members here seem quite satisfied with his service. I haven't personally bought from him since I work part time at my LHBS (Local Home Brew Shop) and get a good employee discount.

However he can't ship to Georgia.

Edit: His kits have everything you need except a big kettle to boil in and bottles to bottle in.

That said, it goes without saying that I would also suggest that if you have a local shop you should give them at least some of your business.

Edit2: Oh, the equipment kit doesn't have caps, but the True Brew ingredient kits elsewhere on his site do have caps.
 

camiller

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...

-John Palmer's Book: How to Brew
-Some Starsan No Rinse Sanitizer so you can throw the supplied crap away.
-A nice big stainless spoon or plastic paddle.

This is a cheap way to get started, but be prepared, the spending doesn't stop.....

I second HOP-HEAD on this for the most part, eventually you will want the book he recommends but the first edition is online for free at howtobrew.com. Also, your local library may have some home brewing books, I know mine does.

And don't throw away the included cleanser whether it be easy clean in the Brewers Best ket or the C-brite in the True Brew Maestro kit, just use it as a cleanser and use star-san as a sanitizer.
 

justinakajuice

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Can't say sanitizer enough!!! That is a must and shame on companies for not including that in their beginner kits. If you don't sanitize your bottles and all of your equipment, you will ruin your beer completely. You can use bleach-water solution to start off, but you have to make sure there is no residue left on any of the equipment.

Best tip I've seen on these boards is cutting a small section of tubing for the bottling wand to the spigot connection instead of having your beer on the counter and sitting on the kitchen floor. MUCH easier on the back.

Good luck and welcome!

~juice
 

BioBeing

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If you are into not spending money, check out craigslist for used equipment too. Check the commercial sites for the basics, then look see what is on CL in your area. You might get lucky.
 

Joos

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between a LHBS and ocean state job lot(or any like stores in your area)you can get all you need for bout $50 plus ingredients.
 

SumnerH

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If you are into not spending money, check out craigslist for used equipment too. Check the commercial sites for the basics, then look see what is on CL in your area. You might get lucky.

If you do buy a kit, you can save some money by getting a Better Bottle instead of a glass carboy. Personally, I'd pay extra money to have the BB instead of glass, so the fact that it's cheaper is just a nice bonus. Some people like glass better, but if you're just starting off it's not likely to make a difference so long as you're careful not to scratch it while cleaning.
 

pen25

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first off welcome to HBT. second off tell us a little more. where bouts do you live? what kind of beer do you like? I say you because as you said youll be brewing it so brew what you like. if the hubby likes something else he should brew as well ;-) what are your final goals? meaning are you trying to save money or you trying to drink good brew for less that you can buy it for?

again Welcome.
 

pen25

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oh a couple more things.

check the postings here and check out the deals people have gotten on pots. aluminum is fine. you dont have to have ss. if you can get a bench capper instead of a wing capper. you will thank me later. you dont have to get a carboy as you only need a carboy if you secondary. you can get a carboy at old time pottery for 20 bucks. it maybe glass but it beats the price of bb and the LHBS price on carboys.

if you do not know if this is really a hobby you will enjoy then get a mr beer and try your hand at something small. the kits they come with arnt the greatest but you can always ask the LHBS or call the online store and ask them for the kits to be split into halves. let them know your doing 2.5 gallon batches and not 5.
 

oldwarrior86

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I used Midwest Brew Supply and was extremely pleased with their products, service, etc. Went for the mid level kit...probably paid more than from your LHBS, but it was online and very convienent.
 

StoutFan

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if you do not know if this is really a hobby you will enjoy then get a mr beer and try your hand at something small. the kits they come with arnt the greatest but you can always ask the LHBS or call the online store and ask them for the kits to be split into halves. let them know your doing 2.5 gallon batches and not 5.

Very true. I had my brother get the ol' Mr. Beer to try his hand at it first(lives 6 hrs. away, so he couldn't borrow my equipment). Turned out he did not like it, and saved a lot in the long run.
 

SumnerH

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If you do buy a kit, you can save some money by getting a Better Bottle instead of a glass carboy. Personally, I'd pay extra money to have the BB instead of glass, so the fact that it's cheaper is just a nice bonus. Some people like glass better, but if you're just starting off it's not likely to make a difference so long as you're careful not to scratch it while cleaning.

Incidentally, here's the newest thread that shows why I said this. It seems like someone posts one of these every week or so; at least this one only lost some beer instead of needing a trip to the emergency room:

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/another-vote-plastic-instead-glass-pics-109748/
 

sahuaro

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I got the Brewer's Best Deluxe kit at my local store for about $85. Was a good way to go about starting off cheaply.

Contains:
-6.5 Gallon Ale Pail Primary Fermenter with Drilled and Grommeted Lid
-6.5 Gallon Ale Pail Bottling Bucket with Bottling Spigot
-5 Gallon Glass Carboy
-Home Beermaking Book
-Easy Clean No-Rinse Cleanser
-Twin Lever Capper
-Triple Scale Hydrometer
-Airlock
-Drilled Universal Carboy Bung
-Liquid Crystal Thermometer
-Siphon Hose and Shut-Off Clamp
-Fermtech Auto Siphon
-Bottle Filler Stick
-Bottle Brush
-Instructions


Wow! If I were you I'd get this considering most carboys where i'm from cost $40 alone this seems like a steal!
 

DeafSmith

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Welcome to the obsession!
You'll need a large brewpot - last time I was in WalMart I saw 22 qt. stainless pots for around $45 - $49 IIRC. You can probably find aluminum cheaper - lots of people use them. If you get a kit that doesn't come with an autosiphon, I would highly recommend getting one - for me, it's an almost essential piece of equipment. Better Bottles are great (6 gallon for primary fermentation, 5 for secondary), but if you get one of those be sure to check out their website for the warning about how to use a tennis ball underneath it while swirling it around to aerate your wort, in order to prevent stress cracks.
When it comes time to bottle, be sure to read this thread first:
Revvy's tips for the bottler, first time or otherwise. - Home Brew Forums
Between Palmer's "How to Brew" and this web site, you should be able to find out just about everything you will ever need to know.
 

Figbash

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For a first time brewer, I would recommend not using secondary fermentor at all. A 6.6 gallon plastic bucket with a spigot is a all you need for a successful first brew. In addition, you'll need a 20 quart stainless stock pot (Meijer or Walmart), a 5 gallon bottling bucket (also with spigot), some 3/8" PVC tubing, a thermometer, a fermentation trap, bottles (from your local beverage store), caps and a capper and a strainer. You'll also need some sanitizer such as Start San, a bottle brush and some corn sugar for priming. A hydrometer is fun if you want to calculate the percentage of alcohol but if you follow an established recipe, it's not necessary.

I highly recommend John Palmer's book "How to Brew" as a guide for your first brew. He also has a web site that covers the basics.

Northern Brewer will have everything you need including kits for various types of beer and yeast. They also have a flat rate shipping fee of $7.99.

Tom
 
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horsejody

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first off welcome to HBT. second off tell us a little more. where bouts do you live? what kind of beer do you like? I say you because as you said youll be brewing it so brew what you like. if the hubby likes something else he should brew as well ;-) what are your final goals? meaning are you trying to save money or you trying to drink good brew for less that you can buy it for?

again Welcome.

I live in Nebraska, just west of Omaha. I don't drink. This is for my husband. He likes beers like fat tire, boulevard, bush lite, lots of kinds. He wants to brew his own because we camp a lot with friends. One of the friends is always showing off homemade wine. My husband is jealous and wants to bring something homemade too.
 

camiller

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I live in Nebraska, just west of Omaha. I don't drink. This is for my husband. He likes beers like fat tire, boulevard, bush lite, lots of kinds. He wants to brew his own because we camp a lot with friends. One of the friends is always showing off homemade wine. My husband is jealous and wants to bring something homemade too.

There are two home brew shops in Omaha, within a block of each other. Fermenters Supply and Cornhusker Beverage, check them both out.

I work part time at Cornhusker, Saturdays only. Stop by and we can talk about it some more. Or if I'm not there ask for Jim.
 

Homercidal

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I live in Nebraska, just west of Omaha. I don't drink. This is for my husband. He likes beers like fat tire, boulevard, bush lite, lots of kinds. He wants to brew his own because we camp a lot with friends. One of the friends is always showing off homemade wine. My husband is jealous and wants to bring something homemade too.

Hmm... I want to make my friends jealous, so I'll have my WIFE make some homebrew for me...

What a guy!

At any rate, making beer is fun IMO but it's a potential long-term investment. Unless you know that you are going to like continuing to brew, I'd go as cheap as possible.

You might find a plastic bucket for a fermenter at a nearby bakery. I can get 5 Gallon food grade buckets with lids for $1.50 downtown. (though the Amish got them all just before I went down there, so I have not seen them yet)

If you get 2, you can use one for a bottling bucket later, which makes bottling much easier.

If you have a 3 gallon stock pot, then you don't need to buy a kettle to boil the wort.

You will need some plastic tubing, a capper, some bottles (I use returns here in Michigan for a dime apiece), a racking cane, a couple of airlocks and bungs... Anything else??

You can actually make some good homebrew with a few basic items, but if you know you are going to do it long term, then a good kit is hard to beat.

Read up on the forums and read How to Brew - By John Palmer for more info. With a few simple things to remember, you can make some very good homebrew.
 

LaurieGator

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I live in Nebraska, just west of Omaha. I don't drink. This is for my husband. He likes beers like fat tire, boulevard, bush lite, lots of kinds. He wants to brew his own because we camp a lot with friends. One of the friends is always showing off homemade wine. My husband is jealous and wants to bring something homemade too.

Welcome to the group! It's nice to see another female interested in brewing :)

I think that you have a big obstacle to overcome if you don't drink but you want to brew beer. For me (as a beginning brewer), I rely a lot on smell and taste when I am brewing anything (I brew beer, meads and cysers). This would be like trying to make a spaghetti sauce when you don't like tomatoes. I could have my hubby taste it and tell me what it needed, but he may not be able to articulate the tastes in terms that I could understand and I may end up adjusting things that may not need to be adjusted or he may not be able to taste things that may make a beer unpalatable to others.

There are so many different styles and types of beers out there to brew! I am not sure if you choose not to drink due to allergies, beliefs or you just don't like the taste. I would suggest that the person brewing the beer is the one who is drinking the beer. That way, they can learn about the process and make the adjustments as they learn. It would be so hard for me to make something and not be able to taste the fruits of my labors!

The folks here have given great equipment suggestions! There are lots of great threads in this group that have to do with equipment suggestions and people's experience with them.
 
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