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Sammy86

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Not all hero's wear capes...I'm just a bald headed bearded dude who once lurked in these forums and had no idea what was going on...glad to be of help!
 

mcmungus

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Hello,
Its probably been answered a thousand times. However, I'll ask again . . .
What is the essential equipment required to home brew? I have never brewed before but would like to try. was looking to do a German Dunkel.
Essential list would be amazing seen as my wife keep harassing's me what I want for Xmas!
Thanks in advance!
 
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Hello,
Its probably been answered a thousand times. However, I'll ask again . . .
What is the essential equipment required to home brew? I have never brewed before but would like to try. was looking to do a German Dunkel.
Essential list would be amazing seen as my wife keep harassing's me what I want for Xmas!
Thanks in advance!
That's a huge question- since a dunkel is a lager, it would require cool (cold) fermentation, so that could be a tough one to start with. There are homebrewing "kits" out there that have most of what you need, but you would also need a large enough pot to boil 3 gallons or so.
 

bleme

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What is the essential equipment required to home brew?
I think "There's more than one way to skin a cat" applies to homebrewing at least as much as anything else.
Some people prefer to brew indoors while others prefer to brew outdoors.
Some people prefer to brew with extract while others prefer to use only grain (and everywhere in between).
Some people prefer to brew 5 gallons but the number of 1, 2, 3 and 10 gallons brewers seems to be growing.
Some people prefer a shiny 3-vessel system while others prefer the simplicity of Brew-In-A-Bag (BIAB) or an All-In-One.
Some people (masochists ;)) prefer to bottle, while others prefer to keg.

You need a kettle (what size depends a lot on the above).
You need a heat source.
You need a cleaner and a sanitizer (Oxyclean and StarSan will do).
You need a hydrometer.
You need a fermentor with some kind of airlock.
You need some kind of temperature control.
You need some way to package the final product.
 

NGD

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@mcmungus To piggyback on what bleme said; another thing you need is time.

A rough estimate for the following methods:
All Grain: 5-6 hours for 5 gallons
Extract: 2-5 hours for 5 gallons

Most kits will cover the boil and fermentation side, but after a batch or two you’ll realize the need for the ability to control fermentation temps.

Morebeers starter kits are among the better kits I’ve come across. Here is a well priced starter kit for extract that has everything but a heating element and some type of temp control for fermentation.
Premium Home Brewing Kit | MoreBeer
 

DarrellQ

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I think "There's more than one way to skin a cat" applies to homebrewing at least as much as anything else.
Some people prefer to brew indoors while others prefer to brew outdoors.
Some people prefer to brew with extract while others prefer to use only grain (and everywhere in between).
Some people prefer to brew 5 gallons but the number of 1, 2, 3 and 10 gallons brewers seems to be growing.
Some people prefer a shiny 3-vessel system while others prefer the simplicity of Brew-In-A-Bag (BIAB) or an All-In-One.
Some people (masochists ;)) prefer to bottle, while others prefer to keg.

You need a kettle (what size depends a lot on the above).
You need a heat source.
You need a cleaner and a sanitizer (Oxyclean and StarSan will do).
You need a hydrometer.
You need a fermentor with some kind of airlock.
You need some kind of temperature control.
You need some way to package the final product.
I have to ask a perhaps dumb question about Oxyclean. The only Oxyclean that I am aware of is a laundry detergent and a laundry spray stain remover. Is this what people are using to clean equipment? If so, why? I realize dish detergent may be fragrant and thus you may not want to use it, but I believe Oxyclean is fragrant also. So, what advantages over plain dish detergent does it have for cleaning brew equipment?
 

VikeMan

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I have to ask a perhaps dumb question about Oxyclean. The only Oxyclean that I am aware of is a laundry detergent and a laundry spray stain remover. Is this what people are using to clean equipment? If so, why? I realize dish detergent may be fragrant and thus you may not want to use it, but I believe Oxyclean is fragrant also. So, what advantages over plain dish detergent does it have for cleaning brew equipment?
When people talk about using Oxiclean for brewing equipment, they often mean Oxiclean "Free," which isn't fragrant. But either way, yes, it's the powder that comes in tubs, and its main purpose is laundry stain removal. The advantage over plain dish soap is that it works better, and requires less scrubbing.

FWIW, PBW works even better, but is more expensive.
 

bleme

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I have to ask a perhaps dumb question about Oxyclean. The only Oxyclean that I am aware of is a laundry detergent and a laundry spray stain remover. Is this what people are using to clean equipment? If so, why? I realize dish detergent may be fragrant and thus you may not want to use it, but I believe Oxyclean is fragrant also. So, what advantages over plain dish detergent does it have for cleaning brew equipment?
This thread is very long and contains a lot of rubbish, but if you "eat the meat and toss the bones" there is a lot to learn about OxyClean here: Oxiclean...two years and no infections
 

Aki

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What's next?

I am trying to develop my process (learn the basics) every time and learn from the mistakes but there is still so much to learn. Assuming I have taken the following things into consideration, what is the next step? Should I focus on these and learn more detailed information first or start studying water chemistry for example?

- Stable temp single infusion mash and boil
- trying to keep yeast happy - rehydration, aerating the wort, pitching in right temp, keeping stable fermentation temp and maturing after active period
- priming in bottling bucket and trying to minimize oxidation (I don't have CO2 or oxygen absorbing caps though)
 

Sammy86

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trying to keep yeast happy - rehydration, aerating the wort, pitching in right temp, keeping stable fermentation temp and maturing after active period
IMO this should be your next step...while water is certainly important considering how much beer is water if your water tastes good then the beer in theory should be good as well.

Fermentation on the other hand is where I believe good beer can become better. Healthy yeasts=better attenuation and more flavorful beers.
 
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ncbrewer

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I don't see any reason that you can't work on improving in all these areas, and more. They're all worthwhile and not mutually exclusive. As far as having a lot to learn, that won't stop.
 

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This is a great place to start if you have ANY questions at all about brewing your own beer.

From Mr. Beer and extract kits to all-grain brewing, we welcome all new brewers who have questions or need advice on their equipment, techniques, fermentation, wort making, yeast, and more.

If you have a question, that means that others probably have had the same question too so no question is too silly. I promise. Ask us!

And to more experienced brewers, it goes without saying that we will be welcoming of those questions and be as helpful as possible in our answers. If someone feels that they can't be positive and helpful, they should refrain from posting in the Beginner's Forum. Ask me if you are unsure if something is appropriate- remember what your mother told you, "If you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all!"

Feel free to message one of the admins or moderators if you have any problems with posting on the forum, or if you have any problems with navigating around the forum at all.

Cheers!
Good afternoon everyone ! I just recently made my first run of home brew from my home brew kit I purchased from craft brew.com. It’s a 1 gallon glass set up came with all the materials and ingredients. I followed instructions in the packet . Started to ferment slowly like 1 bubble every so often the 2nd day it began to increase this morning it was back to a single bubble again . Very little to no foam in the carboy . Room temp is 67 degrees. Did something go wrong or is this how it happens I have videos of the first 2 days if you’d like to see any help be great thanks
 

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Good afternoon everyone ! I just recently made my first run of home brew from my home brew kit I purchased from craft brew.com. It’s a 1 gallon glass set up came with all the materials and ingredients. I followed instructions in the packet . Started to ferment slowly like 1 bubble every so often the 2nd day it began to increase this morning it was back to a single bubble again . Very little to no foam in the carboy . Room temp is 67 degrees. Did something go wrong or is this how it happens I have videos of the first 2 days if you’d like to see any help be great thanks
Sounds like something is happening. Does it smell good?

Do you have a hydrometer? If so, did you take a gravity reading before fermenting? If you did, then you could take another reading now to check how far along it is.

My beer (5gallons) usually takes about 2 weeks to be done fermenting, but it only bubbles for a about 2-4 days. It is normal for it to slow down and then not bubble at all while it finishes up.
 

Jpeck

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Sounds like something is happening. Does it smell good?

Do you have a hydrometer? If so, did you take a gravity reading before fermenting? If you did, then you could take another reading now to check how far along it is.

My beer (5gallons) usually takes about 2 weeks to be done fermenting, but it only bubbles for a about 2-4 days. It is normal for it to slow down and then not bubble at all while it finishes up.
I do not have a hydrometer. It didn’t come with kit and the was no instruction to use one so didn’t know I needed one but I guess I’ll get one . I did not smell it didn’t want to shake up the carboy and wasn’t sure if I should pull the rubber cork . Instruction said to use the blow off assembly which was a hose into a glass jar . When bubbles slowed to switch over to the airlock which I did . First pick is the way I stored it in a dark cool place . Hope this helps and again thanks for the help
 

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EricaM

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That looks fine to me. Just wait till the time is up and taste it while bottling. You'll be able to tell if it's good on bottling day. All it does in the bottles is carbonate and get a bit smoother.
 

Jpeck

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Ok thanks for the help let I be for 3 more weeks per the booklet . Again thanks for the help much appreciated!
 

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I'm a new home brewer and new to this forum and have a question that probably isn't answerable, but just an observation. I brewed my first batch of beer using an extract kit, just bottled another and plan to start my first batch of mead tonight.

When drinking your first batch of beer, how do you know if it tastes 'right' or are my expectations too high? :) In other words, what I drank tasted like beer, smelled like beer, carbonated like beer, but lacked much flavor. It was a kit I bought from Northern Brewer and I followed the direction very closely. I found myself comparing it to great canned beer I drink from established breweries and maybe that's a mistake and my expectations are too high. I had friends try it and they said, "good for your first time" not "dude, when are you brewing that again?!".

How do you know when you have it down? Is it just doing it enough and tasting one and you say to yourself, "I need to brew that again now!" How did you all know when you somewhat mastered the art of home brew?
 

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I'm a new home brewer and new to this forum and have a question that probably isn't answerable, but just an observation. I brewed my first batch of beer using an extract kit, just bottled another and plan to start my first batch of mead tonight.

When drinking your first batch of beer, how do you know if it tastes 'right' or are my expectations too high? :) In other words, what I drank tasted like beer, smelled like beer, carbonated like beer, but lacked much flavor. It was a kit I bought from Northern Brewer and I followed the direction very closely. I found myself comparing it to great canned beer I drink from established breweries and maybe that's a mistake and my expectations are too high. I had friends try it and they said, "good for your first time" not "dude, when are you brewing that again?!".

How do you know when you have it down? Is it just doing it enough and tasting one and you say to yourself, "I need to brew that again now!" How did you all know when you somewhat mastered the art of home brew?
You'll know your skills are good enough when you stop buying beer out of necessity, both because your homebrew is tasty enough to prefer it and because you can produce a respectable batch of whatever styles you are into. I just buy beers that I might be interested in cloning, as research.
 

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I think you "have it down" when people are asking you for more. Doesn't mean it has to be great (or better than commercial), it should just be enjoyable.

Oh, and that means for you. I love my beers, and they're brewed for me, and not according to a style. I'll work myself up into a craving for a specific flavour, and then build a recipe around that.
 

IslandLizard

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Do you have a hydrometer? If so, did you take a gravity reading before fermenting? If you did, then you could take another reading now to check how far along it is.
Yes, to taking the first reading before pitching (adding) the yeast.
But not so much for taking multiple readings while it's fermenting:
  • It's not needed. Fermentation handles itself until completion, 1-3 weeks after pitching yeast.
  • Especially with smaller batches (e.g., 1-2 gallons), taking samples remove a relatively large amount of beer, reducing the yield.
  • Taking samples could increase the risk of introducing infections. Much more so when those samples are being returned to the fermenter, which shouldn't be done. Instead, drink them, it's quality control and teaches one how to judge young beer and see how it develops over time!
Now after 1-3 weeks, when fermentation has completed, a hydrometer sample can be taken and another one 3 days later. If they match and are close to the expected Final Gravity (FG), it's usually safe to bottle.
 

Jpeck

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This is a great place to start if you have ANY questions at all about brewing your own beer.

From Mr. Beer and extract kits to all-grain brewing, we welcome all new brewers who have questions or need advice on their equipment, techniques, fermentation, wort making, yeast, and more.

If you have a question, that means that others probably have had the same question too so no question is too silly. I promise. Ask us!

And to more experienced brewers, it goes without saying that we will be welcoming of those questions and be as helpful as possible in our answers. If someone feels that they can't be positive and helpful, they should refrain from posting in the Beginner's Forum. Ask me if you are unsure if something is appropriate- remember what your mother told you, "If you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all!"

Feel free to message one of the admins or moderators if you have any problems with posting on the forum, or if you have any problems with navigating around the forum at all.

Cheers!
Good morning everyone . Quick question here . I bottle my first run last night . Per the instructions it says leave in a warm dark place for 2 weeks to finish carbonating the beer . . What’s a good room temp for this process . Thanks again everyone great group here
 

VikeMan

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Good morning everyone . Quick question here . I bottle my first run last night . Per the instructions it says leave in a warm dark place for 2 weeks to finish carbonating the beer . . What’s a good room temp for this process . Thanks again everyone great group here
The temperature for bottle carbonation isn't usually critical. I'd say somewhere in the area of 68-72. But a little lower can usually work. But warmer is faster.
 

Jayjay1976

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Hey, welcome to HBT @Jpeck
Congrats on your first batch!

When I was brand new I was super anxious to have my beer ready, so I used a large rubbermaid tub with a lid and a seedling heating mat to create an 85f space that would hold ~60 bottles. They were carbed enough to enjoy in less than a week but I ended up drinking yeasty, cloudy beer. Later on I brewed more frequently, and would let them sit at room temp for 3 weeks, then a week in the fridge to settle out and chill, and I had a new batch ready to drink every weekend. I had probably 700-800 bottles in rotation which I got fed up with cleaning and maintaining, so I started brewing less. When I just about stopped brewing altogether due to my dreading bottling day, I decided I had to do something about it so I jumped into kegging and haven't looked back. Beer quality improved dramatically and I now brew as often as I feel like it and filling the keg takes ten minutes, tops. Kegs are a bit of work to clean but it takes maybe 20 minutes of actual work plus half an hour running the keg washer, no biggy.

Good luck and stick with it my dude.
 

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Good morning everyone . Quick question here . I bottle my first run last night . Per the instructions it says leave in a warm dark place for 2 weeks to finish carbonating the beer . . What’s a good room temp for this process . Thanks again everyone great group here
Around 70F as VikeMan said, but in the summer I've conditioned at 78F and couldn't tell the difference, so I don't worry about it being a little warmer. Bottle conditioning temperature doesn't seem to be near as important as fermentation temp.
 

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Howdy - just signed up as found a few posts in here that referenced Coopers Irish Stout (which is my current homebrew) and is an area I'm looking for some help with.

I've done a few homebrews myself - mostly the can kits (ales mostly - like Coopers, John Bull, Woodford Wherry etc) and so far have been good (well, drinkable).

I've just started my Coopers Irish Stout after receiving it for Christmas (started on Sunday 21 March 2021) and I did the following:
  1. Sterilised all kit using VWP steriliser, then rinsed
  2. Added the contents of the can to the fermentation bucket using 2 litres of just boiled water
  3. Added 1KG of Coopers Brew Enhancer number 3, then mixed with a sterilised plastic spoon
  4. Topped up with cold water to 23 litres, whilst gently stirring every now and then
  5. Added Harris Pure Brew Beer Kit water treatment (1 crushed tablet and 1 teaspoon of treatment powder) to the brew whilst gently stirring
  6. Added the yeast (sachet provided with the Coopers Irish Stout kit) and gentle stirred
  7. Sealed the lid
  8. Topped up my airlock with sterilised water
  9. Placed FV in the cupboard under our stairs where the temperature is around 18 - 20°C (I also have a couple of temperature sensors in the room to give me a rough idea of the temperature)
However, in all my other brews I've noticed that the batch starts producing CO2 after approximately 24 hours (due to the bubbles coming through the airlock), but it has been pretty much 72 hours exactly and there are no signs of fermentation (i.e. bubbles in the airlock).

As a noob, I haven't taken a starting gravity reading (I recently bought a hydrometer but forgot to use it!) so I'm not sure what the OG was. I haven't taken any other gravity readings yet, because I don't want to be impatient and open the FV unnecessarily!

I have started to wonder if the yeast in the kit was duff, so today I ordered some Lallemand Nottingham High Performance Ale Yeast (11g), which I was considering adding when it arrives (probably Friday 26 March at the earliest) to see if that will help kick-start the fermentation, but figured I should ask advice on here before doing anything else.

The instructions for the Coopers Irish Stout are pretty basic and says to give it around 6 days when fermenting at around 21°C, but given the lack of signs of fermentation after 72 hours, I'm wondering if this will be long enough, especially when I've ready on other forums that it's not unusual to wait 2+ weeks for a complete fermentation.

Moving forward, I'm looking to make my own fermentation chamber with an old fridge and a Inkbird controller connected to a heating tube inside and the fridge, but obviously for now I'm stuck with the old manual steps...

So any advice would be great! Let me know if you need any more info - I've tried to be as specific as I can, so hopefully haven't missed anything out.
 

VikeMan

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However, in all my other brews I've noticed that the batch starts producing CO2 after approximately 24 hours (due to the bubbles coming through the airlock), but it has been pretty much 72 hours exactly and there are no signs of fermentation (i.e. bubbles in the airlock).
Sometimes there are no bubbles in an airlock because the fermenter has a leak somewhere. If you don't want to open the fermenter, try shining a flashlight through the bucket and see if you can detect a krausen formed on top of the wort.
 

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Sometimes there are no bubbles in an airlock because the fermenter has a leak somewhere. If you don't want to open the fermenter, try shining a flashlight through the bucket and see if you can detect a krausen formed on top of the wort.
Yeah, I read that but it's a relatively new FV and I've checked that the lid is sealed (which it is) so I don't believe there is a leak, but you never know! I'll try and take a picture of the top of the beer and add it here if that will help.
 

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I have never brewed before. This seems like a great place to start, before I start. Can I get a recommendation for starter kits? I really want to learn the process thoroughly.
 

VikeMan

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Yeah, I read that but it's a relatively new FV and I've checked that the lid is sealed (which it is) so I don't believe there is a leak, but you never know! I'll try and take a picture of the top of the beer and add it here if that will help.
It's not age/wear that makes bucket fermenter lids leak. The truth is, bucket fermenters are not a piece of precision engineering.

Ok, have taken a photo of my brew - see attached.
That crud is from a krausen that has come and gone. Not only has fermentation begun, it might even be finished.
 

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That crud is from a krausen that has come and gone. Not only has fermentation begun, it might even be finished.
Hmm, ok that’s not a good sign then. It’s barely been three days since I started and the temperature has been just under 21 degrees Celsius since so that seems short to me...

Should I try and reactivate it or add a new yeast to it (as per my original post)?
 

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Added Harris Pure Brew Beer Kit water treatment (1 crushed tablet and 1 teaspoon of treatment powder) to the brew whilst gently stirring
This is probably campden for removing chlorine/chloramine. It should be added to the water before it is mixed with the malt extract
it has been pretty much 72 hours exactly and there are no signs of fermentation (i.e. bubbles in the airlock).
As Vikeman said, it could be a leak. It doesn't take much of a leak - you really can't tell by looking. You can set a flashlight on the bucket lid, aiming down - it will show the liquid surface and kraeusen. But depending on the beer color, the kraeusen might be the only level you can see. If you know the original beer level, you can check if it is higher now - the difference would be kraeusen.
As a noob, I haven't taken a starting gravity reading (I recently bought a hydrometer but forgot to use it!) so I'm not sure what the OG was.
If you used the amount of fermentables the kit called for, and the right total volume, gravity will be what the kit called for. But if you haven't double checked the accuracy of the level marks on the bucket, they might be off. You can check after the brew is complete.
The instructions for the Coopers Irish Stout are pretty basic and says to give it around 6 days when fermenting at around 21°C
If you bottle before fermentation is finished, it will finish in the bottle. This can cause gushers or bottle bombs - you don't want that! I check gravity after 19 days, and again at 21 days- and bottle if it is stable. It almost always is. (Three days beween readings is better if using a standard hydrometer. I use a bottling hydrometer and can detect small changes.) I wouldn't bottle after less than three weeks if I hadn't checked for stable gravity.

Good luck.
 

VikeMan

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Hmm, ok that’s not a good sign then. It’s barely been three days since I started and the temperature has been just under 21 degrees Celsius since so that seems short to me...
That's about 70F. And if that's ambient temp, the fermentation temp would have been warmer.

Should I try and reactivate it or add a new yeast to it (as per my original post)?
I wouldn't even think about adding yeast or doing anything drastic unless you've actually determined that there's a problem. Personally, I'd give it a few days, then take a gravity reading.
 

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I have never brewed before. This seems like a great place to start, before I start. Can I get a recommendation for starter kits? I really want to learn the process thoroughly.
I don't know about specific kits, but I would suggest something that has a bucket or plastic carboy fermenter rather than a glass carboy for safety reasons. I like the bucket for easy access and cleaning. Some kits include a secondary fermenter. There is very little use these days for a secondary - I haven't used on in many years. A few come without a hydrometer. You will need one, but it can be purchased separately. For bottling, I recommend a bottling (also called finishing) hydrometer - lower range with better precision. For extract, I don't take an OG reading, so the bottling hydrometer is the only one I have. Some kits have a wort chiller. I don't use one. I do a partial boil and chill in an ice bath in the sink. If you will be doing a full boil, you will probably want a wort chiller. And be aware that with almost every aspect of brewing, there are varying opinions. You will have to make some judgement calls (on buying equipment and on your process).
 

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I don't know about specific kits, but I would suggest something that has a bucket or plastic carboy fermenter rather than a glass carboy for safety reasons. I like the bucket for easy access and cleaning. Some kits include a secondary fermenter. There is very little use these days for a secondary - I haven't used on in many years. A few come without a hydrometer. You will need one, but it can be purchased separately. For bottling, I recommend a bottling (also called finishing) hydrometer - lower range with better precision. For extract, I don't take an OG reading, so the bottling hydrometer is the only one I have. Some kits have a wort chiller. I don't use one. I do a partial boil and chill in an ice bath in the sink. If you will be doing a full boil, you will probably want a wort chiller. And be aware that with almost every aspect of brewing, there are varying opinions. You will have to make some judgement calls (on buying equipment and on your process).
Awesome thanks! This will help me get off the ground.
 
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