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Deluxe brewing kits

I’m torn between the regular glass carboys and the BMB plastic kit as offered by NB. What ate your opinions brewers? One of these deluxe kits and the raise your game kit will be my first venture into brewing.

Glass scares me. There are horror stories out there of them breaking. I can tell you that when cleaning them, they are heavy and slippery. I could see dropping them very easily.

I like the BMB. Easy to clean, lightweight, etc. They don’t seal well all the time, but that doesn’t bother me.

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I started about a year ago with the Deluxe kit that has the glass carboys. Since then I have purchased 2 more carboys. Some guys don’t like glass and prefer the buckets which are a cheaper way to go and they wont break. I like to see what’s going on with the fermentation. I prefer the glass and have not yet had any break on me. I have purchased carriers for them to make moving them around easier and safer. (straps or carboy bags) I also built a carboy washer so I don’t have to worry about trying to scrub them out over a sink. You could also go plastic carboys also instead of buckets. You will want at least an 8 gallon brew pot with valve if you are going to do full boils. That’s what I bought but now wish I had at least a 10. Gets kind of tight at times depending on the amount of hops, extract etc. With a full boil you will need a way to cool it off such as with an immersion chiller. You will want a hydrometer to measure gravity, a good thermometer, etc etc. So as you can see the kit will get you going no matter what one you choose but there will be many more purchases. Maybe go the least expensive route right now so you can put money towards those other things. Either way welcome to the obsession. You are in the right place for good advice. Lot of good very knowledgeable brewers on this forum.

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You can really scrub glass, whereas plastic can get scratched, and nasties can hide in the scratches.

Glass carboys can break; just a little googling will find you horror stories about broken glass, shredded flesh, multiple stitches, nerve damage.

I have one glass fermenter, and I prefer my plastic. Other brewers swear by glass. Not me.

Do yourself a favor though and get a hydrometer. The question always comes up, “How do I know when fermentation is complete?” Other than, “just wait” a hydrometer is the only way to know for sure.

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Any good information or videos on reading a hydrometer?

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I thought the 5 gallon kettle with the raise your game kit was large enough for 5 gallon batches? Is that not correct?

A five gallon kettle is more than enough when you do a partial boil of 2.5 to 3 gallons. You may need a larger kettle if you do very large partial mashes or go to all grain brewing. What you need now depends upon how much space you have to brew in.

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It is big enough to partial boils. You will only be boiling 2.5 gallons and then topping off in the fermenter. That’s the way I started and most people do. Its the easiest way to get started right on the stove top.

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Didn’t mean to confuse you on the kettle size. A 5 gallon pot is beg enough to handle 5 gallon batches when doing partial boil extract brews. If you see yourself in the future expanding to do other than partial boils then a bigger pot may be the way to go. Its hard to tell this early in the game where this will lead you, at least it was for me. That’s why I went with an 8 gallon. I started with that on the stove top but then started doing full 5 gallon boils outside. Now I wish I had a bigger kettle. I still may purchase a five gallon kettle for doing partial boils inside this winter, its a long reach into that 8 gallon pot when its on the stove.

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In addition to what everyone says about partial boil extract recipes, I also do 3-gallon all-grain recipes in my 5-gallon pot. There are a couple tense moments at the start of the boil when I worry about boil over, but it gets the job done.

One thing to keep in mind about working with larger boil volumes… In my experience, your typical kitchen stove starts having a hard time boiling at about 4ish gallons. Gas stoves typically can do a bit more; Electrics a bit less. This is the point where the Gear Acquisition Syndrome becomes acute… You want a big pot, then a propane “turkey fryer” burner, oh and an immersion or counterflow chiller, recirculating pumps… occasionally it gets bad enough some brewers end up shopping for divorce lawyers…

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I would get the simplest kit you can then buy stuff as you need it . Those all inclusive kits don’t have everything you need and don’t really save any money. If all you want to do is extract 5 gallons works. A better bet would be an 8 gallon and you could do some all grain. If your really serious go straight into all grain BIAB. We will help you it’s really easy and you don’t gain anything by starting with extract. It’s also less expensive so you can get more equipment. And don’t forget a long stem thermometer

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I started out with glass carboys and added a few. I think I have 4 6 1/2 gal carboys and 2 5 gal. I tried the plastic carboys. Don’t like them. Can’t clean them with a carboy brush like glass and sometimes pbw won’t get the krauesen line off. I broke a glass carboy about a year ago while cleaning it. Luckily didn’t get a scratch on me but it sure scared the hell out of me!

I had begun using buckets prior to the break and haven’t used a glass carboy since then.

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Thank you all, very informative stuff! I’ve made my order and look forward to my first batch.

Way off topic, what is the best way to test my water I’m going to use for baddies?

There is a year round hidden spring on my Farm, I’d like to use the water from it to make my beer. But im unsure how to tell if it is safe. Does it even matter? Seems the boiling process would eliminate any contamination or baddies? But if only doing a 2.5 - 3 gallon boil, then topping off. Id need to check the additive water.

Maybe just boil it before hand?

Haha yes to much gear you do collect. My wife it drives her crazy. I use. Big mouth bubbler. A primary fermentor. Than transfer to secondary carboy. A 6 5 gallon glass. I handle it real carefull. Got on break last week. In the neck of the carboy kettle wise. I do full boil partial mash. I use 6 gall water. End up with. 5 gall on the end. Get a hydrometer. And refrectometer. To do different readings. A long the way

Boiling the spring water will take care of most infectious microorganisms that could be in the water such as giardiasis, E. coli, or blastomycetes deposited by cattle, deer, and the bunnies. You could send for a label and collection jar from Wards Laboratories for a brewing water test for more about the water. Water content may vary throughout the year depending on how deep the water originates from. The springs on our farm had very high iron content. The iron would floc out and look like brownish-red filamentous gunk in grass at the outflow.

I’ll have to look into that. Several people have wells in my area. (Where city water doesn’t reach) i assume there has to be a way to test this water from the well. I’ll do some more research and post my findings.

Most people will likely do at least annual testing on the wells. Depending on state and local laws, it might be a requirement.

EDIT: that might just be for contaminants though

I switched from plastic buckets to glass. I have 6, 5, and 3 gallon carboys. I like glass for multiple reasons. Sure they can be dangerous. I don’t recommend carboy handles around the neck. I have the brew hauler and it makes carrying easier. Always wear shoes. I always insulate the carboy from concrete when brewing outside. Don’t put boiling hot water into a cold carboy. When cleaning I slowly warm the carboy up with water to keep from shocking the glass. Being smart about it is the biggest thing. Accidents happen but thinking about what could go wrong before it does could keep you from getting seriously injured. Nothing wrong with plastic though just preference.

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Glass carboys are for wine. Twenty years or so ago people started using them for beer. They make no sense to me, but to each his own. I use plastic for my primary and stainless for secondary. You can also just ferment in your brew pot if you want. Chill then pitch your yeast stick an airlock in the pot lid and seal the lid with saran wrap or not.

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