Getting Started: Go Pro Small Batch Starter Kit

Ladies and Gents,

It looks as if my wife is purchasing a small batch beer kit for my birthday. I am pretty sold on the Go Pro Small Batch Starter Kit. The reason I am posting is to see what else I need to purchase for this kit. I know that I need a 2 gallon kettle to brew. Is there any other upgrades or buying recommendations that you guys have? Thanks in advance!

Also, is Caribou Slobber good?

L.T. Copley

Brewing is a lot of work. Fun work but still a lot goes into it.What’s the end result on those kits, 6 beers? If you like beer Id skip small batches and go with a full 5 gallon setup. It’s just as easy and you’ll end up with enough to share which is one of the best parts of brewing. Good luck either way

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Happy upcoming birthday!

I am a relatively new home-brewer myself, although I started out brewing 5 gallon extract kits using a 5 gallon kettle that I purchased in a starter kit.

The reason why I mention this, is that it wasn’t too long before I started to look for a 15 gallon kettle so that I could start with all-grain BIAB (Brew In A Bag) brews. In hindsight, I wish that I would have just purchased the bigger kettle in the first place…

In any case, the Go Pro Small Batch Starter Kit includes most everything that you need, and you would be able to re-use most everything if you started brewing bigger patches, with the exception of the Little Big Mouth Bubbler.

You might want to consider picking up some Star-San so that you can sanitize your airlock, bubbler, siphon, tubing, bottle caps, and anything else that needs to be sanitized.

I was going to suggest that you pick up some sort of beer thief, a hydrometer and test jar, so that you could check the original gravity (OG) and final gravity (FG), but then I remembered that when you are brewing small batches you will end up using a good percentage of your brew for testing, unless you dump it back into the fermenter.

Good luck!

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Get the hydrometer for sure. To save on beer clean and sanitize the hydrometer and just drop if in your fermentor so as not to waste any beer.

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I’m a fan of the refractometer. Less beer waste. The downside is you need to do a conversion when you measure FG.

It’s tough to give advice. I started with 5 gallons, but kind of like half batches. From my perspective, a cheap tamale pot, two frosting buckets from your bakery, grommets and airlocks are a great system. But there’s something to be said for a ready made kit.

I’ve been brewing gallon batches for over a year (my current living situation makes is seriously impractical to do five gallon batches).

I’ll update this post this evening more details on what I found was necessary for the first batch and some additional gift ideas.

As a starting point, if you brew your first kit following the instructions, you will make a good first beer with the equipment that is there.

andor I love beer, but I don’t drink a ton of it. I believe the 1 gallon batch is supposed to make like 11-12 beers. That is what I heard. 11-12 beers will last me two months. Haha!

cruiten, does the small batch starter kits not coming with a cleaner? I thought they did. Or may be the Star-San cleaner is better than what comes in the kits? I am also not familiar with what you mean by “beer thief.”

brew_cat; uberculture, not familiar with either of those terms. I will do a little research to see what I can find about the hydrometer and refractometer.

smallbatchbrewer, thanks. Can’t wait to see the update.

On another note, I saw that no one had answered my question about Caribou Slobber. I also had another question. Is there any significant different between the Go Pro Starter Kit and the Go Pro White House Starter Kit? I couldn’t see any major difference.

This is what I am leaning toward in my buy list.

Go Pro White House Starter Kit
2 Gallon Kettle

Both a refractometer and hydrometer measure the sugars present in a liquid. You measure the sugar before you add yeast, and measure sugar after the yeast do their thing, and you can figure out ABV, yeast attenuation, etc. More importantly, if you get the same measurement twice a few days apart, you can know that fermentation is complete. A hydrometer is a glass stick that you float into a tube full of your beer to measure sugar. A refractometer, you put a drop of beer on a glass window and look through it. One uses more beer to get a reading, the other requires an additional calculation after fermentation starts.

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do love the refractometer i do use it in the beginning like end of boil and when i do transfer my beer to second but this in combination with a hydrometer but for final grav reading to make sure my beer is done i use the hydrometer with test jar

If your doing extract all you need is a hydrometer. You only need to check if its done. Heck you can just wait three weeks and not check gravity at all

As far as the beer kit, I highly recommend the Caribou Slobber. If you like a beer that has some character to it but still easy to drink this is the one. My dad who is a bud light kind of guy actually likes it. I brewed a keg for my wedding a couple years ago and it was the first one to go empty. Everyone still keeps requesting more of it. So you can’t go wrong in my book with some slobber. :wink:

Caribou Slobber is a clone of Moose Drool by Big Sky Brewing of Montana. CS is one of my favorites. Have one maturing in the bottles. By adding four of the six pounds of LME in the last 15 minutes of the boil the CS recipe is very close to MD. This will lighten the resulting color, and the body somewhat, of the beer. Technique is called “late extract addition”.

I have gone back to my original brewing method for deeper color and more intense flavor. I add all the extract at the beginning of the boil. Moose Drool is a good beer but I like my resulting beer better.

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I would suggest buying a larger kettle than is needed for one gallon recipes. A quality kettle with a clad bottom will last indefinitely. A larger kettle in the 5.5 gallon range will give you the flexibility for going to partial boils for 5 gallon recipes.

Six years ago I replaced a thin stainless steel kettle when the bottom warped with a clad kettle purchased at Walmart. Cost $63.00. The kettle is also used for water bath canning, corning beef, corned beef and cabbage boils, and steaming king crab a few times a year.

Lots of good ideas between my 1st reply and this post.

Here are my suggestions:

  • hydrometer - to get in the habit of taking SG measurements to know that fermentation is complete.
  • fermometer - to monitor fermentation temperature (vs room temperature).

and the gift suggestion:

  • refractometer - it’s not necessary for the 1st kit. If you start brewing clone recipes or try your own recipes, it’s really nice to have.

Before you brew your first batch, add a ‘one gallon’ water line using a permanent marker to the outside of your 5 qt bubbler. This will help with ‘topping off’ to one gallon after the boil.

There is a lot that could be said about temperature control during fermentation, cleaning/sanitizing of equipment, bottling (fizz drops vs sugar) - and all of those are good topics between brewing your 1st batch and starting your second batch

Caribou slobber was my first brew. I never brewed it again but it was a good beer and a good first beer to brew.

did brew now several carribou slobber beers and everytime it does come out good .even my wife not a big beer drinker first thing she does ask you still have carribou left. but why not upgrade to bigger brew system once ya startbrewing you want to do more and bigger brews .indeed dont think beer kits come with starsan

Buying List

Go Pro White House Starter Kit
2 Gallon Kettle
Caribou Slobber

@Eric, thanks for the comments on the slobber. I hope to brew some beer for my friends to try at our fantasy football draft this year.

@smallbatchbrewer, does that fermometer work well? Also, thanks or the tip for the one gallon water line.

I do have any additional question. Just thinking out load here. Would it be possible to brew a 2 gallon batch by just purchasing 2 of the kits and double the recipe? I can imagine what the comments are going to be… “buy a bigger kit.” I am pretty sold on the 1 gallon kit for now. I am just curious about double the recipe. Will that work?

You could buy a 5-er and split, need extra yeast until you can figure out culturing part. Also extra hop, then just to weigh out the grist so its equal piles of 2 !! Sneezles61

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Yes you can but it may be cheaper to just buy the ingredients. Kits are the most expensive way to go

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Buying two kits and making a double batch will work, you will just end up with more yeast than you need-but you can store the extra pack in the fridge(dry yeast) for a long time. You will need a larger fermenting vessel, though.

A thought for down the road–if you have success with the small batches, and chances are that you will, you’ll probably find yourself wishing you had more of the beer after your friends drink it all up. You can then move up to five gallon batches (partial boils) for not a lot of money. You’ll just need a five gallon boil kettle and you can use a cheap 6.5 gallon bucket for fermenting. Even if you don’t drink a lot, many beers, including the slobber, will age well in a cellar environment(or even at room temp). So you can keep them around and always have plenty on hand. And I would imagine that one five gallon kit probably doesn’t cost a lot different from two one gallon kits. Just my .02.



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