Since I have completely hooked on home brewing, I have been researching, planning and adding items to my Northern Brewing wishlist like crazy. I came across a kit on another website the other day that looked amazing and included everything I wanted minus a few things but had some extra stuff like a wort chiller. If I got this one, I would add a burner to it like the Dark Star. What do you guys thinks of this kit? About the company? I welcome all advice and recommendations.
Never dealt with the company so I can’t comment on them. The kit looks pretty good to me for the money, even if they are a competitor of our host here. Especially considering it includes a kettle. Although somewhere down the road you will want a larger one.
I am impressed that they include a hydrometer and flask for it. The is a must have tool most of these kits do not have.
The 5-gallon brew pot is fine for typical extract and even 3-gallon all-grain brewing. Both of which are easy stove-top operations.
If you want full-boil extract or 5-gallon all grain then you must have a bigger pot.
So either you don’t need the propane burner, (unless you just want to brew outdoors) or you need BOTH a propane burner and a bigger pot.
I was thinking that an 8 gallon pot might be a bit better. Could you clarify what a full-boil extract is? Some of the recipes I have seen start with 2.5 gallons of water and once it is ready to go into the fermenter, you add enough water to bring it to the 5 gallon mark. Just to clarify, I would have no problem doing an 5 gallon extract kit on a regular stovetop? One of the main reasons I have been thinking about a propane is so that I can cook in the garage and not make the whole house smell like beer. I enjoy the smell but my pregnant wife does not. Haha
I was impressed that it included one as well. The essentials lab kit was one of the first items I added to my wishlist.
I spent a couple of years doing full boils in a 7.5 gallon turkey fryer. Figuring evaporation, I’d start with 6.5 gallons in the kettle. Fighting boilovers was tricky… I’m now in a 10 gallon kettle, and it’s much easier to avoid them.
On a regular stovetop, you could do the 2.5 gallon, top up afterward process. But propane is fun.
Full boil extract is starting the boil with at least the 5 gallon volume for a 5 gallon recipe. You can either top off the fermentor for the volume evaporated during the boil or estimate the boil off and begin the boil with 5 gallons + estimated boil off.
I start with only 5 gallons in the kettle. Don’t want to end up with more than 5 gallons by estimating boil off incorrectly or the volume LME would add. Too much volume at the end of the boil can be boiled off with more time but this will also darken an extract brew more than the original boil time will.
My opinion and it’s just that is buy the stuff separate. The pot is to small 8.5 is good 10 is better. Drop the glass carboy and decide later if you want to secondary. If you want the glass only get one bucket with a spigot and ferment in that. You don’t need the lab kit. Kind of strange the give you a floating thermometer I guess it’s to float in the glass carboy. It wouldn’t be of much use in a bucket. I agree it’s kind of pain brewing in the kitchen if other people need to use it
I would tend to agree with @brew_cat. Any of these kits have things you’ll probably replace later. I personally think the kettle is too small, I don’t really like glass fermentors, I think I used the gravity bottle filler once before replacing with a spring loaded one, and also needed/wanted to upgrade my siphon to a bigger one.
Did see the kit as well. Get a bigger kettle. For 5 gall full boil. The burner. I would look at lows. The might be cheaper. And most the time it includes a gas tank as well. Me still use glass carboys. But did order some speidel. Fermentors. Same price as a 6.5 carboy. But they can not damage.
They have a Lowe’s in Bonaire ?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of both? So if I got an 8 gallon kettle, started off with 5 gallons of water for a 5 gallon extract kit and then added water that evaporated to the line in the fermentor, it will not effect the taste at all?
Didn’t think I NEEDED a propane but for 55 dollars plus a tank…who could resist that kind of fun!
Thanks for the advice. I was leaning towards buying everything separate so I did not have to drop all the money at once and get some things I could grow into or use of bigger boils or all grains later on.
Question for all your helpful people: Would you recommend a wort chiller? That is one item included in that kit but was not on my wish list? Absolutely necessary or could wait til later?
Absolutely needed for chilling 5 gallons of wort. The kitchen sink really doesn’t cut it once you have more than a couple gallons to chill.
The advantages doing a partial boil:
Most kitchen stoves can bring 2.5 gallons of water to a full boil in a reasonable amount of time.
A kitchen stove can hold the 2.5 gallon boil without the use of maximum heat.
Less volume of hot wort to carry to where it will be cooled and can be cooled with a simple kitchen sink ice bath.
Disadvantages of a partial boil:
Hop oil isomerization may be about 10% less.
Wort will be a slightly darker in color because sugars are more concentrated.
If you use a propane burner in the garage, make sure you open the doors for good ventilation. You don’t want carbon monoxide poisoning … and stay away from the lawn mower gas can !
Oh yes, put that gas can out side when using a propane burner. (Same goes when you pull your grill inside on a rainy day)>.
I would not have thought to move my tanks out. I just want to be able to open to garage door, blast some music, drink some beer while brewing beer! haha. Flars, you have convinced me that I need to do full boils. A 5 gallon kettle is 40 dollars compared to a 8 gallon Tall Boy kettle (which is worth 100 on it’s own) with a burner for 120. Saves me money plus a higher quality kettle and more room incase of a boil over. Any advice or suggestions on wort chillers then? I don’t want to have to carry something that heavy over to my utility sink.