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Need help with equipment for newbie

Hello all,

I am finally going to brew beer after months of talking about it. A friend recommended this site and I have to say I love it! I want to make sure I get off to a good start so I have a shopping list. I am hoping some of you veterans can add to my list. My goal is to be patient and do one step at a time. Any ideas are welcome!

Here is my list (so far)

Deluxe Brewing Starter Kit
Brix/Specific Gravity Refractometer w/ATC
(2) 6 Gallon Glass Carboy
O2 Absorbing Crown Bottle Caps -144 count
(4) 12 oz. Beer Bottles - 24 Pack
Blichmann ThruMometer™ Thermometer - 3/8" Tube
Star San
FastRack Beer Bottle Drying & Storage System
John Palmer’s How To Brew
BeerSmith 2.0 Software

Thanks for all of your help!

Brent

[quote=“brentconn”]Hello all,

I am finally going to brew beer after months of talking about it. A friend recommended this site and I have to say I love it! I want to make sure I get off to a good start so I have a shopping list. I am hoping some of you veterans can add to my list. My goal is to be patient and do one step at a time. Any ideas are welcome!

Here is my list (so far)

Deluxe Brewing Starter Kit
Brix/Specific Gravity Refractometer w/ATC
(2) 6 Gallon Glass Carboy
O2 Absorbing Crown Bottle Caps -144 count
(4) 12 oz. Beer Bottles - 24 Pack
Blichmann ThruMometer™ Thermometer - 3/8" Tube
Star San
FastRack Beer Bottle Drying & Storage System
John Palmer’s How To Brew
BeerSmith 2.0 Software

Thanks for all of your help!

Brent[/quote]

I purchased the Deluxe brewing starter kit a couple of years ago. In retrospect, I would buy 2 6.5 gal carboys and no 5 gallon ‘secondary’. I wouldn’t buy a refractometer either. I’d take the money for that, “how to brew”(which is available on-line FREE) and the bottles and Fastrack and instead get a 1or 2 keg setup. Maybe it’s just me but I hated bottling and went to kegging after the first 4-5 batches.

Just my 2 cents and I’m sure the next poster will disagree. That’s what makes this hobby so great…you can poll for all the opinions you want and then do it your way.

Welcome to the forum and enjoy your new found obsession! :cheers:

It all depends on your budget. You want down and dirty or brass and glass? Either way you can make good beer. It’s not the equipment as much as the process.

By the way you’ll need a pot and a burner

I wanted to do some bottling so I can give out samples and see what my friends think. I already have a burner from my turkey fryer and getting a 5 gallon kettle from Sam’s Club.

Hey dannyboy58,

Why the 6.5 gallon instead of the 6 gallon carboys?

Brent

[quote=“brentconn”]I wanted to do some bottling so I can give out samples and see what my friends think. I already have a burner from my turkey fryer and getting a 5 gallon kettle from Sam’s Club.

Hey dannyboy58,

Why the 6.5 gallon instead of the 6 gallon carboys?

Brent[/quote]
More head space. I try to put 5.25-5.5 gals in the fermenter.

I bottle from the keg for gifting.

I’d also recommend a bigger kettle than that. You can get by with that for partial boils but eventually you’ll want to do full boils. Get at least a 9-10 gallon. Amazon has great prices on bayou classic kettles.

Is there a hydrometer in the kit? Refractometers are all well and good, but there are times where a hydrometer is more accurate(ie. when fermentation is finished) And with the price difference, you can get 3 or 4 hydrometers(they do have a tendency to break).
I prefer the hardcopy of J.P.'s book over the online version. It’s newer and he’s updated some of the old thinking. Plus, I thought of it as a textbook. Highlighted it and everything. I do refer back to it reasonably often.
Brent- if you are like the rest of us, you are going to LOVE this hobby. Smart thinking to prepare ahead of time. Good Luck! :cheers:

[quote=“dannyboy58”]

I bottle from the keg for gifting.

I’d also recommend a bigger kettle than that. You can get by with that for partial boils but eventually you’ll want to do full boils. Get at least a 9-10 gallon. Amazon has great prices on bayou classic kettles.[/quote][/quote]

So you do bottle from the keg? I would rather keg but I would like to bottle too. So how do you bottle from a keg. Does it lose any of it’s carbonation?

Brent

All sound advice so far. I would definitely stick with hydrometer instead of refractometer to start. I would recommend a keg setup if your wallet allows for it. If you do bottle, never waste the money buying brand new empties…buy good beer, drink it and keep the bottles (ask your friends to do the same for you). You can bottle from the keg a few different ways but I’ve owned a Blichmann beer gun for almost a year and love it. I would go with the 6.5 gallon Plastic Big Mouth Bubblers as Dannyboy said with more headspace. Glass is nice but I’ve read too many horror stories about breakage and such and have unloaded mine before it happened to me. A nice kettle will go a long way so do your homework before purchasing, you don’t want to have to buy things twice!

Welcome to the hobby (obsession) and the forum. There are some awesome people on here with loads of knowledge. Seems like you’re off to a good start by having a plan in place

:cheers:

If you are getting glass carboys, get the 1" blow off hose. Also get a few sturdy milk crates for carrying them . If you are buying the deluxe kit from NB, see if you can substitute the 3/8" siphon for the 1/2" siphon. You are going to want one eventually so why not do it now? The 1/2" siphon seems to work twice as fast.

For bottling, I’d rather empty out some nice beer bottles (into my belly) than buy empties. Oxyclean gets the job done.

Bottling vs. Kegging is a personal choice. I’m a confirmed bottler and it really doesn’t bother me at all. After all, down in my cold cellar(garage) I have bottles from 14 different batches available whatever my preference might be. I could never get that many kegs…

[quote=“brentconn”][quote=“dannyboy58”]

I bottle from the keg for gifting.

I’d also recommend a bigger kettle than that. You can get by with that for partial boils but eventually you’ll want to do full boils. Get at least a 9-10 gallon. Amazon has great prices on bayou classic kettles.[/quote][/quote]

So you do bottle from the keg? I would rather keg but I would like to bottle too. So how do you bottle from a keg. Does it lose any of it’s carbonation?

Brent[/quote]
Not if you do it correctly.

So here is my revised list for now.

Deluxe Brewing Starter Kit

(2) 6.5 Gallon Glass Carboy

O2 Absorbing Crown Bottle Caps -144 count

(4) 12 oz. Beer Bottles - 24 Pack

Blichmann ThruMometer™ Thermometer - 3/8" Tube

Star San

FastRack Beer Bottle Drying & Storage System

John Palmer’s How To Brew

BeerSmith 2.0 Software

Bayou Classic 1044 44-Quart Stainless-Steel Stockpot

Brent

Hydrometer and blowoff tube as mentioned above. If I were to buy bottles I would buy the flip tops. They are easier to fill and people are more apt to give them back not so much with regular bottles. I go through a lot of bottles sometimes I get them back sometimes not. I generally always get the flip tops back.

I read How to Brew and re read it a couple times before even buying any equipment. It really helped my figure out what I needed to buy to start and what items I could add on later. Also helped me learn the process and take out any guess work when it came to my first brew day. I purchased the e-book for my tablet.

I would also highly recommend something to chill the wort quickly. I picked up a new copper 25’ x 3/8" immersion chiller with soldered garden hose fittings for under $50 on ebay (delivered). Got a couple of adapters at Lowe’s and already had braided, color-coded (blue & red) washer hoses from a recently replaced clothes washer. One adapter to fit the sink faucet and the other adapter was to attach the hose to the female fitting on the IC. Made a huge difference in time & effort on brew day for me.

If your wallet allows, a lot of people who have counter-flow chillers love them, but I have no experience with them.

one comment on the bottle thing - you might want to do a quick craigslist search in your area. hit or miss obviously but every once in awhile there are folks that are either selling much cheaper or just giving away.

Personally for example when I started ~4 years ago I had a couple of cases, but checked craigslist anyway. sure enough about 20 minutes from my house there was someone that was moving and just didn’t want to deal with bringing a bunch of empty bottles. he was giving them away for free - I got I think about 4 cases of normal bottles and a 18 pack of either 16 or 18 oz bottles (some weird Russian beer bottle). Not tons but at $12.99 - $15/case was about $60.00 of bottles.

He said he was giving them away but I did bring him a 6 pack of some good craft beer for his troubles

I think I would just start basic and easy and go from there It,s what i did and I learned aboatload in the procces of doing it along with what I learn here. Also, if you havent already done so look in your area for a brew club and check them out. I learned a great deal that way and assisted a brewer aa few times to get the feel of things. Welcome to the hobby and dont forget to have fun!! :cheers: Tank

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