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Which Kit to Buy

Hello All,

New to the forum and pretty much new to the world of home brewing. My fiancé gave me a Mr. Beer kit for Christmas a year ago and since then I’ve been hooked. I’m looking to get more serious about the hobby and am looking at NB Kits. The two I am looking at are below, I am leaning toward the Deluxe kit however just about everything I am reading is saying to stay away from Carboys and that you don’t need secondary fermentation (essentially the only reason to buy this kit) does anyone have any recommendations? Obviously price is a huge difference as well. Looking at everything that is included in the HomeBrew Starter Kit, it’s a no-brainer right?

HomeBrew Starter Kit w/ testing equipment - $87 after 20% off

  • would need to purchase propane burner
  • Potential secondary fermentation carboy down the road

Deluxe HomeBrew Starter Kit - $169

  • would need to purchase 5-8 gallon kettle, Spoon, propane burner and testing equipment

I haven’t used a glass carboy in a couple of years now. I have a couple in the corner collecting dust since one decided to come apart literally in my hands. Luckily due to my still cat-like reflexes I was not injured. haha

So yea my advice is no carboys. All you really need for exract brewing is a kettle, a couple buckets with lids and airlocks, A HYDROMETER, and bottling equipment.

My advice is keep it simple. Buy only what you need and possibly think ahead…as in buy a bigger kettle if you think you’re going to keep brewing. A 5 gal kettle is only good for partial boils. I’d recommend bypass that and get a 10 gallon kettle. I only brewed a few extract batches before starting all grain and I used a 9 gallon kettle for years even doing BIAB in it.

Last thing…did I mention GET A HYDROMETER!

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Get a burner and a 10 gallon pot for sure. Get the simplest 5 gallon kit you can buy that comes with 2 buckets one of which has a spigot. Also get a large autosiphon and hydrometer and thermometer. Forgo kits with bottles and bottle brush

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Thank you for the reply! My plan is to eventually get into All-Grain brewing. Im assuming the bucket starter kit would work find for that as well right?

Definitely. You can never have enough buckets.

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Don’t pull the trigger to fast there is alot of Christmas specials. Make sure they throw in a recipe kit or 2

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I got my start with a Mr. Beer kit too. I recommend you spend your time researching Brew In a Bag as it’s the fastest, low equipment, way to get into all-grain. Welcome to the forum.

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I would get the 15.5 gallon bayou classic as a kettle so you could jump in to biab/ all grain very easily and it’s a very affordable kettle with a nice basket. Other than that just get the most simple kit as mentioned above

I have two bayou classic 16 gal kettles. They’re lighter weight SS than some of the more expesive kettles but they get the job done and I’ve neve had any scorching or issues.

edit: BTW I now BIAB 10 gal batches in those 16 gal kettles.

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I still use my glass carboy when I need to do secondary. I only do this when I want to add flavors (vanilla beans, fruit, etc.) If I don’t plan to make such flavor additions, I just let it sit longer in the bucket.

I do 5 or 10 gallon all grain, I own 2 buckets. Sometimes I’ll leave one in a bucket for extra time and add no flavors, while I move the other to a carboy for flavors. That way I can see if I actually made an improvement over the “stock” beer when I added things.

I can’t say a carboy is the most cost effective method, but it’s nice sometimes. I like to see the beer occasionally, and I hate bucket lids with a passion. They are cheap, so that’s nice… But also inelegant and can have their own issues of course. When just starting out, I would say you don’t NEED one, so if cost is a factor then don’t bother. Maybe it’s an unpopular opinion but I still like my carboy

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I have 5 glass carboys and use them for wine. Occasionally for a sour. Pain in the ass for handling and cleaning. Don’t have any issue with buckets. If I want to peek which I do often and top crop piece of cake. Lid leaks? Big deal won’t need a blow-off tube. Anyone mention cheap? If watching is your thing get one of those big mouth bubblers. Save your money for a nice kettle and kegging system. Thats my opinion anyway

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I too personally got my start with Mr. Beer. One of my buddies got it for Christmas one year and didn’t really use it, so he gave it to me. I did almost a year with Mr. Beer just learning the basics and then began reading (primarily here). I purchased the Deluxe kit for myself for Christmas in 2012 and have never regretted it. I still use my 6.5 gal carboy along with a 6.5 gal bigmouth glass for my primaries, and I secondary now in the keg. I did use the 5 gal for a secondary as I was getting started.

I used extract kits until I got comfortable with the process then continued to research and ended up using @denny’s batch sparge process explained Here after about a year of extract brewing. I know there are many BIAB advocates on here. Whichever way you go, I do highly recommend getting a kettle that’s at least 10 gallons. Less to worry about for a boilover and extra space for bigger ABV beers if you want to go that route down the road.

Regardless, there are a ton of good people on here who are more than happy to offer advice, so if you ever have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

:beers:
Rad

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Thank you all for the replies! I decided to go with the buckets. Seems like the most logical thing to do being as it’s half the price of the deluxe kit. Looking forward to getting started.

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The delux brew kit. Nice starter kit. Like what the others say. Get a. Nice burner. Boil kettle at least 10 gal. Me do use carboys. For secondary nown. But move real carefull. My main fermentors are speidel fermentors. Got 4 of these real happy with them huge air lock as well. If ya really want to spent some cash. Go stainless steel. All the way

Yes to buckets now and carboy(s) later if needed. I primarily use my carboy when I make a Wee Heavy, Barley Wine or similar and need to bulk age for 3-6 months. You don’t want to age that long in a bucket.

Yes to a 10+ gallon kettle. However, one thing to keep in mind is that since you are currently doing extracts you only really need a 5 gallon kettle as extract kits are tailored for partial boils. You boil your extract in 2.5-3 gallons of water. Then after cooling you top up with enough water to bring the volume up to 5 to 5.5 gallons. The partial boil also means you can brew on a stove top. So you don’t need a burner right off the bat either. When you go all grain, you need something to heat your water in. A 5 gallon kettle is perfect for that.

[Edited for typos]

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If budget is the primary factor in your purchasing decision then stop reading here. I agree with everything above.


…ok…if you are still reading…here is my full-disclosure: I bought my kit about 3 months ago and I’ve got 2 batches fermenting but I’ve never even tased a drop of my own finished beer (so take this review for what it’s worth…from a total noob).

If budget is less an issue and you don’t want to have to ‘upgrade’ later (costing more $$$ in the long run), I’d recommend the Premium kit Premium Craft Brewery in a Box - Beer Making Starter Kit.

It’s quite a bit more expensive but it has what you need without having to upgrade in the near future. When I made my purchase the list of key features I wanted was pretty short:

#1 - I wanted a good boil pot (aka Megapot 1.2)

  • Large enough to expand brewing options in the future
  • I wanted a ball-valve to drain
  • I wanted an integrated thermometer (had to sacrifice this one)

#2 - I wanted a primary fermenter that was easy to clean and easy to rack from (aka BMB)

  • I really wanted glass but settled for plastic in order to get my other criteria without blowing the bank. In retrospect I’m REALLY glad I did not get glass - heavy/breakable.
  • Carboys with the small neck are harder to clean - forget that skinny little brush (I’m lazy, I hate doing dishes, and cleanliness is critical, and that just seems like a lot of effort (I know myself and this is where I would skimp)
  • I wanted it to have the coffee pot valve for easier racking (which I later learned is called siphonless)

Everything else was just gravy - I needed all the other little (but important) parts, Thermometer, Hydrometer, bucket, spoon, cleaner, etc. Everything was there! The included wort chiller was really something that I think could have been left out to save some money on the kit. I wanted to build my own so including in the kit was unnecessary for me. (however…I will tell you - buy one - build one - WHATEVER…just have one cuz it is awesome!).

In the end - the Premium kit was more than I was planning to spend but it was worth every penny and I’d do it again.

Good advice but I like the buy as you need route better for to reasons the first being you may not even like the hobby and secondly I’ve never seen a all in one kit that is really any cheaper than just shopping sales and buying as you need. Of course their is the instant gratification thing that may make the difference

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Love my Megapot with the false bottom.

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