Rejoice!

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by Brewer #319029, Apr 21, 2020.

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  1. Brewer #319029

    Brewer #319029 New Member

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    Hello all, its time to rejoice as I am taking the venture to start brewing some liquid courage. I have done quite a bit of research, I have brewed my own beer in college, and have help other's on their brewing set up; however, I do not know what a good "set-up" consists of. I am looking to start a brewing batch of 5-10 gallons.
    My ultimate question is, what is some good equipment that I can purchase to start my at-home set up?
    Does anyone have any suggestions? I have access to hydrometers, pH meters, and refractometers through work. I am looking more for suggestions on pails, sanitizing equipment, etc. Looking forward to suggestions! Thanks for reading :)
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    You could help us by letting us know what process you are planning to follow. I'd suggest a few extract batches to make sure your sanitation (the number one factor in your beer's outcome) is sound, then maybe expanding to BIAB. Hydrometers are cheap and reliable, refractometers need correction once fermentation begins. pH meters aren't necessary for extract brewing or for that matter, for all-grain until you have the basics down. Here are your priorities for making good beer:

    0. A good system of record keeping, be it computer or paper and a way to measure gravity and temperature fairly accurately
    1. Cleanliness/sanitation. Nothing can overcome bad sanitation.
    2. Fermentation temperature control. Whether you get a clean lager or an ester bomb is determined here.
    3. Yeast management. Many off-flavors can be attributed to bad yeast management (low pitch rate, not enough O2, etc.)
    4. Boiling the wort. Done wrong, your beer can taste like cooked cabbage. Also, most of your hopping happens here.
    5. General process controls. Keeping oxygen out of your beer, avoiding contamination after pitching, packaging and serving.
    6. The recipe. What you put in, amounts, choices of grain and hops, freshness, etc.
    7. Measurement, outside of specific gravity and temperature. pH, water composition, dissolved oxygen, gas pressures, important but easily controlled factors.

    You are at the surface of a very deep and very complex rabbit hole: There's no limit to the depths (and cost) you can find. So my advice, start with something simple, decide whether you like the hobby, then expand.
     
  3. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    If you're willing to spend some money up front, look at SS Brewtech. Everything I've gotten from them is simply top notch. Prices are in line with Blichmann, et al, and the design and execution is as good as if not better than anything available.
    If you want to start small and cheap, get a reasonable 10 gallon pot (definitely with ball valve for draining) and a good grain bag and do BIAB until you want to upgrade and expand. With a simple set up and a few carboys you can make plenty of very good beer.
    I do 10 (actually 11) gallon batches in a 15 gallon 2 vessel set up with a pump plumbed for recirculation both ways. The 15 gallon vessels are absolutely maxed out for the batch size but having electric element boil capability really helps in controlling the initial boil and avoiding boil-overs.
    Eventually upgrading to all-stainless fermenting vessels, preferably closed and pressure-rated will be helpful. Temperature control for fermentation is absolutely key so start with that and work backwards. ;)
     
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  4. Frankenbrewer

    Frankenbrewer Well-Known Member

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    One thing you also need to consider is, How much space in your living environment do you have before you commit to equipment. You can have the best planed out brewing rig but if your space won't allow you to operate it then it is not going to work for you.
     
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  5. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    I'm a big fan of SS Brewtech as well. I have the 3.5 gallon brew bucket with FST controller. Easy to sanitize, easy temperature control. It's a touch pricy, but I have made around 50 batches over the past two and a half years since I bought it.

    I like the 2.5 gallon batches, but they also have equipment for the 5 gallon and larger batches.
     
  6. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    Just my .02, but I'd start out with the most basic, lower cost equipment possible that will serve your purpose, to test the waters and to see if something you really want to stick with.
     
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  7. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    That's kind of where I was going. In fact, I'd recommend one-gallon extract beers until he can brew them consistently from batch to batch, then expand.
     
  8. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I did 8-10 5 gallon extract batches with one of the big plastic wine buckets to start out to get a feel for whether or not I liked it. That way you're $100-200 out if you hate it rather than >$1000 or more if you get nice SS gear and burners and whatnot.
     
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  9. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Guys I think ya Might a scared him/her off:p:D!
     
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  10. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    No room for lack of conviction in homebrew! Go hard or get drunk!
     
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  11. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I can get him through his first batch for around $50, dropping to about $15 for subsequent batches. They're one-gallon but great for learning.
     
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  12. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    My first batch, a little over 2 years ago was a Northern Brewer extract kit I purchased on Amazon. I still use most of the equipment that came with that kit. I would recommend you start there. To collect bottles I bought a couple cases of beer in bottles that I liked, and had my friends save me their bottles as well. Just make sure you rinse them when you pour, and ask your friends to do the same. A quick rinse will save the big headache of cleaning them...
    This is the exact kit I bought, hope this helps.
    If you do buy a kit like this, I don't know if I would trust the yeast. If you have somewhere local that you could get a package of yeast that has been kept refrigerated that might be good. I had to get some yeast and repitch when I did mine.
    Hope this helps.

    Oh, and just so you know, if you ask 10 brewers one question expect somewhere between 10 and 30 different answers:D

    https://www.amazon.com/Northern-Bre...ds=homebrew+starter+kit&qid=1587499801&sr=8-2
     
  13. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Something something ABInBEV! But yeah I've heard they were decent.
    I did one partial mash kit too before going full grain.
    Make sure your bottles aren't twist off, otherwise they're fine.

    Dry yeast is probably fine even if it's old.
     
  14. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I started kegging after my first batch cause I hated bottling, so 5 gallon was the sweet spot.
     
  15. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    Actually, ZX Ventures (abinbev) got out of the Homebrew business and sold Northern Brewer.
    I've ordered all kinds of stuff including beer kits from NB and they're top notch I think. Never been disappointed anyway.
     
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  16. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't bother getting set up for such small batches. Maybe that small equipment is useful for starters for the subsuquent 5 or 10 gallon batches that the OP intends but setting up for at least 5 gallons right away makes sense. You can do a 2-3 gallon extract batch in a 6.5 gallon carboy with no problem but there's just not a lot you can do with stuff suitable for 1 gallon batches. Not to mention the hassle of setting up to properly bottle beer and only get a couple of 6-packs out of it.
     
  17. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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    What them guys said and 2 more words....Craig's List.....Then clean the hell out of it!
     
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  18. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Ask me one question and I'll give you some more when I'm done :confused::p.
     
  19. Hamner Brewhouse

    Hamner Brewhouse Active Member

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    https://www.northernbrewer.com/coll...roducts/brew-share-enjoy-homebrew-starter-kit

    A starter kit like this with the testing equipment for most people is a good starting point. For another $70-$80 you can add a BrewBelt or Fermwrap with a controller. $200, if you don't like brewing you can likely sell it for $100 on Craigslist or a local brew club, so you would only be out $100 at that point. If you do dig it then most of that is still useable if you go to 5 gal BIAB or AG.
     
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  20. Group W

    Group W Well-Known Member

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    One of my neighbors was over last summer tasting some of my beers. The next time I saw him he said he wanted to start brewing. I was like a deer in the headlights while thinking of all the things mentioned above. I replied that he should come to a club event the next Saturday (learn-to-brew day) and see how different people brew. He never showed up and hasn’t mentioned brewing again.
     

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