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Discussion in 'General Beer Brewing Equipment Discussion' started by GANTOBURY, Jan 3, 2018.

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  1. Jan 3, 2018 #1

    GANTOBURY

    GANTOBURY

    GANTOBURY

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    Hi Guys!

    So I've just yesterday decided that once I finish my exam end of January I'm finally going to try my hand a brewing, something I've wanted to do for well over a year now.

    I'll be brewing at home so will have access to a kitchen on brewday but will need to store in my room so don't have the biggest amount of space.

    I've been looking online but can't seem to decide on which kit to get. I want something small enough that I can learn the ropes but also have all the proper kit, but also not spend a fortune :lol: can anyone recommend me a starter kit that they've used. I know a gallon is best for size but I wouldn't mind something a bit bigger to get a better yield from my brew so any and all guidance would be greatly appreciated.

    My goal is to learn as much as possible with the "easy" stuff and then hopefully be able to to All-grain at some point in the not too distant future.

    I'm mainly an IPA drinker but also enjoy a good stout and pils.

    Looking forward to getting started!!
     
  2. Jan 3, 2018 #2

    Saisonator

    Saisonator

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    If I were you I would get a boil in a bag setup but start of your brewing with extract and hops.
    I did a few kits over 10 years ago and found them sh.ite so when I got back into it again last year I jumped straight in with all grain.
     
  3. Jan 3, 2018 #3

    terrym

    terrym

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    Welcome to the forum.
    If you are new to brewing it might be worthwhile reading through this. Apart from a few tips there's a list of basic kit you will need.
    Basic beginners guide to brewing your own beer from a kit - The HomeBrew Forum
    Contrary to what some would have you believe, you can make good beer from kits. If you do decide to start with kits, when you have got to know what you are doing, you can then decide how you want to progress, whether staying with kits, making extract beers or going on to all grain.
    There is a big kit review section here
    Beer Kit Review A - Z
    You should be aware that most kits are based on liquid malt extract, and either come as premium kits which usually cost over £20, but don't require anything extra, or one cans which are cheaper but require extras like spray malt and sugar.
    If you like American style IPAs the premium Youngs American IPA kit is one of the better kits and many start their brewing with it. Look in the review section to see what folks thought of it.
     
  4. Jan 3, 2018 #4

    GerritT

    GerritT

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    Howdy, and welcome! A gallon is understandable: small pot, small fermentation vessel, small this, small that. But how many kits are there for 1 gallon? And the price of those kits is per pint quite high.
    Still: a month to go to think.

    My personal advice would be: if you want a gallon, start with extract, but not with a kit. Buy some dry extract, a few oz of hops, sachet of yeast, and the hardware. Learning curve is nice 'n shallow.
    If you want a bit more economical, and don't mind 23 liters, then kits (in my limited experience) get interesting. And Youngs AIPA kit gets good critics.

    What is the biggest pot you have at your disposal?
     
  5. Jan 3, 2018 #5

    GANTOBURY

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    Thanks for the info, apologies but when I said kits I meant the actual equipment setup. I've seen various starter packs that claim to have all you need to get started but I'm wondering if there is any particular one you guys would recommend.

    Something that has all the bits such as fs, siphon, buckets, lids, thermometer, hydrometer etc etc that a beginner would need. Regarding a pot, I'm not sure the size exactly but I'd say maybe 10l.
     
  6. Jan 3, 2018 #6

    LarryF

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    Welcome to the forum GANTOBURY, if space is an issue maybe look at that first as it may well be a deciding factor how you brew as you will have equipment, ingredients and beer to store. A 25L fermentor will sit quietly in the corner, the 45 odd 500ml bottles you get from it can be a little bit more awkward to store as they'll need 2weeks in the house and then 2 weeks outside. If you're brewing more than you're drinking then you compound the problem every time you brew, if you're drinking more than you brew then you have empty bottles to store. Kit brewing is easier and less time consuming but the whole market is geared toward 23L brews, grain brewing lets you decide how much you brew but is more involved and more time consuming. Extract brewing is probably the best of both worlds as you can decide how much you brew and can brew to what your space allows you to. One problem with a 10L brew is that a couple of thirsty mates can very easily wipe out your entire stock of beer as you will end up brewing very nice and drinkable beer. There's never a shortage of people who are more than willing to do you the huge favour of drinking your beer for you.
     
  7. Jan 4, 2018 #7

    -Bezza-

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    I'll stick my neck out and suggest you just go for a 5 gallon setup. There's a reasonable amount of effort goes into making beer, even from kits, and a degree of waiting for things to ferment and condition. I'm not sure I'd be that excited to go through the whole process (I hate all the cleaning and sterilising) and wait 4-6 weeks minimum to only get an 8 pint yield. 5 gallons is getting you 40 pints, which is much more worth it. Coupled with that, the majority of beer kits will be in 5 gallon form.

    I started with, and still use, a kit that came with Woodforde's Wherry beer kit and I see they're still available online. Quick search suggests it's £70 to get everything you need. This includes a 5 gallon pressure barrel, which will replace the use of individual bottles and simply mean you have a plastic keg from which you dispense beer. Some will prefer the use of bottles (not all - plenty of experienced home brewers will still use a PB) but given space is at a premium, the footprint of the PB will be better than 40+ bottles.

    In terms of space, the bucket and barrel are the largest items. Circle your arms in front of you (hugging an imaginary person) and they'll be smaller than that. You can store the PB inside the fermentation bucket when not in use. The rest of the stuff - spoons, hydromometer, syphon etc don't take up much space at all.

    Two notes of caution if doing the fermentation in your bedroom (you mention access to kitchen but I assume you'll not be keeping the beer there):

    1) I would buy a big rubber garden bucket thing that you can sit the fermentation bucket and then pressure barrel in when in use. This saves the mess if you have any leaks. Will also double up as a water bath in the future.
    2) The first ferment produces a lot of gas which escapes through the airlock. If you put water in the airlock (as is suggested), it bubbles and bubbles for quite some time. I'm not sure I'd be able to sleep whilst that was going on. Might also be a bit off-putting if you find yourself entertaining of an evening. Your airlock should have a cap come with it that you could use to keep nasties out of the beer, instead of the water.

    Note you might find it easier to get everything cleaned in the bath rather than the kitchen sink. Just make sure you give the bath a good rinse after.
     
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  8. Jan 4, 2018 #8

    terrym

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    If you are looking for everything in a box rather than buying piece small try this.
    http://www.wilko.com/homebrew-gifts/woodfordes-starter-kit-real-ale-20-pint/invt/0453206
    The single can supplied is half of a Wherry two can premium kit which many people on here make up or at least have tried (look up the review).
    There are other suppliers online, including The Homebrew Company, The Homebrew Shop, Balliihoo, who sell similar kits. I suggest you have a look and then decide if that is what you want, but I suspect you will find they are mostly geared to 23 litre brews.
    There are all sorts of start up homebrewers just like there are people. Some feel the need to buy all of the kit from the outset, others start from basic simple beginnings adding stuff as required, and others fit in the middle. You just have to decide what you want to do which suits you best
    Personally I would start piece small by buying the essentials, FV, mixing spoon, siphon tube, thermometer, perhaps a hydrometer, and start from there. You can also use ex fizzy water PET bottles to start up too, you don't need beer bottles, they can come later, along with a capper.
     
  9. Jan 4, 2018 #9

    Dutto

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    Welcome to the Forum. :thumb:

    By now, you will already have gathered that on this Forum there are as many opinions as there are Members. :lol:

    My advice is:

    1. Write down what you hope to achieve.

    2. Work out the time, space and money that you have available.

    3. Work out what will fit your circumstances.

    4. Research what you want to do.

    5. Go for it!

    I started off with a recipe from a mate, a tin of malt extract, a pound of sugar a few ounces of East Kent Golding hops, my good lady's pressure cooker, a sieve, a plastic kitchen bin, a tin of dried bread yeast and a load of screw top pop bottles.

    The beer was palatable and the sense of achievement out of this world.

    Go for it and learn as you go along ...

    ... but more than anything else - ENJOY! :thumb:
     
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  10. Jan 4, 2018 #10

    GANTOBURY

    GANTOBURY

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    Thanks for all the advice guys, much appreciated!!

    I think for now I'm going to carry-on reading and researching before making my decision. I've found a place (London Beer Lab) that's actually on my daily trek home so I think once I'm done with exams I'll pop in there and have a chat with the guys/gals (also sample beer :lol:) and go from there.

    This most definitely won't be the last time i'll be asking for help on these forums haha, thanks again!
     
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  11. Jan 4, 2018 #11

    Saisonator

    Saisonator

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    You could do worse than invest in Greg Hughes Home Brew Beer, otherwise known as the bible.
    I great book to start you off and recipes in extract and all grain that will give you inspiration for years.
     
  12. Jan 5, 2018 #12

    -Bezza-

    -Bezza-

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    Assuming this is the hardback DK book that can be found on the line for about £12, then I would recommend this too. Had mine delivered yesterday and after a quick flick through can see it contains some pretty useful info in a clear way.

    I've only ever done kits so wanted something that helped me learn a bit about moving on to all grain. This book has some good info on hops, grains and a wealth of recipes.

    At the more basic level, it goes through how to make up a kit, the equipment needed and, importantly, what that equipment is used for. For me, the sections on malt extract brewing look most interesting and not something I've really seen covered much - quite keen to give that a go as an intermediate step without the need for some of the more expensive gear.
     
  13. Jan 5, 2018 #13

    GANTOBURY

    GANTOBURY

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    Thanks for the tip, think I'll get it, always find it much handier digesting information from a book than online.
     
  14. Jan 6, 2018 #14

    Dutto

    Dutto

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    Do you not have a printer? :lol:

    The problem with a book is that (apart from costing money) it only gives you recipes and doesn't allow you to check out your own ideas.

    The "Recipes" section at the top of this page takes you to "BrewersFriend" which provides thousands of recipes and also allows you to experiment with your own brews.

    Before lashing out money I suggest that you take a look at BrewersFriend and try it out for free.

    Hope this helps. :thumb:
     
  15. Jan 6, 2018 #15

    Ciaran12s

    Ciaran12s

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    You might find they can put together everything you'll need/that suits your needs for a reasonable price. Best of luck anyway!
     

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