Starter Equipment

Discussion in 'General Home Brew Equipment Discussion' started by Chris17, Sep 24, 2019.

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  1. Sep 24, 2019 #1

    Chris17

    Chris17

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    After thinking about it for a couple of months I finally have some spare cash to buy some equipment to start brewing with! I'm looking to jump straight into all-grain brewing and am looking for some advice. I planning on getting the Brooklyn Brew Shop BrewDog Elvis Juice kit:
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/BrewDog-El...p+elvis+juice&qid=1569354250&s=gateway&sr=8-1

    Included in the kit are:
    • All-Grain Ingredient Mix
    • Gallon (3.8 L) Glass Fermenter
    • Glass Spirit-Filled Thermometer
    • Vinyl Tubing
    • Racking Cane & Tip
    • Chambered Airlock
    • Brooklyn Brew Shop Cleanser
    • Screw-Cap Stopper
    In terms of actually starting the brew (not bottling), the extra bits I think I need are:
    • Boiling Pot
    • Large Stirring Spoon
    • Hydrometer
    Is there anything I have missed?

    I would also be grateful for any recommendations for boiling pots, or where to get these from? I have an induction hob in my kitchen so it would need to be compatible with this.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2019
  2. Sep 24, 2019 #2

    kelper

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    I strongly recommend that you do not dive in at the deep end. Why not start with kits and gain experience. The fermenter is tiny. You will almost certainly want to be brewing larger batches in the future.
     
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  3. Sep 24, 2019 #3

    Chris17

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    I did do a couple of kits a couple of years ago but found it painfully boring and pointless as I felt like I had no control. I fully expect my first couple of brews to go wrong, but just think it will be a bit of more interesting learning curve!
     
  4. Sep 24, 2019 #4

    samale

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    I would recommend going BIAB at the start. It's not very expensive to get started. You could even pick stuff up second hand.
     
  5. Sep 25, 2019 #5

    Oneflewover

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    Personally I respect your decision to jump straight in, go for it I say. It really isn't that difficult / complicated. What I would say, though, is that kit seems quite expensive for what it is, and you'll quickly find that fermentation vessel too small.

    There is a really good beginners guide to AG on the forum somewhere. Have you read it? I'd suggest that it is a good place to start athumb..
     
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  6. Sep 25, 2019 #6

    the_quick

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    If you are on small budget, get yourself a normal fermentation bucket, 2 cheap kettles (tesco have them for around £5) and create own kettle like this - many you tubes videos how to do it. You would need another bucket as mash tun/fermenter. When mashing just cover the bucket with a blanket or other insulation.
    Works very well and you could probably do it for around £50

    I had many successful brews from that method , now got myself picking chiller as mash tun.
     
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  7. Sep 25, 2019 #7

    Gerryjo

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  8. Sep 25, 2019 #8

    Chris17

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    I can't say I have read one from here. I've read a couple of different guides and plan on buying 'How to Brew' by John Palmer when I get this months pay cheque! I will have to have a search for the All Grain guide on here.

    It seems that eveyone is suggesting the fermentation vessel in that kit would be too small, so I might look at just buying all the equipment individually. However I was planning on starting with smaller 1 gallon brews. If I were to buy a larger fermentation vessel, say a 5 gallon one, but only brew 1 gallon in it, would this cause any issues that you can see? Im just thinking with the extra headroom comes more oxygen?
     
  9. Sep 25, 2019 #9

    the_quick

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    It doesn't matter if you have bigger fermenter. Yeast produce co2, which will sit just above your beer. Many breweries ferment their beer openly, example is Harveys from Lewes. And you going to have a top cover on a fermenter anyway, which minimise even more any sort of contamination.
     
  10. Sep 25, 2019 #10

    kelper

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    That kit does not include bottles or a barrel nor any way to add CO2.
     
  11. Sep 25, 2019 #11

    Ghillie

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    I'd start BIAB. Then you have options to upgrade without having to resell equipment.

    -30L buffalo boiler (plenty used on Gumtree, eBay, etc). This can be used as a sparge heater should you expand your setup.
    -BIAB nylon bag for grains
    -Stainless stirring padlle
    -Wing/bench capper
    -Caps
    -Bottles (free)
    -30L fermenter (assuming 23L batches)
    -Hydrometer
    -Trial Jar
    -Refractometer (Chinese ones are sound and dirt cheap)
    -Starsan
    -20L water container (cube) for storing your sanitiser solution
    -Bottle washer
    -Bottle tree
    -Little bottler
    -Bottling bucket (basic fermenter with a tap on it)
    -Garden spray bottle (for sanitiser)


    That should see you just fine, and if you get a 2nd hand boiler for ~£30, I'd bet you'd be all in for <£150.

    Temperature control is critical IMO, so for £50 (and likely change) you could get a second hand fridge, 60W tube heater and STC-1000 controller and build a nice fermentation chamber.

    Temperature controlled fermentation and a decent BIAB setup for <£200. Not bad at all.
     
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  12. Sep 25, 2019 #12

    SteveH

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    I was in a similar situation about a year ago when I started, and I went for brew in a bag using a stainless stock pot on the kitchen hob, or as @Ghillie mentions you could do the same process quite cheaply with some kind of tea-urn style boiler.

    If you do want to stick with 1 gallon batches initially, a good source of free fermenters are 5l Tesco Ashbeck water bottles. Depending on your local water supply you may want to use bottled water anyway (mine is very hard which isn't ideal for many styles of AG brew), and all you need is an airlock/grommet then drill a hole in the lid (or you could just stick foil over the top).

    Wilko do a 12l stock pot which would work for 1 gallon BIAB and it's only £20, then you'd need a mesh bag (try bj-filters on ebay), some ingredients, a thermometer, hydrometer and some cleaning/sanitising supplies to get started.

    Note that you can buy regular 5-gallon all-grain ingredient kits and just scale them down to whatever volume you're brewing, https://www.geterbrewed.com/all-grain-ingredient-boxes/ as an example.

    Re books, personally I didn't find 'How to Brew' by John Palmer a very good introductory book, it's heavy on detail and I've since found other books which are easier to read, "Brew" by James Morton is one, and Camra's Essental Home brewing. The Camra book is good as all the recipes are available from the malt miller
     
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  13. Sep 25, 2019 #13

    Oneflewover

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    https://www.thehomebrewforum.co.uk/threads/have-a-go-at-simple-ag.51779/
     
  14. Sep 25, 2019 #14

    Deadhead

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    I have the Brooklyn Beer shop book (in my many books about brewing) and I think they explain how to do stove top brewing in 3.5L/1 gallon vessels very well. Just get yourself all setup and read through everything and dive in. Yes, their kit is a bit pricey, but there is great joy sometimes in just having everything you need (besides the bottles) to get going.
    Or the simple all grain thread is good too.
    Good luck!
     
  15. Sep 25, 2019 #15

    MyQul

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  16. Sep 25, 2019 #16

    Oneflewover

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    Beat you to it old chap, see post #13 above :hat:
     
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  17. Sep 26, 2019 #17

    Chris17

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    Thanks for all the help everyone! I think I'm gonna have a go at building my own settup as some have suggested above, and have a go at BIAB method first, using the recipe from the thread on here!

    My only other question is regarding the boiling pot. I have an induction hob in my kitchen and I'm planning on using this. Can anyone recomend where to get a suitable stock pot from that would work with an induction hob? I'd quite like to buy one large enough to do 5 batches in once I've started to get the hang of it!
     
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  18. Sep 26, 2019 #18

    Rodcx500z

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    Hi Chris, my biab set up is, 1 klarstein fullhorn 30L electric kettle £129-99p you mash in the bag then boil in it as well, 1 30L FV 40 bottles, 1 pb that's what I started with, I now have 2 more fv's and 2 more pb's and some swing top bottles, you can make great beer with a set up like this, just get the basics to start with and add as and when, my first set up was a kit like shown on here cost me 57 quid I think from youngs I did some great kits with it, but you get itchy and want to do ag very soon, good luck with whatever you choose and happy brewing, acheers.
     
  19. Sep 26, 2019 #19

    kelper

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    If it's too large the induction heater may not be powerful enough to make a rolling boil. There's a good note here that suggests a 30 litre stockpot for a 13.5 litre fermentation batch. A 50 litre all-in-one brew system has a 3kW heater. What's the power of your induction hob? Have you thought about all the steam that will be produced? I plan to brew outdoors. (I did an extract kit using a 17 litre stockpot and a 2.5kW portable induction hob. The boil was only 6 litres and the final volume 21 litres.)

    https://www.brewuk.co.uk/blog/biab/

    eBay is a good source of cheaper stockpots. Probably cost £50 or more. Make sure it's stainless steel with handles strong enough to lift it.
     
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  20. Sep 26, 2019 #20

    SteveH

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    I started out using a 17l stock pot on our Bosch 4-ring induction hob in the kitchen, it was off ebay but the seller is out of stock atm.

    It was (just) powerful enough to boil 15l for an hour (giving about 12l into the fermenter), but the ring wasn't really big/powerful enough and sometimes it'd cut out near the end of the boil.

    Dealing with the steam was also a pain, our extractor hob would start dripping after a while and I had to mop it all up with a towel to avoid it getting back into the pot.

    It worked though and helped me learn the process, so I'm not trying to put you off, but I think 10-12l batches in a <20l pot on a kitchen hob are more realistic than a 30-50l pot required for full 5-gallon batches (unless you boil a condensed wort then dilute, so-called "maxi BIAB").

    I ended up getting a Robobrew all-in-one system after a while which is great, but a cheaper starting point if you definitely want to do full 5-gallon batches from the outset would be a boiler like https://brewkegtap.co.uk/collections/brewing-equipment/products/digiboil-35l-turbo-boiler - that is basically a Robobrew without the malt pipe (stainless version of a BIAB bag) or pump (useful for recirculation but not essential, you can do it manually with a jug and large collander to rest the bag in).

    That said you started off saying you wanted to do 5 *litre* batches, so maybe just get an induction capable pot and give that (or 10-12l batches a go), it's the exact same process and less to lose if you make an error and a batch goes wrong - I still use my stock pot with the Robobrew to heat sparge water (still on the kitchen hob).
     

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