Author Topic: Starting Equipment  (Read 835 times)

Offline vleonino

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 15
    • View Profile
Starting Equipment
« on: July 13, 2015, 01:24:14 AM »
I am a newbie brewer and need some equipment advice.
I currently have the following equipment:

cheap 5 gallon Kettle
6 gallon carboy
1 gallon carboy
bottling bucket
bottling wand
auto-siphon
Bottle Capper
bungs airlock
large nylon mes bag
hydrometer
dial thermometer
etc

I plan on getting a mash tun, chiller,larger Kettle, and second 6 gallon carboy. Am I better off buying/making  these items separately or should I look into look into purchasing someting like a grainfather?




 
 

Offline bboy9000

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 703
  • KCMO
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Equipment
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2015, 01:54:57 AM »
Wow, you're pretty well prepared.  I'm not sure what a grain father is but if you plan on doing full-size boils for 5.5 gallon batches instead of topping off the carboy with water post boil you need at least an 8 gallon kettle in my experience.  Also, I prefer to have Powdered Brewery Wash (PBW) for cleaning and Star San for sanitizing.  With these you will rarely need a carboy brush, but I'd still have one.  A bottling tree is convenient but not a necessity.  Make sure you have a hydrometer jar.  A wine thief is handy for taking samples for gravity readings.  I really recommend a cheap rope bucket to use as a swamp cooler for maintaining constant fermentation temperatures.  I also prefer a good digital thermometer.  I have one made by CDN.

http://www.cdnw.com/product/proaccurate-thermometer

As far as where to get the equipment I'd shop around.  For brewing-specific equipment I recommend a local homebrew shop.   Stainless steel is nice but I use aluminum kettles.  I found good deals at the local Bass Pro Shop and on Amazon.com.  Unless you have a good stove (or to avoid ruining a good one) I would recommend a burner i.e.  turkey fryer burner.  The local Bass Pro often has burners with 8 gallon stockpots for $70. 

No matter what equipment you use that is not nearly important as sound cleaning and sanitizing, pitching the proper amount of healthy yeast, controlling your fermentation temperature and keeping recipes simple at first.

Welcome to the obsession.

Cheers!
Brian
mobrewer

Offline vleonino

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 15
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Equipment
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2015, 03:24:53 AM »
Thank you so much for you well thought out reply. I appreciate it. The Grainfather is an all in one brewing system. Its really nice but kind of pricey at $891. http://www.grainfather.com/#!home/mainPage

I do sanitize with Starsan. I will have to check out Bass ProShop  for that deal. I would ave never thought to check there. The link to thermometer didn't work but that's OK.

Offline bboy9000

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 703
  • KCMO
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Equipment
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2015, 03:45:35 AM »
The Grainfather looks nice.  I couldn't get all of the info up on my iPhone.  Is it similar to a Picobrew?  As far as the burner/stockpot combo, I don't know if that's a regular price for Bass Pro,  but any sports/outdoor shop (i.e. Cabala's, Galyan's, REI, Gander Mountain, Dick's etc.) should have some deals.  And if you go all-grain on the cheap but for high quality see Denny Conn's website at www.dennybrew.com

Oh and welcome to the forum as well!  The AHA is one the of the best resources with experienced home and pro brewers here to help.
Brian
mobrewer

Offline klickitat jim

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8460
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Equipment
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2015, 04:13:00 AM »
I like my digital thermometer, el cheapo from eBay. Used my floating thermometer once...

Offline pete b

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3123
  • Barre, Ma
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Equipment
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2015, 11:27:12 AM »
I would recommend a fermentation bucket instead of a second carboy. The best place to get a kettle is a commercial restaurant supply store.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline leejoreilly

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 234
  • Washington, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Equipment
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2015, 12:08:21 PM »
Also, try a local restaurant supply store for good deals on kettles, turkey basters, metal spoons, etc.

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 19379
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Starting Equipment
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2015, 03:31:35 PM »
I'd advise to to save the Grainfather for after you get some experience.  Check out www.dennybrew.com.  You may decide you don't even need a Grainfather.  I've used the system on my website for 17 years and 485 batches.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline pete b

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3123
  • Barre, Ma
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Equipment
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2015, 04:10:08 PM »
I'd advise to to save the Grainfather for after you get some experience.  Check out www.dennybrew.com.  You may decide you don't even need a Grainfather.  I've used the system on my website for 17 years and 485 batches.
I recommend buying a Zymatic and selling it to me for pennies on the dollar next year ;)
Seriously, no need to make that big of an investment.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline realbeerguy

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 319
  • Golf & drink beer with your friends
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Equipment
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2015, 04:12:56 PM »
With what you have, you're half way there.  Make a Denny mash tun, get the fermentation bucket.  Invest in a grain mill if you are going to do all grain.  Get fermentation control (refrigerator & temp control) before spending serious coin on Grainfather.  Good thermometer & a refractometer too.  Money is better spent on keg set up too.
Member Savannah Brewers League & Lowcountry MALTS

Bluffton SC

Offline vleonino

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 15
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Equipment
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2015, 05:10:29 AM »
Thanks for all your help.  You guys are great.  I appreciate all the suggestions.  I will skip the grain father for now. What is the advantage of a secondary fermenting bucket vs a carboy?

Offline bboy9000

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 703
  • KCMO
    • View Profile
Starting Equipment
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2015, 05:27:30 AM »
A fermentation bucket is just an alternative to a carboy (EDIT:  that's how I interpreted the reference-  either one can be used for primary or secondary fermentation). They are easier to clean.   

As far as transferring to a "secondary" as most recipe kits recommend I don't do it 99% of the time.  I dry hop in the primary fermentation vessel after primary fermentation is complete.  I only use a secondary vessel for Brett or sour ales.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2015, 05:48:07 AM by bboy9000 »
Brian
mobrewer

Offline pete b

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3123
  • Barre, Ma
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Equipment
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2015, 11:25:15 AM »
When I recommended a bucket instead of buying a second carboy as the OP was suggesting it was for a primary fermenter. I think buckets are way easier to clean and take gravity samples from. The existing carboy could then be used for the rare secondary fermentation, bulk aging high gravity beers or a backup primary fermenter when two batches are made close together.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.