Author Topic: Gear for New Brewer, Kettle Question  (Read 638 times)

Offline bohemiandog

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Gear for New Brewer, Kettle Question
« on: January 02, 2011, 07:21:48 PM »
I'm planning on getting started brewing.  I'd like some help accumulating the gear. 

First question - am I missing anything?  After reading Palmer, MW's site, and scanning a few forums, I've landed on the following gear to kickoff my brewing:


Second question - I'm asking for brew kettle recommendations.  I've read through a lot of posts on this topic, and frankly i'm conflicted.  I don't mind spending a little money, but don't want to throw money away.  Consensus seems to be to go larger; so i'd like to get a 15 gallon.  But do I need a spigot? 

Two options:

$300 seems a little ridiculous for someone just starting out.  For another $70, one could get the Blichman.  But would the Update International model be useful later if I move to all grain at some point?  Or would I end up selling it anyway and getting something with a spigot and that takes a false bottom?  How easy is it to add a spigot later?

Thanks very much in advance for all the help. 

Offline a10t2

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Re: Gear for New Brewer, Kettle Question
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2011, 09:25:38 PM »
The equipment kit looks good; just be aware that a 5 gal carboy isn't big enough to ferment a 5 gal batch. They'll work for secondaries, but you really only have one primary fermenter. (Plus there's vigorous debate about whether or not a secondary is usually needed, but that's a whole other thread.) Plus it looks like the kit with the Better Bottles is cheaper, and I don't think anyone's ever been killed by one.

Anyway, a 15 gal kettle is a good idea if you're planning on doing 10 gal batches. If you're only planning on 5 gal batches, a 10 gal kettle is plenty big. Either way, I'd get one that's drilled for a ball valve (or find someone to drill it for you). I think it'll make things easier down the road, especially if you decide to upgrade with a pump. The false bottom is only useful if you plan to mash in the kettle, but in that case you really need two of them anyway. Much much cheaper to make a mash tun from a cooler - http://www.dennybrew.com

eBay is a good source for home brewing equipment, actually. http://cgi.ebay.com/10-Gallon-Mash-Tun-Brew-Kettle-New-/110630317691?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19c214ae7b for example.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2011, 09:30:08 PM by a10t2 »
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Offline gsandel

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Re: Gear for New Brewer, Kettle Question
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2011, 09:59:19 PM »
Hindsight is 20/20....knowing what I know now, I would have purchased equipment that would help me go all grain sooner....but there is something to be said about getting the minimum and just going for it.  Just get brewing....

but...
If you can find a decommissioned keg and cut the top off of it, that would be way cheaper.....and then buy a step bit $17 and a weldless bulkhead and valve and you have an indestructable 15 gallon stainless steel kettle for almost nothing.....that would have been cheaper than my 5 gallon pot when I started.  A keggle (as we call a converted keg to kettle) can later be retrofited with a false bottom and be used as a mash tun, too.  In my opinion, this is the way to go.

Get the 7 gallon carboy, skip the secondary (or any 5 gallon capacity), or go with a better bottle.....or find a decommissioned keg and cut the top off of it (note the theme here)....I open ferment in a cut open keg (without any other fittings in it)....had I been smart, I would have skipped the plastic bucket years and then 12 years using carboys....I do use my 5 gallon pot's lid to cover the hole in the keg....so that kettle wasn't a total waste.

You wouldn't believe the things I've seen...

Offline dano14041

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Re: Gear for New Brewer, Kettle Question
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2011, 09:11:37 AM »
I started with this kit: http://www.midwestsupplies.com/everything-a-carboy-complete-brewing-package-equipment-kit-3.html
I opted for the 5 gal Better Bottle over a glass carboy, I tend to break glass things, but have only used it twice. Once to primary a 4 gal batch of cider (which it was too small for) and once to secondary an APA (because I needed the primary bucket for another brew).
The 5 gal kettle I used twice to brew with. The extract batch that came with the kit and a second partial mash kit. I  use it now to heat the strike and sparge water, so it is still useful. I "upgraded" to a turkey fryer 7.5 gal aluminum pot and wish I had saved my money and went for a 10 gal kettle, at a minimum.

Just my $0.02.
Have a great day!
Dano
Tulsa, OK

Offline stlaleman

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Re: Gear for New Brewer, Kettle Question
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2011, 03:45:24 AM »
Check out www.brewhemoth.com They have nicely priced kettles for sale.