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Brewing Topics => Introductions => Topic started by: navydad1972 on October 09, 2013, 08:53:17 PM

Post by: navydad1972 on October 09, 2013, 08:53:17 PM
hello...finally taking the step and investing in equipment to start brewing beer at home.  Amazingly my wife is onboard with my new hobby as it benefits us both (golf for some reason only benefits me).   Any positive feedback, FYI's etc would be greatly appreciated.   Thanks in advance!
Post by: Scott Ickes on October 09, 2013, 09:06:18 PM
Welcome to the obsession!  If you haven't already purchased your equipment, we should be able to give you a lot of advice and save you $$'s up front.  Tell us more about what you plan to purchase.  Are you going to start with extract kit's, or will you jump right into all grain brewing?  The more we know, the better we'll be able to get you jump started in the right direction.

It can be an expensive hobby, but if you plan ahead, you can avoid purchases that will end up sitting around as you grow. 

For example, one of the most common purchases is a boil pot that is too small.  Most people think, I'm going to be making 5 gallon batches, so an 8 gallon boil pot is plenty large enough.  However, a full boil of the entire batch requires that you have anywhere from 6.5 to 7.5 gallons of wort in the pot, so that you have 5.5 gallons when you're done boiling (you'll lose the rest to evaporation during the boil.  So, if you're starting with 7.5 gallons of wort, there isn't room for a vigorous boil.  It will boil over and make a sticky mess.  Boil overs are something that can happen in a heart beat.

Your now very understanding wife, won't be so understanding when you boil over sticky sugar wort all over her stove top and down the sides, requiring that the stove be pulled out to clean.  I brew in my garage on a large propane burner (like a turkey fryer burner, but more powerful) in a 15 gallon pot.  This allows me to handle 5 and 10 gallon batches easily.

The advice given here about boil pots is to purchase the largest pot that you can afford right away.  You'll never regret it!

There is a lot more advice, but that one is easy when someone hasn't purchased anything yet.

So, please, fill us in and we'll all chime in with great advice.  You'll be able to wade through all of it and plan your purchases ahead of time.

Once again, welcome to the group!


Post by: navydad1972 on October 09, 2013, 11:07:49 PM

Thank you for your post.  My starting budget is $400.00 to purchase equipment.  I paid a visit this past weekend to a local home brewery store and the clerk was very helpful in regards to start up costs etc.  I want to start w/ 5 gallon set up and slowly work my way up.  My wife is agreeable that it would be more beneficial to boil outside, so the cost for a propane burner is factored it.   Any thoughts on what my first batch should be?  Again thank you.

- Chris
Post by: Scott Ickes on October 10, 2013, 12:03:22 AM
The first batch should be something simple in design in a style of beer that you enjoy in my opinion.  What are your favorite styles of beer?

Are you setting up an all grain system or are you going to start with extracts?
Post by: Maine Homebrewer on October 10, 2013, 03:03:52 PM
I'd say to start with a book or two.  Palmer's 'How to Brew' is good. I started with the Papazian books.

All grain looks intimidating on paper, but it's really not a big deal.  In addition it is much cheaper than extract, and the end result is much better because you have more control.  With that in mind, get a brew pot that can do five gallons of all grain.  That would be a ten gallon pot, the shorter and squatter the better. Mine is shaped like a D-cell and it sucks.  The brew pot is the single most expensive item in the brewery. Best to buy it once.

Before I forget, buy a book or two.

I prefer carboys to buckets. I also prefer glass to plastic, but that's a personal preference. Some avoid glass for safety reasons, which is understandable.
Plan to transition to kegging. Cleaning one keg beats the heck out of cleaning fifty-odd bottles.

Did I mention that you should read a book or two before buying anything else?

I've purchased a lot of equipment from Adventures in Homebrewing. They're good people. Here's what they have for kits. (

That number six looks awful perty (and it comes with a book!).

StarSan and PBW. K. I'm done editing.
Post by: navydad1972 on October 10, 2013, 09:52:50 PM
been looking at some books, i'll take a look at the two you recommended.   the guy i spoke with this past weekend,  told me about his accident with a glass carboy...but i'm not just a fan of plastic...

for my first brew..i am thinking a pale ale...going to start with extract...then move to wife wants me to make a stout, but i said let's start simple and then move up as i become more proficient...

have a closet area cleared out but am taking some temperature readings through out the day to see what the average it...
Post by: Scott Ickes on October 10, 2013, 11:00:15 PM
If your closet is too warm, a simple way to get your ferment temperature down 3-4 degrees lower is to put your fermentation vessel in a large shallow container.  Have about 5 inches of water in it.  Then wrap a wet towel around your fermentation vessel, with it hanging down in the water.  Then put a fan on your fermentation vessel.  The moving air will dry out the towel, but the towel will continually pull moisture up into the towel keeping it damp.  This wicking action will lower the temp thos 3-4 degrees F.

For a pale ale, you'll probably want to keep the fermenting beer at about 66-68F during the most vigorous part of your fermentation.  Then let the temperature rise to about 72-74F to clean up diacetyls, etc.  You can then bring it back down to about 66F and let it clear, before bottling. 

Also, keep the light off of the beer.