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new to homebrewing

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Kory, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. Kory

    Kory Zealot (85) Ontario (Canada) Apr 3, 2012

    Hello,

    My dad and I have always been talking about homebrewing. Well, for father's day I would like to get him the appropriate equipment so we can start the process! I am just wondering if any of you have tips or suggestions that you could give us before we start. Also, any opinions on what type of brewing kit to get? Any good homebrew stores in the Albany/Saratoga region of NY? Cheers
  2. VikeMan

    VikeMan Advocate (740) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    Before you buy anything, read the free online book at this link. It will answer 99% of your questions on what you need.

    www.howtobrew.com
  3. best thing to do is to talk to someone at a homebrew shop. Perhaps get your dad and yourself a trip to incredibrew or another place that you can brew a batch with their equipment. Ultimately what you need/want will be determined by what you want to make. Extract or all grain? largers or big ales? IPAs?

    There are a lot of things you dont NEED but they make things faster and easier, such as a wort chiller.


    Are you going to be doing this outside or on a stove top?

    I have no idea what your budget is either.

    a lot of variables so nobody can give you one definite list of things you will need. A lot of it is up to you and what you want to do. There are many kits that will give you what 90% of people need to start. Some good upgrades would be a glass carboy, auto siphon, wort chiller.... but again a lot of that is based on personal preference and what you are doing.

    sorry this isnt more helpful such as "go to X place and by this that and one of these"
  4. Hogie

    Hogie Aficionado (130) Michigan Mar 19, 2008

    Vikeman is right on with howtobrew.com.

    As far as equipment kits, they are all pretty similar and will get you a good start. You can find them online or at local homebrew stores. http://www.northernbrewer.com/starter-kit-buyers-guide/

    Buy a large boil kettle. This is the one item that I've bought a few of as my brewing progressed in order to accommodate a large enough boil. Although, I still use my smaller kettles for heating sparge water etc, so not necessarily a waste of money. If possible, it is always best to be able to do a full boil, ie a pot big enough to hold 6.5 gallons of wort to boil down to 5, while providing enough room to alleviate boil overs. If you are brewing stove top, this isn't always an option.
  5. VikeMan

    VikeMan Advocate (740) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    Depending on the homebrew shop, this could also be the worst thing to do.
    Thorpe429, kjyost and mnstorm99 like this.
  6. Very true, I guess I was assuming that they would find a good one recommended from here, or AHA, or another trusted source. I have always found it best to talk to someone at a shop that can show you the products, show you where they differ and take into account your situation... such as "I have little to no storage or counter space" would change the recommendation vs another situation. I sometimes hate buying things online becuase once I get them I realize that its a much lesser quality than I anticipated. I liek being able to see what Im getting, and also support local businesses.
  7. Personally, I would suggest googling "groupon Midwest Supplies" as they have offered a pretty good groupon deal a few times in the past months... A couple kits and a barebones starter kit for ~$70 + shipping.
  8. The Groupon is actually what got me to start really thinking about home brew, but when I looked into it the shipping to NH was close to $100, and I would rather support someone locally. Not that Midwest is a bad company, i would rather support a guy I can walk into the shop and he calls me by name, asks me how my Stout went (yes he remembered what style I was brewing) and will give me tips and answer questions. He also has some events at his shop and even offers me a home brew when I am there and its not too busy.

    Its personal preference I guess. I have actually knowingly spent a little more on a few things because its going to a source I know and want to support, plus when you factor in shipping and the fact that I get it NOW and dont have to wait a few days it all evens out.
  9. VikeMan

    VikeMan Advocate (740) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    I love my LHBS for last minute (albeit expensive) purchases. If you have found a store where the guy is actually knowledgable, that's a huge bonus. At the closest LHBS I use in emergencies, it's literally painful to overhear some of the advice being given.
  10. wibrewer

    wibrewer Initiate (0) Wisconsin Mar 5, 2011

    I would suggest buying the book. The website is a great resource, but it is the first edition. Mr. Palmer himself even admitted that the latest edition directly contradicts things he said in the first.
  11. VikeMan

    VikeMan Advocate (740) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    I too would suggest buying the new edition (eventually), but a read of the online edition would be good enough to help OP decide what equipment to buy, which is what he's trying to figure out. I have read both and doubt the new edition would change his mind on equipment.
  12. coronajm

    coronajm Aficionado (240) Ohio Jan 4, 2010

    Yes, read Palmer's book and as many others as you can get. The great thing about your city is that it has a library, check it out, at the very least they will have something on beer.

    Also, for a brief moment I thought your avatar to be of Asher Allen, one of the worst cornerbacks to play the game in the modern era, from vikings games I saw last year. That would have been funny. Did you guys cut him yet?
  13. I started with a 1 gallon Brooklyn Brew Shop kit that went well and was relatively inexpensive. It was a cheap way to figure out if I wanted to continue to make beer.

    When I decided I did want to keep brewing I went to a homebrew shop in Chicago (Brew Camp!). They offered a class where they walked you through the steps of brewing. I could have just followed the directions in a kit but for me it was helpful to see the process happening as well. Then I puchased a Brewers Best 5 gal kit.
  14. Kory

    Kory Zealot (85) Ontario (Canada) Apr 3, 2012

    Thanks guys!! This is great advice. I spent last night reading the free online edition of the book. I couldn't stop reading it, it was addicting. Lots of good stuff.
  15. dad311

    dad311 Aspirant (25) Apr 1, 2012

    I just bought this kit from Midwest, $75.00 to my door. Included in the kit is one beer recipe kit AND a $25.00 coupon for you next purchase. At my local shop, this would have totaled over $200.00. Great deal.
  16. It may have been since I was looking at the everything plus a carboy kit (bottles and everything) and shipping it to NH. I just looked again.... Home Delivery is $69.13 (if I just have that and nothing else).

    The Midwest kits include a kit that they put together, which is cheaper than if it was a Brewers best kit, or Brewcraft or whatever. My local guy puts together kits that are a lot less than the name brand ones (which they also sell)

    If your home brew supply shop is gouging you, well shame on them. My suggestion is do your homework. know what others are charging and weigh out the speed you are getting it, the quality of the product, and the service. If they dont offer service or are rude, take your money elsewhere. I buy a lot of stuff online, and I would gladly support those that offer the support and great products and prices. Northern Brewer for example I have gotten a lot of great tips from through Brewing tv (thanks Roku).

    My homebrew guy is awesome. Prices are never much more (for example I just got a few things and for fun I decided to go to northern brewer and also Midwest and compare prices. All in all most were a bit higher, like .30 here and there, but not even enough to buy a beer. On the other hand the shop owner is there anytime I have a question, he is a call or email away. and he offers classes (free) and is always supporting the community at large.

    Keep in mind that the local shops have to pay rent, and storage, and probably dont have the turn over that some of these other places have, so they have much lower profit margins.


    Im sorry, I didnt mean to have this sidetrack from the original post. If you are just starting out and can get all the answers and so on from Midwest, Northern Brewers, or where ever Wonderful. I was just offering my 2 cents that a GOOD local homebrew shop is a GREAT resource.

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