Advice On New Brewers Set Up

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sinkas

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Hi all,
(I have searched but could not come up with a useful thread please direct me to one if possible)
I am a novice from Perth/WA,
I want to get out and purchse a kit for brewing, but I thought I would ask here first on any tips for what kit I should buy in order to be hopefully successful, but also not limit future possibilities.

I realise that I am not likely to make a amazing brew first off, but in the end I woudl like to try and re-create some Belgain Tripples etc.

SO has any one got tips on what kit parts I should buy and maybe where I should get them.

Eg. is buying a coopers kit in a box at a supermarket a daft idea?

Cheers

Case
 

nonicman

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Eg. is buying a coopers kit in a box at a supermarket a daft idea?
No, not silly. Depends on what how you want to brew and your budget, but just for the basics, you will need,
a fermenter (25 litre or 30 food grade plastic) 2 would be ideal so you can rack to a second fermenter for conditioning (makes a big difference) and bulk prime when ready to bottle,
air lock, seal for the airlock
tap for the fermenter
something to put the beer in, clean beer bottles or you could use the coopers PET bottles but glass is better.
A sanitizer solution and cleaning solution. (do a search on this forum for different options)
A bottling wand,
bottle capper (the press types are the best, though the hammer hand cappers will get you by at first),
bottle caps.

Then there is the beer ingredients. Big choice there.

The best bet would be to go to your LHBS and have a chat, often they can start you off with a setup for a good price, and can give face to face advice.

Sosman has a great site for equipment if you are looking for more info.
http://brewiki.org/
 

kitkat

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Coopers kit as it has all you need (except secondary and cleaning products); You might even want to use the included coopers lager kit as a tester for your first batch.

I've started recently myself, and from these (and other forums), a few hints and tips:
- don't use sugar :) dried malt extracts, dextrose, liquid malt extract, but not sugar (but it can be used for bottling and carbonation).
- get a secondary fermenter/container (I bought another fermenter). When fermentation is finished in your primary, transfer to secondary and let the beer rest a few days. It will a) leave the trub behind and B) allow your beer to rest a bit more and drop more sediment at the bottom, which means a clearer beer.
- people will mention cold conditioning, basically putting the beer in the fridge for 4-6 weeks, after the secondary stage. Up to you, but that means a) you need a fridge and B) you have to wait longer
- ales should ferment around 18-20 degrees, lagers at 14-15. So if you don't have any means to control the temperature, stick to lagers in winter and ales in summer.
- find the homebrew shop closest to you, and get better yeasts than the one included in the coopers kits. SAFale and SAFlager are the most common dry yeast, muntons is also out there. There are also liquid yeasts, but I am honestly not sure if it's worth it just when beginning. Your choice. The shop would also have a larger selection of kits.
- if you don't have a shop nearby, internet is your friend. Don't know any online shops in WA, but look around for Grumpy's, liquorcraft, the country brewer, esb
- sanitise everything
- avoid Cascade kits, see http://www.hbkitreviews.com/search.php?search=cascade for some reviews (great site for kit reviews). Just mentioning them because they're sold at Coles next to coopers and tooheys kits, and from the outside look great ...
- be ready to have not-sot-great brews - but looking around for recipes should wet your appetite for more :)
- be ready for one month delay: typically 1 week in primary, 1 week in secondary, 2 weeks for carbonation. Note that from what I read most beer need a couple of months in the bottle to really give all they have.
- PET bottles are not the devil, they do the job just fine (the chances of keeping your first brew more than 6 months are slim ), so you don't necessarily have to invest in capper and glass bottles just now.
- extract brewing doesn't seem that hard (I'll start in a few days after I bottle my second kit batch), and there are heaps of recipes around, so look around. Basically instead of buying a kit, you buy liquid malts and hops, and do a bit of boiling.
 

pint of lager

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Welcome to the board.

In my area, the kit from the local brewshop is a bit more expensive, but contains a much better benchcapper. Short term, the kit from the supermarket may work out cheaper, but buying the kit and the long term relationship you will build up with your local home brew shop will be worth every extra cent.

The check out chic will not be able to help you at all.

To brew a tripple needs you to have a good grasp of brewing principles and to be able to access good ingredients that will only be available through a brewshop.

Start off with some pale ales, keep reading and searching posts on this board and start enjoying your own brews.

Read the articles that are "airlocked" in each forum, these are jammed with good ideas.
 

Ross

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Kitkat -

Great advice from one newbie to another - spot on... :beer:
 

Vlad the Pale Aler

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Sinkas
you are in Perth, take a trip to TWOC homebrew at Stock Rd markets near Bibra Lake, the owner, Roy will be able to sort you out.
link here
 

dicko

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Hi Sinkas

The check out chic will not be able to help you at all.
POL's advice is spot on.

You will never achieve a Trippel from the shelves at coles or woolies.

To brew a tripple needs you to have a good grasp of brewing principles and to be able to access good ingredients that will only be available through a brewshop.
IMO forget 25L fermenters and go for 30L's.

Get some temp control on your fermentation, EG fridge with adjustable thermostat.
Ignore the instructions on a kit that says to brew at 25 deg c plus and brew at 20 deg c. for ales or as the temp is recommended for the yeast varieties.

Get a good quality hydrometer and learn how to use it.

Attention to sanitation is equally important as temp control on fermentation..

The yeast that is under the lid on the kit tin that you get is next to useless so discard it and learn to use quality liquid or dry yeasts.
Once you have got around the yeast then consider only using malt (DME or LME)
and forget dextrose and sugar.

Once you have brewed beers that are to your own liking then consider adding adjuncts like crystal grains and finishing hops etc.

In the initial stages keep your brewing as simple as possible but keeping in mind the above.

Start off with some pale ales, keep reading and searching posts on this board and start enjoying your own brews.

Read the articles that are "airlocked" in each forum, these are jammed with good ideas.
I know as a newbie you will find my comments daunting to say the least and probably think " Oh well! I'll just follow the basic instructions on the tin!!,
but if you are still keen in six months time then you may be looking for that "improvement" that the above info has to offer. Remember - bad habits are difficult to change!!

Try to attend "brew days" with other, more experienced brewers in your area as an opportunity to gain knowledge

Welcome to the forum and use the info to achieve the level in brewing that you expect, but dont compromise sanitation and temp control in an attempt to brew that "cheaper beer"

Good luck and keep asking questions,

Cheers
 

sinkas

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Hi there Guys,

Thanks for the responses, It is exactly what i was wanting.
Cheers to Vlad for the tip on the Bibra Lake store, as I am frequently at Murdoch Uni, so it right in my area.
I will get onto it and try a brew..

Cheers

Case
 

normell

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kitkat said:
avoid Cascade kits, see http://www.hbkitreviews.com/search.php?search=cascade for some reviews (great site for kit reviews). Just mentioning them because they're sold at Coles next to coopers and tooheys kits, and from the outside look great ...

[post="48967"][/post]​
Now Kitkat, that's just your opinion, but my opinion is that Cascade kits are far better than Coopers kits.
My opinion only tho

Normell
 

macr

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normell said:
kitkat said:
avoid Cascade kits
[post="48967"][/post]​
Now Kitkat, that's just your opinion, but my opinion is that Cascade kits are far better than Coopers kits.
My opinion only tho

Normell
[post="49031"][/post]​
I have just bought a Coopers home brew set up and have just laid the first batch of the Coopers Lager that comes with the kit as a tester and will bottle in the supplied PET bottles. I visited the LHBS today and walked out with $160 worth of stuff and a number of freebies as well. I got myself a good metal capping machine, a bottle drainer, 40 new bottles, bag of crowns and a Brewcraft Newccy Broon kit, with a tin of Black Rock Amber malt extract. What I got for free was a golding (5.2% IIRC) pressed hop. 32 secondhand 750ml twist tops and a container of sanitiser.
I also bought a Cascade spicy ghost when I got the kit and will probably use the Coopers brew enhancer2 that I bought to get rid of it. I think I will stick to cans of malt extract after that. I may add more yeast if I can get more Bohemian yeast, like what Normell mentioned on his review. The only thing I can't do is cool it to 14 degrees and let it condition in a second fermenter. Those are for another day once I get confident and have some spare cash.


Macr
B is for Beer and Beer is for me :chug:
 

GMK

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if u want to stick to cans of malt extract - there are cheaper options...
Buy some Bulk LME or DME - 28kg of Coopers LME is 70-95.00.

Then buy some hops - make sure they are refrigerated/frozen...

i can supply you with an excell spreadsheet of ried & True Kits & Bits recipes - majority have won awards - just pm me if u want them- no use re-inventing the wheel - usual conditions apply:
ie;
u provide feedback and if i am ever down your way i get to stop by and try some home brew...

:super:
 

macr

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GMK said:
if u want to stick to cans of malt extract - there are cheaper options...
Buy some Bulk LME or DME - 28kg of Coopers LME is 70-95.00.
Thanx I will consider that.

Macr B is for Beer and Beer is for me :chug:
 

kitkat

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normell said:
kitkat said:
avoid Cascade kits, see http://www.hbkitreviews.com/search.php?search=cascade for some reviews (great site for kit reviews). Just mentioning them because they're sold at Coles next to coopers and tooheys kits, and from the outside look great ...
Now Kitkat, that's just your opinion, but my opinion is that Cascade kits are far better than Coopers kits.
My opinion only tho

Normell

I don't have an opinion on cascade kits, never done one. I'm just refering to the reviews on the site I linked to. Read the comments, and you'll see quite a few are very negative on the whole range.
Just thought it was worth mentioning. I'm seeing great reviews of ESB, Malt Shovel, Grumpy's, etc. If the original poster checks the site I mentioned, he can both get an idea of what's out there, get some idea from reviews about ingredients, get an idea of other aussie alternatives (17kgs ESB/grumpy's wort kits for ex), and get an idea of which kit he'd like to try. Just trying to help :)

As a side note I'm wondering why coopers include the basic lager in their kits, I don't think the end result would be good enough to incite people to persevere in HB (and hence buy more coopers kits). I'd put the Pale Ale in, that's what Coopers is well known for ... oh well.
 

normell

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I don't have an opinion on cascade kits, never done one.

So Kitkat, have you read all the reviews, if so why not mention blackrock or Brewiser. Worse reviews than Cascade.
It seems a bit unfair to turn a new brewer away from a very easy to make good brew straight off.
Yes Grumpy's and ESB are real good beers to make, but maybe not as easy for a first time brewer
I don't know what types you have done so far Kitkat, but believe me Cascade Draught is worth the effort.
Normell
 

joecast

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hey kitkat, good luck with what is a great hobby. as you will find out, you will never be short of assistance and opinions on this site.
as for my $.02 on what kits are better than others. well, its not an easy question to answer. with sooo many variables in homebrewing, it would be tough for me to say that one kit is deffinitely worse or better than another. some come out great, some not so great. but its easy to blame the kit, than just put it down to a learning experience and move on.
if a kit sounds interesting, try it. if not, change things up and make it to suit your tastes. good luck
joe
 

kitkat

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normell said:
I don't have an opinion on cascade kits, never done one.

So Kitkat, have you read all the reviews, if so why not mention blackrock or Brewiser. Worse reviews than Cascade.
I wasn't starting an e-penis contest between kits, what I was trying to do is just encouraging people to go have a look (and post their own reviews). There are plenty of ideas there for a newbie. For example the coopers pale ale reviews mention quite a few different possible additions for the kit. If someone reading these reviews then starts looking into things a bit more and asking questions, online or at his LHBS, then good!

I mentioned cascade because I had been to Coles that day and saw it next to coopers and coles-farmland kits, and remembered that they were not reviewed that well. I agree, most of coopers rate as bad or lower than the cascades - but some of them rate higher as well.

Note: Brewiser? There's only 1 very positive review for the wheat?
Blackrock seems to have crap lagers but ok others.

It seems a bit unfair to turn a new brewer away from a very easy to make good brew straight off.
Yes Grumpy's and ESB are real good beers to make, but maybe not as easy for a first time brewer
I don't know what types you have done so far Kitkat, but believe me Cascade Draught is worth the effort.
Normell
[post="49061"][/post]​
Thanks to you (did you post a review?) we stand corrected on the draught :)
Note that the porter gets a caning, 5 very negative posts. If you've tried it, what was your impression?

As an aside, Grumpy's masterbrews look like basic kits, you still need to add extract or something else. ESB's 3Kgs seem like a good alternative to kits + something, as they have all you need included, for cheaper than kit + malt extract (from what I've seen here in Melbourne, $23 for a 3kgs kit, cheaper than from their own website + postage :blink: ).
And the 17kgs pack actually seem even easier than kits (add water and yeast, hum, that's it)

FWIW: I bottled a coopers pale ale, and I just did my first extract honey-white (see recipe in TCB forums), it was fun and instructive. Next on my list is an altbier, extract as well, possibly with some grains. I don't think I'd have thought of trying either if I hadn't both found these forums and that review site, which prompted me to look around further.

BTW - any recommendation on the ESB and Grumpy's ranges? :beer:
 

normell

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kitkat said:
Thanks to you (did you post a review?) we stand corrected on the draught :)
Note that the porter gets a caning, 5 very negative posts. If you've tried it, what was your impression?

BTW - any recommendation on the ESB and Grumpy's ranges? :beer:
[post="49076"][/post]​

Tried all 4 cascade's, and yes the porter aint no porter. But the other 3 are pretty good K&K beer's, good quaffing beers.


Done Grumpy's Boston Cream, Beamish Red, Aussie Pub Draught, Muldoon's Delight & "1" APA, all very, very nice, and easy to put together.
The 17Lt #1 APA was so easy to do, yet tasted so good.
I am only up to brew #15, this time around, and still learning.
Yet to try an ESB, but it will come soon

Keep enjoying brewing Kitkat, and all newer brewer's, there aint nothing like making good homebrewed beer, from K&K, extract or partial's all the way to all grains.

Normell
 

macr

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normell said:
Yet to try an ESB, but it will come soon

Keep enjoying brewing Kitkat, and all newer brewer's, there aint nothing like making good homebrewed beer, from K&K, extract or partial's all the way to all grains.

Normell
OK 2 questions as a newbie. I am not good with brewing TLA's, so could you tell me what ESB and K&K mean. Obviously ESB is a brand, but which brand. LHBS seems to have recipe using ESB. Beamish black. ESB old, Muntons dark malt 1kg, Roast malt 50g Safale (Which I guess means a particular Safale yeast). Now that I typed that out, I am keen to do a Beamish as I quite like its taste.
 

Gough

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G'day macr. Good to see another Newcastle brewer on the forum. Welcome.

Shawn.
 

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