When a H.B. Shop should say "Kits and Bits" only!

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desitter

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Went into a highly reputable Melbourne HBS the other week looking for some insight into the passivation of stainless steel, particularly the Stainless Brew-Buckets which they themselves stock (when available). The manufacturer recommends a Star-San soak, but I was hoping to get some more insight into other methods of acid passivation, since they sold lactic, phosphoric, and citric acid. Guy looked at me confused and said he had never heard of needing to passivate stainless steel... So not sure what to make of that.

I've been pretty impressed though with Wallington's WRG in Ocean Grove, just out of Geelong, They operate under "Country Trading Store" on ebay I believe, which I reckon contributes significantly to their ability to stock a good selection of grain, hops, and equipment, with good turnover; despite their location. So that might be an avenue other struggling HBS should be investigating. They lack liquid yeast though (at least of the White-labs and Wyeast variety, no problem though if you culture your own).

Geelong city center HBS is most definitely a "Kits and Bits" store to stay clear of. I went their when I was younger and first interested in homebrewing, and not being the studious type at the time I relied on their 'expertise' to get me started, rather than the literature available today. Nice enough guy, but it's all kit and kilo stuff, of which I made about four awful batches that resulted in me being put off the hobby for a very long time. :angry2: I went in about 12 years later and nothing has changed, I reckon some of the same kits are still on the shelves. I don't recall seeing a refrigerator, nor any yeast that wasn't stuck to the bottom of an extract can lid. Plenty of Still-spirit essences though.
 

Kingy

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Yea i dont bother with the said local shops. Everything comes from online. Also if someone at work is talking about home brew in the lunch room i don't even open my mouth and get involved. Its the same with gym junkies. Some one else's way is always the only way to do it. I don't give advice and i don't expect it unless i ask for it. When mhb shut down i nearly gave up brewing. Brewman has made it viable again and the shed is in full operation.
 

BradG

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Geelong hbs is good for kits and basic extract brewing, having a couple of packaged spec grains, lme, dme, and yeasts are in the fridge behind the counter. If I need grains for a steep I'm off to wallington though.
 

Mozz

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Darwin Brewers can now rejoice in the fact that the local microbrewery - 1 Mile Brewery is now selling grain to the public. YEhaaa.
We've also got a long established kits and bits shop here that's been operating for some time. I went in one day (only buy cleaning agent there now) and an older bloke had just invested in a hand pump (not particularly cheap either) to gas his kegs on the advice of the bloke behind the counter.! Couldn't help but explain to the bloke that it might just root all his beer unless he plans to drink out his kegs in a few days. He was grateful for the advice.
1 Mile Brewery are still in the early days but I hope Darwin Brewers get behind them so we can begin to source quality ingredients locally without the Darwin Tax (freight) which otherwise doubles the costs.
 

Judanero

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+1 satisfied Brewman customer, I from time to time (when unprepared and in a rush for starter build up) do get some LDME from the shop near where Marks used to be, and that is the extent of my involvement there.

The bloke that runs it is nice enough but when I asked him a couple yeast questions namely pertaining to viability and use in big beers I realised that he was ill-equipped to answer effectively (and I do have enough text books that if not lazy I could just look up the answers myself).

Brewmans delivery service is A+ and prices beyond reasonable.. Very glad that he picked up where Mark left off- now just for more time to brew!
 

Moad

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I have found Kirk to be friendly and accommodating, I don't think brewers on this forum would really be his target market. He is there to supply the kits and bits brewers and can get grain in for you with some lead time. I will go and buy the odd corny disconnect or hose etc because it is convenient to have this stuff locally. If he has offered the wrong advice then that isn't good but you can't bag someone out because they don't stock what you want.

+1 for Brewman. If you can plan a day or two ahead and want quality, fresh supplies then put your order in with Steve (Brewman), I regularly get my delivery the day after ordering. I can't imagine anyone would have anything negative to say about Steve's service.
 

pist

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+2 for brewman. Unless im after something that steve does not sell, i will not buy from anyone else. Exceptional service, unbeatable pricing and steve always goes above and beyond to ensure you get what you need.
 

WitWonder

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Ducatiboy stu said:
In all honesty, there are just not enough AG/BIAB brewers around to warrant a small HB shop keeping dedicated supplies for them.

Why, as a shop owner would you keep a stock of liquid yeast if you probably only sell 2 -3 per year, and then cop flock for it being old and out of date
I think this is part of the issue - the range required (or rather 'expected') by AG brewers is large and given most items have a finite shelf life it's ridiculous to think your LHBS is going to stock everything for what would be a tiny market. Similarly ridiculous is the notion that a store owner is a PhD-researched expert in every product he or she sells. If I can get good service and reasonable prices I'm not going to whinge and not go back because they guy doesn't stock the entire Wyeast AND White labs liquid yeasts, I'm wanting convenience - if I wasn't I'd just buy online. Most guys in your LHBS should be able to help out new kit brewers and first time AG brewers with a bit of generic advice, but that's about it.

I generally buy grain and yeast locally and hops in bulk direct from the US once a year. Seems to work for me. I do my research on this thing called the internet.
 

Ducatiboy stu

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desitter said:
Went into a highly reputable Melbourne HBS the other week looking for some insight into the passivation of stainless steel, particularly the Stainless Brew-Buckets which they themselves stock (when available).
You went into a HBS and asked a question about passivation of stainless steel

You got the answer you deserved.
 

Benn

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As far as Homebrew Shops go, I'd rather have them and not need them than need them and not have them.
If Ol Mate wants to stock his shop like it's 1985 then good luck to him :wacko:
 

super_simian

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Ducatiboy stu said:
You went into a HBS and asked a question about passivation of stainless steel

You got the answer you deserved.
+1 This and not knowing dark crystal from choc are worlds apart. One is understandable, the other not so much...
 

desitter

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Ducatiboy stu said:
You went into a HBS and asked a question about passivation of stainless steel

You got the answer you deserved.
As I said, the question was specifically about the Brew-Bucket product which they stock. The information sheet that comes with the product states specifically that the product should be passivated. Anyone who has researched the Brew-Bucket before making a purchase will have come across this information, and likely has further questions regarding the method like I did. I don't see how this is an unreasonable request to make of the person who is selling that very product. I would understand if they knew nothing of method other than that specified by the manufacture, but is it not reasonable to expect at least some rudimentary understanding about the required setup methods of the product they themselves are selling? I would expect them to know how to clean and prepare a used keg, as well as setup a temperature controller, or filtration system, or any other of their products. Why not this one?

I don't think the snarkiness is necessary either.
 

Ducatiboy stu

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How many people do you know that even know about passivation.

You cant readily buy the paste ( apart from specialist engineering shops ) so what hope is a HBS shop guy got

Not everyone knows everything about every product they sell.
 

Spohaw

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Home brew shop next town over is a great little shop when you need something straight away but all the advice they can give would be for kits

Not complaining because they have ordered everything I have asked for and it turned up pretty quick

Kept laughing when the guy didn't know that wheat was for beer too .... He kept asking if it was for my chooks haha

Mind you up until 2 years ago I couldn't tell you much about how beer is made or the ingredients in it apart from "malt and hops" so it's a little unfair to expect a worker at the home brew joint to know everything .......

So now i don't really ask questions unless it is asking to order in something

Great little home brew shop though !
 

Weizguy

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desitter said:
As I said, the question was specifically about the Brew-Bucket product which they stock. The information sheet that comes with the product states specifically that the product should be passivated. Anyone who has researched the Brew-Bucket before making a purchase will have come across this information, and likely has further questions regarding the method like I did. I don't see how this is an unreasonable request to make of the person who is selling that very product. I would understand if they knew nothing of method other than that specified by the manufacture, but is it not reasonable to expect at least some rudimentary understanding about the required setup methods of the product they themselves are selling? I would expect them to know how to clean and prepare a used keg, as well as setup a temperature controller, or filtration system, or any other of their products. Why not this one?
I'd expect the shop to be able to support their sales range. Maybe only to regurgitate the supporting documentation that comes with the stuff they sell.
I'm not sure I'd be happy to return to a shop that has given me poor advice without hesitation, or doesn't have internet access or has it but is not willing to use it to try and support their customers and product range.

I can see that a shop that isn't prepared to do some web-searching for me at point-of-sale is either poorly equipped to survive, or is maybe afraid that I'll steal some kit cans and some liquor flavouring and disappear out the door while they're distracted.
That's another reason why MHB dropped the kits and distilling flavours. Seems, in my opinion, those products attract the wrong type of people (not all, but some are tight-arse booze-hounds who like to get things cheap and there;s nothing cheaper than a five-finger discount at walkaway prices).
 

desitter

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How many people do you know that even know about passivation.
I don't believe it's as unheard of as you seem to think it is. Nor is it a specialised process requiring hard to find materials. Google/wiki stainless passivation to find that the most common methods are acid-baths/washes, with a Nitric or Citric acid mixture. The Brew-Bucket manufacture suggests a simple 1 oz Star-San (phosphoric acid) to 1 gallon water soak for 20 minuets. Palmer on Brew-strong and in his literature suggests a simple clean to expose the surface and allow passivation with the air to occur naturally. These methods and materials are easily available to the average homebrewer, and like I mentioned, even sold at this establishment. Given this, I thought at the time, and continue to think that it's completely reasonable to ask about what method the supplier suggests for the product they sell, and to expect at least some basic information, even if it is just repeating what the manufacturer recommends. That was my point, one which you don't seem to agree with, which is fine, hopefully we can at least agree to disagree.
 

tugger

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Here in sw Sydney we have it made.
The local hb shop has kits bits equipment loads of grains liquid and dry yeasts even the new pure pitch, hops galore all kept in the fridge with the yeasts. The manager is an award winning home brewer with a great attitude, knows all the customers by name and will order in anything you ask for.
He is also willing to spend hours talking shit about brewing.
What more could you ask for.
 

Coalminer

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Why would they have to repeat what the manufacturer recommends. Surely that info would come in the accompanying documentation if the process was necessary. If the maker could not supply that info then I would be pissed off
 

Weizguy

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Not saying they should have to repeat it, but should be aware of what the manufacturer provides as documentation. Sometimes paperwork is not included, or customers miss it or ignore it.
What I'm saying is that it's the bare minimum that the shop should be able to provide, and if they can't...
 

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