New to brewing

Recipes based on BrewDemon Extracts and refills.

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New to brewing

Postby Tapakegaday » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:41 pm

I recently was given the BrewDemon craft beer kit plus. I am curious to know what essentials I need right away from a brewing stand point and what I can do without for a while


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Re: New to brewing

Postby John Sand » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:49 pm

Hello Tap, welcome to brewing and a very friendly forum.
I started with MrBeer, which is similar to BrewDemon. I assume your kit includes a can of hopped malt extract (HME), a fermenter, and yeast. The essential things in brewing are sanitation and controlling the temperature of the ferment. Your kit probably includes some kind of cleaner-sanitizer for the first, and a therm strip for your fermenter. Follow the directions and you will make beer. Your yeast likely will do it's best work in the mid to upper 60s Fahrenheit. This time of year my house is usually around 65-68, the basement a bit cooler. Fermenting beer releases heat, which will raise the temp slightly in a 2.5 gallon batch, more in a 5-6 gallon. Find a spot with stable temps and out of sunlight. Let your beer ferment two to three weeks, until it clears. I remember that it all seemed complex when I started, but it really isn't. Like everything you've ever learned, study and practice will yield progress.
Good luck, keep us posted.

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Re: New to brewing

Postby bpgreen » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:13 am

First off, welcome to the borg. You've been assimilated.

Is this what you got?

If so, you've got what you need to get started.

If you decide you like brewing, you'll probably want to add to what you have. Different people add things in different orders, based on what they feel is more important.

The bare minimum to get started is a fermenter, ingredients for a brew, sanitizer, bottles. Actually, this has one thing in addition to the bare minimum, but something that will help you make better beer. That is the temperature strip. That will help you monitor temperatures (if temperatures get out of range, you'll need to do something about that, but at least this gives you a way to check).

The only thing that's missing that I'd consider nearly essential is a bottling wand. It's not technically required, but it makes bottling much easier and makes oxidation less likely.

The next thing that is almost as essential is a hydrometer. And a tube (most hydrometers come with a tube, but some don't and they're not very useful without the tube). A hydrometer helps you calculate the ABV of a beer and is really the only way to know for sure when a batch has finished fermenting (to be honest, though, I usually just let a batch ferment for 3 weeks; it probably finished after one, but after 3, I'm sure).

For temperature control, I started with a "swamp cooler" approach. I just put the fermenter in an aluminum roaster and draped a towel over it, with the ends in the water. This works best in areas with low humidity. Now, I just ferment in the basement where temperatures are fairly constant year-round. Most people use some sort of temperature control, whether it's swapping out bottles of ice or using a freezer with a controller to maintain a constant temperature.

I made a gradual switch from PET bottles to glass bottles and eventually kegs. I first started using swing top bottles, mostly by buying Grolsch (only a good idea if you know it hasn't been exposed to sunlight or fluorescent light) and Fischer and saving the bottles. I later bought a capper and just started collecting craft beer bottles (no screw tops).

After a few batches, I started batch priming. The only additional piece of equipment I needed for that was a bottling container. I used a Slimline that I got from Walmart.

I keg now. I can keg a 5 gallon batch in less time than it took me to bottle a 2.4 gallon batch, and most of that time is unattended. But kegging requires a fairly significant initial cash outlay, depending on how you approach it.

If you decide to start mashing, your equipment needs will depend on how you decide to mash. That's probably a few batches down the road, though, so we'll go over those options if/when you decide to go that route. FWIW, I mostly do partial mashes, using BIAB (Brew in a Bag) and do my boils on top of my stove. Many people do all grain and use a propane burner outside with a large (like 10 gallon) pot.

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Re: New to brewing

Postby BlackDuck » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:04 am

Hi there Daily Keg Tapper!!! Welcome to the Borg. As you can see from the two previous posts, we love to help out. So don't be afraid to keep asking questions. And most importantly....keep on brewing!!
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#72 - Berliner Weisse (GoodBelly Blackberry/Pomegranate)
#73 - Cross Czech Pilsner
#74 - Slutty Queen (Easy Jack Clone w/ Kealia)
Conditioning and Carbing

Fermenting

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Re: New to brewing

Postby Tapakegaday » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:06 am

bpgreen wrote:First off, welcome to the borg. You've been assimilated.

Is this what you got?

If so, you've got what you need to get started.

If you decide you like brewing, you'll probably want to add to what you have. Different people add things in different orders, based on what they feel is more important.

The bare minimum to get started is a fermenter, ingredients for a brew, sanitizer, bottles. Actually, this has one thing in addition to the bare minimum, but something that will help you make better beer. That is the temperature strip. That will help you monitor temperatures (if temperatures get out of range, you'll need to do something about that, but at least this gives you a way to check).

The only thing that's missing that I'd consider nearly essential is a bottling wand. It's not technically required, but it makes bottling much easier and makes oxidation less likely.

The next thing that is almost as essential is a hydrometer. And a tube (most hydrometers come with a tube, but some don't and they're not very useful without the tube). A hydrometer helps you calculate the ABV of a beer and is really the only way to know for sure when a batch has finished fermenting (to be honest, though, I usually just let a batch ferment for 3 weeks; it probably finished after one, but after 3, I'm sure).

For temperature control, I started with a "swamp cooler" approach. I just put the fermenter in an aluminum roaster and draped a towel over it, with the ends in the water. This works best in areas with low humidity. Now, I just ferment in the basement where temperatures are fairly constant year-round. Most people use some sort of temperature control, whether it's swapping out bottles of ice or using a freezer with a controller to maintain a constant temperature.

I made a gradual switch from PET bottles to glass bottles and eventually kegs. I first started using swing top bottles, mostly by buying Grolsch (only a good idea if you know it hasn't been exposed to sunlight or fluorescent light) and Fischer and saving the bottles. I later bought a capper and just started collecting craft beer bottles (no screw tops).

After a few batches, I started batch priming. The only additional piece of equipment I needed for that was a bottling container. I used a Slimline that I got from Walmart.

I keg now. I can keg a 5 gallon batch in less time than it took me to bottle a 2.4 gallon batch, and most of that time is unattended. But kegging requires a fairly significant initial cash outlay, depending on how you approach it.

If you decide to start mashing, your equipment needs will depend on how you decide to mash. That's probably a few batches down the road, though, so we'll go over those options if/when you decide to go that route. FWIW, I mostly do partial mashes, using BIAB (Brew in a Bag) and do my boils on top of my stove. Many people do all grain and use a propane burner outside with a large (like 10 gallon) pot.

Yes that is what I have for equipment. I was thinking about getting a hydrometer so I could tell the abv. Your comments are very helpful in getting me started and make me feel more like I have a little bit of know how.


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Re: New to brewing

Postby John Sand » Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:00 am

A hydrometer is an inexpensive and useful piece of equipment.
I think my earliest additional equipment purchases were a thermometer, hydrometer and bottle capper. The thermometer was for mashing grains.

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Re: New to brewing

Postby TonyKZ1 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:08 am

Hello and welcome to the site/hobby/obsession... Oh and my recommendation on equipment would be a bottling wand, thermometer, and a capper for the 12oz bottles. I also still use the 1 Liter bottles and they work fine too. You can get them at most any home brewing store or vendor, including BrewDemon and Mr. Beer of course.

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Re: New to brewing

Postby Beer-lord » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:00 am

Tap, welcome to the Borg! Happy Brewing!
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Re: New to brewing

Postby berryman » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:59 am

Hello and welcome to The Borg. The others above have it covered, and you have everything you need to make beer, as long as you have a few basic kitchen items. There is always something more to add to make brewing easier, more enjoyable and to move to the next level to make better beer. One thing I like to have in addition to a temp. strip on the fermenter is a thermometer close to the fermenter to see what the air temp is. When the fermenting temp drops to the same as the air temp, you know that fermentation is slowing down, not a full indication that it is done but just getting closer.
Last edited by berryman on Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New to brewing

Postby Kealia » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:23 pm

Tapakegaday wrote:I recently was given the BrewDemon craft beer kit plus. I am curious to know what essentials I need right away from a brewing stand point and what I can do without for a while


Patience. It is essential.

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Re: New to brewing

Postby swenocha » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:39 pm

This hydrometer is on a crazy sale on Amazon right now (if the coupon code is still active. It was for me this morning)...

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00TU ... UTF8&psc=1

coupon code: LBQV-XVBEND-NLE5GG

List price: 12.99
sale price (with free Prime shipping): $0.65 (your price will vary based on your state sales tax... mine ended up $0.71)
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Re: New to brewing

Postby BlackDuck » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:51 pm

When you buy a hydrometer, get two. They are famous for jumping off of counter tops and tables and committing suicide!!!
ANTLER BREWING
Drinking
#72 - Berliner Weisse (GoodBelly Blackberry/Pomegranate)
#73 - Cross Czech Pilsner
#74 - Slutty Queen (Easy Jack Clone w/ Kealia)
Conditioning and Carbing

Fermenting

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Re: New to brewing

Postby D_Rabbit » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:54 pm

Nice Swen! Just tried the code though and it didn’t work. Price is pretty good though.
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Re: New to brewing

Postby swenocha » Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:29 pm

Bummer.... I guess the code expired. I know it said there was a limit to the amount of people who could use it, and I guess that exceeded.
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Re: New to brewing

Postby Bluejaye » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:32 am

I don't know what is in your kit, I'm assuming essentials like, you know bottles. Maybe caps and a capper if they aren't screw-ons.

The only thing *I* wouldn't want to be without is a Bottling wand.

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