Which home brew kit do you have and why?

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I would like to get my dad a home brewing kit for Christmas but there is
quite a selection on the internet and I don't know anything about it and he
is very much into beer so I would like it to be a nice kit and not something
cheap. I wouldn't say he is a connoisseur, yet, but he is well on his way.
Which ones would everybody recomend and why? Price range is around $100.
Thanks.



Re: Which home brew kit do you have and why?


john doe wrote:
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Look for someplace that is near you so shipping won't be too much.  I
live in Wisconsin and get most of the things that I don't get locally
for either Northern Brewer or Midwest, both are in Minnesota.  Both have
kits that range from ~$60 to $300+ depending on how many "extras" you
want. I'm willing to bet that there is someplace within a reasonable
shipping distance that should have something in your price range.  You
could also try to find a local home brew supply (LHBS), that is either
near you or dad, that would be even better for getting supplies and
answering questions that may come up in the future.  When I got started
I got an "starter" kit that had a plastic primary bucket, 5 gal glass
carboy, plastic bottling bucket, airlock, hydrometer, caps, capper,
tubing, racking cane, bottle filler, sanitizer, a book about homebrewing
and video. I think it was around $75.  Other things to consider are a
large stock pot, if he doesn't already have one that has about a 4 gal
capacity, and bottles, about 48 12oz.
Hope that helps,
Cheers,

--
Michael Herrenbruck
Dragon Tail Ale
Drunken Bee Mead

Re: Which home brew kit do you have and why?


What do you think about this:
http://www.mrbeer.com/view.php?id=probrewkit&toplevel=Brew%20Kits&currentite m=1&showgroup=Brew%20Kits&menu=sub2&mactive=1&subactive=0

Free shipping.


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he
something
way.



Re: Which home brew kit do you have and why?


On Sat, 02 Dec 2006 17:42:06 +0000, john doe wrote:

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If you are actually considering going down the Mr Beer router, then for
that money I would suggest going with the Beer Man starter
kit (http://www.beermanmicrobrewery.com/starterkit.htm) or something
better from your local brewhome shop.

The Beer Man start kit is the one that I selected several months back. The
extract based beer kits are good & easy to do.  I can get extract beer
refill kits at my local brew shop (which I located after buying my kit) &
move up to a partial or whole grain when I'm ready.

I've only made a few batches thus far (IPAs, Hard Ciders
& working on a Export Stout right now).

So far the brews I've made via this starter kit were great.  I get a lot of
compliments from people who have had really good homebrew or
local microbrew beer before -- so I must be doing something right with this
kit. ;-)

Overall I'm happy with this starter kit and the results I have
received for the price.  And the batches are twice the size as the Mr Beer
kits (Beer Man makes 5 gallons [about 36 - 16oz bottles] vs. the Mr Beer
which makes half that).

I did however expand upon this kit a bit, since purchasing it.
-- moved to EZ-Cap glass bottles, instead of those PET ones.
   (I still use the PET ones, but just to give away beers to
   friends/family, so I don't have to collect the glass ones later)
-- picked up a hydometer test kit for gravity readings
   (makes it easier to see what is happening with my brews)
-- picked up some extra cleaning supplies
   (simply to keep everything sanitary & in good condition)
-- picked up a few homebrew books
   (learn more homebrew things, learn tips/tricks, know more on how to
   proceed/grow with this hobby, among other things.)

I hope this helps...

James T.

Re: Which home brew kit do you have and why?


With home brew kits in general, can you use your own ingredients, say if I
wanted to grow my own hops and grains, or do you have to buy them for the
kit you have?

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http://www.mrbeer.com/view.php?id=probrewkit&toplevel=Brew%20Kits&currentite > > m=1&showgroup=Brew%20Kits&menu=sub2&mactive=1&subactive=0
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is
and
$100.
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have
of
this



Re: Which home brew kit do you have and why?


john doe wrote:
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First off, I haven't heard alot god about the Mr. Beer kits, other than
the fact that it can get you into the craft.  From what I understand
they make "small" batches and I remember seeing problem with sealing the
  "system".
As for growing your own ingredients, that is possible.  I grow hops to
use.  Grain though is another story.  Growing it isn't a problem, but
malting and kilning is.  Not that it can't be done, just a lot of work.
Plus, you would still be buying grain, unless you only do a few batches
a year or have a large barley (grain) field.
Cheers,

--
Michael Herrenbruck
Dragon Tail Ale
Drunken Bee Mead

Re: Which home brew kit do you have and why?


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Growing hops is very easy, lots of information is available on the internet
and in past Brew Your Own magazine issues.  However, hops take at least a
year if not two years to really get established before they produce a large
enough crop to brew a couple of batches or more.

Grains are probably not feasible, you'd have to have a large crop, and then
go through the business of germinating, kilning, etc.  More trouble than
it's worth, malt is so cheap.

Hops aren't as cheap, and they're easy to grow, so you could look into that.
For a start on buying hop rhizomes and growing them, look here and here:

http://www.beer-wine.com/product.asp?sectionID=1&CategoryID=188&productID=1158
http://pw1.netcom.com/~dluzanp/backyard.htm
Hope this helps.

--
Dave
"Fill your cup with whatever bitter brew you're drinking." -- Brad Paisley



Re: Which home brew kit do you have and why?


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Theoretically you can grow them yourself, but it's not easy.  For example, do
you know how to malt your own barley?  IMO, not very practical for a beginner
(or any homebrewer, really).  There's currently only one guy that I know of
who is doing it.

The ingredients you get should be generic, IE they're not tied to any
specific brand of equipment.  


John.

Re: Which home brew kit do you have and why?


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Very good point.  No matter what equipment kit you finally decide on,
I would also recommend getting a good book to go along with it.  IMO, the
best one is http://www.howtobrew.com

John.

Re: Which home brew kit do you have and why?


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I would definitely stay away from "Mr Beer".  IMO, get a kit from a
reputable homebrew store.  A local store would be great since you can go
in and ask them questions.  There are lots of online places as well
though.  I like to use www.morebeer.com for things that my local store
doesn't carry.

At the above site, either the BRKIT1 ($69) or BRKIT2 ($99) would work
fine.  However, with both of those you'll need to buy your own kettle
(large pot) and collect empty bottles for the beer.  Ingredients also
come seperately.

If you go with the BRKIT3 ($205), it already includes a kettle, bottles,
and ingredients for your first beer.

It depends on how much you want to spend and what pieces you might
already have (some people will already have a suitable kettle, etc).


John.

Re: Which home brew kit do you have and why?


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Your best bet is to find a local homebrew store and ask the people there to
build you a basic kit.  AFAIK, the typical cost for everything should run an
average of about $50-$60.  If you want to spend $100, you could buy several
ingredient kits to go along with it to use to brew a batch or two.

--
Dave
"Fill your cup with whatever bitter brew you're drinking." -- Brad Paisley



Re: Which home brew kit do you have and why?


john doe wrote:

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Might I suggest asking Dad whether he's interested in brewing beer?

I don't know where your Dad is in his life.  If he's working 60 hours a
week in some high-stress corporate job, he might not be "ready" to brew
his own beer . . . on the other hand, he might find it very therapeutic.
  I would hate for you to spend $100 on a gift that is never used.

Another suggestion, which may or may not be appropriate based on your
relationship with your dad and where you live, is to go together to a
local brew store and select a starter kit and a couple of ingredient kits.

As others have mentioned in the thread, any good brew supply store will
have several starter kits.  I'll share a personal preference:  many of
the lower-priced kits come with an opaque plastic fermentation bucket,
and I think it's rather important for novice brewers to be able to
actually see the fermentation process.  Thus I would opt for fermenting
in a glass carboy.

Don't go with one of those small-batch brew kits.  Get real equipment.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/starterkits.html
I'll share one other personal preference.  Buy 22-ounce bottles, not
12-ounce.  This makes the bottling go faster (you'll get about 25
22-ounce bottles from a 5-gallon batch).  Rather than drinking two
12-ounce bottles of beer at a sitting, I drink one 22-ounce bottle.

Re: Which home brew kit do you have and why?


If you buy a kit and have some extra money left, I might suggest an AHA
membership:
http://www.beertown.org/homebrewing/aha_gift.html Comes with a subscription to Zymurgy magazine and the book 'How to
Brew' by John Palmer (which seems to be the book most people recommend
to get started brewing).

Scotty B


Re: Which home brew kit do you have and why?


Try austin Homebrew supply.  All shipping is $5.99.  I have been happy with
all of their beer kits and service.
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Re: Which home brew kit do you have and why?


You folks gave me so many good answers to this very question/situation
a few months ago, which I gathered into a nice page with links to
everything. May I post a link to the page so this person can benefit
from those answers?

- Erika


Re: Which home brew kit do you have and why?


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   The spamming never stops, does it?  Get a real job.
--
Joel Plutchak

"Things just fall apart." - Now They'll Sleep (Belly)

Re: Which home brew kit do you have and why?


On Wed, 06 Dec 2006 14:08:42 +0000, Joel wrote:

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As far as I can tell it's not spam. Erika posted the link in
rec.crafts.brewing and it looks like a very useful resource
for beginners, with links to homebrew supply shops, books on
homebrewing and a lot of information. I'd repost the link
but you might accuse me of spamming too.

Wayne
--
Registered Linux user #375994
http://www.geocities.jp/rondonko/
Re: Which home brew kit do you have and why?



john doe wrote:
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Well, nobody is screaming "No" at me so...

John Doe,

A few months ago the denizens of this newsgroup offered up a number of
excellent suggestions for gifts and acts of kindness for homebrewers,
including excellent advice on how to select a good kit. I gathered
their suggestions together and put them at the link below. I hope you
find something your father will enjoy!
http://www.spousalsponsorship.org/pages/homebrewing/index.html
- Erika


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