The various hardware items for producing beer or wine. Includes buckets, carboys, kegs, hoses, airlocks, etc.

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4answers
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What equipment do I need to buy to start making beer?

What is the minimum equipment to start brewing some good beer at home?
32
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16answers
3k views

Improving Your Brewing Significantly

I made this wiki to allow folks to post what upgrades in process or equipement really take one's beer brewing to the next level. The bottle-necks to better and better brewing if you will. (This was ...
31
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24answers
13k views

What are the easiest and hardest commercial beer bottles to re-use for homebrew? [closed]

One of the great perks of homebrewing is the ability to reuse, rather than just recycle the bottles that come into your house. You just soak off the labels and re-use! All bottles are not created ...
29
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6answers
7k views

How likely is contamination in an average batch?

I sanitize everything; carboy, bottles, bottle caps, tubing, funnels, etc; because I was essentially told that my beer would turn to deadly poison without it. I accept sterilizing the lot once ...
22
votes
7answers
2k views

Temperature Control for Fermentation

I am curious how everyone controls the temperature of their primary, especially those that live in the warmer climates. In Florida, where the temperatures can soar and remain in the 90's and above ...
21
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4answers
668 views

Open-Fermented or Native Yeast Beers

I've always been very careful about control and sanitation with beer. But with my wine I do some native yeast Pinots, and some friends of mine are into the same with beers- they like funky, ...
18
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7answers
1k views

About going all-grain

I have made 7 or 8 extract brews over the past year and am interested in moving up to all-grain. What equipment is needed, and what steps are added to the process.
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12answers
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Is an immersion chiller really necessary?

I have been reading here about immersion, counterflow and plate chillers and they don't seem to chill the wort much faster than my current method; ice. Many people have stated that their chillers ...
14
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4answers
812 views

First Time Homebrewer Setup

There was a request for difficult questions, but having never brewed, this is all I've got: Can you describe the most basic setup (preferably one with a reasonably low difficulty and high success ...
12
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10answers
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Are there tools that can make the bottling process easier?

I found this to be the most difficult part during my first attempt at brewing. All I had was a tube and a racking cane. Is there anything else to simplify the process and prevent me from ending up ...
12
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6answers
4k views

Glass Carboy vs. Better Bottle

I recently broke my 6.1 gallon glass carboy that I used for primary fermentation. I need to buy a new one, and I'm considering a "Better Bottle" carboy. Its claims include: **Unbreakable and ...
12
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5answers
2k views

Avoiding excessive soot on brew kettles

Are there any secret tricks to avoiding an exorbitant amount of soot on the brew kettle after the boil? We have been making all grain batches recently using a 20 gallon stock pot and a propane ...
12
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3answers
4k views

How to brew less than 5 gallons at a time?

I recently moved into a smaller apartment and no longer have the space for my 6.5 and 5 gallon carboys. Do people sell smaller carboys than this? I know Mr. Beer would be small enough, but I'd ...
12
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1answer
5k views

What is a hopback?

How do you use it? What does it do? Do you pass finished wort through it hot or cold?
11
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9answers
9k views

Using a Induction cooktop

I have been brewing in my kitchen using a giant stockpot. My brother (my brewing partner) was thinking about picking up propane top and moving it outside. I think that it would be better to use an ...
11
votes
12answers
8k views

How to brew all-grain indoors

I've been brewing with extracts and specialty grains for two years now, and I want to step up to all-grain brewing. From what I understand, it's important to get a full boil when brewing all-grain and ...
10
votes
7answers
3k views

Aluminium boil pots: Heresy or not?

Are aluminium pots acceptable as boil vessels? They're cheap, but I've heard they can produce off-flavors. Any experiences with them?
10
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7answers
1k views

Are bottle brushes necessary?

I've always bottled my beers (haven't invested in a kegging setup yet), and I've never once used a bottle brush. I simply soak my bottles in OxyClean to clean them, give them a shake, then rinse, ...
10
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6answers
2k views

Small Space & Apartment Brewing: Equipment Storage

Given the limited space of an apartment, what tips do you have for storing your equipment? Do not consider budget to be a factor. This is the first question in a series of discussions about ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

What material should I make my brew paddle with?

I've been using the cheap plastic spoon that you'll typically find at your local homebrew store. It's pretty terrible when it comes to agitating my mash tun. Heat + Resistance = Bent plastic spoon. ...
10
votes
2answers
3k views

Using a keg for secondary fermentation and natural carbonation?

I would like to transfer a beer that has been fermenting for about 3 weeks directly into a Cornelius keg for secondary fermentation AND carbonation. I would like to add priming sugar and naturally ...
9
votes
8answers
400 views

Which pieces of brewing equipment seem like a good idea to buy, but are of limited usefulness?

My brewing buddy asked me this the other night. I've accumulated a lot of stuff over just an 18 month brew career. Not all of it useful. I know it's subjective, but I'd be very interested to hear ...
9
votes
3answers
676 views

Bottling vs. Kegging

I have been home brewing for along time now, but have never kegged my beer. I hear a lot of people saying how much easier and better it is, but my main concern is the cost and equipment needed. What ...
9
votes
2answers
4k views

What is a whirlpool chiller?

What is a Whirlpool Chiller and how does it work? What are the advantages or disadvantages?
9
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5answers
1k views

Best way to mill grains

I've brewed many extracts but want to get into whole grain brewing. What equipment do I need? Any recommendations for beginner / low-cost grain mills?
9
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3answers
11k views

Choosing a good refrigerator/freezer for kegerator conversion

Does anyone have experience and recommendations for a good fridge/freezer for conversion into a kegerator? I'm basically choosing between a full sized fridge, a mini-fridge and a chest freezer. I'll ...
9
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3answers
1k views

Can glass carboy be used for both beer and wine making?

This last summer, my Dad showed my brother and I the process for making wine that he learned from his Dad. It was pretty simple and used a 5 or 6 gallon glass carboy. I've made a few batches of beer ...
9
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5answers
1k views

What is the minimum amount of equipment to dabble in All-Grain?

What is the minimum amount of equipment I need to have to brew very simple all-grain recipes? Bonus points for cheap & easy-to-find equipment. I'd like to go all-grain eventually, but for the time ...
9
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4answers
1k views

Is it safe to use swing-tops?

I just started brewing my first batch (yay!) and want to set up for bottling while I wait. My question is simple: Can I start using Swing-Tops like Grolsch to bottle my beer? I've heard varying ...
9
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1answer
918 views

Carboy Cap vs. Stopper

Is one better than the other? Why? Carboy Cap: http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewing/3-5-6-gall-carboy-cap-orange.html vs. Stopper: ...
8
votes
6answers
2k views

Why do my airlocks lose liquid?

This has happened with a few batches now. My three-piece airlocks are drained of the sani inside them repeatedly. Even after a few days, when fermentation doesn't seem as rapid (and therefore the ...
8
votes
2answers
827 views

Keeping a bottle of no-rinse sanitiser

Some sanitisers, like star-san, chemipro oxi and betadine are no-rinse in certain dilutions. Star-san can additionaly be kept diluted in a bottle for months and used whenever one wishes. Can the same ...
8
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3answers
3k views

Is a 5 gallon bucket too big for 3 gallon recipe?

I have a few Mr Beer extract kits left over from when I started this hobby. Can I ferment a 3 gallon recipe in a 5 gallon bucket? Will there be too much head space?
8
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2answers
795 views

Gravity Measurement Tools

What tools for measuring specific gravity are available to the homebrewer? EG: refractometer, hydrometer. What scale do they measure? EG: Brix, plato
8
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2answers
277 views

How to get started brewing sake

I have a packet of koji spores and these instructions: http://www.tibbs-vision.com/sake/instrct.html The instructions call for a 2.6 gal fermenting vessel. Since I have a 7.9 gal bucket, I am ...
7
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8answers
1k views

Secondary size?

When moving a 5 gallon batch into secondary does it make a difference if it is into a 5 gallon carboy or a 6.5?
7
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9answers
545 views

What's a good first equipment buy after a basic starter kit?

I bought the First-Time Brewer's Starter Kit from Midwest Supply and enjoyed the process quite a bit. While the kit has the essentials for extract brewing, I know there are lots of things I can get to ...
7
votes
1answer
608 views

Why should I start lagering?

I'm contemplating my next brew equipment purchase, and it's likely to be a chest freezer, either for lagering or for converting into a kegerator. I know some of the things I've heard, but what are ...
7
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4answers
4k views

Using Plastic Water Jugs as Fermenters

I asked this on Twitter a while back, but I thought I might get some other thoughts on it. I have one of those 5g Poland Spring water jugs. If I get a bung that fits it, is there any reason I couldn't ...
7
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4answers
1k views

What equipment do I need to start making mead?

What equipment do I need to start making mead at home?
7
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5answers
6k views

Brew In A Bag one-gallon batch?

I'd like to try homebrewing, and I've read a great deal about the process, but I will have more time than money (I'm about to graduate from college). It seems like most people buy a lot of equipment ...
7
votes
1answer
331 views

How often do people replace their plastic brewing components?

I recently threw out my racking cane, it was turning cloudy and there was a piece of trub stuck in it that I couldn't get out for the life of me. I remember the lady at a LHBS telling me you should ...
7
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3answers
496 views

Cask beer at home

Anyone have a good source for getting smaller versions of a firkin for home use? I am interested in casking some beer at home for parties and special occasions. Are there any good links out there for ...
6
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10answers
1k views

Spigots: What's the consensus

I like to use an ale pail with a spigot for my secondary. It makes it super easy to test the gravity before actually bottling/kegging/etc. However, that sort of installation in plastic can open the ...
6
votes
5answers
375 views

The right first kit?

I've seen a lot of kits and adds online to brew your own beer, but they don't seem all that easy or great. And any suggestions on what kit(s) to start with? How much should I plan to spend to get ...
6
votes
5answers
4k views

Airlock Alternatives

Imagine that brew-day rolls around and you find yourself without an airlock for your carboy or bucket. What other things can you use in it's stead? Further imagine that you do not have the ...
6
votes
6answers
2k views

Marking your brew pot?

I have a new stainless steel brew pot and it doesn't have any quantity markings. How do you recommend marking each gallon? I tried to make an indent but it's not very noticeable, any ideas?
6
votes
3answers
1k views

How do you degas an empty Sanke Keg?

When folks legally acquire Sanke kegs for conversion to kettles, mash tuns or HLTs, the first step is often to relieve the pressure inside the keg before dismantling the spear and valve. How best is ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Kettle volume measurements

Eventually there comes a time where just boiling 6 gallons for 60 minutes and taking it on faith that you have 5 gallons left doesn't cut it anymore. What tools can I use to measure the volume in the ...
6
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3answers
770 views

Can I use my Country Living Grain Mill for homebrewing?

I already own a Country Living Grain Mill for making flour and want to start crushing my own grain for my homebrew. Will this style of mill work for homebrew or should I buy a mill specially for ...