Home Brewing Equipment Kit with Carboy & Instructional Beer Making DVD : Homebrew Supplies
Posted on September 24th, 2012
This is our most popular brewing equipment kit. This equipment kit provides the essential equipment for the aspiring brewer who wants to make the best beer they can from the start. This is accomplished through two-stage fermentation. Primary fermentation is the first step. During this 5-7 day process, most of the fermentation takes place and by the end of this period most of the particles and solids will settle to the bottom. The second step is transferring the beer in to the secondary fermentor for 7-21 days. Separating the beer from the sediment will result in clearer beer and improve the characteristics of the beer. Beer can condition and clarify in the secondary fermentor for weeks or months depending on the style and strength of the beer. Transferring the beer in to a 5 gallon glass carboy or better bottle will reduce oxidation of the beer. This kit is highly recommended if you intend to brew any high alcohol or lager beers. Brewing Starter Equipment Kit List: Instructional Homebrewing DVD, 5 Gallon Better Bottle, 6.5 Gallon Plastic Fermenter with Lid, 6.5 Gallon Bottling Bucket with Spigot, 8 Oz. of Easy Clean No-Rinse Cleanser, Drilled Universal Carboy Bung, Airlock (Keeps air out of the fermentor), Hydrometer (Determines alcohol content), Bottle Brush, Carboy Brush, Black Beauty Bottle Capper, Bottle Caps, Liquid Crystal Thermometer, Bottle Filler, Fermtech AutoSiphon upgrade, Siphon Tubing, and Shutoff clamp.
- Shipping Weight: 41 pounds
- ASIN: B005CI8KXY
A few bugs, but nothing insurmountable
Starting with the containers, you need a fermenter and possibly a bottling container. You can get away without the bottling container, but the final beer won’t be as clear. The glass carboy, while it did come in handy for me , is not required and I would recommend waiting until you have a bit more experience before considering purchasing one. The containers contained in this kit are of adequate size for brewing a standard 5 gallon batch. They are reasonably easy to assemble, with one glaring exception – the holes in both of the buckets I received were too small. When I tried to install the air lock, the gasket tore in half and the half inside the bucket fell in my new batch of beer. Yes, I know in retrospect that I should have made sure that everything fit BEFORE getting to a point of no return. But hey, I was excited to try brewing my first batch. That lead me to test installing the spigot in the bottling bucket. The hole for that was too small, as well. Since I had not gotten to the point of bottling, this was not a big deal. The failure of the air lock gasket in the primary fermenter lead me to having to use the carboy. For that reason only, it was a good thing to have.
Having to use the carboy as a primary fermenter meant that I had to use the siphon to get the wort transferred. This unit is not too bad, I suppose. It worked as expected, but the tube that came with it is a bit short for my liking. This is a personal taste, and not a true problem with the equipment. It is a plastic outer and inner tube. I do think it could have been better designed, but not quite sure how. It had a tendency to pull in air when trying to get it started. Once the flow was started, it worked well.
The kit also comes with a hydrometer. This really isn’t needed for a beginning brewer. The kit does not come with a thief, which may or may not make it easier to get a good read on the gravity should you choose to use the hydrometer. Either way, I would pass on this until you have a bit more experience with brewing.
The temperature strip that comes with the kit is laughable. Get an instant read thermometer and remember to sterilize it before you take your readings.
What the kit DOESN’T supply is a good brew pot. You will need a sturdy 5 gallon stainless steel pot to boil the wort in. It would have been nice to have that included rather than the carboy.
Overall, the individual components supplied were of satisfactory quality, except for the problems noted above. It is simply not the right mix of components. Save yourself a bit of money and get a kit without the carboy.
***** UPDATE ******
After brewing many batches, I have added a couple of stars to my original assessment. Not only is the carboy helpful for clarifying the beer, it gives me a place to continue to condition the young beer while starting a new batch. It is also great for dry hopping, flavoring, oaking, etc. I have graduated to all grain brewing, and have even found it helpful to add a 2nd carboy to my equipment roster.
The auto-siphon has become more reliable with repeated use, and all parts (except the temperature tape) are being used on a regular basis.
I still think a different mix of equipment for a beginning brewer is in order (e.g. the aforementioned boil pot), but this kit will work well for the advanced beginner or intermediate brewer.