Originally Posted by Azuleslight
I will 100% be asking questions lol...like #1 where is the best place to get clean and cheaper equipment?
To be honest with you, that all depends on many variables. Are you just going to be making mead? How much, how often? Are you going to use glass carboys, plastic water jugs, kegs, or even barrels? A homebrew store is probably the LAST place that you will want to spend your money. The internet offers gear for prices that brick and mortars cannot complete with!
A good way to get equipment is to have a buddy working in the industry, not only do they get trade discounts, but they also have access to used equipment from breweries all over the continent. The craft brewing industry is a pretty close, tight-knit collective and there is a lot of inventory that gets handed down when a brewery makes an upgrade or, heaven forbid, goes out of business.
A lot of the fun of being a home brewer, is the challenge of home brewing your own equipment. You can upcycle and repurpose, or fabricate a lot of your system with stuff from the hardware store and save a lot of money in the process. Right now, at the LHBS (local home brew store) here in Portland (ME), there are offering for a sale a 10 Gallon Mash Tun for $220!! That's highway robbery for a ($45 @ the orange depot) 40qt. Igloo cooler, a $25 false bottom, and another $20 for a stainless steel ball valve, and you it doesn't even require power tools to assemble!
As far as "clean" is concerned, you are going to be cleaning and sanitizing your equipment religiously, so it doesn't really matter. Stuff like hoses and lines will need to be replaced and should always be bought new. If you have a 10Bbl stainless steel bright tank, then I would be concerned about the seams and crappy welding jobs leaving pock-marked surfaces and pits for bacteria to entrenched itself in.
In your case, let us say that you are just going to be doing a couple 5 Gallon batches a year, equipment wise you are going to be in the market for:
- 28-40qt stainless Kettle (a giant stock pot)
- A giant stainless, stirring Spoon (used only for brewing, never for food or anything else!)
- Oversized funnel
- Maybe a Chiller of some type, although you can get by with using an ice bath, not recommended, but works for beginners
- Glass or Food-grade Plastic Carboy(s)
- Airlock and Stopper
- Bottles, Corks or Caps, Corker or Capper, Siphon, Tubing/Hoses, etc.
- PBW (You can make this yourself for a fraction of the cost; I can give you my own personal recipe)
- No-rinse Sanitizer (I wouldn't use anything but this at home. This is where have a guy on the inside really helps; this stuff is an expensive, but very necessary evil.)
If you have the ingredients (Honey, Water, and Yeast) you could probably start tomorrow and have an awesome, homemade beverage ready within a year. I mean, the Vikings did a heck of a job with far less equipment and know-how!
Again, I am here to help with any questions that you come up with, so don't be shy! I wish I had had someone like me to help when I got started ;)