Basic home brewing equipment is normally not really very costly. You ought to be able to buy all the equipment that is required for approximately $100 to $150. A lot of home brewing equipment suppliers have kits that have everything you need to make your own beer at home except for ingredients and bottles.
Below is a list of the basic home brewing equipment you will need to be able to start brewing beer:
- Brew Kettle
- Funnel and Strainer
- 6.5 Gallon Primary Fermenter
- Airlock and Rubber Stopper
- Racking Tube with Siphon Hose
- 6.5 Gallon Bottling Bucket with Spigot
- Bottle Brush
- Bottle Caps and Capper
Here are some more things from around the kitchen that can be useful:
-Oven mitts/pot handlers
-Large mixing spoon (stainless steel or plastic)
Now let's discuss the home brewing equipment and give you a basic idea of what you will do with it.
Brew Kettle: The brew kettle is a large pot which has a capacity that is at least 4.5 gallons. The very best type is manufactured out of stainless steel. You can also use one which is made from ceramic-coated (enameled) aluminum or steel. If you use a brand new aluminum pot, do not use it bright-and-shiny; you may get a metallic off-flavor. Boil water in it first. Furthermore chipped enamelized pots may also result in off-flavors. If you happen to have a couple of smaller pots in your kitchen which will hold at least 4.5 gallons together this will also work. The brew kettle is the first piece of home brewing equipment you'll be using. All of the ingredients (accept for the yeast) is going to be put into the brew kettle and brought to a boil. This sweet mixture you will have made is known as 'wort'.
Thermometer: A thermometer is used to check the temperature of the brew throughout different stages of the brewing process. A stick-on thermometer can be affixed on the exterior of the primary fermenter to permit you to check on the temperature of the fermentation. This is a very important piece of home brewing equipment given that the temperature of the fermentation affects the flavor of the finished beer.
Hydrometer: A hydrometer is an extremely handy device for figuring out potential alcohol, or when your beer has fermented completely. This really is a piece of home brewing equipment that all brewers needs to own and can use. Generally home brewing kits have one.
Funnel and Strainer: These are used to help transfer the contents of your brew kettle into the primary fermenter. The strainer will catch the hops which were put into the brew kettle.
Primary Fermenter: The primary fermenter is the place the wort will go after you've boiled and cooled it, this is the place where the beer actually starts to ferment and turn into the amazing stuff which causes you to be so humorous and delightful. The primary fermenter is a piece of home brewing equipment which could be a plastic bucket with a lid that seals tightly or a glass container (often referred to as a carboy). Either one must have a minimum capacity of 6.5 gallons, and accommodates a rubber stopper plus the airlock. The fermenter will have to be thoroughly clean and free of scratches.
Airlock and Rubber Stopper: The airlock is a clever product that permits carbon dioxide to vent from the primary fermenter during fermentation, and thus preventing it from exploding, but doesn't allow any of the air from outside to get in the beer's clean environment. It fits into a rubber stopper with a hole drilled into it, and then the stopper goes in the top of your primary fermenter.
Racking Cane with Siphon Hose: A racking cane is a rigid piece of clear plastic tubing that's connected to the siphon hose and reaches to the bottom of the fermenter. The siphon hose needs to be clear food-grade tubing. It's used to transfer the beer from one container to another.
Bottling Bucket with Spigot: This is a 6.5 gallon, food-grade plastic bucket which has a spigot at the bottom. It must be at least as big as the primary fermenter, because you must transfer all your tasty beer out of your primary fermenter into the bottling bucket just before bottling it. It's also recommended to have a bottle filler attachment at the end of your tubing coming from the spigot. This really is another important piece of home brewing equipment which allows you to fill your bottles by merely pushing the filler down on the bottom of the bottle until the beer gets to the top, and after taking out the filler, the perfect amount of head space is made.
Bottles: Once the primary fermentation is complete the beer is placed in bottles for secondary fermentation and storage. The best variety of bottles usually are brown glass ones with smooth tops (don't use the twist-off type) that will accept a cap from a bottle capper. You will need a good amount of bottles to hold all of the beer you are preparing to brew. Based on the bottle size you will have to do a bit of math. A 5 gallon batch of beer will be 640 ounces; so if you are using 12 ounce bottles you'll need about 54. In the event you prefer 16 ounce bottles you'll want 40 bottles.
Bottle Brush: This is a slim, curvy brush that you are able to put into a bottle so that you can clean the inside effectively. We have not even talked about how thoroughly clean all items have to be, but we're going to, and the bottle brush is a specific piece of cleaning equipment you will want for home brewing.
Bottle Caps and Capper: You'll also need to have bottle caps, as you would expect, and you can purchase them from every home brewing equipment retailer. The optimal kind of bottle capper is one that can be attached to a surface and worked with a single hand as you grip the bottle with the other hand. You can also buy lower priced ones which require two hands on the capper, however these are generally a hassle. Go where your budget directs you.
Two other items that you will need to get are products to clean and sanitize your home brewing equipment. You may ask what's the difference between cleaning and sanitizing? Precisely what can make them so essential to making your own beer? 90% of all home brewing failures can be caused by a breakdown in cleaning or sanitization and for certain, they really are two separate items.
Cleaning chemicals take away visible build up and residue from your home brewing equipment. Some good quality cleaners are B-Brite, One Step, and Easy Clean.
Sanitizing is treating your home brewing equipment with chemicals designed to wipe out, or inhibit the development of unwanted microorganisms. You can't sanitize a single thing until it is thoroughly clean. Some good sanitizers are IO Star and Star San. Your brew kettle is one of the only pieces of equipment which just needs to be cleaned and not sanitized. Simply because you are going to be boiling your wort in the kettle which will sanitize it together with the wort.
All of your home brewing equipment that touches the beer after it leaves your brew kettle must be clean, and properly sanitized, from the thermometer to the carboy, from the siphon hose to the rubber stopper and airlock. A single oversight might possibly result in an entire batch turning out badly. By the way, there aren't any known human pathogens which can remain alive in beer, which means you don't have to be concerned about poisoning yourself or your friends.
Once you've acquired all these things, you're practically equipped to make your own beer! Now you have to get your home brewing supplies and ingredients and you'll be ready to go.
If you find yourself worried that brewing beer at home might be complicated and difficult, do not be. It is just a process of simple steps. More detailed brewing instructions will come in a future article.