Time to roll up your sleeves and get stuff ready to brew beer. Here’s a checklist of the stuff you’ll need and what to watch out for so you don’t spend more money than you need…
Cleaner And Sanitizer – Depending on the equipment you use this may vary a little, but regular household bleach will do most of the work. Often times the most tedious and apparently insignificant parts of the job are the biggest factors that separate the men from the boys in just about any endeavor. Well, when it comes to brewing beer, this is one of those factors which is why we’ll spend some time going over this later on.
Large Pot – Depending on how much you are looking to brew you may get a smaller pot, but if you plan on brewing a good 5 gallon batch, then you’ll need a 20 qt. brew pot.
Large Stirring Spoon And Ordinary Table Spoon – You’ll need something to stir the wort and while you probably have a stirring spoon at home, make sure you don’t use a wood spoon.
Fermentation Container – In the past we’ve used a glass carboy for this, but I’m hearing many people are using food-grade plastic buckets to ferment so I’ll be picking up one myself and try it out then get back to you on the verdict. Either way should work.
Airlock – When fermentation starts, CO2 is released and pressure will build up. You need to let that pressure out without letting any air back into the fermenter.
Hydrometer – As I mentioned earlier and will continue to drive this into your head, the hydrometer is what you’ll use to see if the beer is finished fermenting. The hydrometer simply measures the gravity (density) of the water. You’ll learn more about how dense it should be later on. Another screw up to avoid is putting the beer you took out with the hydrometer back into the fermenter. That is a big no no! You can literally spoil the whole batch with an infection.
Thermometer – Temperature is extremely important when it comes to fermenting the beer. You’ll learn quickly that without the right temperature you can have nothing happen or get all kinds of weird flavors in your beer (weird meaning nasty). Also, lagers need lower temperatures and you must make sure that it doesn’t vary.
Bottling Tube – This is one of the most exciting parts of the process. You’ve waited patiently for 10 days or more and your mouth starts watering wanting to taste your very own masterpiece. Not much needs to be said here other than they are handy and you’ll love them.
Bottles, Bottle Caps And The Bottle Cap Machine – There really isn’t much difference between plastic and glass bottles if you are planning on drinking the beer right away. The difference is mostly in clear vs dark glass depending on the type of beer you are brewing. Coronas are known for their distinct flavor which is hard to imagine that the clear bottle is a major factor in the overall flavor. You don’t need a huge bottle cap machine, just a bottle capper which are relatively inexpensive. The main advantage of using plastic is the reusable caps, but I like to crack open the cold glass bottles so that’s my preference.
This is your overall checklist of the equipment you’ll need so if you have that and your ingredients ready, then you are ready to start cleaning and sanitizing your equipment.