Here’s a checklist of the home brewing equipment you’ll need to create your very own beer from the comfort of your home. These are the tools you’ll need for extract brewing and if you haven’t done so already, enter your name and email address on the right and you’ll be able to watch the video I made where I walk you through the entire process…
Cleaner And Sanitizer – Depending on the equipment you use this may vary a little, but regular household bleach will do most of the work. Iodophor is another sanitizing solution which I highly recommend you get.
It destroys most bacteria and little nastys that could ruin your beer.
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, cleaning is one of those factors so don’t ignore it. The solution is simple to use… I usually fill up my fermenting bucket with water up to the 5 gallon mark (maybe a little bit more) and I add about three caps of the solution (or just follow the directions in the bottle).
Then, as I’m working on brewing I keep this bucket handy so I can sanitize the rest of the equipment and my hands as needed. (Recommended)
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. (Recommended)
Also, boilovers are very common and the main reason for it is because bringing a couple of gallons of wort to a boil may sometimes take about 30 minutes and you need to be able to watch your mixture. This is why I recommend you get a pot with a glass lid on so you can see what’s going on inside.
The glass lid will get foggy and a layer of foam will form on top of the wort so you won’t exactly see what’s going on, but you can see when the wort starts to rise and stop the boilover before it happens.
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 – After you pitch your yeast you’ll leave your beer sitting in your fermenter for a couple of weeks. You may alternatively use a food grade plastic bucket, but I recommend you get a glass carboy if you are starting out.
A plastic bucket is easier to clean but it does wear out and will need to be replaced. A glass carboy will last so long as you don’t break it. I don’t know about you but glass and I sometimes don’t get along. However, ,the nice thing about using a glass carboy is that you are able to see krausen form and towards the end you get a visual which helps you determine whether your beer is done fermenting or not.
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.
The airlock is the device that allows you to do exactly this.
You’ll also need to get a drilled rubber stopper for your carboy or if you use a plastic bucket you’ll need to drill a hole and insert a grommet so the airlock fits in. There is a one piece airlock, but I find this three piece airlock is easier to clean and won’t get clogged up like the one piece. When you are getting ready to ferment you’ll have to add liquid to the three piece airlock so it functions. The airlock has a marker that tells you how much to fill up.
I recommend you take some of the Iodophor solution from your bucket and fill up the airlock with it.
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.
You want to use a glass tube to test your beer. Plastic will eventually crack so get a glass tube. Also, an alcoholmeter is nice to have to show your friends how boozy your beer really is…
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, Filler & Bucket – 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. Bottles need to be filled from the bottom up to avoid oxygen from getting into the beer and infecting the beer.
To start out, you’ll have to transfer the beer from your fermenter into your bottling bucket. You’ll use the auto siphon to pull the beer from under the carboy into your bottling bucket. Your vinyl tubing should be long enough so that it touches the bottom of the bottling bucket and remains underwater during the transfer. The filler is attached to the spigot and beer is only released when the bottle pushes up against the valve of the filler.
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…
If you can’t wait to start brewing and need immediate guidance check out the beer easy videos which you can follow along as you brew to make sure you don’t end up having to pour your first batch down the drain.