Let’s take a look at what you’re going to need to start leaning how to make beer at home. This is just a basic list aimed at beginners, once you’ve made a few batches of homebrew beer you’ll probably want to expand and add a few items, but for now start here and start to become comfortable using each different thing, some of which may be a little unfamiliar if you’ve never tried brewing beer at home. Also, get yourself into the habit of being meticulous about keeping it all clean – really can’t emphasize that enough. Bleach is good, restaurant grade sanitizer is better. Wash your equipment often – one of the keys to homebrew beer is cleanliness.
The Home Brewer’ s Basics:
- Brew Pot. Don’t use aluminum – look for stainless steel or enamel, should be able to home at least 5 gallons of liquid. Don’t have to buy it new – keep an eye out at yard/estate sales. If you do buy used, don’t buy anything with scratches – microbes LOVE to hide out in them, and it will be a pain to thoroughly sterilize it.
- Stirring Spoon. Get a big plastic or metal spoon. Wood is O.K., but it’s easier to sanitize plastic and metal. Don’t use this spoon for anything other than homebrewing beer.
- Two (2) 7 gallon food grade plastic containers (or glass) with seal-able lids. One for fermenting, one for bottling. You can buy special ones or rig something up yourself. Some people use empty glass bottles from water coolers. You just need some way to put a stopper with an airlock in it. Which leads us to:
- Rubber stopper and Airlock. You’ll need this to keep your wort from blowing the top of the fermentation tub. Get and airlock that you can take apart and clean. In fact, get a couple, they’re cheap.
-Thermometer. Whatever you find at your local cooking supply place is fine. Again, keep this separate from all your other kitchen supplies and only use it for homebrewing beer.
- Strainer. Will need to fit in the opening of your fermenting container so you can pour the wort through it. A lot of people will complain if your homebrew has things floating in it. This will prevent that.
-Food grade Vinyl Tubing. Get a couple feet of it, you’ll need it for transferring between containers and bottling.
- Bottles. Some people buy new, some people use returnables they’ve had the pleasure of emptying themselves. Doesn’t really matter, just avoid anything with threads on it – you’ll never be able to get the cap to seal properly.
- Caps. Easy to find in a variety of quantities, low cost.
- Capper. Can’t put them on with pliers, so grab one. You should be able to find a beer bottle capper for under twenty dollars.
- Bottle washer. Can’t say it enough – if you want to experience success with your homebrew beer, being a fanatic about sterilization/cleanliness is key.
Two things you don’t necessarily need to start making homebrew beer with, but you’ll probably want to get sooner rather than later:
- Hygrometer. Another under twenty dollar item that will tell you the OG of the beer, which will help you determine what type of body your homebrew beer will end up with.
- Immersion wort chiller. A length of coiled copper tube that you put into the wort and run cold water through. Much easier than plunging a 5 gallon pot full of boiling liquid into an ice bath.
So that’s the basic list of what you’re going to need to get started homebrewing beer. If you don’t feel like putting everything together yourself, there are a variety of kits available that have everything you need, some include bottles and everything. We put together the best beer kits reviews all in one spot, so be sure to take a look before you decide on what to buy (click HERE to read the best beer kits reviews). As your skill improves and you want to try more complicated home brew beer recipes, you’ll need some measuring equipment and some other stuff, but for now this should be good. Choose a recipe you like (check out our suggestions if you’re not sure where to start), buy the ingredients kit and get brewing!