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Brewing Equipment For First-Time Home-Brewers

Brewing Equipment For First-Time Home-Brewers

Posted by Janet Thomas on

If you’re just getting started with homebrewing, you’re probably asking yourself the common question of “What equipment do I need to get started?” If this is you, read on while we go through the basics to get you started!

Most of the equipment you will need to get started with homebrewing is fairly minimal, depending on how you will be using it and what types of brews you will be brewing. Once you get brewing under your belt, you can always add-on to your equipment collection. We’re going to cover the top 10 to get you started.

  1. Boiling Kettle: You will need a kettle for steeping grains, adding extract and hops. To avoid a boil over, you will want to use a large kettle. A one gallon batch will require at least a 2 gallon pot, so this will be the minimum size you will want to purchase. Choose a stainless steel or an aluminum pot.
  2. Large Spoon: You will need a large spoon to stir your liquids in the kettle. Choose one that is long enough to allow you to keep your hand above the boiling kettle while stirring your hot liquids.
  3. Kettle Thermometer: You will need a thermometer for measuring the temperature of your liquids while you are steeping grains, boiling water, or cooling your wort. You should choose a thermometer that will be able to measure temperatures up to 180°F. Another option is to buy a kettle with a built in thermometer, like this BSG HandCraft Brewing Kettle with Valve and Thermometer.
  4. Glass or Plastic Carboy: Your beer needs to be fermented in a container for a few weeks after brew day, generally around two weeks but heavier and stronger beers usually require longer than 2 weeks. Fermentation containers often come in the form of glass carboys or plastic PET carboys, ranging in sizes from 3 - 5 gallons plus. Plastic PET carboys are much lighter and easier to handle, while glass carboys are heavier and can easily break when dropped, they do have the benefit of being very impermeable to oxygen. 
  5. Rubber Stopper Bung: You will need to plug your carboy airtight during the fermentation process to prevent bacteria from contaminating your beer. Purchase a rubber stopper bung that fits snug in the mouth of your carboy. You’ll want to look for one that has a drilled hole for an airlock.
  6. Airlock: The airlock is used to allow gases to escape during fermentation and are filled with sanitizer solution to prevent contaminants from entering. There are a few different options of airlocks available.
  7. Siphon and Racking Cane: Since pouring is not a recommended method, to keep oxygen and contaminants out of your beer, a siphon is used to transfer. You will need to use a siphon for transferring your wort from kettle to carboy, and then again from carboy into your beer bottles, during the bottling process. You can purchase the siphon and racking cane separately, or you can consider buying an Auto-Siphon which includes both the siphon and racking cane in one. The later option can make the process of transferring wort or beer substantially easier.
  8. Bottle Wand: A bottle wand is a sturdy plastic tube with a valve at the tip. This is used to fill your beer bottles with beer during the bottling process.
  9. Beer Bottles and Caps: You will need beer bottles to store your beer in once it’s finished fermenting. Dark bottles will offer the best results, since they prevent light from getting in and aging your beer. You can reuse beer bottles as long as they're thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before the bottling process.
  10. Beer Bottle Capper: After bottling your beer, you will need to seal the bottles with bottle caps. Bottle cappers are available in a few different options and range in price depending on which one you choose. A standard bottle capper can be used to cap non screw-top bottles. Screw-top caps generally don’t get as good of a seal as as the other capping methods. If you are brewing large or multiple batches, swing-tops are a good idea.

A Brewing Equipment Kit is another option, especially if you you are just getting started and not really sure what equipment to purchase yet, with all the different options to choose from.

Call us at 603-448-3700 or stop in for product availability and questions anytime. Cheers and Happy Brewing, from Lebanon Home Brew!