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Beer Making Equipment

Having the correct beer making equipment is essential to making quality home-brew. Some equipment is a must and other equipment will make your life quite a bit easier. If you are on a tight budget, start with the minimum and get the fancy stuff later. Also, you can improvise if you need to with equipment you may already own.

Just a quick note, this page is about the beer making equipment that you will use over and over. This is the stuff that is a one time purchase, unless you upgrade or need to replace a piece for whatever reason. If you are looking for ingredients, visit the supply page. If you are looking for something to store the beer in, check out the bottles or kegs page.

If you are looking for more than just a couple pieces of beer making equipment, then buying a beer making kit is by far the easiest and most economical way to go.

***VERY IMPORTANT***Sanitize everything that is going to come into contact with your beer. This includes easily overlooked items like a stirring spoon, anything used to transfer to water and beer into the fermenter, thermometers, and most definitely your hands. This cannot be stressed enough. Even if the best most expensive beer making equipment is contaminated, your beer is going to suffer. Visit the home-brew equipment care page for more information about sanitizing the equipment.

Basic Beer Making Equipment

The first piece of beer making equipment that you need is a container to brew the beer in, or fermenter. This can be a plastic bucket found at a hardware store or a glass carboy. I would recommend the glass carboy if possible. The glass brews a slightly better tasting beer, but more importantly the glass carboys are much easier to clean and sanitize. The other part about the glass carboy that I enjoy is being able to see the fermentation process. During the first couple days of brewing there is quite a bit of visible activity going on. Whatever you use, it should be able to hold at least 5 gallons – 6.5 gallons is better. The fermenter should have a lid or stopper with a hole (more about the hole in a moment). Open fermentation can be done, but I do not recommend it. You are just asking for contamination. A second bucket is ideal for use when bottling.

Now about the hole in the lid or stopper. As the yeast converts the sugar into alcohol, it also releases carbon dioxide. Lots of carbon dioxide. You need a way to let this escape in the fermentation phase (later you will want to contain the carbon dioxide for carbonation), or you will have quite a mess on your hands. While letting the gas escape, you also want to ensure that no contaminants get into the beer. This can be done by using a fermentation lock or a curved piece of tubing.

The next basic piece of equipment is some tubing that can be found at a harware store. Try to get something flexible with about 3/8 inch outside diameter. Clear tubing is preferred. Get about six feet of tubing. This will be used to transfer the beer from the fermenter to the bottles.

If you are going to bottle your beer in glass bottles, you will need a bottle caper and caps. See the bottling page for other bottling options.

You will also want something to cook/boil the initial ingredients. This step can be skipped, but the beer may suffer. A large cooking kettle is the best option. This allows you to boil everything at once. You can use a smaller one, but you may have to boil a half or third of a batch at a time.

These pieces of beer making equipment are the bare minimum that you should have for making your home-brew.

Beer Making Equipment You Should Have

This beer making equipment is not absolutely necessary, but it is cheap and makes your life much easier. When transferring the initial mix to the fermenter, a funnel will greatly help. This is especially true if you are pouring into a glass carboy. You don’t want to lose any beer, do you? If you are brewing with separate hops, then you will also want to filter out any remaining pieces of hops.

Brewing beer requires certain stages to be performed when the be is in a certain temperature range. Guessing about the temperature can poor outcomes. Get a thermometer and know for sure. A beer hydrometer is also nice to use. It can help you know when you are ready to bottle and it can help gauge the alcohol content of your final product.

Beer Making Equipment

Check out these beer making kits to see if you are better off getting everything at once in a kit.

Other Beer Making Equipment

This is the beer making equipment for serious brewers. Some of this can get pretty pricey, but how much is too much for excellent home-brew and stuff that looks really cool?

Tired of all the heavy lifting and inevitable messes caused by transferring from one container to another? Then the conical fermenter is the solution. These can take a lot of the heavy grunt work out of brewing your own beer. And, they look pretty cool too.

For the very serious brewer to whom money is not a concern, there is the brewing sculpture. This piece of beer making equipment is very functional. Like the conical fermenters, they remove much of the lifting and spilling potential. As an added bonus the brewing sculptures also have the capability of temperature control. They aren’t called sculptures for nothing’ – these look like modern art – really cool!

One final piece of beer making equipment for the home brewer that likes to start from scratch is the grain mill. This is for the home-brewer that wants to buy whole, unmilled grains and really brew from scratch.

As you can see there is a wide range of beer making equipment out there. Remember, starting small is okay – expand and upgrade later. Also, I know I said it before, but this is important – SANITIZE EVERYTHING.