What Homebrewing Equipment Do You Need?
Unless you plan on jumping head-first into all-grain brewing, the homebrewing equipment you will need is somewhat minimal. The basics are listed below. These are the essential pieces you will need whether you are doing extract brewing or partial-mash brewing. As a side note, if you are doing partial-mash brewing you will also need a grain bag, but this is usually included in any beer ingredient kit you purchase.
- Brew Pot: This only needs to be big enough for boiling 2.5 to 3.5 gallons. You will not be boiling the entire batch. A 20 quart pot that should be about right.
- Stirring Spoon: This is to stir the beer wort while it's in the brew pot. Later, you also need to stir in priming sugar just before bottling.
- Cleanser: After the beer wort has cooled, everything it touches needs to be sanitized. It's not a big deal to do, but you need to do it. The cleanser we recommend is Basic A. It works very quickly, safely and is dependable.
- Hydrometer: This is a testing instrument that will allow you to monitor the progress of the fermentation. It will let you know when your homebrew is ready to bottle. It will also allow you to determine the alcohol level of your beer.
- Primary Fermenter: This is the vessel in which you start your fermentation. It needs to have plenty of room for foaming. We recommend a 6 gallon size fermenter for a 5 gallon size batch.
- Secondary Fermenter: This is the vessel in which your fermentation will finish, and your beer will clear. You would like this fermenter to be the same size as the batch you are brewing. For this reason a 5 gallon carboy works real well for this purpose. It should also have an air-lock that is attached to the opening with a rubber stopper.
- Racking Cane & Hose: These items are used to siphon the beer out of the secondary fermenter. The racking cane attaches to the end of the hose so that you can control the siphoning and not pick up sediment that is packed on the bottom. It acts kind of like a wand so you can point to where you are drawing the beer from..
- Bottling Bucket: Once the beer has cleared it is siphoned into a bottling bucket to be bottled. The bottling bucket has a faucet towards the bottom that a hose can be attached. This is to accommodate the bottling process. The primary fermenter can be used for this purpose as well.
- Beer Bottles: For a 5 gallon batch you will need either 53 - 12 oz. bottles or 29 - 22 oz. bottles. You do not want beer bottles that have twist-off caps. Look for beer bottles are use actual pry-off bottle caps.
- Bottle Capper & Caps: Once the beer is in the bottles you need to get the bottle caps on them. This requires a bottle capper to crimp the bottle cap onto and over the lip of the beer bottle.