Buying Your First Home Brew Supplies Kit
July 26, 2014 by
The Basics of Brewing Equipment
So, you've decided to become a home
brewer! Congratulations! Your desire to see what
all the fuss is about has led you to one of your first
considerations in brewing beer at home: where do I get my
beer brewing supplies, equipment, starter kit, etc?
My advice for the newcomer is to first
determine if there is a
home brew supplies store in your area. Check out
our brewing supplies
If a supplier can not be found close by,
your next step would be to clearly search the internet.
There are plenty of businesses that sell supplies for the
home brewer on the Net.
Regardless of where you go to get your
home brewing equipment,
you'll have plenty of choices on what to purchase.
Some items you will definitely need, while others, such as a
6-gallon glass carboy fermenter can wait.
Perhaps the best approach is to just buy a
complete brewing kit. These typically are of the "ale
pale" variety, and include everything you need to brew a
basic 5-gallon batch of beer. Generally speaking, five
gallons is the standard brewing level for most brewing kits
in the hobby. From that, you'll get about 50 to 52
12-ounce bottles of beer.
The ale pale will arrive with the
following items in the 6.5 gallon fermenting bucket:
1. air-lock - this neat
little device connects to the fermenter lid, and allows air
to escape during the fermentation process, while keeping out
bacteria, wild yeast, dust, etc.
2. thermometer -
3. hydrometer - this floating
device measures the potential alcohol content of your beer.
You use it to take a "specific gravity" readying of your
cooled wort, and another after fermentation is complete.
The difference between the two is used to calculate actual
abv of your home brew.
4. rubber hose - gotta get
the wort from the fermenter to the racking bucket.
5. racking cane - connects to
the rubber hose and is placed in the fermentor during the
process of moving your brew to the racking bucket. The
racking cane has a small device at the bottom which helps
move the brew while leaving as much yeast/trub sediment as
possible in the fermenter.
6. bottle capper - a tool for
placing the caps securely on bottles.
7. bottle caps - need I
8. simple home-brewers book -
a quick introduction into home brewing is provided.
9. bottle brush - used to
clean bottles. Hopefully, as you drink your home brew,
you'll take care in immediately washing each bottle after
10. bucket lid - goes on the
fermenter. Has a small hole with a rubber gasket where
the air-lock is attached.
11. spigot - a simple valve
with handle which connects to the racking bucket and aids in
moving your beer to bottles.
12. bottle filler device - a
10-inch hard plastic tube, with a spring-loaded release
valve at the bottom. Allows you to fill your bottles
from the bottom up, reducing the amount of oxygen in your
bottles when capped.
13. cleaner - usually a
powder in a small tub. Used for cleaning your
home-brewing equipment. It is not a sanitizer!
You'll need something like "Iodophor" for that.
14. racking bucket - a second
bucket into which your fully-fermented brew is moved just
prior to bottling. This one contains the spigot and
bottle filler connection.
15 - carboy/secondary - This is the
big glass "bottle" you see in the image above. It is
either 5 or 6 gallons in size, and usually replaces the
primary (plastic bucket) as the source for fermentation, and
sometimes acts as a secondary (5-gallon).
What you won't find in a home-brewer's
starter kit is a beer
recipe kit. You know, the ingredients for brewing
your first batch of beer. You'll need to purchase that
separately. A typical home brew ngredient kit
includes liquid or dry malt extract, hop pellets, and yeast.
Some come with a grain bag containing about 1 pound of
crushed grains. Cost? About $30. Add this
to the $60 for the starter kit and your total initial
investment is going to be about $100.
On thing I would recommend you buy early
on is a wort chiller. These cost about $40 to $60
(depending on the size). Their function? To cool
the boiled brew to around 75 degrees F as quickly as
possible - usually about 10 to 15 minutes. If you
choose to cool your wort in an ice bath in the sink, expect
it to take at least an hour or more. Honestly, I don't
know why we didn't purchase a wort chiller in the beginning.
It is more than worth it's weight in copper...