The very first step that you need to take to make your own beer is simply locating an acceptable place to brew it. The kitchen generally is a good location. You should plan on being there for a number of hours and perhaps making what could possibly be considered by non-home brewers as a tremendous mess. For that reason, you should ask those that live in the house if it’s okay. Once you have secured your kitchen you’ll need to get your home brewing equipment. For starters we are going to go over what sorts of equipment will be needed to home brew utilizing malt extract.
Basic home brewing equipment is usually not really all that expensive. You should be able to purchase all the equipment that is necessary for somewhere between $100 to $150. Many home brewing equipment suppliers have kits which have everything needed to make your own beer at home aside from ingredients and bottles.
This is a list of the basic home brewing equipment you will need to be able to start brewing beer:
• Brew Kettle
• Funnel and Strainer
• 6.5 Gallon Primary Fermenter
• Airlock and Rubber Stopper
• Racking Tube with Siphon Hose
• 6.5 Gallon Bottling Bucket with Spigot
• Bottle Brush
• Bottle Caps and Capper
Below are some more household items which might prove useful:
•Oven mitts/pot handlers
•Big mixing spoon (stainless steel or plastic)
At this time let’s check out the home brewing equipment and give you a basic idea of what you will do with it.
The brew kettle is a big pot that has a volume of at least 4.5 gallons. The ideal type is constructed out of stainless steel. You may also use one which is manufactured from ceramic-coated (enameled) aluminum or steel. If you are using a new aluminum pot, don’t use it bright-and-shiny; you may get a metallic off-flavor. Boil some water in it first. Furthermore chipped enamelized pots might also result in off-flavors. If you happen to have two smaller sized pots in your kitchen which hold at least 4.5 gallons together that also will work. The brew kettle will be the first piece of home brewing equipment you will be using. All your ingredients (accept for the yeast) is going to be added to the brew kettle and brought to a boil. This sweet mixture you’ll have made is known as “wort”.
A thermometer is used to check the temperature of the brew during different stages of the brewing process. A stick-on thermometer often is affixed on the outer surface of the primary fermenter to let you monitor the temperature of the fermentation. This is a necessary piece of home brewing equipment given that the temperature of the fermentation has an effect on the flavor of the finished beer.
A hydrometer is a really useful tool for determining potential alcohol, or if the beer has fermented completely. This really is a piece of home brewing equipment that every brewer must own and understand how to use. Generally home brewing kits contain one.
Funnel and Strainer:
They are used to help transfer the contents of your brew kettle into the primary fermenter. The strainer will help filter out the hops that were added to the brew kettle.
The primary fermenter is the place where the wort will go after you have boiled and cooled it, this is the place where the beer starts to ferment and change into that amazing stuff which causes you to be so humorous and delightful. The primary fermenter is a piece of home brewing equipment that may be a plastic bucket along with a lid which seals tightly or a glass container (often referred to as a carboy). Either one must have a minimum capacity of 6.5 gallons, and accommodates a rubber stopper plus the airlock. The fermenter will have to be thoroughly clean and free of scratches.
Airlock and Rubber Stopper:
The airlock is a clever piece of equipment that permits carbon dioxide to vent from the primary fermenter throughout the course of the fermentation, thereby preventing it from exploding, but does not make it possible for any of the air from outside to get in your beer’s hygienic environment. It fits into a rubber stopper with a hole drilled into it, and then the stopper goes on the top of your primary fermenter.
Racking Cane with Siphon Hose:
A racking cane is a stiff piece of clear plastic tubing that is attached to the siphon hose and reaches the bottom of your fermenter. Your siphon hose needs to be clear food-grade tubing. It’s used to transfer the beer from one container to another.
Bottling Bucket with Spigot:
This is usually a 6.5 gallon, food-grade plastic bucket that has a spigot at the bottom. It has to be at least the size of the primary fermenter, since you need to transfer all of your tasty beer from the primary fermenter into the bottling bucket before bottling it. It’s also important to have a bottle filler attachment on the end of the tubing coming from the spigot. This is yet another key piece of home brewing equipment which allows you to fill your bottles by simply pressing the filler down on the bottom of the bottle until the beer reaches the top, and after removing the filler, the perfect amount of head space is created.
After the primary fermentation is complete the beer is placed into bottles for secondary fermentation and storage. The most commonly used type of bottles are brown glass ones with smooth tops (not the twist-off variety) which can use a cap from a bottle capper. You must have a good amount of bottles to hold all the beer you are planning to brew. Depending on the bottle size you have got to do a little bit of math. A 5 gallon batch of beer will be 640 ounces; if you are using 12 ounce bottles you will need approximately 54. If you choose 16 ounce bottles you need 40 bottles.
This is a thin, curvy brush which you can insert into a bottle so you can clean the inside really well. We have not even pointed out how thoroughly clean every item has to be, but we will, and the bottle brush is a specific piece of cleaning equipment you should have for home brewing.
Bottle Caps and Capper:
You’ll also need to have bottle caps, as you would think, and you can get them from every home brewing equipment store. The ideal type of bottle capper is one which may be attached to a surface and operated with one hand while you hang on to the bottle with the other hand. You can also purchase less expensive kinds which must have two hands on the capper, however these are generally a hassle. Go where your budget guides you.
Two other things that you will need are chemicals to clean and sanitize your home brewing equipment. Perhaps you might want to know what’s the difference between cleaning and sanitizing? Precisely what can make these two things so imperative to making your own beer? 90% of all home brewing failures are able to be associated with a problem with cleaning or sanitization and without a doubt, these are two individual issues.
•Cleaning chemicals clear away obvious debris and residue on your home brewing equipment. Some good quality cleaners are B-Brite, One Step, and Easy Clean.
•Sanitizing is actually treating your home brewing equipment with chemicals that will destroy, or inhibit the development of unwanted microorganisms. You can’t sanitize anything until it is clean. Some good sanitizers are IO Star and Star San. The brew kettle is one of the few pieces of equipment which just has to be cleaned and not sanitized. For the reason that you will be boiling your wort in your kettle which will sanitize it together with the wort.
All of your home brewing equipment that comes in contact with the beer once it leaves the brew kettle must be clean, and properly sanitized, from the thermometer to the carboy, from the siphon hose to the rubber stopper and airlock. A single oversight can possibly lead to the entire batch turning out poorly. Just in case you wonder, there aren’t any known human pathogens that can stay alive in beer, which means you don’t have to be concerned about poisoning yourself or your family and friends.
When you have acquired all these things, you’re just about ready to make your own beer! Now you have to get your home brewing supplies and ingredients and you will be ready to go.
Should you be concerned that brewing beer at home might be complicated and difficult, don’t be. It’s just a progression of basic steps. More in depth brewing instructions are going to come in a following blog post.