All the equipment you will need for your very first brew day!
This is my very first EVER blog post/article/whatever you want to call it and I'm going to be going over the simple equipment list for beginners to brew their very first batch of beer from extract.
Equipment: for a 5 gallon batch of extract beer
1. A portable propane burner
You COULD use your stove top if you have a heavy duty stove top, but I would recommend going out and buy a propane burner. I would buy a propane tank for this as well, maybe one from your local Wal-Mart or something. A propane burner is no good without propane....
2. A 7.5 gallon stainless steel kettle.
I know you're probably thinking why 7.5 gallons and not 5? Because you are going to want extra room for your mash to foam up. Also, its better to have more room in case you want to brew a little more then 5 gallons to adjust for the amount you may lose from the boiling too.
You are going to want a LOT of ice, I'm talkin about like 20 lbs of ice. Once you are done with your boil, you want to cool the kettle down AS FAST AS POSSIBLE! the faster you can cool down your wort the faster you can move on to the next step. The longer it takes, the more chance you have of producing harsh bitterness, astringency, and haziness. We don't want that in our beer. Put the kettle where your wort is in a sink or bathtub and fill it with ice water and continue to keep cold until your wort is at about pitching temperature for your yeast. For ale yeast that should be anywhere from 66-80 degrees, depending on the yeast strain being used. For most lagers it is cooler, so mid 50's should be good. Thats' in degrees Ferenheit by the way
An alternative to ice is a wort chiller. This works by attaching it to a hose and constantly running cold water through it. If you use this make sure its sanitized before putting it in to your wort though! Once done boiling, make sure EVERYTHING that comes in to contact with your wort/beer is sanitized. Wort chillers can cool your wort in like 15 minutes compared to ice, which can take up to 2 hours...
4. 6.5-10 gallon fermentation bucket/carboy/conical
Depending on how much you want to spend, you need to get a container to hold your wort while it ferments and turns in to beer... It needs to be big enough to allow at least 2 extra gallons of wort to foam up because of the activity that the yeast do in there...
I use this conical fermenter from SS Brewtech which works WONDERS by the way.... But I understand its pretty damn pricey... but if you can afford it... it's totally worth it.
When I first started I used a simple 6.5 gallon plastic bucket for fermenting
MAKE SURE WHEN YOU BUY YOUR FERMENTOR THAT YOU HAVE A LID, RUBBER STOPPER, AND AIRLOCK TOO!!!!!
This isn't mandatory but it comes in handy when you need to stir your wort. You will need something to stir your wort though, maybe not a wooden spoon but I think it works best.
You will use this to pour your wort in to your fermentor. You don't want all the hop residue and other residue to get in to your fermentor as much as possible.
7. Glass bottles, at least 48 of them (12oz)
Obviously you need to hold your beer in something...
8. Auto-siphon +hose
You are going to need an auto-siphon with some hosing attached to it to transfer your beer from your fermentor to the bottles... Make sure that you run sanitizer through everything before touching the beer though.
This will kill all the bacteria that may be living on anything and is super important for CLEANLINESS!! I recommend Star San simply because since I've been using it I haven't had an infected beer... and that's the point right? To have good, NOT infected, beer. I would even put the sanitizer in a spray bottle for easier use.
10. Lots of paper towels/rags
Homebrewing gets pretty messy... make sure you have some good stuff to clean up.
You have to always be keeping track of the temperature, so get one that you can rely on.
You will have to sanitize all the bottle caps before you use the bottle capper to close the capon the bottles.
------ ALL BELOW ITEMS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BREW BUT WILL BENEFIT YOU IN SOME WAY/SHAPE/FORM------
This is used in the long run to measure the alcohol percent in your beer.
Put the hydrometer in a testing tube that is 75% full with your wort, let the hydrometer settle, and where the wort meets the hydrometer, write that number down somewhere.
You'll do that RIGHT before you put the wort in to the fermenter, and also right before you put the BEER in to the bottles to get your final readings. I will talk about this more in a later post.
You can use this brush to clean bottles if you are using recycled bottles.
I'm confident that the items listed above will allow the first time homebrewer to confidently, safely, and happily brew their very first batch of beer.
If you want to add something to this awesome list of equipment,, shoot me a text at
firstname.lastname@example.org and I will gladly add your recommendation to this post with all of the recognition that you deserve.
Don't forget to check out my website at www.watersbrewer.com for all of your water needs for making the best possible water profiles for the beer you are going to be brewing.
Thanks for checking out my very first article. Feedback is greatly appreciated and I'll see you again on the next BREW DAY!