Your First Home Brew Beer Kit – Equipment
So you’ve decided you want to try your hand at brewing some beer, but not quite sure what equipment you need to make your first home brew. You can actually make beer from a kit with very little in the way of equipment;
- a food grade 25litre plastic bucket
- a syphon -essentially length of plastic pipe with a hard plastic stick on the end
- some bottles to put it in (usually about 45)
and that’s about it. Though of course if you’re going to get serious about making beers on a more regular basis there’s a few more bits you’ll need. It’s worth investing in the basics right from the start as this equipment will be used for pretty much all your brews, even if you move on from kit brewing to extract or all grain brewing. You’ll also be able to use most of it if at some point you want to give other drinks like wine, cider or ginger beer a try in the future.
So what’s the basic kit you need to get to start home brewing beer?
- a food grade 25litre plastic bucket (this is your fermenting vessel or FV)
- hydrometer – used to find the alcohol %
- Large plastic spoon or Paddle
- Adhesive thermometer – Not essential but stick on your FV for a guide that your fermenting at the right temperature
- Sanitiser (remember to rinse thoroughly unless it’s a non rinse product)
That should see you through the fermenting stage. When the beer is ready you’ll need to bottle it which needs a few more bits of equipment. Obviously you’ll need around 45 500ml bottles. You can get these easily, save them as you drink beer, get friends to save them, leave a box at the recycling point with a sign asking for brown 500ml bottles, ebay, freecycle, even ask your local pub to save cider bottles or if you can rummage through their recycling bin. As a last resort most online homebrew stores sell bottles generally for around 50p a bottle.
Beer Bottling Equipment
- Plastic bottling stick/wand – get one, they’ll save a huge amount of mess and time
- Crown Capper – either twin lever or bench capper*
- Crown Caps
And that’s about it, that little lot should see you through quite a few brews before you start to get more ambitious and buy other bits of equipment here and there. To get you started a lot of home brew stores offer starter kits which will have most of the above items in. These are well worth getting as they are often pretty good value, if a bit of kit is missing you can always buy it separately.
Good luck and happy brewing!
* I’d thoroughly recommend getting a bench capper over a twin lever one, they’re a bit more expensive but in the long run the ease and time saved far outweighs the extra few quid.