Enjoy Fresh Beer with Home Brewery Equipment
When you first look into how to brew your own beer, the first stumbling block is often the brewery equipment you'll need. What exactly do you need to get started? What are the basics?
You'll be glad to know that you don't have to spend an arm and a leg to get a home brewery up and running. The easiest solution is to buy a pre-assembled kit from a home brew store. They are slightly expensive, but they are self-contained and extremely convenient for the beginning brewer.
Usually, the first thing you need is a brew pot. Four gallons is the absolute smallest one you can get away with. You won't be boiling more than three or four gallons at a time, but boil over is a very real eventuality with a pot that is too small. If you have a pot that is the right size, check its thickness. The thicker, the better.
Think of it. You're going to be boiling malted barley, which is basically sugar syrup, in water for up to an hour. Thin metal pots are prone to hotspots and you don't want to scorch your barley malt. Burnt malt means burnt beer.
You'll also need a big spoon to stir with. Wooden, plastic, or metal, it doesn't much matter, because the boiling wort will sanitize whatever it comes in contact with.
Second, you will need a fermenting vessel. Most newcomers use a plastic bucket which is large enough to hold five gallons of wort and a couple inches of headroom. Go for around a seven gallon size. When you really get into brewing, you'll move up to an all glass carboy.
Third, you will need two out of three specialty pieces of equipment. A floating thermometer is essential for knowing when to pitch the yeast. Too hot, the yeast dies, while too cold, the yeast remains dormant. Also, you’ll need an airlock which fits into the airtight lid of your fermenting vessel. This lets the carbon dioxide out while keeping airborne nasties from getting in.
A hydrometer which is used, in conjunction with the thermometer, to measure the specific gravity of the wort. It tells you how much sugar is in solution and therefore how alcoholic the beer will end up.
Fourth, a secondary bucket for bottling. You want to siphon off the beer that is sitting on top of the spent yeast cells. It makes for a clearer, tastier brew. Generally, you'll need six feet or so of clear plastic tubing and a bottling tube. The bottling tube goes in the bottle and you allow the beer to fill the bottle completely. When you remove the tube, you have just the right amount of head space in the bottle.
By equipping yourself with the above accessories, now, you have a complete range of brewery equipment on hand, and you can feel free to brew beers at home at any time. Just enjoy your own beers.