Brewing Equipment 101: Essential Tools
If you are going to get involved in home brewing beyond simply making a kit beer, then you need to have some specific equipment on hand. Having the right tools and equipment is vital to creating the best possible beer. You will find that most equipment is actually pretty affordable and can be found almost anywhere, from the Internet to your local brewing supply store. Here’s a rundown of the “must-have” items for your blossoming brewery.
The Pot: All good brewers need a large brew pot. This should be large enough to hold four to five gallons (or larger if you make larger batches). Aluminum pots should not be used, though. They can taint the flavor of your beer. Opt for stainless steel. Pots with enamel coatings can also be used.
The Spoon: Every brewer needs a large, solid brewing spoon. It serves multiple purposes and is an indispensible piece of equipment. The spoon should be a minimum of 18 inches in length, and it should be made of stainless steel (or plastic). Wooden spoons look nice, but the wood can absorb flavors and other things from one batch and transfer them to the next (plus, they’re breeding grounds for bacteria). Look for a spoon with a nice long handle.
The Fermenter: Your fermenter is nothing more than the container in which you let your brew sit while the yeast does its work. This can be as simple as a 5-gallon plastic bucket with a lid and an airlock. It might be something more complex and expensive, such as a glass carboy. You might even opt for a stainless steel fermenter, conical fermenter or some other design. If you’re just getting started, simple is best. Opt for a bucket or a glass carboy and leave the expensive stainless steel options for later.
You might also need a secondary fermenter – many beer recipes require beer to be clarified in a secondary container. If so, then you will need another fermenter, as well as racking equipment for bottling(a racking cane, siphon hose, etc.).
Measuring: You’ll need a few other brewing tools. One of these is a hygrometer, which is used to measure the specific gravity of your brew. A thermometer is another good buy, as well. You will also need to make sure you have a storage option for your beer – bottles or other containers, with the appropriate sealing equipment.
With this equipment on hand, you will be well on your way to brewing success.