Proper beer brewing is more than just following the recipes, it also requires that you have the right equipment. This means that you have the necessities, if you will. But what are these beer brewing necessities, and where can you get them from? Below is a list of all the physical equipment that you will need in order to get started on your own beer brewing experiments. All of this equipment can be purchased at a local restaurant supply store, and even at some local liquor stores. Keep in mind though that some of this equipment can be pretty expensive, so if you don't have the money for top of the line equipment you can always purchase one of those "micro brewing" kits that are available.
- Large boiling pot. You cannot simply use a regular pot for brewing beer. The type that you should get needs to be large enough to hold a minimum of three gallons of water, with room left over. In addition to the size, it also needs to be made of stainless steel, or even a ceramic pot that has a steel center.
- 5-gallon carboy. Carboys are, in the simplest of terms, a large glass bottle. The carboy will look like the bottles that you get water in, but they have to be made from glass for brewing beer. These items are fairly expensive when bought new, so look around for a good deal by visiting a recycling center, or even an antique shop to see if you can find a used one.
- Funnel. Purchase a large funnel to help you transfer the wort (a liquid that is used during the beer brewing process) into the carboy.
- 6-gallon "bottling" bucket. The bottling bucket that you get needs to be a food grade quality one, and have a lid. You can often get one pretty cheap, or even for free, by asking local restaurants for an extra one. These buckets generally have a spigot near the bottom which you can use to get the beer into your bottles. On the average, you can purchase these for about $15.
- Siphon hose. When looking to purchase a siphon hose, you need to make sure that it is at least 6 feet long, and made from plastic tubing. The hose is used to transfer beer from the carboy to the bottling bucket, as well as helping with bottling the beer.
- Racking cane. A racking cane is a hard, shaped plastic tubing which connects the siphon hose to either the carboy or the bottling bucket.
- Fermentation lock. In effect, a fermentation lock is an airlock. The purpose of this airlock is to seal your brewing beer from any outside contamination while allowing carbon dioxide to escape. It needs to be able to fit into the hole located in the lid of the carboy.
- Long handled spoon. While brewing your beer, you will need to do some stirring. A long handled spoon will allow you to do this without getting burned. You don't need to have one from any special material, just use one that seems right to you.
- Bottles. About the only type of bottle that you should not use is the ones that have twist-off caps. Ideally, you can use old glass soda bottles, champagne or wine bottles, or even old beer bottles. Try recycling bottles as much as possible to lower costs and waste.
- Bottle-capper and caps. This is a piece of equipment that does exactly what it says, caps bottles. Just about any kind will work, so use the one that you like best. The same for the bottle caps themselves, simply use the ones that you like.
- Bleach or iodine solution. This is what you use to sanitize your brewing equipment before each use. This is very important, unless you want to run the risk of getting sick.
- Thermometer. Ideally, the thermometer that you will use needs to have a minimum range of 40 degrees Fahrenheit to at least 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Try to choose a thermometer that will not be broken too easily, such as a stainless steel dial thermometer.
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