It’s easy to get carried away with homebrewing gear.
However some things aren’t essential for making great homebrew.
In this section, we’ll cover the gear you need to get started homebrewing.
Apart from your homebrew kit (fermenter, tap, capper, spoon, etc), you probably have much of this in your kitchen already.
Review what you have already and make a shopping list for what you need. Visit your local homebrew store or buy online.
Gear for brew day
Homebrew starter kit
There are a few options here, but a great start is a simple plastic fermenter. Included should be a screw in tap, sediment reducer and stick on thermometer.
The sediment reducer is a small device which minimizes the amount of yeast and sediment that makes its way to your bottled beer.
The Coopers homebrew starter kit is a great place to start. There are plenty of others on the market which work fine too.
You may need to buy a capper if using glass bottles.
A long handled food grade spoon. Metal is fine, just don’t scratch the side of your plastic fermenter when stirring.
Your starter kit will come with a lid, but I’ve found it easier to cover with plastic wrap and prick with a sanitized pin. The advantage is that you can see what is happening really easily and is one less thing to clean.
Also use plastic wrap to cover your yeast when rehydrating.
Large enough to secure your plastic wrap to the top of your fermenter.
Large pot (over 1.5 gal/ 6 L)
Use this to mix your tin and malt with hot water.
Washing up gloves to save your hands from hot water and cleaners, and protect your beer from your hands.
I usually have a slimming black pair, but lime green and hot pink also popular choices.
Use to mix PBW powder with hot water and clean your gear.
I recommend PBW as the homebrew standard cleaner.
No rinse sanitizer
I recommend StarSan as the homebrew standard sanitizer.
Accurately measure your sanitizer when mixing.
Use this to mix and spray sanitizer. A pump-style spray bottle will make sanitizing a breeze.
Use to make sure you don’t heat-damage your yeast when rehydrating.
Used to rehydrate your dried yeast.
Two large clean plates
One plates id used as a sanitized resting place for your bits and pieces, and the other to sit your rehydrating yeast on.
Hydrometer and tube
Used to measure the viscosity/density of your beer as it ferments. Invaluable to work out when your beer has finished fermenting and the alcohol percentage.
Other bits and pieces
Scissors, hot water kettle, can opener, measuring spoons and pin.
After fermentation has finished
If you want hop flavor and aroma in your beer you can add extra hops at the end of fermentation.
You can also do this when mixing the beer together, but some of the character may be lost through bubbling CO² during fermentation.
A light coarse mesh fabric to hold your hops when adding to the fermenter.
You can buy one or make your own with a simple square of muslin wrap.
To tie the hop bag.
Pot and lid
Soak the hop bag in boiled water before adding to fermenter.
Measure the wort’s gravity/viscosity to make sure your beer has finished fermenting.
You have a few options…
Preloved and reused
What a great reason to drink longnecks! Save your empties and asks friends and families to donate their empties to a worthy cause. Vaguely offer a couple of homebrew samplers in return.
You can also visit recycling centers or local bars and ask politely for their empties.
Get thick heavy bottles with a solid crown seal.
You can buy new glass bottles specifically for homebrewing.
I prefer to source used bottles though to reduce my homebrew footprint and save a few pennies. You can spend the difference on more quality ingredients.
However if you don’t have time to beg, borrow and steal pre-loved beer bottles, buying new bottles is an option.
I don’t recommend these as CO² will gradually escape the semi-permeable plastic and lead to flat beer after a few months.
If they came with your kit, use them once and drink within three months.
Use with PBW solution to remove soaked beer labels and glue with ease.
Don’t use a scourer on any of your brewing gear – use soft cloth and elbow grease only.
Get a homebrewing-specific brush so you can scrupulously clean the inside of your bottles.
To mix up cleaner solution.
PBW to soak bottles to remove labels. Mix a fresh batch and give a workout inside with the bottling brush.
Use to transfer cleaner and sanitizer solutions between bottles.
Bath your caps in the bowl in no-rinse sanitizer while filling bottles.
Also rest your cleaned and sanitized bits and pieces in the bowl (eg bottling wand and tubing).
A few options here which are explained in the bottling chapter (page 33). I have used bench, mallet type and handheld over the years.
My strong preference is for a bench capper.
To spread under your bottles to catch any spills.
This handy device will extend the shelf life of your beer (by minimizing oxidation) and make bottling easier.
Clear plastic tubing
Attach to bottling wand so you can fill your beers where they sit.
A set measure of sugar to avoid flat or over carbonated beer. Makes priming bottles much easier.
Allow for a few extra in case you drop a couple.
Never reuse caps. Seriously, for a couple of cents each it’s not worth the risk of flat beer. Your craft-brewed bottle deserves a new cap.
Record your batch number and date on the bottle caps after capping.
Soft cloth to clean your fermenter immediately after bottling.
Homebrewing With Kits—The Beginner’s Guide
To help you master homebrewing with kits, I’ve put together a guide based on my experiences over nearly two decades of homebrewing.
This is the information I wish I had when I first started. I hope it helps you make awesome homebrew.