So you think you can brew? After trying all of those awesome beers out at your favorite tap house and sampling a homebrew or two from a friend, you think you have what it takes? Great! Welcome to the party. Here is what you need on your checklist for your first visit to the homebrew store.
Kettle or Big Pot
The beer starts out in a big pot, where you boil your wort and start the beer making process. A stainless kettle can run you from $30 for a starter size to hundreds of dollars for a larger, more complex kettle with thermometers and other features.
You only need something basic that will make wort for a 5 gallon batch. If you are just starting out, you shouldn’t spend hundreds on a kettle.
A bucket is used to measure, transfer, and mix ingredients to make your beer. It is important to get a bucket with a nozzle and gallon markers painted on. A bucket should run you about $10-$20 depending on the size and style.
A carboy is the home of your fermenting process. You put your beer in the carboy for weeks, or even months depending on the recipe. A 5 gallon carboy will cost between $30-$40. Some brewers find having two carboys useful for transferring to a secondary fermentation.
You will also need a cap that allows gas to escape but does not let any air in. Those cost about $2.
A siphon will help you move your wort and beer between containers. Also make sure to get an extra hose in case yours breaks or gets nasty after a lot of uses. A siphon costs about $10.
When your beer is ready, it has to go into a bottle. You can get bottles by emptying old ones (make sure they are not screw caps) with friends. A 5 gallon batch will make about 50 bottles. Once they are cleaned and filled, they need to be capped.
You can get a handheld capper for about $15 or a larger one for $30-$40.
Keeping your entire process sanitary is very important to keep your beer from going bad. You will need a good brush to clean the carboy, bleach, dish soap, and sponges to keep everything sanitary. A brush costs $5-$15. You can get everything else at the grocery store.