Monday, May 14, 2007

Getting Started in Homebrewing - Buying the Equipment

In the last episode of my maiden homebrew voyage, I discussed my decision to go with the malt extract approach and a nut brown ale recipe. While I was at Home Sweet Homebrew getting the recipe ingredients, it would make sense to get the equipment too, now would it not?

George and Nancy turn over quite of few of these startup kits as they've helped countless first-time brewers get started over the 20 years they've been in business. In no time, George gathered up the various pieces of equipment that I would need to brew my first batch. For $49.95, the kit includes: a 7 gallon fermenting bucket; a racking tube and siphon hose; an airlock and stopper; a hydrometer; a capper; bottle caps; a bottle filler; recipes and brewing instructions. For an additional $10, I purchased a 5 gallon glass carboy. A boil kettle, spoon, and thermometer were not included.

As far as additional equipment goes, I think I'd like to have a dedicated oversized brewpot (I'm not really big on cleanup!), a wort chiller (to help speed along the cooldown process post-boil), and whatever other must-haves any of you might think to recommend.

I don't think it will be long before I make two advances. One is to go to an all-grain process. Not because I'm convinced that it's a better process, but more because I like to get more in touch with all the raw components of brewing. The second is to keg my finished product. Not that having portable bottles of homebrew isn't nice; this is primarily because there's nothing like having a keg of homebrew in the refrigerator at the ready to tap of a fresh glass of beer.

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