Becoming a Home Brewer: A Home Brewing Checklist

So, you want to brew your own beer? If you have a kitchen, you can become a home brewer with a minimal amount of supplies. If you have a garage, you might need a few more. If you have only a back yard to work with, you should really see our article on Building an Efficient Outdoor Home Brewery after reading this. Here we will highlight a few very important tools of the trade and a few items which are handy, but not necessary for a bare bones home brewing operation. Here is the checklist for becoming a home brewer. For a home kitchen-brewing set-up you are going to need the following:

Becoming a Home Brewer: A Home Brewing Checklist

Home Brewing Checklist

  1. Brew Pot with Lid - preferably five or six gallons, and preferably stainless steel, although an enamel pot will work just fine until it dents. Enamel pots with dents will impart some iron oxide (rust) into your beer.
  2. Long Spoon - preferably stainless steel and at least 24 inches long. The longer, the better.
  3. Grain and hop bags - These bags come in either muslin (one use) or vinyl (re-usable).We recommend vinyl, as this will save you money in the long run - at least two bags. These will need to be cleaned thoroughly and sanitized before re-use.
  4. Glass Carboys - It is always useful to have a five gallon glass carboy on hand, as well as a couple of one gallon carboys or a three gallon carboy for overflow. Never fill your carboys to the top - once the yeast really goes after the malt, the foam will overflow your airlock, causing no end of grief and possible contamination. Re-purposing a one-gallon apple juice bottle works great for an overflow carboy, or for experiments like adding chipotle or hazelnut to a small batch. Or, just add yeast and pop a stopper with an airlock on there for hard cider!
  5. Air Locks - you need an airlock and a rubber stopper for each carboy. You can always pray to the spirits or to god to protect your beer, like they did in the olden days, but airlocks work slightly better and keep flies out of your brew. Different carboys have different sizes of opening, so make sure you have one that fits your carboy.
  6. Surgical Tubing - four to six feet of surgical tubing of 3/8 inner diameter is necessary for racking your beer and siphoning it from the brew kettle into the carboy, or into bottles, if you are into bottles.
  7. Funnels, Large and Small - Food grade funnels are always useful for brewing purposes, large ones for pouring wort into carboy, and small ones for bottling.
  8. Bottle Brush, Large and Small - You will need a large bottle brush to properly clean your large carboys, and a small bottle brush for cleaning and re-purposing beer bottles, if you wish to bottle your home brew.
  9. Sanitizing Solution - Iodine, bleach, and oxygenating beer line cleaner are all tools for the brewers sanitizing toolbox.
  10. Bottles, Caps, and Bottle Capper AND / OR Keg - You will need to add the bubbles to your beer somehow, and for most home brewers this means either bottling or kegging. Kegging your beer is by far more efficient, and can be done for a minimal expense, if you keep an eye out for soda kegs (aka Cornelius kegs or Corny kegs in the home brew world).

This checklist highlights the basic tools of the home-kitchen-based home-brewer. For those who wish to be more exacting in their brewing, we recommend the following items.

Apprentice Brewer's Checklist:

  1. Thermometer - You need a long one, and the ones with a floater device are helpful. Alternatively, you can use a meat thermometer with a float device as well (a plastic donut, maybe?)
  2. Hydrometer - This tool allows you to measure the specific gravity of your beer, and from these measurements, you will be able to calculate roughly how much alcohol is contained within your home brew.
  3. Wort Chiller - No more waiting hours for your beer to cool - in just 15 minutes the wort chiller will bring your beer down to room temperature.
  4. Bottle Washer - This item is a must if you are bottling your home brew. Helps cleaning bottles go really fast.

Keep in mind that home brewing is an evolving process. This list will get you started on malt extract based brewing recipes, which is just the beginning of the art of brewing. Once you have mastered making extract based beer, try a batch half and half with malt extract and mashing the grains yourself. After you have learned the mashing of the grains, the sky is the limit!

Check out our line of home brewing kits to get all the supplies you need in one easy package.