3 – Buy Equipment

Once you’ve warmed up to a brewing method, have figured out the scale of your new home-brewing “operation”, you probably should do a lot of research on equipment. It’s a lot of fun, you have a lot of purchases to make (unless you have stuff already), and each is its own mini adventure of learning and bargain hunting.

My preference, and something I personally suggest, is to ensure you buy the right materials to ensure a clean and healthy brew day. Just like cooking food, there are certain areas you might be able to skimp on, but some where a good investment will be recognized over many, many fun and successful brew days. So put a list together, compare prices, decide how to keep in budget… and then shop away!

I’m including my first binge purchase as an example of what enabled me to pull off my first brew and bottling days at home. I bought a lot of stuff, and splurged on some things where I could have opted out and saved for future growth, but that’s just me. Highlighted items are what I would say are required, the rest are optional depending on your priorities when starting out…

 

For brew day, the stuff I used is listed below…

Vendor Item Unit Price
SpikeBrewing.com Spike Brewing 15 Gallon Brew Kettle, Stainless Steel with 2 Horizontal Couplers $210.00
JadedBrewing.com Jaded Brewing Immersion Chiller,  King Cobra Stock Pot Height (19″ to bend) $175.00
Bed, Bath and Beyond Culinary Institute of America 6.25″ stainless steel fine mesh strainer $26.99
SpikeBrewing.com 1/2″ Thermometer, non-adjustable face for brew kettle $25.00
SpikeBrewing.com 1/2″ NPT Stainless Steel Ball Valve for brew kettle, 2-piece $20.00
NorthernBrewer.com Lab Grade Hydrometer 1.000-1.070 $19.99
NorthernBrewer.com Lab Grade Hydrometer 1.060-1.130 $19.99
NorthernBrewer.com Star San 16 oz $16.99
Home Depot Apex Premium 5/8″ x 6′ Heavy Duty Water Hose, x 2 $15.00
LHBS Five Star PBW, 1lb $14.95
NorthernBrewer.com 6.5 Gallon Fermenting Bucket $12.99
LHBS Plastic hydrometer test jar 12″, w/ screw off base $7.25
NorthernBrewer.com 21″ Stainless Steel Spoon $6.99
NorthernBrewer.com Bucket Opening Tool $6.99
NorthernBrewer.com Brewmaster Filter Bag $5.99
LHBS Stainless steel MPT 1/2″ x 1/2″ barb (sink adapter for garden hose) $5.50
NorthernBrewer.com Muslin Mesh Grain Bag – 10 pack $4.99
SpikeBrewing.com Teflon tape for ball valve and thermometer $3.00
NorthernBrewer.com Drilled Plastic Lid for 6.5 gallon fermentors $2.99
LHBS Silicon tubing 1/2″ high heat hose 3 feet $6.00
NorthernBrewer.com Whirlfloc Tablets – 10 count $1.99
NorthernBrewer.com Three-Piece Airlock $1.29
TOTAL (all): $606.48

*Note, the highlighted items only come out to $260.00, many items are optional as you may have suitable replacements lying around in the kitchen. For me they are all required but for you they may not be. For example, a kettle without holes drilled is pain to lift/pour, but you then don’t need all the additional items that go with that. If you don’t measure gravity/ABV, then some other items not needed. But pick/choose what YOU want and then take it from there.

 

For bottling day, the stuff I used is listed below…

Vendor Item Unit Price
NorthernBrewer.com Super Agata Bench Capper $49.99
NorthernBrewer.com FastRack Combo – 2 racks with 1 tray $36.99
NorthernBrewer.com Vinator Bottle Rinser $17.99
NorthernBrewer.com NB Beer Bottles 22 oz. w/ Bottle Divider, case of 12 $14.99
NorthernBrewer.com Auto Siphon – 1/2″ racking cane $13.99
NorthernBrewer.com 6.5 Gallon Bucket – Drilled $13.99
NorthernBrewer.com NB Beer Bottles 12 oz. w/ Bottle Divider, case of 24 $11.99
MoreBeer.com Bottle filler with removable spring 3.8″ $3.99
NorthernBrewer.com Bottling Spigot for Bottling Bucket $3.49
NorthernBrewer.com Bottle Caps – 120 Count $3.49
NorthernBrewer.com PRECUT 1/2″ ID Siphon Hose – 6 ft $3.49
TOTAL: $174.39

*Here i show one case of 12oz bottles, one case of 22oz bottles. For a five gallon batch, I use two cases of either size.

 

So here I’m showing that if you “want to”, you can spend upwards of $700 on this hobby right out of the gate, or more. But if you would prefer to control costs and still have a good brew day, you can spend a more reasonable sum of $200-$300 and get what you need to get started. Actually you can spend even less by going with a smaller kettle, opting for aluminum, etc. Just do what works best for you, but think of the future too. Either way it’s going to prepare you for some awesome brewing!

 

Continue reading…

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