Beer Brewing Equipment Article -
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Beer Brewing Equipment

Brewing beer is not the cheapest of kitchen pursuits. Buying your beer is more economical, but not half as satisfying!

There are many materials necessary to brew, and some of them can be expensive. Restaurant supply stores and home brewing stores will have what you need. Here are the basics:

A large boiling pot

It must be made of stainless steel or ceramic-coated steel. The bigger the pot the better, because it needs to be able to hold at least 3 gallons of liquid with room to spare.

One 5-gallon carboy

A carboy is a large, glass bottle. They look identical to the bottles that large amounts of water are often sold in, but they must be made of glass for beer brewing. Visit your local recycler and ask if they have any on hand to sell, as they are expensive to buy when new.


You will need a large funnel to transfer the wort into the carboy.

A 6-gallon plastic "bottling" bucket with lid

This plastic bucket should hold at least 5 gallons and be food-grade. You can find them cheap (or free) at many restaurants; ask the kitchen staff to save any extra for you rather than throw them away.

Siphon hose

This is at least 6 feet of plastic tubing that will be used to transfer beer from the carboy to the bottling bucket, and later into bottles.

Racking cane

An ingenious piece of shaped, hard plastic tubing that connects to the siphon hose for transferring beer from one container to another.

Fermentation lock (airlock)

This clever feature will seal your beer from outside contamination while letting carbon dioxide escape the fermenter. It must fit in a hole in the lid of your carboy.

Long spoon

This will be used for stirring; make sure it has a long handle so you don't get burned.


Do not use the type with twist-off caps. Any type of sealable glass bottle is good: beer, old-fashioned pop or even champagne bottles. Ask your friends to save these types of bottles for you.


It is used for securing caps onto bottles. You can use any style that catches your fancy.

Bottle caps

For capping your bottles.

Household bleach or an iodine solution

Used to sanitize brewing equipment (2 ounces bleach to 5 gallons water).


Be sure to use a thermometer that has a range of at least 40 degrees F (4 degrees C) to 150 degrees F (65 degrees C). Either a floating dairy thermometer or a stainless steel dial thermometer can be used. The floating dairy thermometer can be broken more easily than the stainless steel dial thermometer.

Put your equipment to work! See Beer Brewing for Beginners.

Keep it Clean

Always start with a clean workspace and sanitized equipment. You can use either a bleach solution or an iodine solution to sterilize your equipment.

  • Household Bleach

Bleach is readily available and inexpensive. The downside to using bleach is that chlorine can leave an unpleasant, chemically aftertaste: either rinse well with boiling water, or allow equipment to air dry several hours before you begin. Use half an ounce of bleach (1/2 tablespoon) per 1 gallon of water.

  • Iodine Solution

For a beer brewer's iodine solution such as iodophor, iodine is combined with other molecules in order to make the iodine safe for kitchen use. This solution is easier to use than bleach, because it does not require additional rinsing. The proper dilution ratio for iodophor can be found on the bottle, available at home brewing supply stores.

  • Sanitizing

Fill your racking bucket with tepid, not hot, tap water and the appropriate amount of sanitizer. Place brewing equipment in the bucket and let it soak for approximately 10 minutes. (If you are using bleach, be sure to bring a large amount of water to rapid boil for rinsing your equipment.)
Use a spray bottle filled with the diluted sanitizing solution to sanitize the countertops and any surrounding work areas; let air dry.

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Jun. 17, 2009 7:21 am
That's not true a carboy does not have to be made out of glass for brewing beer, i bought myself an entire beer-brew Kit and it came with a plastic barrel and excellent Beer came out of that
Jun. 19, 2009 5:17 pm
A glass carboy will not pick up "off" flavors like a plastic one will. Also, it is very hard, if not impossible, to completely sanitize the plastic carboys. It is the same plastic they use in soda bottles which are sold as single use (because they can not be sanitized). Don't assume that what you get with a $50 or $100 brew-it-yo-self kit you find on e-bay is full of professional or even amateur grade equipment. Nor will it give you the experience to post meaningful suggestions to other beginners.
Jun. 20, 2009 12:26 pm
couldn't one use a food grade stainless steel container for their carboy?
Jan. 13, 2010 6:35 pm
Does anyone know where I can buy equipment and supplies online? Where I live there are no supply shops within a reasonable distance...
Mar. 11, 2010 12:43 pm
A plastic carboy is fine, but it doesn't have the longevity of a glass one. Any scratch in the plastic can hold on to bacteria, and bacteria = bad flavors. HomeChef, the largest retailer in the country is Northern Brewer Supplies ( You can get set up with a starters kit for anywhere between $80 - $400, depending on the room you want to give yourself to grow.
Jul. 16, 2010 8:29 pm
Would it be possible for to add a section for beer recipes? It would be great to try favorite recipes of others, both malt extract and all grain. I am new to home brewing, and I would like to sample recipes from more experienced homebrewers.
Sep. 21, 2010 9:32 pm
May I suggest a site far better than the above mentioned. This site is useful for both the beginner and the expert.
Andrew Gibson 
Oct. 3, 2010 7:55 am
about the glass carboy buisiness ..Seek out stainless steel soda tanks; they are just as easy to sanitize and a lot easier to move around plus will not break if damaged. I agree with Donk about a homebrew forum in allrecipes Cheers- Andrew
Andrew Gibson 
Oct. 3, 2010 8:01 am
Ahh me [ Andrew ] again . Two good suppliers that I favour are 1 Maltose and 2 Northern Brewer .com .. Maltose is in middle Ct and Northern is up in the lakes area. Northern has a great shipping deal but is too far for the shipping of "Live yeast strains" Andrew
Apr. 17, 2011 12:00 pm
Another supplier I didn't see mentioned was For beginners, an economical fermenter other than a glass carboy is the 6-8 gallon brew bucket.
May 8, 2011 12:48 pm
Gravy - I second I have been homebrewing over 20 years and for the past 10 years have been brewing 10 gallon batches using a 12 gallon plastic bucket [ex-swimming pool chlorine bucket] as a primary fermenter and racking to two 5 gallon plastic water carboys for secondary fermentation. Never had any problems - always a good brew! Sanitisation is the most important part of homebrewing and BTW I use 1 oz bleach per gallon water and never rinse.
Jul. 20, 2011 7:59 am
If you're going to ferment a five gallon batch of beer in a five gallon carboy, prepare to clean up a lot. Beer foams up when it ferments. That's why REAL BREW KITS start you out with a 6.5 gallon carboy or bucket for your primary. Rather than buy all these pieces of equipment individually, spend a few extra dollars and buy a completed kit from a homebrew supply store. Maltose Express was recommended earlier; I second them.
Mar. 28, 2012 6:16 am
You can also add Also check out this site for some new ideas on brewing,
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