In order to make homebrew, you need equipment.
There are basic pieces of homebrew equipment needed regardless of what brewing method you decided to use.Single Stage Fermentation
The following is a list of what is typically used for a single stage fermentation. Single stage fermentation simply means that you are allowing the beer to completely ferment in a single vessel, referred to as a primary fermenter, and then the beer is transferred to a bottling bucket to be bottled.
|Many brewers use a food grade plastic bucket with at least a 6.5 gallon capacity as the primary fermenter to ferment the wort (unfermented beer).|
A lid with a grometted hole and airlock is used to seal the fermenting bucket. An airlock is filled halfway with water to allow CO2 to escape while keeping bacteria and oxygen away from the beer.
|The bottling Bucket has a spigot and is used for bottling your beer once it has finished fermenting. On bottling day, priming sugar (also called corn sugar and dextrose) is mixed with a small amount of water, dissolved on the stove and then is added to the bottling bucket. The beer is then siphoned into the the bottling bucket, allowing the priming sugar to mix with the beer. |
|Once the beer has been transferred to the bottling bucket, it is immediately bottled using the bottle filler. The bottle filler attaches to the tubing that is attached to the spigot and has a valve on the tip. The valve releases the beer into the bottle when pressed on the bottom of the bottle. Fill the beer to the very top of the bottle and remove bottle filler. The filler displaces the exact amount of air space needed to carbonate your beer. It is a very handy tool.|
|The hydrometer allows you to take gravity readings that help determine the alcohol level of your beer and more importantly, it allows you to follow the progress of your fermenting beer to ensure it is working and to let you know when it is ready to bottle.|
|The racking cane allows you to transfer your wort from one vessel to another. It is made of hard plastic and is shaped like a cane. The end of the cane has an anti-sediment tip that draws liquid from above so that sediment can be avoided while transferring. Tubing attaches to the racking cane and should reach to the bottom of the vessel you are transferring to so that it dos not splash and introduce unwanted oxygen into the beer.|
Sanitizer is used to to sanitize and your equipment. It is critical that anything that is coming in contact with the wort has been boiled is sanitized to prevent spoilage of the beer.
Other helpful but not entirely critical pieces of equipment would be a bottle brush to clean bottles and adhesive thermometers that can be attached to the outside of the fermenting buckets to monitor the temperature of the fermenting beer.2-Stage Fermentation
| Many brewers do what is referred to as 2-stage fermentation. |
In a 2-stage fermentation setup, the wort is transferred to a second vessel after 4-7 days in the primary fermenter.
The secondary fermenter is usually a 5-6 gallon glass or plastic water bottle, referred to as a carboy.
Performing a 2-stage fermentation has two main benefits. First, it allows you to get your beer off the trub ( the material, along with hop debris and yeast that has fallen to the bottom of the primary fermenter). These materials can autolyze (breakdown) can and cause off-flavors. Second, transferring the beer into a secondary fermenter breaks the surface tension of the liquid. This allows the particulates that were in suspension to break lose and drop out much faster. This results in a clearer beer with less sediment in the conditioned bottle