Getting Started

Getting Started

Brewing your own beer is not scary, hard, nor will it break the bank. Get over your fears and just jump in, you know you want to. Just make sure you avoid the kits, you'll thank me later.

Rule #1

Do NOT buy recipe kits! Use the internet and find your own recipe, ask the folks at your local store for help, whatever you need to do to avoid those terrible kits is fine; do it. Buy the ingredients at to save big time and avoid the kits - nothing wrong with extract to start off with! And for good measure, here are 5 Ways to Save Money on Brewday.

Rule #2

Do not bother with the brew gear kits either. Yes, they are easy and have directions but they are marked up, low quality and lazy. There are not many things you need to brew extract beer and I will lay them out for you here, plain and simple. You will absolutely need the following to brew 5 gallons of beer.

22 Quart or larger Pot
Fermentation Vessel 6 Gallons or larger
Air Lock
6 Feet of Tubing
Racking Cane (Autosiphon is ideal)
Bottles (48, 12 oz or 24, 22 oz)
Caps & Capper

Not so bad, right? The only real financial obstacle is the pot. I recommend buying something on the larger end, you will most likely be hooked and will want a bigger pot later. My current setup utilizes a 7.5 gallon canning pot. It is not ideal for heat distribution but it does the trick and works with my other gear. I started with a 22 quart pot and still love having it but I spent far too much on it for its size, although it is stainless steel.

The fermentation vessel usually amounts to a 6.5 to 7 gallon plastic bucket with a sealing lid, cheaply available in any homebrew store - no need for a glass carboy yet. The bottles can be collected, cleaned and sanitized easily enough - please do not buy empty bottles. I definitely recommend an autosiphon, you will be pleased with the extra six dollar investment over a racking cane, trust me. Caps are cheap, buy the generic ones; no need for fancy caps. A capper is essential, do not forget it or sanitizer and your beer will thank you. When you bottle, you will need to mix the priming sugar and not the yeast, often people buy two fermentation vessels for this reason. I would recommend this but you could also use your pot, if it is big enough.

Although starting off with extract beer is an almost MUST, if you really decide to take the plunge, here are some good reasons to brew all grain (although I really wouldn't recommend starting out with this method).

Lastly I was going to recommend a good book but then I remembered you have the internet, use it; it is free. However, if you love books the one below is my favorite and is what I learned to brew with.

Good luck and remember to check Craigslist-