When discussing brewing equipment I like to put things in three categories: there are things you need, there are things you kind of need (you don’t absolutely need them but most people will tell you that you do – we’ll call them useful items), and there are things that are nice to have.
Here’s what you will absolutely need:
- A 20 qt. (or more) brew pot (large canning pot will work)
- Large stirring spoon (non-wood)
- Ordinary table spoon
- Measuring cup (preferably Pyrex glass)
- Food Grade Plastic Bucket for fermenting
- Airlock (get from homebrew shop)
Your local homebrew shop will have a starter kit for around $100. This will include all the items you need, and some useful items. This kit is usually a much better deal than buying all your equipment separately. I recommend buying brewing equipment from your local brewing store because people who work at brewing stores are usually very knowledgeable brewers. They are usually happy to help answer your questions, and you can get connected with the local brewing community through the brew store.
If you do not have a local brewing store, or want to get your equipment cheaper, I can personally recommend an online resource that I have used many times. They offer free shipping on most of their items, and sell their most basic starter kit for $69.
Useful items list:
- Beer Sampler (aka Wine Thief) for easily tasting your beer while its fermenting
- Food-grade plastic hoses
- Bottle brush for cleaning empty bottles
- Iodine-based bottle sanitizer
- Glass carboy for fermenting
A kit that includes most or all of these “useful” items will run you closer to $120-$150 (online it’s a bit cheaper), and be an overall
better investment than the very basics.
Whether you should buy the most basic kit or the one with a few upgrades is up to you and your budget. You can get away with buying the most basic items, or even scrapping together most of those items without paying a dime, but after a few brews you will probably find that you want the convenience and better equipment that comes with a kit.
I’m not going to go into the luxury items because there are so many. If you buy a kit it will probably have some of the most useful luxury items. Most of these luxury items shouldn’t be scoffed at, as they are very practical. I put them in the luxury category because if your budget does not allow for lots of convenience, I still want you to start brewing.
Some More Kit Options From Midwest Supply: