Have the measly craft beer selections at your local pub got you down? Or have they got you so excited that you want to try making some beer of your own?
Either way, way we've got you covered.
The barrier to entry can be pretty intimidating for a novice. So many instructions, so much brewing equipment!
It's hard to know where to start or what to buy, but luckily, there are 1.2 million home brewers in the U.S. that have come before you to show the ropes.
The trick is to start small, and I've compiled a list of essential home brewing equipment to do just that. You'll your garage or kitchen looking like a Breaking Bad laboratory in no time. Except it'll be, you know, more legal.
To get started brewing your beer at home, you're going to need a few things. This list will primarily focus on small-batch brewing, as it's what I'd recommend to a complete beginner. We can move on to those big brass fermenters you see on t.v. but you need to learn how to walk before you can run, big fella.
Chances are, you've already got this one sitting around at home. Really, any old stockpot'll do, but it needs to be able to hold at least 3 gallons of beer, so that you have plenty of room to work with. If you don't already have one, small brewing kettles run anywhere from $30-50 a pop brand new.
The only important thing here is that the handle of the spoon needs to be longer than the depth of your stockpot. Also, make sure that the actual spoon-end of this thing is big enough to stir effectively with. No, one of those dinky milkshake spoons won't do. You're not eating cereal, you're making beer. One of these should only run you a couple of bucks.
You're going to use this to separate your brewing liquid from your grains, so really a fine-mesh strainer is your better option, as its holes are usually much smaller than a colander's. But if you've got a colander floating around your house already, go ahead and use it. Just make sure it's big enough to hold a couple of pounds of grains.
You've got to be able to measure your ingredients accurately, and the only way to do that is with a scale. Amazon, the monopoly that it is, probably has the cheapest option available it gets the job done in my personal experience. Hey, weigh your food out on it and count your calories, too, while you're at it. You'll be a better man for it.
No, the analog, mercury thermometer you've been using to cook steaks won't work for your beer. The temperature needs to be as precise as your weight measurements are, and for that you need a instant-read digital thermometer. I know it's a pain, but just buy one. It shouldn't cost you more than $20. It'll make your steaks better, too.
Now that you've got all of your actual brewing equipment sorted out, let's move on to the fermentation portion of this process.
This vessel, which is essentially a bucket with a spigot on the bottom, is what you'll be using as a "primary fermenter." What you'll also need with this is an airlock, a tiny device that attaches to the top of your bucket. The airlock regulates the release of gases from your fermenting brew without letting in any harmful bacteria or other contaminants. Some fermentation vessels come with the airlock included.
The best foods and drinks - wine, cheese, kimchi, sourdough bread - require fermentation, and beer is no different so don't cheap out on this step.
A carboy is basically a jug with a hole, usually plugged with a rubber stopper. This bad boy is what you'll be using to do your secondary fermentation in. Any size'll do, just make sure it's over a gallon big.
Oh, we're getting science-y now! This piece will really have your home brewing equipment looking laboratory-chic. This stuff will be used to transfer the liquid from your fermentation vessel to your carboy. Just make sure that the tubing you're getting fits securely over the spigot of your fermentation vessel.
You can't also just place the carboy directly under your spigot and nix the tubing all together but that gets heavy (and clumsy), and the tubing just makes the whole process looks cooler.
If the tubing will have you looking like a pro, the hydrometer will have you acting like a pro. This nifty little device is what you'll use to measure the alcoholic content of your your beer, before it's ready to be bottled.
It's important to keep all of your brewing equipment clean, especially since we're dealing with fermented solids and liquids, which are ripe for bacteria accumulation.
StarSan is probably the most trusted brand among home brewers so I'd just go with that.
If you've made it this far, that means you've got beer ready to be drank. All you need now is a way to bottle it.
This handy device makes it easy to fill those narrow beer bottles. Good lucky trying to fill 'em with anything else.
This one should go without saying. You need bottles to put your beer in and caps to close them, dummy!
Empty beer bottles are typically sold by the case for around $12-25 depending on the style of the bottle. You can also recycle your old beer bottles and re-use them if you'd like. I won't judge.
This tool, which looks like a mini Jaws of Life is what you use to crimp the caps to the bottles, and it's the very last step in the process.
I know it sounds like a lot, but really, it's a simple process, even a monkey can do it.
Once you've got all of your brewing equipment, read more about how to successfully bottle your own beer. And for the love god, please drink in moderation.