Homebrewing is a great hobby. You can get involved in so many aspects of the process, and be as detail-oriented as you want with any and all parts. The most important part is: you get to make your own beer.
Don’t just jump into the hobby and spend a ton of money to get started. Find a local club and walk through the entire process with an experienced brewer. I mean the ENTIRE process. Clean the kettle, heat the water, steep the grain, clean & sanitize the fermenter and air lock, boil the wort, siphon into the fermenter, monitor the fermentation, clean & santize the bottles and caps, boil the priming solution, rack into the bottling bucket, fill the bottles, cap the bottles, monitor the bottles while they prime. Buying a fermenter and bottles is a much smaller proposition than investing in everything. Go through at least one full brew before committing to your own equipment.
If you think you want to brew big batches(10 gallons or larger), see if you can make several big batches with an experienced brewer. If you provide the ingredients and let the brewer keep some of the batch, they’ll probably be happy to let you use their equipment.
Make sure you support your local homebrew shop, they will save your brew day when you want to brew but are missing a couple vital ingredients. If you don’t have a local homebrew shop, you can help support this site using the links on this page.
I will be updating this list based on personal experience and new gear.
- 8-gallon brew kettle – Most people start out making five gallon batch of beer, but many people don’t realize you need a larger pot than five gallons. There are techniques to add extract late, but you will get a more consistent, flavorful beer if you do a full wort boil. This means all your water for the batch, in addition to all the ingredients in one kettle. A 8-gallon kettle will allow you to make five gallon batches without a problem, and is still large enough to use for heating water when you jump up to 10-gallon batches.
- Basic Equipment Kit – I started with a kit similar to this. It is great because it includes two separate fermenters. You have the equipment to do a secondary fermentation, or ferment two separate brews at the same time. A great way to start.
- Blichmann Burner with leg extensions. I was distracted by the lower-priced low profile burner with a similar burner design. However, after seeing the two function side by side, I have to recommend the Blichmann floor-standing burner. Read my review here.