On this page I will go through the basic equipment needed to brew. There are many shops and suppliers which now do beginners kits for around £20.
The kit i first bought cost me £16 and i still use it to this day, i have added to my tools of the trade but still use the basic kit.
This is a tube which has an extendible plastic end and shut off valve which is used to syphon the brew into bottles or a keg.
For checking temperatures at various stages of the brewing process.
For checking the specific gravity of the brew. (see Fermentation for further information).
This is a one way valve which allows carbon dioxide to leave the fermenter but stops any outside air entering the fermenter.
This is used to apply a new cap to the top of a bottle. This did not come as part of my basic kit like the items above and cost me £10.
This is one item of equipment you can get for free! I got all my bottles from recycling my used bottles. The best bottles to use are the 500ml or 660ml anything smaller is a bit fiddly and you have too many of them. You have to buy caps for them but at £2 for a 100 they are cheap to buy. Some people use old fizzy drinks bottles but i prefer using glass beer bottles.
A keg can be used instead of bottles. I have a king keg which cost £45, and i use it mainly for ales. This is not a required bit of kit but can be easier to fill than a large number of bottles. I have found though with bottles you can get better carbonation which is ideal for lagers. Kegs can also leak and need more maintenance to ensure the seals are in good condition. If you have a keg with a top tap you will also need to buy co2 gas to pressurise the keg to force the beer out.
This is by no way an exhaustive list of equipment available to brew your own beer or wine, but with the above equipment you can make your first brew.
There are more expensive kits available on the market which have all the equipment required including the bottles. A good example is the cooper’s micro-brewery which costs around £70, this kit even comes with a lager kit and carbonation drops so you have everything to make your first brew. If you compare the £70 price tag with the basic kit which is around £20 you can make a large saving by using a basic kit and your own bottles.