If you are interested in starting up a home beer brewing hobby then you will need to invest in some basic equipment. This equipment can be found at almost any home brewing supply store or online.
Basic Home Brewing Equipment
The basics of beer brewing equipment, specifically extract brewing, include a large kettle for boiling the beer, a large spoon, a method for cooling the beer, and a fermentation vessel with an air lock. This video will give you and overview of the necessary equipment:
The Brew Kettle
The brewing kettle can be as small as three gallons, but it works best if the kettle is five or six gallons. This allows space to boil plenty of water for the brew, allowing for some to boil off and providing a buffer in case the wort starts to boil over. The difficulty with larger brewing kettles is that they take up a lot of space on a stove top and they will take longer to bring to a boil if full.
The spoon should be metal or plastic and at least a couple of feet long. Wood does not work as well because it will absorb some of the wort. You want a sturdy spoon that will be easy to clean so as not to contaminate the beer.
Cooling the Wort
The beer can be cooled many different ways. The most common way to cool the wort for beginning home brewers is to use an ice bath. The brew kettle is set in a tub or sink full of cold water to let it cool down. It is ideal to use a more efficient method of cooling the wort for a few reasons, but the ice bath will suffice for most beginner brewers.
The Fermentation Vessel
The fermentation vessel is usually a plastic bucket called an Ale Pail, but glass and plastic carboys are also popular because they allow the brewer to assess the condition of the fermenting beer visually during the fermentation. The Ale Pail is less expensive and will be easier to carry around – carboys require that you buy a strap system or handle in order to easily carry them around.
Finally, the air lock is a simple device that can be purchased at most home brewing stores. They will slide right in to a built-in hold in the cover of an ale pail, but a rubber stopper will be needed to use an air lock with a carboy.
Home Brewing Supply Stores
For a listing of home brewing supply stores near you check out www.homebrewingstoredirectory.com. There you can find home brewing supply stores in each state and also learn more about home brewing equipment.