HB 101 Q1: What equipment did you use when you started brewing?

This marks the begging of a multipart series of posts about the fundamentals of homebrewing. Sure there's books, web pages, pamphlets, kit instructions, forums and all kinds of resources about brewing beer. Why cover it again here? I don't know. Why does your grandpa tell the same stories over and over again? Maybe it has to do with how we tell it. I don't know what question two will be. Hopefully it will present itself as we explore this first question.

Question #1 What equipment did you use when you started brewing?

I've been brewing for so long that I think I've lost sight of my meager beginnings. Although, in some ways things haven't changed much. What did your first homebrew setup look like. Maybe we can help prospective homebrewers understand what it takes to get started. Here we go. To brew beer from extract and using the partial boil method I used the following;
  • large stainless steel pot (thin metal)
  • hydrometer
  • stick on fermometer
  • plastic fermentation bucket
  • airlock
  • plastic bottling bucket
  • racking cane
  • tubing
  • cloth grain bag
  • bottle caps
  • bottles
  • capper
  • one step sanitizer
  • Brewers Best Altbier kit (extract, grains, yeast, hops)
  • homebrewing pamplet
  • The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, Charlie Papazian
  • some ice
  • a sink

What did you use? Was yours similar? Anybody use less equipment? Anybody start with one of those amazing brewing sculptures?


Jason said...

my first set up was a begginers brew kit and a 5 gallon stainless steel kettle from walmart. I upgraded right away from the plastic bucket fermenter to a glass carboy for only $15 more. not bad.

Now, I'm all grain on with a rubbermaid cooler/mash tun, a 10 gallon blickman boilermaker kettle, outdoor burner, 3 glass carboys, 5 soda kegs, blickman beer gun for bottling, and looking for more everyday.

Charlie P said...

A plastic trash can, a can opener, thermometer, bottlecapper. No need for a wooden spoon - I used my hands up to my armpit to stir the extract sugar brew. Don't do that any more

Adam said...

Charlie P.,

Up to you're armpit? Yikes!


Did you you use Charlie P's book? I hear the first recipe is called Toad Pit stout or something like that ;-)

Andrew said...

Still a beginner, but using the same basic setup described in the post but with glass 5 and 6.5 gallon carboys. I like it due to the fact it is a step above the super basic kit that would leave you wanting to upgrade after your first or second batch.

Brian said...

man..I have not thought of this for a while..interesting how it all started.

My sister bought me a extract kit to brew a stout (thanks to my wife who told her what she thought I would enjoy doing-brewing beer...may did I ever marry the right one!)

So my first equipment consited of a kit for a stout (which I traveled back to Chicago with via an airline from Baltimore..as a carry on!). The following weekend I went and bought a 3 gallon pot and somehow managed to crank out a halfway decent homebrew my first time out (Colts beat the Broncos that day by the way..I can still remember being frustrated as hell over figuring out this brewing process AND watching Peyton Manning dissect my Broncos).

To this day January is my heaviest brew month ;)

Awesome question by the way. Cheers, Brian

krawdizz said...

I used a cheapy stock pot from Target, a couple of 5 gallon glass carboys (one primary and one secondary), hydrometer, thermometer, racking cane and some tubes. I've been brewing for just over a year and am definitely itching to make the jump to allgrain.

Mike said...

Mr. Beer. All grain now.

matthew said...

My first setup was a 4-gallon enameled brew pot, 6-gallon ale pail, 6-gallon glass carboy, and all of the usual accouterments (hydrometer, thermometer, hand-capper, siphon, etc.). Seven batches later, all I've changed is the addition of a 3-gallon carboy for aging small batches and an ale-pail with a spigot for bottling.