Posted on

First Timer Checklist

An Equipment List for Beginning Brewers

“What do I need to get started?” Start-up costs will depend on what you already have and how elaborate you want to get.



Allows CO2 to escape from your primary and secondary fermenter. Several styles are available. They are filled halfway with water to prevent contamination from the outside atmosphere.


Boiling Pot

Must be able to comfortably hold a minimum of 3 gallons; bigger is better.



You will need 48 12oz bottles for a typical 5 gallon batch. 30 of the larger 22oz bottles may be used to reduce capping time. Grolsch, growler and 1 gallon jugs are also available.


Bottle Capper

Two styles are available: hand cappers and bench cappers. Bench cappers are more versatile and are needed for the champagne bottles, but are more expensive.


Bottle Caps

Oxygen absorbing crown caps are available in various colors.


Bottle Brush

A long handled nylon bristle brush is necessary for the first, hard-core cleaning of used bottles.



The 6 gallon food-grade plastic pail is recommended for beginners. These are very easy to work with. Glass and plastic carboys are also available, in 3, 5, 6 and 6.5 gallon sizes.


Measuring Cup

The quart-size or larger measuring cup will quickly become one of your most invaluable tools for brewing.



Available in several configurations, usually consisting of clear plastic tubing with a racking cane and optional bottle filler.


Bottle Filler

Rigid plastic tube with a spring loaded valve at the tip for filling bottles. (Spigots are also available for use with bottling buckets – see optional equipment list.)


Stirring Paddle

Food grade plastic paddle or spoon for stirring the wort during boiling.



Obtain a thermometer that can be safely immersed in the wort and has a range of at least 40°F to 180°F.


Easy Clean

This oxygen-based cleaner is safe to use on all equipment. Mix 1 tablespoon in 1 gallon of warm water.


 Optional but Highly Recommended


secondaryfermetnerSecondary Fermenter

A 5 gallon glass or PET carboy used for secondary fermentation. Allows for clearer beer with less sediment in the bottle. Required for many ingredient kits. (Requires use of an bung or stopper)


Bottling Bucket

A 6 gallon food-grade plastic pail with attached spigot and fill-tube. The finished beer is racked into this for priming prior to bottling. Racking into the bottling bucket allows clearer beer with less sediment in the bottle. The spigot is used instead of the bottle filler, allowing greater control of the fill level and no hassles with a siphon during bottling.



A hydrometer measures the relative specific gravity between pure water and water with sugar dissolved in it by how high it floats when immersed. The hydrometer is used to gauge the fermentation progress by measuring one aspect of it, attenuation. Hydrometers are necessary when making beer from scratch (all-grain brewing) or when designing recipes. The first-time brewer using known quantities of extracts usually does not need one, but it can be a useful tool.


Dual Scale Liquid Crystal Thermometer

A thin, black strip with adhesive backing. Affix the thermometer onto the outside of your primary fermenter to monitor fermentation temperatures