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In order to make homebrew, you need equipment.

 

We recommend High Gravity for your homebrewing supplies.  They have everything you need to get started.  Their “Build Your Own Homebrew Starter Kit” lets you select everything you need from one page.

 

There are basic pieces of homebrew equipment needed regardless of what brewing method you decided to use.

 

Single Stage Fermentation

 

The following is a list of what is typically used for a single stage fermentation. Single stage fermentation simply means that you are allowing the beer to completely ferment in a single vessel, referred to as a primary fermenter, and then the beer is transferred to a bottling bucket to be bottled.

Many brewers use a food grade plastic bucket with at least a 6.5 gallon capacity as the primary fermenter to ferment the wort (unfermented beer).

A lid with a grometted hole and airlock is used to seal the fermenting bucket. An airlock is filled halfway with water to allow CO2 to escape while keeping bacteria and oxygen away from the beer.

 

 

 

The bottling Bucket has a spigot and is used for bottling your beer once it has finished fermenting. On bottling day, priming sugar (also called corn sugar and dextrose) is mixed with a small amount of water, dissolved on the stove and then is added to the bottling bucket. The beer is then siphoned into the the bottling bucket, allowing the priming sugar to mix with the beer.


Once the beer has been transferred to the bottling bucket, it is immediately bottled using the bottle filler. The bottle filler attaches to the tubing that is attached to the spigot and has a valve on the tip. The valve releases the beer into the bottle when pressed on the bottom of the bottle. Fill the beer to the very top of the bottle and remove bottle filler. The filler displaces the exact amount of air space needed to carbonate your beer. It is a very handy tool.

The hydrometer allows you to take gravity readings that help determine the alcohol level of your beer and more importantly, it allows you to follow the progress of your fermenting beer to ensure it is working and to let you know when it is ready to bottle.

 

 

Racking CaneThe racking cane allows you to transfer your wort from one vessel to another. It is made of hard plastic and is shaped like a cane. The end of the cane has an anti-sediment tip that draws liquid from above so that sediment can be avoided while transferring. Tubing attaches to the racking cane and should reach to the bottom of the vessel you are transferring to so that it dos not splash and introduce unwanted oxygen into the beer.

 

 

Sanitizer is used to to sanitize and your equipment.  It is critical that anything that is coming in contact with the wort has been boiled is sanitized to prevent spoilage of the beer.
Other helpful but not entirely critical pieces of equipment would be a bottle brush to clean bottles and adhesive thermometers that can be attached to the outside of the fermenting buckets to monitor the temperature of the fermenting beer.

 

 

2-Stage Fermentation

 

Secondary Fermenter - CarboyMany brewers do what is referred to as 2-stage fermentation. In a 2-stage fermentation setup, the wort is transferred to a second vessel after 4-7 days in the primary fermenter.  The secondary fermenter is usually a 5-6 gallon glass or plastic water bottle, referred to as a carboy.

 

Performing a 2-stage fermentation has two main benefits.

 

First, it allows you to get your beer off the trub ( the material, along with hop debris and yeast that has fallen to the bottom of the primary fermenter). These materials can autolyze (breakdown)  can and cause off-flavors.

 

Second, transferring the beer into a secondary fermenter breaks the surface tension of the liquid. This allows the particulates that were in suspension to break lose and drop out much faster.  This results in a clearer beer with less sediment in the conditioned bottle.

 

 

Build Your Own Homebrew Starter Kit

Build our Own Homebrew KitCustomize your equipment kit to fit YOUR needs.High Gravity’s Build Your Own Starter Homebrewing Kit starts out with the basic pieces of equipment needed to make your own world class beer, then lets you add additional items that will enhance your homebrewing experience.You can even pick out your fist batch of homebrew, all from one convenient page!
 
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No-boil Homebrew Beer KitNo-boil beer kits are an easy-to-make beer.  They are great for homebrewers that want their first brewing session to be simple so they can build their confidence before attempting more complicated brewing methods.  They are also great for those that want a simple approach that allows them to make their beers fast and easily without any fuss.

No-boil kits come in many styles, from light American to Irish stouts.  Most no-boil kits require additional malt in order to make the batch of beer, but some such as the Muntons Highland Heavy Ale kits have all the malt that you need.  The product details will let you know if additional malt is required.  Yeast is included in with the no-boil kits.

To brew a no-boil kit, you will need a pot that can hold 3 gallons of water.  Follow the basic steps below to make a great tasting beer!  Click here to view a visual guide to brewing your first no-boil kit.

1.  Sanitize your fermenting bucket, lid & airlock.

2.  Heat 2-3 gallons of water to a boil and turn off the heat.

3.  Stir in the malt from the no-boil kit and the additional malt if required.  Stir till the malt has dissolved and let sit for 15 minutes to ensure that all unwanted micro-organisms are killed.

4.  Cool the wort (wort is what we call unfermented beer) as quickly as possible.  Placing the brewpot is a sink full of ice water is very effective.  Once the wort is cooled to at least 80° (70° is better) pour it into the sanitized fermenting bucket.  Add cold water to bring to the desired volume.  Most no-boil kits make 6 gallons of beer (58-60 12oz bottles).  Be sure to let the wort splash as you pour to help oxygenate the wort.

5.  Open the yeast and sprinkle on the top of the wort.  There is no need to rehydrate the yeast or to stir.  The yeast will rehydrate as it sinks into wort.

6.  Place the lid on the fermenting bucket and fill the airlock halfway with water and insert it into the grommet on the lid.  You should start seeing activity in you airlock with 12 to 48 hours.  This lets you know that your beer has started fermenting.  Be sure to ferment at room temperature, between 65° and 72°.
As the beer continues to ferment, the airlock will start showing less and less activity, indicating that the yeast is nearing completion of the fermentation process.  The beer is usually finished fermenting in about a week.

7.  Once the airlock show no activity for a few days, you are ready to bottle.  You will need to sanitize your bottling bucket, racking tube, tubing. bottle filler and bottles.  The bottles are easiest to sanitize in the dishwasher using the heated dry cycle.  If you do not want to use the dishwasher, a bottle tree is recommended to allow the bottle to drain and dry.

8.  At bottling time, a small amount of corn sugar (also called bottling or priming sugar) is added to the beer in order to give the yeast enough food to carbonate your beer in the bottle.  For a 6 gallon batch you will need to dissolve 1 cup of corn sugar in about a cup of water on the stove.  Let it boil for a few minutes to kill any bacteria that may be present.  Cool 5 minutes and pour the corn sugar into the bottling bucket.

9.  Using the racking cane and tubing, transfer the beer from the fermenting bucket to the bottling bucket.  The bottling sugar will mix with the beer as it is transferred.  (To start a siphon, the fermenting bucket must be elevated above the bottling bucket.  Fill the racking cane and tubing with water placing your thumb on the end of the tubing.  Insert the racking cane into the fermenting bucket, being careful not to disturb the sediment at the bottom of the bucket.  Place the other end of the tubing into the bottling bucket and remove your thumb from the tubing.  The gravity will start the siphon and will start the transfer of your beer.)

10.  Remove the tubing from the racking cane and place it on the spigot that is on the bottling bucket.  Attach the bottle filler to the other end of the tubing.  The bottle filler has a valve that allows you to fill your bottles without having to stop the flow of beer from bottle to bottle.  Open the spigot and place the bottle filler in the beer bottle.  Press the filler on the bottom of the bottle to start the flow of beer.  Fill the bottles till the beer is about to overflow.  When you remove the filler, the amount of volume that is displaced is the proper amount that you need to ensure your beer will carbonate properly.

11.  Cap the beer with bottle caps that have been boiled for a few minutes on the stove.

That’s all there is to it!  Keep your beer stored in a dark space at room temperature for 2 weeks.  Before placing all of them in the fridge, cool one down and make sure that the carbonation is satisfactory.  If it is, start drinking!  If not, let sit another week or so and test again.

Beer will continue to improve for several weeks so if you can muster the willpower, wait a month or two and you will be rewarded.

No-Boil Ingredient Kits

No-Boil Ingredient Kits

 
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Brewer's Best Homebrew Ingredient KitsExtract kits with specialty grains takes homebrewers to the next level.  Instead of using a canned kit that is already pre-hopped and infused with the grains that make that style of the beer, extract kits come with unhopped malt extract, hops and specialty grains.  Many homebrewers consider this the best way to make beer as it doesn’t require a great amount of time, yet making the beer is more fun and challenging.  With extract kits, homebrewers get to really cook the beer.

Extract kits with specialty grains come in many styles, from light American to Irish stouts.  Because every style of beer has it’s own hops and hopping schedule, each kit has its own set of instructions.

Specialty grains add flavor and color to beer.  They come in a wide range of flavors and colors.  The more common ones being crystal malts and dark malts such as chocolate and black patent.  Every style of beer has it’s own combination of specialty grains, which are steeped at a particular temperature before bringing the water to a boil.  Specialty grains must be crushed prior to steeping.

To brew an extract kit with specialty grains, you will need a pot that can hold 3 gallons of water.  Follow the basic steps below to make a great tasting beer!

Click here to view a visual guide to brewing your first extract with grains kit.

1.  If your kit came with a Wyeast liquid yeast, remove it from the fridge and activate it by breaking the nutrient bag that is inside the package.  Try to do this 3-5 hours before you pitch your yeast.

2.  Sanitize your fermenting bucket, lid & airlock.

3.  Heat 2-3 gallons of water to the temperature specified in the instruction, usually 150°-160°.  Place the specialty grains in the muslin bag that is provided in the kit and steep for 30-45 minutes, depending on the recipe.  Remove the grains and bring the water to a boil.

4.  Stir in the unhopped malt and stir to dissolve.  Bring back to a boil.

5.  Add hops according to the hopping schedule.  If the kit came with a hop bag, place the hops in the bag.  It will help reduce the amount of sludge that is created.  Hops are generally considered bittering, flavoring or finishing/aroma hops.  They can be the same variety of hop but the amount of time they are boiled determines what kind of hop they are to the recipe.  Bittering hops tend to be added at the beginning of the boil.  Flavoring hops are added when there is 15 to 30 minutes left in the boil and finishing/aroma hops are added at the end of the boil.

6.  Cool the wort (wort is what we call unfermented beer) as quickly as possible.  Placing the brewpot is a sink full of ice water is very effective.  Once the wort is cooled to at least 90° (80° is better) pour it into the sanitized fermenting bucket.  Add cold water to bring to the desired volume.  Most extract kits make 5 gallons of beer (48-50 12oz bottles).  Be sure to let the wort splash as you pour to help oxygenate the wort.

7.  If you have dry yeast, open the yeast packet and sprinkle on the top of the wort.  There is no need to rehydrate the yeast or to stir.  The yeast will rehydrate as it sinks into wort.  If you have a liquid yeast, gently shake the package and open carefully.  Pour intot he wort.  There is no need to stir.

8.  Place the lid on the fermenting bucket and fill the airlock halfway with water and insert it into the grommet on the lid.  You should start seeing activity in you airlock with 12 to 48 hours.  This lets you know that your beer has started fermenting.  Be sure to ferment at room temperature, between 65° and 72°.  As the beer continues to ferment, the airlock will start showing less and less activity, indicating that the yeast is nearing completion of the fermentation process.  The beer is usually finished fermenting in about a week.

9.  Once the airlock show now activity for a few days, you are ready to bottle.  You will need to sanitize your bottling bucket, racking tube, tubing. bottle filler and bottles.  The bottles are easiest to sanitize in the dishwasher using the heated dry cycle.  If you do not want to use the dishwasher, a bottle tree is recommended to allow the bottle to drain and dry.

10.  At bottling time, a small amount of corn sugar (also called bottling or priming sugar) is added to the beer in order to give the yeast enough food to carbonate your beer in the bottle.  For a 5 gallon batch you will need to dissolve 3/4 cup of corn sugar in about a cup of water on the stove.  Let it boil for a few minutes to kill any bacteria that may be present.  Cool 5 minutes and pour the corn sugar into the bottling bucket.

11.  Using the racking cane and tubing, transfer the beer from the fermenting bucket to the bottling bucket.  The bottling sugar will mix with the beer as it is transferred.  (To start a siphon, the fermenting bucket must be elevated above the bottling bucket.  Fill the racking cane and tubing with water placing your thumb on the end of the tubing.  Insert the racking cane into the fermenting bucket, being careful not to disturb the sediment at the bottom of the bucket.  Place the other end of the tubing into the bottling bucket and remove your thumb from the tubing.  The gravity will start the siphon and will start the transfer of your beer.)

12.  Remove the tubing from the racking cane and place it on the spigot that is on the bottling bucket.  Attach the bottle filler to the other end of the tubing.  The bottle filler has a valve that allows you to fill your bottles without having to stop the flow of beer from bottle to bottle.  Open the spigot and place the bottle filler in the beer bottle.  Press the filler on the bottom of the bottle to start the flow of beer.  Fill the bottles till the beer is about to overflow.  When you remove the filler, the amount of volume that is displaced is the proper amount that you need to ensure your beer will carbonate properly.

13.  Cap the beer with bottle caps that have been boiled for a few minutes on the stove.

That’s all there is to it!  Keep your beer stored in a dark space at room temperature for 2 weeks.  Before placing all of them in the fridge, cool one down and make sure that the carbonation is satisfactory.  If it is, start drinking!  If not, let sit another week or so and test again.

Beer will continue to improve for several weeks so if you can muster the willpower, wait a month or two and you will be rewarded.

Brewers Best Ingredient Kits
Brewers Best Ingredient Kits
High Gravity's Ingredient Kits
High Gravity’s Ingredient Kits
 
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There are two basic options to packaging beer, bottling and kegging. There are pros and cons to both. Bottling is fairly time consuming but is inexpensive. Kegging requires an initial investment in equipment but saves time.

Bottling

BottlesThere are a variety of bottles that you can use to bottle your beer, the least expensive being used commercial bottles. Commercial bottles can’t be twist off and require up front work of removing labels and cleaning but they are essentially free! Brown bottles are better because they block UV light which breaks down the hop oils in your beer and gives it a “skunky” smell.

 A typical 5-gallon batch will make 48 12 oz bottles of beer. You can reduce the workload by using larger bottles. Here is a break down of bottle sizes and the approximate number needed to bottle 5 gallons:

Cleaning bottles is the worst part about bottling but with proper habits, you can make this less of a chore. If you wait till bottling day to try and clean your bottles, you will not be a happy homebrewer! By rinsing your bottles with very hot water immediately after they are empty, then “fur” will never get a chance to grow. Storing your bottles upside down also help keep them dry and ready for sanitizing on bottling day.

There are many ways to sanitize bottles, the easiest being the dishwasher. Washing them using the heated dry cycle is sufficient to kill any microorganisms that may be present. If you waited till bottling day to clean your bottles you should use a bottle washer and bottle brush to ensure the bottles are clean before you sanitize them.

If you don’t want to use the dishwasher, a bottle tree is the best way to sanitize and dry your bottles. Rinse the bottles in sanitizer and place on the bottle tree to dry. Our 90 bottle tree can be fitted with a bottle rinser that allows you sanitize and dry in one convenient step.

At bottling time, a small amount of corn sugar (also called bottling or priming sugar) is added to the beer in order to give the yeast enough food to carbonate your beer in the bottle. For a 6-gallon batch you will need to dissolve 1 cup of corn sugar (3/4 cup for a 5-gallon batch) in about a cup of water on the stove. Let it boil for a few minutes to kill any bacteria that may be present. Cool 5 minutes and pour the corn sugar into the bottling bucket.

Using the racking cane and tubing, transfer the beer from the fermenting bucket to the bottling bucket. The bottling sugar will mix with the beer as it is transferred. (To start a siphon, the fermenting bucket must be elevated above the bottling bucket. Fill the racking cane and tubing with water placing your thumb on the end of the tubing. Insert the racking cane into the fermenting bucket, being careful not to disturb the sediment at the bottom of the bucket. Place the other end of the tubing into the bottling bucket and remove your thumb from the tubing. The gravity will start the siphon and will start the transfer of your beer.)

Remove the tubing from the racking cane and place it on the spigot that is on the bottling bucket. Attach the bottle filler to the other end of the tubing. The bottle filler has a valve that allows you to fill your bottles without having to stop the flow of beer from bottle to bottle. Open the spigot and place the bottle filler in the beer bottle. Press the filler on the bottom of the bottle to start the flow of beer. Fill the bottles till the beer is about to overflow. When you remove the filler, the amount of volume that is displaced is the proper amount that you need to ensure your beer will carbonate properly.

Cap the beer with bottle caps that have been boiled for a few minutes on the stove.

Store your beer in a dark space at room temperature for 2 weeks. Before placing all of them in the fridge, cool one down and make sure that the carbonation is satisfactory. If it is, start drinking! If not, let sit another week or so and test again.


Kegging

KeggingThere are several advantages to kegging. The most notable being the ease in cleaning and filling a keg. A 5-gallon batch of beer requires that you deal with 50 or more 12-oz bottles. When kegging you clean and fill just one!

You can also use your kegging system to force carbonate your beer, which simply means carbonating by using the CO2 tank and not using priming sugar. Forced carbonation results in less sediment and a quicker clearing beer. It also guarantees that your beer WILL carbonate, which doesn’t always work when bottling. Kegging is the only way to precisely control the level of carbonation in your beer.

There are drawbacks to kegging your beer. The biggest is cost. You also have to be able to cool your beer. Kegs are generally 25″-27″ tall. Most homebrewers have a dedicated fridge to store their kegs.

When kegging beer, be sure to run sanitizer and then water through the system. Fill the keg with your newly fermented beer and place the cap on it. Attach the CO2and turn it on. Be sure to purge the oxygen by pulling a few times on the relief valve.

The easiest way to carbonate a keg is to leave the CO2 pressure on the beer. The chart below shows the equilibrium pressure for different temperatures and volumes of gas in beers. Find the serving temperature on the right and the volumes of CO2 you desire at the top; where they meet in the table shows the equilibrium pressure (in PSI). 2.1 to 2.3 are typical volumes of CO2 for most beer styles.

Volumes of CO2

Temp. (F) 1.5 1.7 1.9 2.1 2.3 2.5 2.7
40 1.9 3.9 5.8 8.0 10.0 12.3 14.5
45 3.4 5.6 7.9 10.2 12.5 14.9 17.2
50 5.0 7.4 10.0 12.5 15.0 17.6 20.0
55 6.6 9.1 12.1 14.9 17.6 20.3 23.0

The goal when dispensing your beer is to have enough foam to to give it a nice head but not too much foam. Generally, we recommend 6 feet of 3/16″ beer hose to ensure a perfect pour!