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Homebrewing part 2 – Materials needed for homebrewing

Beer_Nov21_ALast week we took a brief look at the home brewing industry in Thailand along with some barriers to entry. As we noted, it is actually illegal to brew beer, or any spirit for that matter, here in Thailand. That being said, the fines for brewing your own beer are actually quite light and there are people brewing beer at home here in Thailand.

Regardless of whether people brew here or not, there seems to be a fair amount of interest, so over the next few weeks we will be covering how to brew your own beer at home. In an effort to remain legal, we won’t be telling you where to buy ingredients or materials, more covering the ideas and processes.

In this week’s article we will cover the materials one will need for brewing at home, most of which are actually available here in Thailand or can be found in the region.

What materials will you need for brewing at home?

Despite what many may think, brewing beer at home doesn’t actually require a large amount of equipment. That being said, if you can get your hands on proper brewing equipment, you will be able to brew higher quality beer while also remaining in better control of the process.

Here are the 14 most common tools required in order to be able to brew beer:

  1. A large steel pot – In order to get a good brew going you should have a large steel pot that can hold at least 5 gallons (19 liters). If you can find a bigger pot, you will find it easier to brew.
  2. A large food-safe bucket that can be sealed airtight – In many brewing manuals this is called a fermentation bucket. They are usually 6 to 7 gallons (22 to 26.5 liters) and are made using food-safe plastic.
  3. Optional: Carboy – These are glass containers, usually with a 5 to 7 gallon (19 to 26.5 liter) capacity. Carboys are usually used in a secondary fermentation and are generally viewed to be superior to buckets because they are easier to keep clean and control the process.
  4. An airlock and rubber stopper – These are essential to the brewing process, as they allow carbon dioxide to escape during fermentation while ensuring air – which will ruin the beer – will not get into the fermenter. In other words, they help keep the fermenter from exploding! The stopper is meant to fit into the lid of the fermenter and allow the airlock to work.
  5. Funnel – Moving the beer from the boiling pot into the fermenter can be tricky, especially if you are using a glass carboy. Therefore, a funnel will is essential, because it will help ensure that the liquid can be poured cleanly. The best funnels are at least 8 inches in diameter and are used only for brewing because they are hard to keep clean and sanitary.
  6. Pyrex measuring cup – Measuring cups help during the boiling process, and a Pyrex cup is best because they won’t melt when holding boiling water and they also don’t carry tastes from other ingredients. A measuring cup that can hold at least 1 liter is recommended.
  7. Large stirring spoon – While boiling, you will need to mix and stir ingredients. And, because you are using a large pot, you will need a large spoon!
  8. Siphon – A siphon kit helps move liquid from the fermenter into either the bottling bucket, or into the bottles themselves. They are usually made of what’s called a racking cane which fits into the bucket or carboy and allows the beer to flow from the bottom. Most kits also include some form of plastic tubing and maybe even a bottle filler which is a long metal tube with a spring that allows users to control the flow out of the fermenter into the bottles.
  9. Optional: Bottling bucket – In an effort to make bottling easier, some people will buy a bottling bucket which is usually a plastic bucket with a spigot at the bottom and a tube you can connect. You can use it to easily fill bottles, without the need of a siphon.
  10. Plastic tubing – If you are going to siphon beer, you will need clear plastic or vinyl tubing that is food safe, as non-food safe tubing could leach chemicals into the beer. Most home brewers will go with a tube that is about 6 feet (1.8 meters) long and ⅜” (0.95 cm) diameter.
  11. Thermometer – Brewing is a science, and during the billing process you will need to ensure a constant temperature. A thermometer will be essential to helping brew your beer.
  12. Bottles and bottle caps – Of course, you are brewing beer and will need somewhere to put it. This usually means bottles which will need to be capped. A normal batch of beer will usually result in around 54 beers of around 350 ml of beer. Most brewers will purchase more than 54 incase yield is over.
  13. Bottle capper – This device takes the caps and crimps them onto the bottles, sealing them.
  14. Cleaning and sanitizing solutions – As we stated above, brewing beer is a science, and you will need to ensure strict standards while brewing in order to make great beer. This means sanitizing and cleaning everything. If there is dirt or dust on something, there is a high chance that the beer will spoil.

If you can get a hold of these materials, you will be ready to begin brewing at home. Of course, brewing is still illegal in Thailand, so we can’t legally tell you where to find the materials. That being said, a quick Internet search will usually return more than a few options and ways to source the materials.

Stay tuned, because next week we will look into the ingredients needed to brew beer at home!

Wish of the week
Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
Stout is one of those types of beer that really takes a bit of time to come to love. At first thought, many think that chocolate may not be the best thing to put into beer. Well, in truth, it makes for some pretty awesome beer! Sure, some beers that claim to be chocolate stouts don’t actually have chocolate in them – instead having a dark roasted malt that gives the beer a chocolaty taste. This beer actually has chocolate in it, and you can tell – it’s a chocolate lover’s dream! Give it a try today.

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