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Components of Home Beer Brewing

Components of Home Beer Brewing

For a successful brew, you’ll need – lots of patience, a good recipe, quality ingredients and reliable equipment – Mashing Tools, Wort boiling equipment, Fermentation equipment, Bottling equipment – everything you’d need.

Home Beer brewing involves 4 major steps of malting, mashing, boiling and fermenting. Each step in this process requires a set of unique equipment and tools.

This article aims to give you a complete understanding of large and small utensils as well as accessories that will be needed. So you’ll have a handy guide for your purchase before starting off.


Malting: How to malt your grains and what happens during malting
Malting is the preparation of the grain (mostly barley but wheat, corn, etc., may also be used) to germinate and once it begins, carefully halting this process by drying it out. This is the stage where your grain starch and protein is modified and ready with activated enzymes for the next step.

The grain is thoroughly washed to remove dirt and chaff. Soak in water for about 8 hours. Drain the water and rest it in a cool place. Soak again in water for about 8 hours. At this point, tiny hair-like roots will appear.
Move the wet grain to a cool place for germination which takes about 4-6 days. The grains are kept cool and slightly moist with regular turning around for aeration. The grain modification is complete when the shoot is about 3/4th the grain length.
The grain is now dried at a slightly elevated temperature with enough air flow for 4-6 hrs. This is now roasted at high temperatures (“kilning”) to develop the desired colour and flavour. 

All these steps are carried out at precise temperatures over an extended period of time depending on the kind of beer you are making.

Equipment needed for Malting:

  • Food dehydrator is useful for drying the grain.
  • Kitchen oven or a large roasting pan for kilning
  • Thermometer for reading and setting temperature
  • Weighing apparatus comes handy to measure grain weight and deduce the moisture content at various stages.


Mashing: How to extract the best out of the malt and things to keep in mind while mashing
Mashing involves soaking malted grain in hot water and using the grain enzymes to convert the modified starch and protein into soluble sugars.
These sugars dissolved in water becomes the wort that is converted into alcohol by the yeast.

Mix the malted grain with hot water (165–167 °F (74–75 °C)) to rehydrate and activate the many enzymes that will yield the sweet wort from the complex starch-protein structure.
We apply different temperatures to the mash that are ideal for breaking down the different parts of the starchy endosperm – determined by the enzyme acting here. This is filled by resting periods (involves holding the temperature) to complete the process before moving to the next step in mashing.

Typical temperature ranges we are interested in are:

  • Proteases – 35°C–45°C (95°F–113°F) act on the protein matrix holding the starch granules. 
  • Glucanases – 45°C–55°C (113°F–131°F) and break down the hemicelluloses gums
  • Amylases break down the starch granules and work best at 61°C–67°C (141.8°F–152.6°F).

Now separate the sweet wort from the grain. Best is to transfer the wort into the boil kettle since it is the next step.

Mashing Tools required:

  • Mash tun – a large container to carry out grain mashing. You will require about 7 gallon for a 5 Gal brew batch. If the mash tun is heatable, directly use a heat burner to raise the wort temperature. If it is not, add hot water till you reach the desired temperature.
    It is best to insulate the mash tun to avoid heat loss.
  • Grain steeping bag – A porous bag to hold grains. Place this inside the mash tun and carry on with the procedure. You’ll understand its utility at the end when it becomes super easy to separate the grain and the wort. Simply lift the bag and drain all the liquid into the tun.
  • Mash paddle – A long Stainless steel or Plastic paddle to mix, break lumps and enable grain mashing.
  • False bottom – A curved perforated stainless steel plate to hold the grain down at the bottom of the mash tun. The small holes allow the liquid to pass through easily while restricting the grains. This is another way of segregating grain from the wort. False bottoms also keep the grain from entering and blocking the mash tun outlet during wort transfer.
  • Thermometer for setting up and holding precise temperatures.


Boiling: When is it best to add hops and how long should you boil your wort
Rolling boiling the wort for about 60 minutes is a standard step for most recipes. There can be a few outliers that need a little more or less of the boiling duration.
It helps to understand what happens while the wort is boiling.

Boiling at those high temperatures sterilizes the wort completely. Take care to use only sanitized equipment after this step to not let contamination ruin your batch.
Hops are also added during boiling. It is the best way to extract its aroma, flavour and the bitterness that balances the wort sweetness and imparts character.
Enzymes are deactivated and protein-tannins complex cluster and precipitate to the bottom, leaving a clearer wort.

Must have wort boiling equipment:

  • Kettle/Brew pot – A stainless steel huge vessel that can be heated. This is placed directly on the burner and should be able to withstand high and direct heat.
    A good brew pot is a lifelong investment. Also consider getting a bigger size since wort is prone to bubbling and rising and you can also go for larger batches in future.
    A ball lock valve outlet makes it easy to transfer wort for fermentation. It can be a short DIY project using Kettle conversion kits.
  • Hop accessories – Straining bags or Bazooka screens keep the hops together without additional efforts to separate them from the wort later. The bags and screens are highly porous so they won’t impact the bitterness and flavour infusion you are looking for.
    Hang the hop straining bag from a Hop spider to keep them right at the center.
  • Thermometer – the good old friend now.
  • Wort chiller – A copper or stainless steel coil to quickly cool down the hot wort. Immerse the coil completely into the wort after removing the heat. Connect the inlet to a cool water supply and leave it turned on throughout. Let the hot/warm water from the outlet drain away.


Fermenting: What happens during fermentation, how does yeast make beer and how to know when the beer fermentation is complete
Fermentation is the step where the actual alcohol is produced. Yeast is added to the cooled down wort (“pitching”) and our active involvement stops here and nature takes over to present its magic.

Yeast digests the wort sugars and releases ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide as by-products. They also reproduce and increase their numbers and activity – quickly consuming all the sugar. You measure the activity and alcohol content by taking note of the specific gravity readings.

For the process, pitch brewing yeast in a sanitized large fermenter and transfer cooled down wort into it. Shake up or stir a bit to aerate and the oxygen to mix up into the wort.
Place it in a warm place (set the temperature according to the yeast strain for its optimal activity) and away from direct light. Seal the mouth of the fermenter with a stopper or bung and insert an air-lock.
Now it’s time to leave it undisturbed for about 2 weeks. 

You’ll notice bubbling and frothing – this is the active yeast phase. This will soon settle and the beer enters the conditioning phase where it’s flavours blend and mature. 

Fermentation equipment for homebrewers:

  • Conical fermenters, Carboys, Fermenting bucket – a lot of choices here for the fermenting vessel. In terms of shapes, sizes as well as materials. Consider ease of moving and cleaning, longevity and sophistication while weighing your options.  
  • Rubber stopper and Air-lock – After the initial aeration, Oxygen becomes an enemy to the fermentation process and hence the need to air seal the fermenter. Best way is through rubber stoppers and bungs.
    Insert Airlocks through which the CO2 can escape but air cannot enter in.
  • Hydrometer and Testing jar – Note specific gravity reading through hydrometers by taking small beer samples in testing jars. Take one at the beginning of the fermentation and then at the end. The difference gives the Alcohol by Volume (ABV) of your beer.
  • Thermometer strip – The stick-on easy to use thermometer is a quick way to know whether you are in the temperature range recommended for fermentation or not.


Bottling: How to bottle your beer easily and how to get the right amount of Fizz in your homebrewed beer
At the end of fermentation, you are ready to bottle your beer and store it till you need. Bottling will keep your beer fresh until you open. Adding priming sugar before bottling gets the much needed fizz or carbonation we associate with beer. 

So, when should you bottle your brew? After 2 weeks of fermentation, keep checking the specific gravity reading of the beer. If the fermentation is complete, you get constant valves. When you get the same readings over 3 days, you are good to move on to bottling.

Before you begin, make sure all the equipment you’ll be using, including bottles and bottle caps, are cleaned and sanitized. 

Prepare priming sugar solution according to your batch size and add it to the bottling bucket.
Slowly siphon the beer from fermenter to the bucket with a racking cane and hose, without disturbing the bottom sediment. The trub that has settled is a mixture of dead yeast, hops and grain residues.
Easiest way to fill is using a hand held bottle filler attachment. Carefully seal the mouth with the capper. The small amounts of yeast present will feed on the sugar just added and release CO2 which is the resulting fizz you enjoy. After 2-3 days of activity, your bottled beer is ready to chill and consume.


Bottling equipment required:

  • Bottling bucket – Take a bucket with the same capacity as your fermenter. Helps mixing clear beer and priming sugar before bottling.
  • Racking cane, Siphon Hose – Used together to transfer beer from the fermenter. Racking cane is a plastic tube with a curved end (which goes into the beer) and the hose is attached to its straight end to form the channel. Drop the free end of the hose into the bottling bucket once the beer has filled up the column. (The hose should first fill up with water and then attached to the racking cane and create a suction for the beer to be drawn)
  • Bottle filler – Simple and convenient device to transfer from bottling bucket to bottles.
  • Kegs, Growlers, Bottles – Use any of these to suit your style. You may also reuse them from a previous batch after thorough cleaning and sanitization.
  • Caps and Bottling Capper – Seal the cap in position over the bottle mouth to keep the beer fresh and CO2 within the bottle.


Wow! We’ve successfully reached the end of it. We are sure this long drawn process has tired you, but there is nothing like enjoying a chilled beer that you made all by yourself. It is an accomplishment that deserves a pat on the back and a celebration.
We are with you in this journey with the best of Homebrewing equipment, a complete understanding of the process and excitement to help and support you all along.

Let the party begin!