Materials You Will Need
Steriliser – For many years I used Brupaks Bruclean, which is a cleaner as well as a steriliser. In recent times though I’ve come to prefer the ease of a ‘no rinse’ steriliser, Sodium Percarbonate. It saves time, work and water.
Grain, hops and yeast – as we’ll see on this page there are many different types of grain, hops and yeast. Fortunately recipes always stipulate the exact types and amounts of ingredients you'll need.
Yeast Nutrient – this gives the yeast cells something extra to devour in addition to the sugars in your wort. Many brewers don’t bother with this as there is more than enough sugar in the wort for the yeast to do well. I use it because I want a healthy robust yeast colony to develop quickly in my wort and this is a good way of ensuring that happens. It’s cheap, one container lasts a very long time, and it helps to get the initial fermentation off to a rattling good start. Whether you use it, naturally, is up to you.
Finings – many beers are brewed to be deliberately cloudy but for those beers that are supposed to be clear, you’ll need to use finings. For a long time now I have used Protafloc. I’m told Protafloc is used in Carlsberg lager – and I’m willing to bet you’ve never seen a pint of cloudy Carlsberg, so it must be good! It is made from red seaweed as opposed to the more traditional Isinglass which is made from the swimbladders of tiny fish. So beer fined with Protafloc will find favour with vegetarians and vegans.
Brewing Sugar- it’s used in some recipes and is a vital part of the bottling procedure. Some brewers don’t bother buying Brewing Sugar and use ordinary granulated sugar instead. However brewing sugar is Dextrose Monohydrate, which has one molecule of glucose. Ordinary granulated sugar has two molecules of sugar, being a Di-saccahide. All of which means that fermentation using Brewing Sugar will begin more quickly and the beer will be crisper and cleaner than if you use granulated sugar.
Water Treatment Chemicals- You'll see on the 'Water Treatment' page that I recommend you send off a sample of your tap water to a laboratory for analysis. The laboratory will tell you what you need to add to your water depending on what style of beer you want to make. Your shopping list of chemicals may well differ from mine, but just to give an example the list of chemicals I need to add to my water is:
All styles - Campden Tablets;
IPAs, Bitters and Ales - Carbonate Reducing Solution and Dry Liquor Salts;
Lagers and Pilsners - Lactic Acid, Calcium Chloride Flake and Calcium Sulphate;
Stouts and Porters - Calcium Chloride Flake, Calcium Sulphate and Salt.
All of these (apart from salt, obviously!) are available from an online homebrew supplier.