Friday, March 28, 2008

Homebrewing: Brew Day

>>Part 4: Brewing your first batchWort ready to be measured with the hydrometer

That day has finally come. You're about to get involved in the most rewarding and addicting hobby I have ever participated in. I've said it once and I'll say it again: be sure to take notes throughout your brew day! This will be very helpful for future batches. I keep all of my recipes and notes in my computer. It's important not to get stressed, and if you do take Brew Guru Charlie Papazian's advice and "Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew"(RDWHAH). Since this your first batch you probably don't have any; your favorite commercial brew will have to do.

Before you start: Sanitizing

  1. Sanitize everything that will touch the beer and is not being boiled (e.g. stock pot lid, 6.5 gallon carboy, funnel, thermometer, hydrometer, lid for stock pot, airlock, and carboy stopper) with Star San (if you use a different non-rinse sanitizer, follow the directions on the packaging), 1 ounce in 5 gallons of water, this water can just be tap water. The best way to do this is to make the batch of sanitizer in your bottling bucket and use it as your sanitizing bucket. note: Star San will vigorously foam up when mixed, this is normal. DO NOT rinse the foam off of or out of your equipment! It will NOT hurt your beer or contribute any off-flavors. The phosphoric acid(foam) in the Star San will simply become nutrient for the yeast.

Adding the malts: Steeping

  1. Add 3 gallons of spring water (the other 3 gallons should be in the refrigerator)to your stock pot, place on the stove, and turn the heat to high. Monitor the temperature every few minutes with your thermometer.

  2. Add your 1lb of Munich Malt and .5lb of Cara-pils malt to your nylon grain bag and tie/draw shut.

  3. When the temperature has reached 155*F add the grain bag to the stock pot and turn your stove to "low". Make sure to agitate the grain bag so that all grain is wet and/or immersed.

  4. Steep the grain for 30 minutes at 155*F. You will need to tweak your stove settings to maintain this temperature. If you cannot maintain precisely 155*F don't worry, just make sure the temperature stays between 150*F and 170*F. If it exceeds 170*F, remove from heat.

  5. While the grain is steeping, set your two 3.3lb cans of liquid malt extract in hot water. This will allow the syrup to more easily flow out of the cans.

  6. When the 30 minutes is up, remove the grain bag from the water. Hold it over the pot by the draw-string and let it drain out into the pot. When liquid stops dripping out of the grain bag, discard your grains and wash out the nylon grain bag for use in a future brew. DO NOT squeeze the grain bag as this can extract unwanted tannins, just let is drip.

Adding the hops: Boiling

  1. Switch the stove to high and begin bringing the water to a boil. As the water is heating up, open your two cans of malt extract. Empty the contents into your 3 gallons of spring water, stirring vigorously. You want to get the extract dissolved in the water to avoid scorching it on the bottom of the stock pot. Note: at no point during the boil should you cover the stock pot with its lid.

  2. When the unfermented beer(wort) has come to a boil, add 1 ounce of Hallertau hop pellets (your bittering hop) and set a timer for 60 minutes.

  3. Monitor the wort every few minutes, making sure it does not scorch or boil over. If it begins to foam over, lower the heat.

  4. With 15 minutes left in the boil add 1/2 ounce of Saaz hop pellets (your flavor hop).
  5. With 5 minutes left in the boil add another 1/2 ounce of Saaz hop pellets (your aroma hop).

Removing the heat: Chilling

  1. When the 60 minutes is up, take the stock pot off of the burner and cover with the (sanitized) lid.
  2. Remove the remaining 3 gallons of spring water from the refrigerator. Add this cold water to your stock pot. The amount of water you can add will depend on the size of your stock pot, but do not exceed 5 gallons total. Adding this water back will help cool the wort
  3. Immerse the stock pot in an ice water bath, adding ice as necessary. A sink usually works for this. It is important to cool your sweet wort as fast as possible, as it is very susceptible to infection by bacteria and wild yeast during this phase. For very rapid cooling, consider investing in an immersion cooler (available at homebrew shops listed at the end of the equipment portion).
  4. Periodically use your thermometer to check the temperature of the wort. When it has fallen under 80*F (the time this takes varies wildly depending on the efficiency of your setup) gently pour the cooled wort through your (sanitized)funnel and into your 6.5 gallon sanitized carboy (again, there will probably be some soapy-looking suds on the inside of the carboy, this is normal and will not hurt your beer).

Record keeping and adding the yeast: Measuring and Pitching

  1. Add any remaining spring water to the carboy to reach the 5-gallon mark you made on your carboy during the last homebrewing segment. If you did not make a mark on the carboy previously, add spring water till you have used 5.5 gallons of the 6 gallons total of spring water you purchased. We are doing this step to account for water that has evaporated during the boil.
  2. Sanitize your hand and cover the top of the carboy. Shake the rock the carboy vigorously to mix the water with the wort.
  3. Take a small (~8 ounce) sample of wort from the carboy. There are many ways to do this. The easiest way is to use your auto-siphon. Disassemble the auto-siphon and dip the large tube down in the carboy. Remove the tube from the carboy and pour into a glass. Repeat this 2-3 times and you should have collected enough wort.
  4. Use your hydrometer to take a gravity reading. For this recipe your OG reading should be somewhere between 1.045 and 1.050. The higher the OG, the higher the potential alcohol.
  5. Vigorously shake your White Labs WLP001 California Ale Yeast vial that has been sitting at room temp for 4-6 hours.
  6. Using your re-sanitized funnel, pour the liquid yeast into the carboy.
  7. Re-sanitize your hand and again cover and shake the 6.5 gallon carboy vigorously. We are trying to get as much oxygen as possible dissolved in the wort. Yeast cells require oxygen for healthy growth. note: this is the ONLY TIME the wort/beer should be so vigorously agitated. After fermentation starts, oxygen becomes very BAD for your beer.
  8. Plug the top of your carboy with your rubber stopper and insert the airlock into it (filled 1/2 way with sanitized water). This allows carbon dioxide gas to exit the carboy (preventing pressure build-up and eliminating potential carboy bombs) while preventing beer-spoiling organisms from entering the fermenting beer.

Turning wort into beer: Fermentation

  1. Store the carboy at 67*F-72*F in a dark place away from sunlight. Fermentation should start in 24 hours. The airlock will begin to bubble and a torrent of swirling activity will be observable through the clear glass of the carboy.
  2. Your beer will ferment for the next 7-10 days, this is called "primary fermentation" or sometimes simply "primary". After this period it will be time to "rack"'; to transfer the beer from the primary 6.5 gallon carboy to the secondary 5 gallon carboy for conditioning. This "secondary fermentation" as it is called, allows the "young" flavors of the brew to mellow out and aids in clarity.
Wasn't so hard was it? Next week I'll discuss the process of racking to your secondary carboy. Ask any questions you may have in the comments and I will answer them promptly.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Who owns your beer? Anheuser Bush Edition

Lately the big boys at BMC have been disguising some of their beers. The most common example of this is Blue Moon, which is brewed by Coors. There are many more examples of this in the brewing world. Many of the large breweries are producing beer under different names. What many people do not know is that many import beers are brought into the states and distributed by the American macro breweries. This entry will focus on the largest brewery in the United States and 4th largest in the world:

Founded: 1852
Headquarters: St. Louis, Missouri
Revenue: 15 billion (2006)

Base Brands:

Hurricane and King Cobra: the "homeless-friendly-priced" malt liquors of AB. High in alcohol and quantity per container (often sold in the nefarious 40 ounce bottle, where legal), low in cost. Fun Fact: as a boy I grew up frequenting Busch Gardens. I used to see the King Cobra logo on the scrolling advertisements in the hospitality house. I desperately wanted Dad to sample it but he informed me "that's a malt liquor son."

Natural (including Light and Ice): the quintessential frat-party beer, often affectionately known as "Natty". This is in A-B's "value" line of beers.

Busch (including: Busch, Ice, and Light): another "value" brand of AB. Like Natty above it but with a more "grown up" image. Also: Majestic Rocky Mountains

Budweiser (including: Budweiser, Light, Dry, Ice, Ice Light, and Select): one of AB's "standard" brands. Bud Light is their best-selling beer in America and Budweiser is the best-selling beer in the world, period.

Michelob (including: Ultra, Ultra Amber, Light, Lager, Honey Lager, AmberBock, Porter, Golden Draft, and Golden Draft Light): AB's "premium" line of beers, these generally contain more malt and less adjuncts. Michelob Ultra is the best-seller in this line. Fun Fact: the first "dark" beer I ever drank was AmberBock, it was my beer of choice for many years in college. I like to call it my "gateway beer". I remember how sophisticated and cultured I thought I was because I drank AmberBock rather than the "crappy swill" everyone else was drinking.

Bacardi Malt Beverages: the clear, sweet, beverages designed to appeal to women and underage drinkers. There has been legal debate lately over whether they should have the word "malt" in their title. Only small amounts of the alcohol in these drinks(if any) is malted-barley-derived. Includes: Raz, Watermelon, O3, Mojito, Pomegranate Mojito, Peach, and Strawberry.
Tilt: AB's entry into the energy drink/malt beverage category. Basically a simple beer that has been drenched in corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors, and caffeine.

Beers they brew, but do not directly attach their name to:
Sun Dog Amber Wheat: American-style wheat beer, spring seasonal.
Spring Heat Spiced Wheat/Shock Top Belgian White: started as a seasonal Belgian white-style ale, brewed to compete with Blue Moon.
Winters Bourbon Cask Ale: sweet beer with decent alcohol content, a winter seasonal.
Bare Knuckle Stout: nitro-tap dry Irish-style stout brewed to compete with Guinness.
ZiegenBock: version of Amber Bock brewed exclusively for distribution in Texas.
Wild Blue: 8% abv sweet fruit beer. I have never seen this available for purchase here in Oklahoma.
Landshark Lager: pale lager beer initially available only in Florida, it has since reached wider distribution.
Tarpon Spoon: Bohemian-style pilsner available in Florida.
Lone Palm Ale: amber ale brewed for Margaritaville by AB's Jacksonville brewery.
Aruba Red: amber ale brewed for Bahama Breeze Restaurant Chain
Stonemill Pale Ale: an organic pale ale.

Domestic beers distributed by AB, but not brewed by them:
Redhook beers: started as a small microbrewery in Seattle, WA. Redhook's most well-known beer is their ESB.
Widmer Brothers: one of the first members of the craft brewery revolution, based in Portland, OR. Their most well-known beer is Widmer Hefeweizen, an American-style wheat beer.

Beers imported and distributed(but not brewed) by AB
Bass Pale Ale: an ESB from England. Fun Fact: the Bass logo is the oldest trademark in existence.
Beck's (regular, Light, Dark, Oktoberfest): from North Germany, generally not highly regarded among beer critics. It is not brewed in Bavaria and is not one of the official Oktoberfest breweries. Has typical green bottle skunk syndrome.
Boddington's Pub Ale: a bitter brewed in Manchester. Poured from a nitrogen tap or canned with a nitrogen widget, resulting in a creamy mouthfeel lacking in carbonation. Contrary to popular belief, it is inappropriate to call this beer a "cream ale".
Czechvar: a bohemian pilsner brewed in the Czech Republic. Volumes could be written on this beer alone. In the rest of the world this brew is known as "Budweiser Budvar". Curiously, AB now imports and distributes this beer in the states...and is still actively engaged in lawsuits over their using "Budweiser" in their name.
Grolsch (regular, Amber Ale, Blonde Lager, Light Lager): probably best known for their use of expensive, green, flip-top bottles; these beers are brewed in the Netherlands.
Kirin (Ichiban and Light): Japanese pale lager beers are similar to BMC beer in that it is extremely light in color and often brewed with rice. Kirin Light available in the states is contract-brewed by Molson in Canada. Kirin Brewery is the seventh largest brewery in the world.
Leffe (Blonde and Brune): these Belgian abbey ales(the blonde is a Belgian pale ale while the brune is a dubbel) are not brewed by an actual monastery but are affiliated with Notre Dame de Leffe which receives profits from the sales of these brews.
Löwenbräu: One of the six major Munich breweries at Oktoberfest (albeit the least respected). This green-bottled beer with the blue lion emblem is a Munich Helles-style lager.
Stella Artois: pronounced "Stell-uh Are-twah", this is a pale lager brewed in Belgium. Stella was originally brewed as a seasonal Christmas beer but became a year-round beer due to its popularity. Stella is marketed as a premium brand outside of Belgium (where it is just an everyday common lager beer). This beer is known as the "wife beater" in Britain.
Tennent's Lager: one, if not the, most popular beers in Scotland. This beer is another green-bottled pale lager. Not-so-fun Fact: I had a hard time finding traditional Scottish ales while visiting Edinburgh. This beer, however, was everywhere.

Brewery bought out by AB:
Rolling Rock(Extra Pale and Green Light): this brewery was acquired by AB in 2006.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Homebrewing: Final Prep

Part4: Brewing your first Batch
You're getting very close to brewing your own beer.

Hopefully by now you've invested in some equipment and you have your ingredients. It's tempting to just jump right into brewing, but I do not recommend it. Nothing is worse than being in the middle of a brewing session and realizing that you are not prepared (trust me, I've done it far to many times, sometimes I still do).

The day before you brew:

  • Go back to the equipment article, do you have everything listed there
  • Go back to the ingredient article, what about those? Do you have it all?
  • What about your grain, did you have your local homebrew shop/website crack it for you?
  • And your yeast is in the fridge? If you are using the Wyeast strain of yeast described in the previous homebrewing section, go a head and smack it now (per instructions on the back of the foil pouch). Over the next 24hours the yeast will grow inside the foil pouch, causing it to swell. If you are using the White Labs (preferred) option, see below.
  • What about the six gallons of spring water? You don't have that do you? You're going to need it.
  • Get two bags of ICE and put them in the freezer for brew day. I recommend buying ice from the gas station/grocery store as it's the most convenient way to get a large amount.
  • Make sure you have some sort of timer, you will need it.
  • Tool check: do you have your thermometer? Hydrometer? Funnel? Some sort of long spoon to stir your stockpot with? If your liquid malt extract is in a can, you will also need a can opener of some sort.
  • Helpful tip: note that the recipe calls for 1/2 oz additions of Saaz hops. You will probably get your hop pellets in one ounce increments. You can either eye-ball the pellets and split the 1 oz into two partitions or you may want to invest in a small electronic cooking scale (~$30).
  • Document, document, document! Be sure to take notes on everything you do throughout your brewday. This will be helpful for future brew days.
  • Do you have your non-rinse sanitizer?
  • Helpful tip: Use an empty one-gallon jug or other container to fill your 6.5 gallon carboy with exactly 5 gallons of water. Use a permanent marker and make a line around the carboy to indicate the 5 gallon mark. This will be very useful later on, as you will know EXACTLY how much water to add back into your beer.

6-8 hours before you start brewing:

  • Take 3 gallons of your spring water and put it in the refrigerator.
  • If you are using the White Labs (vial) yeast option, take it out of the refrigerator and allow it to warm up at room temperature. This will begin to get the yeast active, and ready to ferment your beer.
  • Re-read all previous articles and make sure you have a good understanding of your equipment and ingredients. Read the brewday article (coming next week) through multiple times before you actually start brewing.
  • Read the directions on your sanitizer, make sure you understand how to use it. If you are using StanSan (this is what I use) it is 1 ounce of sanitizer per 5 gallons of water. StanSan is non-rinse, it is perfectly normal and healthy to leave a foam behind in your carboy, this will NOT hurt the beer at all.

Less than an hour before brewing:

  • Mix your sanitizer in the 6.5 gallon carboy.
  • Make sure you have set aside at least 5 hours of your time. :)

Next week: Brew Day

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Homebrewing: Ingredients

Two plastic 3.3lb containers of Wheat Liquid Malt Extract (LME)

A) Basic Ingredients
What all goes into a beer*? In the classical, "Reinheitsgebot" definition beer includes the following ingredients:
  1. Water: most beer is 85%-96% water by volume. Some styles of beer use harder water(British ales) while others use very soft water(Pilsners).
    I recommend the use of spring water.

  2. Malted grains: the "body" of beer. Often simply called "malt", these make up the base of the beer and account for alcohol, body, color, and flavor. The chief grain used in most beer is barley, followed by wheat.
    The grain must be crushed before it can be used in beer, ask your local homebrew shop and they will be glad to crush it for you (most online retailers will crush grain for you for free or a nominal charge).

  3. Hops: the "spice" of beer. Hops are used in very small amounts to give beer its characteristic bitterness, flavor, and aroma.
    These are available in whole, pellet, or plug form. I recommend using pellets as they are usually the most available, reliable, fresh, and potent.

  4. Yeast: the "spirit" of beer. Yeasts are small living organisms that consume the sugars in the malt and expend alcohol and carbon dioxide as byproducts. There are two species of yeast: top-fermenting ale yeast and bottom-fermenting lager yeast. Within each species there are various "strains" which give the beer different characteristics. A good analogy is to think of the strains as breeds of dog, all the same species but many different variations.
    Yeast is available to the homebrewer in liquid or dried form. Liquid yeast allow for a broader range of flavors, and I recommend there use. However, liquid yeast must be stored refrigerated, if you do not have a local homebrew supply store nearby I recommend using dried yeast rather than having liquid yeast shipped.
*It's this brewer's opinion that you should never limit yourself to these four ingredients. Brewing is all about trying new things and some beers (many Belgian styles in particular) are nearly impossible to make using only these four ingredients.

B) Basic Brewing Methods
There are also three basic ways to brew beer. This series will be covering the "extract and grain" method which I feel is only moderately more difficult than the "extract only" method and can yield much tastier brews. I have included a mildly-amusing analogy for each method of brewing.
  1. Extract only: this method of brewing involves simply boiling a malt syrup in water. This malt syrup (usually called "malt extract") is essentially concentrated sugar collected from grains. The syrup occasionally already contains dissolved hops ("hopped extract"), but usually you will add your own hops. This method is very simple, but the range of styles you can create using this method is limited.

    Length of your brew day: ~2.5-4 hours
    If you were making a pizza: You would go to the store, buy a frozen pizza, and throw it in the oven. Simple and sweet.

  2. Extract and grain: The bulk of your beer is still a malt syrup but you also use a small amount of grain (usually 1-3lbs for a 5 gallon batch) to add additional flavor, body, color, and aroma characteristics. As with the extract only method, you will most likely want to add your own hops. This method only extends your brewing day by 30-45 minutes and allows you to make a much wider range of styles. It will also result in "fresher" tasting brews.

    Length of your brew day: ~3-4.5 hours
    If you were making a pizza: You would go to the store and buy a frozen pizza. When you got home you'd chop up some of your own fresh toppings, add them to the pizza, and throw it in the oven. Relatively quick while still allowing a level of customization.

  3. All-grain: 100% of your fermentable sugars come from grains, no malt syrups are used. Rather than being simply steeped and removed, your grains will be "mashed" and subsequently "sparged". This method is cheaper and allows for a much greater level of creativity. So what are the downsides? All-grain brewing is more difficult, takes considerably more time (you may have to make a day of it), and requires much more equipment to get started. If you end getting into brewing as much as I have, it's very rewarding to eventually switch over to brewing this way. All commercial breweries make beer using this method (I'm sure there may be an incredibly small percentage that use extract, but that's another matter).

    Length of your brew day: ~5-8+ hours
    If you were making a pizza: You would kneed your out dough from scratch, add your own pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, toppings, etc. Complex but rewarding.
C) Your Recipe
I went through a great amount of debate as to what sort of recipe to use as an example. Everyone has their own preferences, and I did not want to make a beer that would leave a bad taste in the mouth of a first-time brewer. I am only using this recipe as an example for future entries in my homebrewing series. All of the steps used to make this recipe in subsequent articles will be more or less the same for every brew you make.

This recipe will yield a clean and smooth beer that is still relatively flavorful. The beer will be gold in color with a noticeable but not overpowering hop presence. Stylistically, it would probably be considered a cream ale or blonde ale. If you would like a recipe for a different style of beer, contact me and I will happily provide you with one.

PremiumBlonde Ale
Blonde Ale
IBU: ~20
Anticipated OG: 1.045-1.050
Anticipated FG: 1.010-1.014
Anticipated abv: ~4.6%-5.2%

  • Water:
    • 6 gallons of spring water (any water will do as long as it is labeled "spring water" and not "distilled water", the mild mineral content is good for your beer). You can use filtered tap water as well, but I recommend spring water for best results.
      cost: variable

  • Malts:
    • Malt extract: 2x3.3lb cans of the lightest liquid malt extract you can find (a brand I recommend is "Munton's Extra Light" liquid malt extract) for a total of 6.6lbs of liquid malt extract (LME)
      cost: ~$12/can for a total of ~$24
    • Malted Grain: 1lb *crushed* Munich Malt (for malty flavor)
      1/2lb *crushed* Cara-pils malt (for body and head retention)
      cost: ~$1.50-2.00/pound

  • Hops:
    • 1 ounce Hallertau hop pellets (bittering hops)
      cost: ~$2.00-3.00/ounce (there is currently a hop shortage, prices are high)
    • 1 ounce of Saaz hop pellets (1/2 ounce added during last 15 minutes of boil: flavor hop, 1/2 ounce added during last 5 minutes of boil: aroma hop)
      cost ~$2.00-3.00/ounce

  • Yeast:
    • Liquid option one (preferred)*: White Labs WLP001 California Ale Yeast. This is a liquid yeast that will come in a small plastic vial, ask at your local homebrew supply shop. This must remain refrigerated until 5-6 hours before use.
      cost: ~$7.00
    • Liquid option two: Wyeast 1056 American Ale Yeast. This strain is very similar to the yeast above, use this if the White Labs brand is not available. This will come in a foil "smack pack". It too, must remain refrigerated. Take the packet out of the refrigerator 24 hours before use and follow the directions on the back to prep it for brewing.
      cost: ~$7.00
    • Dry option: use any dry ale-type yeast. These come in small paper/foil packets.
      cost: ~$2.00
That sums up this week's installment! Next week: Your First Brew Day

NOTE: I prefer this strain over the Wyeast strain only because I have more experience with it. It is my opinion that White Labs and Wyeast strains are equal in quality, just slightly different. Similar to a Coke & Pepsi relationship. Use whichever is more readily available to you.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Homebrewing: Equipment

Last week I answered some simple questions in an attempt to motivate you to brew your own. So, what do you need to get started? This is a common question non-homebrewers ask me. There are various setups an aspiring homebrewer can purchase. The setup I'm about to describe will cost ~$150. You can get a brewing setup for cheaper, but I do not recommend it. My equipment choices will save you hours of frustration that I had to endure. The exact equipment will vary slightly depending on your local homebrew shop. If you don't have a local homebrew shop, I list some great online retailers at the end of the post!

5+ gallon stock pot

Approximate cost: $50
brew day
This will easily be the most expensive piece of equipment. You can get away with a smaller pot, but I do not recommend it. You will be using this to boil ~3 gallons of water. Make sure the pot is STAINLESS STEEL, do NOT use aluminium. Aluminium will impart off-flavors in beer.

Re-usable nylon mesh grain bag
Approximate cost: $5
brew day
This will save you money in the long run. Should be able to hold up to 3-4lbs of grain.
Large spoon
Approximate cost: $5
brew day
This is simply a large stirring spoon such as one you'd use to stir soup. Nylon/Silicone are the best options. It should be able to withstand boiling temperatures.

Non-rinse sanitizer
Approximate cost: $6
brew, racking, bottling days
You will find many options available for sanitation. My favorite product is StarSan sanitizer, it should be available at your local homebrew shop. Sanitation is the most important part of homebrewing.

Thermometer (one used for cooking applications)
Approximate cost: $5
brew days
Allows you to steep your grains without extracting unwanted flavors.

Approximate cost: $6
brew, racking, bottling days
This device will allow you to calculate the alcohol in your beer and monitor the progress of fermentation. Very fragile, I've broke many, so be careful!

Approximate cost: $2-5
brew, racking, bottling days
I recommend a large oil funnel such as the ones you can find at automotive stores. Smaller funnels will work, but they can be frustrating.

Carboy Brush
Approximate cost:
racking and bottling days
Allows you to easily clean your carboys for future brewing sessions.

Rubber Stopper for 6.5 gallon carboy & airlock
Approximate cost: $.50 and $1.20
seals the carboy shut, allows carbon dioxide gas to exit during fermentation while keeping contaminates out.

6.5 gallon glass carboy
Approximate cost: $28
brew and racking days
These look similar to the plastic water jugs some people have delivered to their homes. Your beer will reside here during the first 7-10 days of fermentation. You will be doing 5 gallon batches so why use a 6.5 gallon carboy? The extra space allows the actively fermenting beer to foam up without overflowing out of the carboy.

5 gallon glass carboy
Approximate cost: $22
racking and bottling days
After 7-10 days in the 6.5 gallon carboy (your "primary fermenter"), the beer is transferred or "racked" to a smaller carboy or the "secondary fermenter". While in this smaller carboy your beer will condition and clear for 2 weeks or more.

6.5 gallon food-grade plastic bucket
Approximate cost: $10
bottling day
This is your "bottling bucket". It is used to mix sugar into your beer prior to bottling.

3/8" Auto-siphon pump
Approximate cost: $10
racking and bottling days
Makes transferring your beer from one container to another effortless.

3/8" Bottle Filler Wand
Approximate cost: $5
bottling day
Enables you to fill bottles with minimal spillage.

10' of 3/8" vinyl tubing
Approximate cost: $3
racking and bottling days
Links your siphon to your bottle filler.

Double-level Bottle Capper
Approximate cost: $14
bottling day
Allows you to seal your bottles shut.
Bottle caps
Approximate cost: $1 per 50 caps
bottling day
One batch of beer will use approximately 50 caps, buy in bulk to save money! Oxygen barrier caps are nice, but not necessary.

Approximate cost: $.50 per bottle
bottling day
You can use any size bottles you want, as long as they are NOT TWIST OFF! I re-use commercial bottles, as they are rather expensive to buy new. Be sure to use brown bottles, not green or clear (unless you want your beer to get skunked!)

Online Retailers (It's always most convenient to use a local homebrew shop. If you do not have one, here are some online retailers I use regularly and recommend):

Austin Homebrew -
great selection, lowest price on some hot items, $5.99 standard shipping (an incredible deal when buying large/heavy items).
High Gravity -
amazing selection, incredibly knowledgeable staff. The brick and mortar shop is something to behold. They also have a very amusing mascot, a witty grey macaw.
Learn to Brew - my local homebrew shop. Competitive prices and an owner that used to brew beer commercially. The "superior brewing kit" contains almost all of the items I have recommended above.