Home Brewed Beer Is Not That Difficult
Imagine this; a five gallon stainless steel or porcelain coated cooking pot, a 5 gallon plastic water bottle to use as a fermenter, a thermometer, a filter of some sort, a siphon and some bottles and caps. Once you have purchased the ingredients which are nothing more than grain, usually barley, yeast and hops, you are half way to having your own private label beer.
In a set up like this, the entire process usually takes place on the kitchen counter, but many home brewers are not satisfied with this simple process as the volume is small and the taste is hard to duplicate batch after batch.
Before you know it, you have the makings of a real mini-brewery in the basement, sufficient enough to make perhaps two or three kegs of beer at a time. To do this, a proper system must be built, piping all the components together with homebrew fittings so that it does not have to be broken down after every batch.
Once the home brewery reaches this point there are two things that become quite important, the choice of materials and the ease of cleaning. It is extremely important to use the right materials for the brew pot, fermenting vat, bottling bucket, etc. as beer at its various stages of fermentation has a different effect on certain materials. Cleanliness is also important, if there is the least bit of contamination left after the brewing process, this will transfer to the next batch and the taste will certainly not be what you expect.
As the entire process of brewing beer is dependent on moving the liquid from place to place, there must be a system of rigid pipes or hoses which are impervious to the beer. When the set-up uses rigid pipe, then certain homebrew fittings are necessary, when flexible hoses are used, then quick couplings are required so that everything can be easily dismantled and cleaned. Plumbing the home brewery uses the same fittings that are used for home pressure water piping; elbows, tees, nipples, caps, etc. The difference is the material, homebrew fittings are all made from high quality stainless steel.
Once the home brewer gets his system right, he can look forward to great beer time after time.