I did my PhD in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London. My research focused on mathematical modeling of the cell cycle in leukemia and involved experiments with cell lines. During that time, I had to count cells with a hemocytometer so often to track growth that I got tired and decided to build an app, HemocyTap, and share my knowledge on the topic here to help as many people as possible.

If you’re new to this and are still looking for the equipment and supplies needed to brew beer at home, we’ve got a basic list ready for you! Here’s what you’ll need:
  • A beer making kit (it’s usually cheaper than buying eveything separately and ensures things fit into each other and you have all the items you need)
  • Brew ingredient kits (the quality of the yeast and the other ingredients will affect the quality of your beer…)
  • Cell counting equipment: a hemocytometer, a microscope, pipettes or something to measure volume, methylene blue
  • Bottling and storage equipment

Beer making kits

Many of the beer kits available on the market are pretty basic and will not let you fine tune the beer to your taste or try new recipes as the functioning of the system is not flexible enough. We recommend going for kits that are more manual and that let you have more interaction with the whole process such as the one on the left. This one is big enough to produce 5 gallons per batch, and comes with both thermometer and hydrometer, in addition to all the basic equipment (fermenting bucket, glass carboy, bottling spigot, capper, brush and sanitizer). Note that it doesn’t include bottles or caps so you’ll need to get that separately (see at the bottom).

Brew ingredient kits

Not all beers are the same, because not all the ingredients are the same or have the same quality. Among the best brew ingredient kits available resides the True Brew kits. One kit has the right amounts of everything to run one batch on the beer making kit above, and they even come with the caps so you don’t need to worry about that every time! Now, to the important part: the taste.

The Oktoberfest kit is one of the most popular ones from True Brew. If brewed right, it will produce a great beer with a foamy head, sweet smell and round taste. It is especially recommended for beginners because it turns out right most of the times – you can’t get it wrong! This kit includes one can of unhopped amber malt extract, 2lbs of light dried malt extract, 8oz of melanoidin grain, 2oz hop pellets, 1 pack of yeast, a grain steeping bag and 5oz priming sugar.

The Bavarian kit results in Hefeweizen beer with hints of bananas and cloves. It’s a very popular kit which comes with all the ingredients needed: 2 cans unhopped wheat malt extract, 2oz liberty hop pellets, 1 pack fermentis WB-06 hefeweizen yeast and 5oz priming sugar.

Bottles

You can reuse commercial glass beer bottles, and use the caps that come in the ingredient kits. However, if you want a style of your own (that no one will think contained Budweiser in another life), you should go for homebrew beer bottles.

What we love about these is that they come with a fixed cap (you still need to install it the first time) which means you can reuse them over and over again without caring about whether the kits have caps or not, and most importantly, you do not need a capper! The color is a dark smoky brown which protects the beer from unwanted light and retains 100% of the goodness within 🙂 The pack includes 12 x 16oz bottles with their caps unmounted.

Alright, if you prefer to stick with caps, here’s a 24 bottle pack without caps. The glass is amber colored and the volume is slightly lower, 12oz each. Remember you’ll still need a bottle capper and caps (which often come with the ingredient kits), although as a whole it might be cheaper than the ones with built-in caps.

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