First we need viable yeast so we look at yeast propagation.
All of the large Lab equipment suppliers will sell you a beautiful stir plate for a lot of money.
See DIY Stir Plate for more info on how to make a home made stir plate.
They also appear on e-bay now and again.
We tend to favour Erlenmyer connical flasks and a nice Teflon coated stir bar for our stir plates.
They can be obtained from most lab suppliers or from e-bay.
If from e-bay make sure they are NEW!
Also check out NHC for group buys of flasks and stir bars.
Sizes of flasks rangle from 250ml up to 3 or more litres for big pitches
This is used to prepare “slants” for storage or Petri dishes for bacterial investigations.
It is available in some Asian food shops.
Beware of the Lab suplliers stuff! That is the Expensive way to buy agar.
The secret to good beer is great yeast!
Yeasts can be obtained commercially, cultured from bottles or from your friends in the National Homebrew Club.
NHC Yeast Bank
For a wide selection of yeasts from the NHC see this link:
Whitelabs & Wyeast
Whitelabs & Wyest between them, produce a large range of liquid yeasts.
Their products can be obtained from most online sellers, but be aware that due to their limited shelf life, not all strains are easily available.
As we are in the lab, we may as well checkout our water:
Your local authority should be able to furnish you with a profile! If not see next bullet.
Water Test Kits
Simple kits for Calcium/Magnesium, Hardness/pH easily obtainable from aquarium shops.
A lot of simple stuff can be found in the homebrew stores.
The more exotic may need to be sourced via the web.
Yes, I know it comes out of the tap! But if you want to dilute your water (this is much easier than adding chemicals to remove hardness, etc) then you dilute it.
Aquarium shops sell reverse osmosis water that has had the minerals removed. They will usually sell it for about €10 or less for 25L.
Some nice to haves that can usually only be afforded via e-bay purchases:
pH Meter – very useful tool.
Disolved Oxygen meter – how much oxygen is in my wort?
Microscope and Haemocytometer, useful for yeast counting/management.
Not as expensive as it sounds! Petri dishes, Agar, platinum (nichrome) inocultion loops and some stains coupled with the micro-scope allows you to enter the world of yeasts and bacteria.
So now we have a yeast starter ready what about our grain?