Most beer kits (the ones I stock, anyway) will contain as a minimum:
- The concentrated, hopped malt extract in liquid or dry form
- A sachet of brewers yeast.
If starting out as a home brewer, you will also need:
- a brew-bin, in which you will ferment the diluted kit with the yeast.
- a sanitising product such as potassium metabisulphite to clense everything that comes into contact with your beer.
as the bare minimum. You would also be best getting:
- a syphon tube
- a barrel, keg or bottles
- an extra sachet of brewers yeast and perhaps yeast nutrient, because occasionally the fermentation gets "stuck" before it is complete, which may require some action to rejuvenate the yeast.
- a hydrometer to assess the progress of fermentation by measuring the specific gravity of the beer.
If you buy a two can kit, generally you will not need to add any additional sugar to the kit, because all the necessary fermentables are in the kit. Single can kits, on the whole, require additional sugar wich can be:
- household sugar - not advisable, because this gives quite a harsh finish to the beer and has given home brew a bad name for years
- glucose, also known as dextrose and "brewing sugar" - adds strength without affecting (or adding to) the flavour
- dried malt extract - adds strength, flavour and "body" to the beer.
If you are bottling, unless you have swing-top bottles or screw cap bottles, you will need:
- crown caps
- a crown capper