November 25, 2011
Santa's Little Helper... Gifts for the Homebrewer
Every home brewer needs a place to store the finished product and most start out with bottling. A great inexpensive gift could be a bottle capper and a bag of bottle caps. I included a link to empty long neck bottles, but it is perfectly acceptable (and GREEN!) to recycle old pop-off style beer bottles. Just soak off the labels and clean with a little diluted bleach water. Note - twist off bottles wont work. I also included a link to some EZ Cap bottles as an alternative. And to add a little creativity to the gift, check out this label making website where you can design labels for your homebrewer http://labeley.com/
Get your homebrewer a kit that includes everything to boil up their first batch of beer. This link is to a brown ale, but there are many varieties of beer available in kit form, the easiest way to start out. I would recommend starting out with a dark/heavy beer for the first try. An IPA, brown ale, ESB, porter or stout are good starter beers. Light beers are actually less forgiving and might not be a good place for the beginner to start.
Feeling generous? This kit is a perfect starter kit for the homebrewer. It has everything needed to start, conveniently packaged in one set. The kit includes a brewpot, fermenting bucket, bottling bucket, auto siphon, ingredient kit, bottle filler, etc. One thing missing is bottles, but like I said above, you can save your empties and re-use those.There are many kits available, so feel free to ask me questions and I can let you know what I think.
This book by Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Breweries includes great recipes from a number of craft breweries as well as advice for creating your own off-centered beers with non-traditional ingredients. A great addition to a homebrewer's library.
A wort chiller is designed to rapidly cool your wort (beer) down to a temperature appropriate for pitching the yeast. There is the counter flow version, what I use, that forces the hot wort through a copper tube in one direction while forcing cool water through a tube in the other direction. There is also an immersion wort chiller if you are looking for a different option.Either version is sure to speed up the wait time until pitching the yeast.
A way to filter your beer at home! This is actually on my wish list so I can't tell you how or if it works, but it looks awesome! Note, you do need a kegging system to use this.