Posted by Dave on December 2nd, 2011 | Comments Off
The beer gift guide continues with this post from Chris Creech. Chris is avid homebrewer who runs the ever informative nchomebrewing.com.
Big thanks to Chris for this post!
There are a lot of options when it comes to entry-level homebrew setups, and the good news is that no matter what you choose, you can be brewing great beer for $100 or less. Here are some of the equipment kits that I suggest for those wanting to get started in brewing their own suds:
1) This deluxe starter kit from MoreBeer.com really has everything you need. It is on the higher end of the price range, but the better bottle carboy is worth it. The kit comes with a book to guide you, all of your cleaning tools, hoses, bottling bucket, capper, airlock, hydrometer, stoppers and a bag of caps. The only additional thing you’ll need is a large pot or kettle to brew in, and some empty bottles to put your beer in when you’re done.
Or, if you want to have the most badass starter kit around, check out northernbrewer.com and their Deluxe starter kit which adds an auto-siphon, secondary fermentor, brewing DVD, extra cleaners, and a carboy drying rack.
*NOTE: You can also find similar kits at local homebrew shops if you would rather speak to a real person when you purchase. In the RDU area, try American Brewmaster, Bull City Homebrew, or Fifth Season.
For the homebrewer who wants to start small and doesn’t want to brew full 5-gallon batches, you can buy a smaller, less expensive kit from Mr. Beer. These kits brew small batches and use pre-hopped extract so you don’t have to boil everything for a full hour like you do with the other kits. I would personally recommend the 5-gallon kits because you’ll be surprised how quickly it will be consumed, and you won’t like waiting up to a month for a batch if you’re only getting 1 or 2 gallons out of it.
But you’re not me, and this may be the perfect situation, so check out the Mr Beer Premium Kit that has everything you need to get started on the small scale.
If you want to let your soon-to-be homebrewer pick out his own brewing kit, there are also a few other items that come in handy when first starting to brew. Below is a list of items that I use on a regular basis and make my brew day much more enjoyable:
1) Ingredients! Every brewer needs ingredients to make beer (unless they’re also a magician)! To begin with, try buying a kit of your favorite style. These kits are great because they pair the perfect combination of malt, hops and other adjuncts together for you to ensure you have what you need to make the perfect beer (but it’s up to you to actually make that perfect brew). I recommend shopping at your local homebrew shop for these to insure freshness, but you can find a great variety of kits online at northernbrewer.com.
1) Immersion wort chiller. Stop waiting on your beer to cool, get it down to the right temperature quickly with a quality immersion chiller. I recommend this 50-foot one from Amazon, but you can also save some money and get a 25′ version, but it won’t cool as quickly. Also, for the do-it-yourselfer out there, you can always build one.
2) Bottles! Don’t have time to drink 50 bottles of beer before you’re ready to fill them up again? Every homebrewer needs a healthy stash of bottles. Check your local homebrew shop or online for 12oz brown bottles, or better yet, larger swing-top bottles:
3) Get your yeast off to an explosive start with a yeast starter kit. This will help ensure a strong and healthy fermentation every time.
4) Make sure you are hitting the correct temperatures with an accurate digital thermometer. ProAccurate Digital Thermometer is quick and works great. Just be careful not to drop it into your hot beer – the digital readout is NOT water-proof!
For lots of other great ideas for home brewers of any level, MoreBeer! has put together a great holiday gift guide broken down into helpful price ranges, so be sure to check it out.
Homebrewing Supplies on Amazon
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