Thursday, November 27, 2014

Gift Ideas for the Homebrewer



The Holidays feel like they came extra fast this year. I'm sure your love ones are looking for gift ideas. Decided to put together a list of some of my favorite things.

Brew Hauler

I prefer using glass carboys for fermentation because I love being able to see what's going on with my brews. The problem with glass carboys is they can be tricky, even dangerous to move when full. Move with peace of mind with the brew hauler. A simple solution to easily carry you carboy. Can be found at about any homebrew shop. A great stocking stuffer
http://www.brewhauler.com/index.php?cat=gear




Thermapen

It's extremely important to have accurate temperature readings when brewing. I have used many  types of thermometers in my brewing experience. But, nothing compares to the Thermapen. Its simple, fast, and accurate. It's a bit pricey but a great investment if you or someone who loves to cook too.
http://www.thermoworks.com/products/thermapen/



Barrel Aging

I love doing barrel aged brews and I've typically have used wood chips. I recently found a new solution, honey comb barrel alternatives. I've found the honeycomb design does a better job of getting that barrel aged flavor than the wood chips. They offer lots of different types of woods and you can reuse them.
http://www.blackswanbarrels.com/honey-comb-barrel-alternative/


Maybe you didn't know,  but Kansas City has several distillers and one of them sells their used barrels. Dark Horse Distiller currently has 30, 10, and 7 gallon barrels for sale. Contact Dark Horse for pricing.

Books

Two new books are on my shopping list from two of my favorite people in the homebrewing community. Denny Conn is one of my favorite homebrewers to follow because of his love for experimenting. His new book takes a fun approach to the hobby of homebrewing through experimentation.

If you are not following the http://www.themadfermentationist.com/ not sure you can call yourself a real homebrewer. Its one of the best blogs out there. Michael has been sharing his knowledge for years and his passion for sour beers. This year he officially put out a book about his passion.
Experimental Brewing by Denny Conn
American Sour Beer by Michael Tonsmeire


Blichmann Beer Gun

Everyone knows bottling takes some work and soon thoughts of kegging comes to mind. I prefer kegging most of my beers but I still like to have bottles for competitions and to give as gifts. I have used a ghetto method of filling bottles from the kegs which works okay but you lose a lot of beers. Blichmann Beer Gun is a simply solution to easily bottle your beer from the keg. Apexbrewwares now carries Blichmann products go check it out.
http://www.blichmannengineering.com/products/beergun
http://www.apexbrewwares.com/

Kegging

Nothing cooler than having your own beer on tap. One of the key things you need is of course kegs. Most homebrewers prefer using "corney" kegs because of the ease of use. In my opinion  you can never have enough. Besides serving beer they make great fermenters. Many places now have brand new shinny kegs.Used kegs are getting harder to find at a decent price. Check out the loose handle kegs from Adventures in Homebrewing. Its the best price on the net.
http://www.homebrewing.org/Home-Brew-Kegs_c_223.html



The Black Box

Temperature control is very important in fermentation. If you don't have one you should really consider making a temp chamber. Every chamber needs a temp controller. You can easily make your own but the black box goes a little further by flashing extra code to have more options. The best thing about the black box its made right here in KC by homebrewer Will Conrad. Also a portion gets donated.
http://www.blackboxbrew.com/




Spiegelau Glassware

Spiegelau glassware is specialty glass to enhance your beer experience. They have specific glasses for specific beers. They have a new one this year for the American wheat beer. If you think these glasses are a bunch of hogwash I challenge you to try out a Spiegelau seminar. I was a big skeptic until I went to seminar and was blown away on how big of a difference the glassware makes. The science behind the glassware is really interesting too.
Grain to Glass is offering a seminar in January. Price includes the glassware
https://www.facebook.com/events/713614722055388/
New American Wheat Glass
https://bellsbeer.com/store/products/Bell%27s-Custom-Wheat-Beer-Glass.html



Brew Bucket

As a homebrewer you can never have enough fermenters. I have all types and sizes of fermenters and was lucky enough to add the Brew Bucket to my arsenal. The Brew Bucket is an all stainless fermenter with a cone bottom to collect the trub. It has a simple ball valve to get samples or to rack your beer. Biggest advantage I've found its so each to clean these. This isn't for everyone but if you looking to add some bling to your homebrewery the Brew Bucket is a nice addition.
http://www.ssbrewtech.com/products/brewbucket



Ingredients

I love having ingredients on hand so I can brew up a batch anytime I want. Would love to see a 50lb bag of grain under my Christmas tree. Or find my stocking filled with different types of hops. A present full of different yeast strains would be sweet. We are finally at a point with homebrewing where we can essentially get any ingredient any commercial brewery can get. Some suggestions is look at buying some of the new experimental hops on the market offered by Yakima Valley or some new yeast blends from The Yeast Bay or keep it simple and pick up a bag of grain at the BrewLab.

Custom gifts.

I see lots of homebrewers with their own glassware, bottle caps, and t-shirts. One of the cooler things you can currently get is a custom made canvas. Central States is currently during a fundraiser where you can order a canvas for a donation of at least $45. This deal ends next week, December 5th.
signshop@csbev.com




New Brewers

If you are interested in brewing its the best time of the year to get into the hobby. A starter kit makes a great gift. A local homebrew shop can help you with what you need and answer any questions. As a consumer I would encourage you to shop around for the best deal. Check out the homebrewing resources tab for local shop information.
http://kcbeerblog.blogspot.com/p/homebrewing-resources.html

There are a ton of Black Friday deals happening. You can read up on all the deals out there at homebrewfinds.com and the sponsor showcase on homebrewtalk.com 
http://www.homebrewfinds.com/2014/11/black-friday-for-homebrewers.html
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f41/


Happy Shopping

Follow David @schumacherdavid on Twitter






1 comment:

  1. Be careful of the Brew Hauler. You will be carrying a freshly brewed batch of saison down into the basement for fermentation, when your 6.5 glass carboy slips through the straps. Your basement will never smell better.

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