Doing some shopping for the home brewer in your life? Whether it’s Christmas, Father’s day, or a birthday, home brewing equipment makes a great gift. Assuming the brewer in your life already have the basic home brewing setup (like an Ale Pail, a large brew kettle, etc.) these are my top five gifts for home brewers.
1. A Beer Kit
For beginning home brewers the best way to learn the ins and outs of home brewing is to brew a lot of beer, so what better way to fund the hobby than to give them beer to brew? I like to give beer kits that the person might not otherwise invest in. For example, I got my father-in-law a Bourbon Barrel Porter for Christmas last year, which takes a long time to ferment and requires some extra equipment.
2. Yeast Starter Kit
Stronger beers that will have a higher alcohol content usually require a yeast starter. A yeast starter is a small batch of basic beer made ahead of time that allows a culture of yeast to strengthen and multiply so that it can handle the shock of a strong beer. I purchased a Yeast Starter Kit for my father-in-law so that he could brew his Bourbon Barrel Porter and all of the IPA’s that he really likes.
3. Wort Chiller
One of the most useful gifts I’ve ever been given was a Wort Chiller, which is a coil of copper tubing that you run cold water through to cool a batch of beer much faster than any ice bath ever could. This saves a lot of time, effort, and the coordination of having ice in the house just as the wort finishes boiling during the brew.
4. Glass Carboy
Using a plastic Ale Pail to ferment your beer is fine, but using a Glass Carboy is even better. You don’t have to worry about scratching the interior (allowing bacteria to get caught inside the pail to ruin future batches of beer), they are much easier to clean than the plastic, and you can see the beer fermenting inside of them. Pretty cool, eh? You will probably want to also pick up a drilled rubber stopper and an airlock with the carboy, as these will be necessary for using it. To make the carboy easier to transport around you might consider a Carboy Carrier for it as well.
5. Home Brewing Books
It’s always fun to learn more about your hobby and to come up with creative new beers to brew. Home brewing books help to spark that creativity and equip home brewers with the knowledge they need to improve their beers. My favorite books are the basic How to Brew by John J. Palmer, the fun Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels, and the insightful Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher. If the beer lover in your life is working on becoming an expert beer taster, you might also consider giving them our very own Beer Tasting Log Book so that they can take notes and keep a record of all the beers they try. Last but not least, don’t forget about our Home Brewing Journal to keep track of all their greatest recipes.
Those are my top five. What are your favorite home brewing gifts to give (or receive)?