Doing some holiday shopping for the home brewer in your life? Assuming that they already have the basic home brewing setup (something like an Ale Pail, a large brew kettle, etc.) these are my top five gifts for home brewers.
(Note: The links below are Amazon.com affiliate links. Easy shopping for you [Hello procrastinator’s best friend, Amazon Prime 2 day shipping!], and a small commission to fund this website/beer hobby for us.)
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 this year, which takes a long time to ferment and requires some extra equipment.
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 one of these for my father-in-law so that he could brew his Bourbon Barrel Porter and all of the IPA’s that he really likes.
One of the most useful gifts I’ve ever been given was a wort chiller, which is a specifically shaped 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 a lot of ice in the house just as the wort finishes boiling during the brew. For the brewer who prefers to brew larger batches of beer a more efficient wort chiller will be necessary, like this one.
Using a plastic Ale Pail to ferment your beer is alright, but using a carboy is even better because you can see the beer fermenting inside of them. Pretty cool, eh? To make the carboy easier to transport around you might consider a handle system for it as well, and don’t forget the airlock.
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.
[Update: For a few more ideas, check out my list of Four Unique Gifts for Home Brewers]
Those are my top five. What are your favorite gifts to give to home brewers (or to receive if you are a home brewer)?