The Best Gifts For Homebrewers, According to a Homebrewing Master
This season, give the gift of beer.
To be totally candid with you, I've never tried homebrewing. It seems like a painstaking process involving a ton of pans and tubes, weird smells, precise measurements, and kitchen space—the latter of which I have none of. However, on the other hand, you get to make beer—and that's great.
Most homebrewers I know got started after witnessing a friend doing it. This is anecdotal of course, but maybe homebrewing wasn't as tedious as I thought. In light of this, I reached out to Sarah Flora and asked her to recommend the best things to get for people who might be interested in homebrewing.
Sarah is a badass homebrewer in LA with over 13,000 YouTube followers who go to her for advice, recipes, and reviews (you can read her story here). Below are her suggestions on what to get the homebrewer in your life—which by all means could be you.
Why it's a great gift: "This is the kit that I started with. It includes a great fermenter that’s conical and makes it easy to harvest yeast. It’s not a fermenter you grow out of—I still use mine today."
Why it's a great gift: "You can make great beer with this kit, even at $70. Most brewers start out with something like this either from a shop or cobbled together from stray buckets. It’s a perfectly inexpensive way for a brewer to get their feet wet before committing to the equipment addiction most of us homebrewers develop."
Why it's a great gift: "This kit includes everything a brewer needs to brew great beer, just supply an electric outlet and you’re set. Electric brewing is an awesome way for brewers who don’t have outdoor space but still want to do all grain brewing. I’ve been using an electric system for years and can attest to how nice it is to not have to hike all my equipment outside."
Why it's a great gift: "One day, most home brewers graduate from extract to all grain brewing and the easiest way to do that is to get a Brew Bag. It’s a bag that holds the grain in the mash so you don’t have to deal with building or buying a mash tun and it works great. The use of these bags has become so popular there’s an entire style of brewing called Brew in a Bag or BIAB."
Why it's a great gift: "If your brewer is going to start making all grain batches, even if they’re still doing it on their stove top, they’re going to need a kettle that’s larger than a soup pot. I absolutely love this one, it’s double walled so it retains heat good enough for your mash and is built like it will last for centuries."
Why it's a great gift: "If your brewer has space outdoors and wants to join the ranks of the lauded garage and backyard brewers, a really inexpensive way to get a decent kettle and propane burner is by grabbing them a Turkey Fryer kit. I’ve brewed on many fryer burners and they actually heat faster than my fancy homebrew burner."
Why it's a great gift: "Most homebrew kits come with a device to measure alcohol, known as a hydrometer. They are usually glass, break if you look at them wrong, and you'll have to use almost a whole pint of beer to get a reading. If your brewer hates wasting beer as much as I do, a refractometer might be the perfect gift. You can get ABV readings with just a drop of liquid, once before and once after the yeast does its magic."
Why it's a great gift: "If your brewer hates wasting time and water and is still using the chiller that came with their first kit, a great upgrade is the Hydra chiller. This chiller can cool from boil to room temperature in less than 8 minutes."
Why it's a great gift: "For a homebrewer who is already kegging their beer, a floating dip tube is a cheap yet essential piece of equipment for the brewer who likes clear beer. It works by allowing the tap to pull beer from the top of the keg instead of the bottom where all the hop and yeast sludge is. This cuts down brew-to-drink time from a month to around 2 weeks. And who the hell wants to wait around for good beer?"
Why it's a great gift: "Most beginning brew kits come with cappers that aren’t great. For $17 you can save your brewer from broken bottles and prevent carpal tunnel with this upgraded capper. It’s literally the Ferrari of hand cappers—it’s well made and you end up using less force even though they look similar to the ones that come in kits."