Monday, October 24, 2011

15 Holiday Gift Ideas for Homebrewers

Holiday Gift Ideas for Homebrewers
Beer festival season may be cooling down, but homebrewing season never ends. It's the time of year for special seasonal ales and lagers and many choose to brew it themselves. Chances are that special person in your life is looking to get started in brewing their own or are looking for something unique to liven up their holiday mashing and lautering sessions.

If you're stuck for a holiday gift idea for your homebrewing friend or loved one then Fermentedly Challenged has come up with several ideas that just might make that budding young brewer of yours a whole lot happier for the holidays. These gifts range in value from $14 and up, something for every holiday budget. (Click any image below to enlarge)

15 Holiday Homebrewing Gift Ideas

Digital Scale#1 - All-Purpose Digital Scale - Homebrewers need to measure out ingredients with a weight capacity of up to 11 pounds for malts and as less than 0.1 ounce for hops and additives. Get a scale that can handle it all and with accuracy. There are several models ranging between $15 to $50 dollars. Price a digital scale.

Refractometer#2 - Refractometer - this handy device instantly measures the sugar content of a sample which helps determine specific gravity, on the Brix scale, of unfermented wort by measuring the degree that light passing through the sample is bent. And it only requires a few drops of wort instead of a flask full with a hydrometer. Can be used for beer or wine. Models range between $32 to $120. Price a Refractometer.

Erlenmeyer Flask#3 - Erlenmeyer Flask - One way to improve a batch of beer is to help ensure the wort has plenty of yeast to get a quick fermentation started. A 1000ml or 2000ml Erlenmeyer Flask along with an airlock and stopper can help create and environment for plenty of yeast ahead of time. Erlenmeyer Flasks normally come in either a 1L or 2L size and range in price between $14 to $25. Stoppers and airlocks sold separately and are less than $10. Optional stir plate for the advanced brewer costs around $80. Price an Erlenmeyer Flask.

Homebrew Starter Kit#4 - Basic/Deluxe Brewing Starter Kits - For the homebrewer who is just starting out, you can easily give them a kit that has just about everything they'll need including, fermentation bucket, bottling bucket, bottle capper, airlock, siphon, hydrometer, no-rinse cleanser, hoses and more. Kits range between $75 to $170 - includes all the basic items for fermenting and bottling your brew. Brew kettle, heat source and beer recipe ingredients not included. Price a Starter Kit.

Brew Kettle#5 - Brew Kettles - Making beer requires a well made boiling kettle large enough to hold your entire batch and then some. Kettles can be made of copper, ceramic, aluminum or stainless steel. Most are pre-manufactured but some can be made from an empty keg. Brew kettle sizes range from 5 gallon up to 55 gallon for those large batches. Costs start as low as $38 up and go all the way up to $620. Check out this article on How to Choose a Brew Kettle.

Coil Wort Chillers#6 - Wort Chillers - Once the wort is done boiling you'll need a way to cool off the liquid fast before you can pitch your yeast. Wort chillers come in either a copper coil form (immersion chiller) from $50 to $165, or in a plate chiller like the Therminator for $199 or a Shirron Plate Chiller around $100. Coil wort chillers come in different sizes. Be sure to get one sized appropriately for the brew kettle and batch size you are using. Price a coil wort chiller.

Bottle Tree#7 - Bottle Tree - Bottle washing can be a lot easier when you have an easy way to way and drain bottles. Bottle tree models hold up between 27 to 90 bottles upside down for draining, drying and storing. Prices range from $21 up to $50. Optional Bottle Rinse attachment cost around $20. Price a Bottle Tree Drainer.

AHA Logo#8 - AHA Membership - give the gift of membership to the American Homebrewers Association. Members get an annual subscription to Zymurgy magazine for homebrewers, local pub discounts, entry into local and national homebrew competitions, and access to buy tickets for the GABF members-only session. Purchase a gift membership online.

Conical fermenters#9 - Stainless Conical Fermenter - an ultimate gift for the advanced homebrewer. These advanced units are built to last. They won't scratch as easily as plastic, and won't allow light or air in. They allow for sediment to be drained separately from the beer and can be purchased with optional leg stands. Stainless steel model sizes range from 7 gallon up to 42 gallon capacities. Prices range from $600 up to $1700. Price a Stainless Conical Fermenter.

Kegging System#10 - Basic Kegging System - Sooner or later you'll want to skip the bottling process and go directly to kegging. Corney kegs allow up to 5 gallons. Expect to spend around $125 new for keg. Add add an extra $100 to $200 for a CO2 tank, regulator, tubing and faucet heads. Basic kits start around $260. Used systems can be much cheaper. Half-size 2.5 gal keg injector systems start around $180. Price a Kegging System.

Blichmann BeerGun#11 - Blichmann BeerGun - For those who already keg their beer but want to bottle up several containers of carbonated beer, try a Blichmann BeerGun. The BeerGun from Blichmann Engineering is a handy bottle filler that eliminates the complication and cleaning of traditional counter pressure (CP) bottle fillers used to fill bottles from kegs. The BeerGun eliminates the complication of CP fillers, while purging a bottle with CO2 and filling it with minimal foaming and carbonation loss. With the optional accessory kit, the BeerGuncosts around $100. Price a BeerGun and accessory kit.

Blochmann HopRocket#12 - Blichmann HopRocket - The Blichmann HopRocket is an incredibly innovative, feature packed hop infusing tool! Not only can it be used as a hopback, it doubles as an in-line hop infuser (Randalizer) for your beer dispensing system and triples as an in-line filter! Definitely cool and can enhance the taste and aroma of your beer. The HopRocket costs around $135. Price a HopRocket.

Outdoor Burner#13 - Outdoor Burners - Eventually, most homebrewers will want to head outdoors and use an outdoor burner than can quickly bring 20 gallons or more of liquid up to a boil quickly. There are many models are available and cost from $49 up to $140 and put out between 80,000 to 180,000 BTUs. Bayou Classic is a popular model. Read an article about the Bayou Classic SP-10.  Price a Bayou Classic SP10.

Wort Transfer Pump#14 - Stainless Steel Transfer Pump - When you need a pump for brewing, you want something that is versatile, food grade, and able to take the heat. Wort transfer pumps are versatile, and will handle everything from just-boiled wort to cooled beer or wine. Most can handle liquids as hot as 250 degrees F., and still be FDA approved (food grade). These pumps are more than enough for brewing, as boiling wort has a temperature of 212 F at sea level, and less as your elevation increases. Models available cost around $140 to $170. Price a Stainless Steel Transfer Pump.

Carboy Parka#15 - Carboy Parka - Worried about moving that full glass carboy? Get one of these protective neoprene covering with sturdy straps for easier carrying. Blocks out light, helps maintain temperature and helps you avoid dangerous drops and breakage. Carboy Parkas cost between $53 and $75. Price a Carboy Parka.

Even More Gift Ideas

Jet Bottle Washer - attach to sink for a high pressure bottle rinse. Less than $17 with adapter.

Extract Recipe Kits - Buy boxed recipe kits for making any of your favorite beer styles. Costs range from $31 up to $50.

Homebrew Supply Gift Certificates - If you can't decide what your favorite homebrewer needs why not get them a gift certificate to their favorite homebrew store. Spend as little as $25 or as much as you like.

Homebrew Class - Here's a great way to get someone started in homebrewing with a lesson on how to brew their own beer. Lessons or classes can sometimes be FREE with a reservation or up to $50 depending on the sponsoring homebrew store or instructor.

Homebrew Books - There's a variety of books available on the subject that covers basic homebrewing all the way up to advanced topics like recipe creation and yeast propagation. Books range from $15 to $50 or more.

There are endless possibilities for gifts for the homebrewer. Are there any other homebrewing gifts you want to add to your list this year? Post a comment and let us know.

This article uses links to High Gravity Homebrewing & Winemaking Supplies out of Tulsa, OK - a reputable business that has been serving homebrewers for years. Commissions earned from links to this store help to pay expenses for this blog.

High Gravity Homebrewing & Winemaking

Related articles:
- Choosing a fermenter for your homebrew.
- Creating a yeast starter for homebrewing.
- Putting together the home brewery.

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