Brewing your own wine and beer at home, perhaps in your basement or cellar, puts you in the driver’s seat. You can work with different types of grapes and home brewing equipment to create the wine or beer that suits your taste perfectly. After you gain experience at brewing, you can also save money on holiday gifts you give to family, friends and colleagues as you wrap your best wines or beers in attractive packaging.
What to Look for in Home Brewing Equipment
Whether you engage in home brewing as a hobby or business, you’re going to need the right home brewing equipment to get the most out of the rewarding pastime. You can use the equipment whether you’re just starting to work with home brewing or you have intermediary or advanced experienced making wines or beers. Types of home brewing equipment you can purchase as you start or advance your wine or beer making skills include airlocks, stoppers, beer bottle gaskets, brew kettles, grain mills, burners and scales.
Kettles range in size from 10 gallons up to 55 gallons. Designed with stainless steel, kettles are great when used for mashers or extract brewers. Some home brewing equipment kettles come with three pieces, including a stainless steel ball valve, adjustable Brewmometer and sight glass. When buying kettles, you can look for accessories like kettle screens and false bottoms.
To apply sufficient heat to kettles, make sure you purchase burners. There are patio extension burners and 6 and 10 inch burners. If you use burner extension legs, you can raise the level of floor burners and make it easier on your back as you work to acquire the perfect taste. Another item you may want to add to your home brewing equipment is a natural gas conversion kit. Using the kit, you can convert floor burners from propane to natural gas.
Types of Home Brewing Equipment
Because mashing grapes and preparing them for fermentation is a key component of wine making, the types of mashing and sparging home brewing equipment you get may influence the taste of your wines and beers more than you may think. Some mashers, like the mini-mash lauter tun, are built to be used as a mash tun and lautering tub. It is with the lauter tub that you separate sweet wort or sugars from mash solids. Grains are cooked with the mash tun. Generally solid and round in shape, the mini-masher is great for hobbyists.
When conducting all grain brewing, consider using a sparge bag with a mesh bottom. The bag can be draped over buckets that are five or six gallons in size and secured using a string or rope. Another home brewing equipment product you can use with grains is a wort chiller. For example, some wort chillers can be used with 10 or 15 gallon batches. Pieces of equipment included with wort chillers are a brass garden hose, faucet adaptor and hose clamps.
If this is your first time using home brewing equipment, ask store clerks if they carry books on home brewing. For example, you can get books on mead making, beer brewing, cider making and ale brewing. In addition, some store clerks have firsthand experience using home brewing equipment and may be able to answer brewing questions you have. They may also be able to suggest different types of equipment and accessories you can use to fulfill your brewing needs. If you order home brewing equipment over the Internet, check to see if the vendor is running discounts or specials you can take advantage of. Also look for items you can receive free shipping on.