Do you have someone in your life looking to get into homebrewing? If so getting them started may seem a bit daunting to a beginner or loved one without much experience, but luckily FactoryTwoFour has your covered so you can give them the gift of brewing this holiday season.
This is the best gift I can think of giving someone who is at all interested in brewing. It has served me so well over the years and my passion has taken a center role in nearly every get-together I have thrown over the years, including my wedding.
I love homebrewing immensely and have been doing it for years as a personal hobby, it is basically my personal form of meditation. It centers me and I get to focus on problem solving and creative thinking, plus there is no better way to spend a Sunday than brewing a new batch as you are sipping on your previous one.
Here is my super quick list to getting started; I have not included kegging materials since that is a bit more advanced for first time brewers, so take my advice and start simple with bottling.
5 gallon steel boiling pot — Don’t use it for anything but brewing because remnants from food can taint future brews
2 Fermentors — I recommend 5-gallon glass carboys since glass is so easy to clean and materials do not ‘stick’ to it. Some homebrewers caution against glass due to it being breakable if it is dropped and its risk injury due to broken glass; my solution is to not drop it or bang in hard on any surfaces, and to make transportation easier get a carboy carrier. Another option is getting a high grade pyrex style plastic fermentor such as a Big Mouth Bubbler, but I think glass works just fine if you are careful. I strongly recommend against using plastic buckets since they are so hard to get clean, leftover brew material stick to the plastic surfaces with ease and all that leftover protein and sugar is a perfect environment for bacteria to thrive.
Carboy Carrier — Strap-style carboy carriers make transportation an easy and allow you to carry glass carboys with confidence.
Auto-siphon with bottle filler — There is no other way to transfer brew or bottle without it.
Bottle capper — I recommend a simple hand bottle capper since table mounted ones take up a permanent place and are overkill unless you are brewing and bottling massive amounts of beer.
Bottle caps — These are sold by the pound for cheap. Start with one pound, this should get the person you are buying it for their first two 5 gallon batches.
Large stirring spoon — This is honestly optional, but it allows you to mix during boils much easier.
Bottle brush — This will get those recycled bottles nice and clean
Star San Sanitizer — This is like going nuclear on dirt and bacteria. This will make all equipment sterile and clean with ease.
Thermometer — I prefer the laser thermometer so that I can take the temperature of my boil at a distance, but any large liquid cooking thermometer will work great.
Hydrometer — This is honestly optional but recommended. A hydrometer measures the specific gravity of your brew, a great data point for the aspiring brewer. You can compare specific gravity pre and post fermentation to calculate your beer’s alcohol content.
Glass bottles — DO NOT BUY THESE; just save and clean bottles as you go, it is the ultimate in recycling! Bombers are the best since they make bottling easier and quicker (plus it gives you an excuse to buy more beer so you can use the bottles later!).
Bubble Airlocks — These are cheap and let you know exactly when fermentation ceases, the easiest way to know when it is time to bottle.
Finally; for the actual art and process of homebrewing I recommend the books “The Complete Joy of Homebrewing” and “Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew”; these are the definitive starting bibles for brewing that everyone should own.