High on Hops: Next Level Gear for Homebrewers

940c

So you’ve completed a few successful five-gallon batches of malt extract home brewed beer – congratulations! But once that high wears off, the newbie homebrewer is left with the question of “what’s next?” Fortunately for gear-minded brewmasters, there’s always more tech to buy that will make brewing and bottling days faster and more fun.

When you’re ready to take your first steps away from brewing in buckets, head for these must-have upgrades.

speidel fermenterSpeidel Eight Gallon Plastic Fermenters

Go ahead and get two, one for primary and one for secondary fermenting. The huge top opening allows you to get all the way inside for thorough cleaning. The built-in spigot enables easy transfers between vessels without the headache of using a racking cane. Attached handles prevent unexpected drops and allow the weight to be evenly distributed when carrying. The roomy eight-gallon size means plenty of room for your five-gallon batches to bubble away without fear of blowouts.

fastrackThe FastRack Bottle Drying Station

Forget the old-school bottle tree motif, FastRacks take up less room and are super simple to clean. They’re perfect for letting rinsed bottles drip-dry, keeping sanitized bottles at the ready for fast-access when filling, or for storing bottles between batches. When not in use, you can almost forget the FastRack is even there thanks to its low profile, minimalist design.

dark star burnerDark Star Burner

Take your home brewing off the stove and into the great outdoors with this lightweight, low-cost, entry-level propane gas burner. The Dark Star can bring a full five-gallon kettle of water from room temperature to boiling in around 15 minutes. When you’re ready to upgrade your boil volume, this burner can handle up to a 10-gallon pot.

Of course, this is just a start. Once you begin expanding your kit beyond the basics, there’s a lot more to buy.

You’ll want a wort chiller to bring your post-boil temperature down as quickly as possible before adding yeast into your fermenter. And speaking of yeast, a 2000mL Erlenmeyer flask is handy for creating yeast starters to properly attack high gravity brews. And if you’re not already measuring your original gravity, you’re never going to properly gauge your progress at brewing higher-alcohol beers without a hydrometer.

Hopefully, you didn’t get into home brewing to save money, but if you did, know every dollar you spend on advanced equipment means easier brewing and bottling days and eventually, tastier, higher-quality beer.