When you’re starting out brewing there seems to be an never ending list of items that everyone says you need which normally carry a high price tag. Over the last few months, we’ve been going back to basics at Brewtap and there are a few items that we have found really helpful that aren’t going to break bank.
You’ll find every blog that’s dedicated to home brewers will have a post or two about the importance of cleaning before, during and after the brew day. For a long time, I would have a bucket filled with Star San (Our favourite no rinse sanitiser) and then when I needed to clean something we would dump it into the bucket and give it a good scrub. Once the brew is finished the mixed star san solution would then be thrown away just like most brewers. However, there are lots of other home brewers suggesting that star san can be stored for up to 2-3 weeks assuming the ph level is below 3. That means that if you’re brewing on a regular basis you’ll be able to re-use a mixed solution (thus saving the amount of star san used).
A spray bottle is handy for storing but also very helpful tool throughout the brew day and beyond. If something drops on the floor or you need to use your hydrometer you could quickly just apply a generous coating of star san and let it dry and then you’re good to go.
Spare old towels
If you’re anything like me you’ll probably have a handful of old towels lying around the house but if you don’t it might be worth asking around or try to get your hands on some.
The first way I use towels is in the summer when i’ve got some ales fermenting at room temperature. I will soak the towels in cold water and then wrap them about the fermenter vessel. This helps to maintain a consistent temperature throughout fermentation in warm weather. The ideal solution is to have a fermentation chamber or a cooler but not everyone has a spare £400/$600 lying around.
The other way that I use old towels is when it comes to bottling or transferring to keg. Having a towel on the floor which will absorb any spillages will save you the hassle of cleaning a very sticky kitchen (or where ever you brew) floor.
Depending on how you order your ingredients you might not need digital scale but for anyone who orders their ingredients in bulk than I recommend picking up a good digital scale. When you’re working with smaller batches or just wanting to ensure you have the right amount of ingredients then having a digital scale is a very valuable bit of gear. I was recently working on a batch of beer that required a very accurate amount of dried yeast and having a spare coffee bean scale came in really handy when i required a greater level of accuracy.
Anyway, that’s it from our must have items that no one really tells you about. This list will constantly develop i’m sure but if you pick up these three items, I promise you that you won’t regret it. Oh and one final tip before you go, pick up a spare hydrometer and thermometer, there will come a time when they will break right in the middle of a brew, having a couple spares lying around isn’t going to hurt. Anyway, let us know if we need to add some items to this list and keep brewing!
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