As your homebrewing skills grow, adding new tools to your setup is only natural. New gear puts new styles and flavors within reach, with plenty of room for fun and experimentation along the way.
1. Brix Refractometer
When you’re just starting out, a hydrometer is essential for measuring the specific gravity of your wort, which is the ratio of its density compared to water. But a refractometer is the way to go if you’re looking for greater control and precision. This Brix refractometer not only measures your wort’s specific gravity, but the amount of sugar present.
The big advantage of a refractometer is the ability to track starch conversion during your mash. And since it has a built-in temperature compensator, you can get accurate gravity readings without worrying about variations due to heat. This model provides results in both the Brix scale and standard specific gravity values.
Note: After fermentation, the presence of ethanol will change the way the refractometer reads your beer’s gravity. Never fear—just run your results through an online calculator to compensate and get the true gravity.
This handy refractometer makes it easy to measure the sugar content of your beer. It includes automatic temperature compensation, so you can get accurate measurements. Plus, it has a dual scale that measures both Brix and SG, so you don't have to do any conversions.
2. Inline Oxygenation Kit
A wise and mysterious old brewmaster once told us, “Brewers make wort. Yeast make beer.” Then he vanished in a cloud of folksy charm and hop pellets. He had a point: the yeast are doing all the work when it comes to transforming that sweet, sweet wort into tasty homebrew. And to do it, they need rich sugars and nutrients, a comfortable environment, and plenty of oxygen. Adequate aeration is especially important for more advanced, high-gravity beers, which often have lower oxygen concentrations due to higher original gravity.
Adding air to your wort is a big no-no once fermentation’s begun, but beforehand, you want that yeast to breathe deep. The Blichmann Inline Oxygenation Kit makes it easy to add oxygen in your wort up to the recommended minimum of 10 parts per million (ppm) or beyond. Just add your own oxygen tank and give your yeast a breath of fresh air.
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3. Corny Keg and Carboy Washer
Cleaning and sanitizing your keg or carboy? BOOOORING! Plus, time spent scrubbing or soaking is time you could be brewing.
This baby handles it all. You don’t have to take apart your keg to clean and sanitize it. Plus, you can use it to fill your brewing bucket with brewing sanitizer and soak the rest of your brewing gear, e.g. tubing, airlocks, and thermometers.
4. Stainless Steel Mesh Hop Spider
If you’re not already using a hop spider, you’re working harder than you have to on brew day. Not only do hop spiders make cleanup easier, but they keep hoppy debris from clogging up your wort chiller, fermenter and other gear.
This sturdy model is stainless steel. It boasts a fine 300-micron mesh, and holds up to a gallon of hops, so you can make your brew as bitter as you like. It’s even dishwasher safe.
5. Grain Mill
Maybe you want total control over your malts. Maybe you’re experimenting with speciality grains. Either way, you’re done with pre-crushed anything. You’re ready to start crushing malts at home.
It’s fully adjustable for all your favorite styles of malt.
A trusty grain mill for new and advanced brewers. Go old school and use the built-in hand-crank to crush your malt. Or hook it up to a power drill. I recommended getting the bigger hopper to hold more grain.
If you want to seriously upgrade your milling at home, check out this one.
6. Brewing Water Testing Kit
The quality of your brewing water can make or break your beer. From pH to calcium hardness to alkalinity, understanding how your water affects your finished beer can help you transform a good beer into a great one.
A little more scientific than most homebrew gadgets, this kit contains everything you need to test for the best brewing water. Armed with your water profile, you can adjust it to match famous styles or balance out potential problems before they can ruin your brew.
7. Stir Plate for Yeast Starters
Like Agatha Christie fans, your yeast starter needs to be kept in suspense. Well, OK, suspension. And while a basic stir plate can handle the job, the Maelstrom is in order if you’re looking for professional power that will boost your cell counts and keep them high.
With five distinct speeds, this programmable stir plate can accommodate yeast starters up to 5 gallons. It comes with a scheduling function for up to 48 hours and powerful magnets will never throw a stir bar.
8. Temperature-Controlled Conical Fermenter
Sure, it’s dry, temperature-controlled, and smells like beer, but your fermentation chamber is actually the opposite of Las Vegas. What happens there doesn’t stay put but marches right into your finished beer with an emcee and a three-ring circus of flavor and mouthfeel. To create truly exceptional beer, your yeast needs every advantage while they do their work.
Ale, lager, porter, or stout, you’ll be able to adjust the temperature of your wort within 1° at the touch of a button, whether you’re sweltering in the Nevada desert or hanging out at Caesar’s Palace.
Homebrewing is all about handcrafted goodness. But if you’re more next-gen than old school, you can skip the library and customize your beer recipes with this app.
With BrewFather, you can accurately create foolproof recipes on your PC or your phone. From precise grain bills to matching diverse brew styles from around the world, this software will let you create a recipe in minutes, even if you’ve never made beer before.
Growing as a beermaker takes time, dedication, skill, and luck. But you can boost your odds, and your beer, by harnessing the power of homebrew gadgets.
With the right tools and techniques, you’ll be on your way to crafting delicious beer that moves beyond the ordinary and into the legendary.
Matt GiovanisciMatt is the founder of Brew Cabin and started homebrewing in 2005. He has continued to level up his brewing skills and wanted to share his journey and knowledge with other homebrewers. He launched Brew Cabin in 2017 to make homebrewing more approachable and scalable for everyone looking to craft the perfect pint.
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