disclaimer - not all brewers need to be men, and not all gift-givers need to be married. I just titled it that way to sound catchy :) If you are looking for homebrewer gifts for your significant other (who happens to be a woman) BUY HER EVERYTHING ON THIS LIST. You are in a relationship with a talented woman and you need to do everything you can to encourage her to continue being awesome!) Now, back to the list
So, you’re married to / dating a homebrewer?!
First off: you have my condolences. Sticky floors, steamy kitchens, and closet after closet of bubbling concoctions are a plague that many significant others have to deal with. This list is a sneaky thing, because it is entirely designed to show you how each “home brewing gift” specifically can give you back your kitchen, reduce their total brewing time, or get rid of those piles and piles of bottles. There are also a few general gift ideas thrown in at the end, just in case your little home brewer has been very, very good this year.
Making less mess
The single biggest complaint about homebrewers is making a mess in the kitchen. Brewing can be messy, and sometimes it’s better to focus on safety over spotlessness. The single easiest way to keep the kitten clean is to move the brew operation out of the kitchen! It will also give them more horsepower to get the temp up to boiling faster (and therefore cut down on total brew time.)
Here is a Blichmann outdoor propane burner – You could go with one of those cheaper turkey fryer ones, but you could also probably walk to work, right?
This burner can move the boiling mess into your garage, back yard, or even sidewalk. Far away from your kitchen. The clean-up will still probably be in the kitchen, but you can say goodbye to the heat, the steam and the sticky burned-on mess on your stove.
For washing, drying and keeping spills off of your countertops I cannot recommend anything simpler and cheaper than BLACK TOWELS! Go to Target, buy four for $3-5 each, and be happy. Seriously. Black because they won’t be stained by the dark wort. Towels because that way no one will be tempted to use the kitchen towels, or use all of the paper towels, and they can sop up all but the biggest of spills.
Reducing brewing time
The biggest time-sink in brewing is cooling the beer (technically called wort, but whatever) down from boiling at 212 to around 70 degrees. This can take over an hour if you don’t do anything special, but it can be cut to under 10 minutes if you put a little bit of effort behind it. The best thing to buy is called a wort chiller. This is a coil of copper tubing that you dip into your boiling beer and push water through in order to cool the beer down. It’s like a radiator for your beer!
This chiller is one of the best. It has great hose connections, a LOT of copper to absorb the heat, and it’s really well-built.
After you get a wort chiller (or already have one) the homebrewer needs to stir the beer in order to make sure you don’t end up cooling unevenly (and therefore slowly.) One great way to do this is to use a pump in order to recirculate the beer around the chiller. A pump is also really useful other times when brewing. It is a fast way to transfer between containers and it’s easy to rinse and sanitize things with it.
This chugger pump is becoming the new gold standard for homebrewers. It is food-safe, powerful and a good deal compared to the competition.
Get out of the closet
One other huge complaint from both homebrewers and their significant others is closets full of bottles, hours of scraping labels off of bottles, and the sheer time it takes to fill almost 50 bottles per 5 gallon batch. The simplest response to this is: don’t bottle! By buying or making a kegerator you can simply transfer your finished beer into a keg, carbonate it, and start drinking!
The simplest approach is to buy a ready-made kegerator and a keg to hold the beer. This will easily take 45 minutes of filling and capping bottles out of each brew day. Here is a great one that is ready to be filled with beer
If you want to save some coin, then you can always pick up a used fridge (or freezer) and buy this kit in order to build a diy kegerator. This approach will probably take up more space, but save some money.
Do none of those ideas seem good? Here’s a list I put together with more stocking stuffers, Here are some more gift ideas and here’s a link to a gift card
I’ve made most of the links above to one store (adventures in Homebrewing) in case you want to bundle purchases, but those same items could easily be purchased from any of these great online shops:
Or your local homebrew shop! Look them up in the phone book. I’m 90% certain that a man with a beard will pick up the phone.