Buying Homebrewing Equipment: Hindsight is 20/20
If one question can keep homebrewers engaged in discussion for ages, it must be about beer equipment. It is hardly a coincidence. Brewers use, devise and refine their beer brewing processes and at the same time develop a preference for particular pieces of beer equipment. Thus, when it comes to buying your homebrew equipment, hindsight is 20/20!
We thought for that reason; it would be beneficial for novice brewers to know what those veteran brewers consider their best equipment buys. We asked the homebrewing community on Reddit this very question. For the full thread, you can visit by clicking this link.
Below, you will find one response by Chino Darji (aka chino_brews on Reddit) that we found informative and helpful. Below you will find his answer (edited for clarity) along with a picture to illustrate his top buys!
Chino’s top Homebrew Equipment Buys
Chino: When I started, my “best” equipment buys were, in order of preference:
- Wort chiller – It’s hard for me to take any other answer seriously. Unless the brewer was no-chill brewing or buying fresh wort kits, A heat exchanger by far leads to the greatest “quality of hobby” improvement (time savings) when compared to an ice bath. Before that, I tried topping off with chilled water, making sanitary ice (with formula!), and just about everything else, including snowbank (it doesn’t work, but not for the reason people think). A wort chiller also improves wort quality somewhat and is a necessary antecedent to full volume boils and all-grain brewing.
- DIY ball valve on the kettle – No more pouring of wort through a funnel or transferring through that infection vector called an “auto-siphon”—no more need to lift heavy kettles of wort.
- Propane burner – Getting off the underpowered kitchen stove was a big improvement—yet another necessary buy before making five gal batches of all-grain beer.
- Bench capper — I bottled over 100 batches before kegging a batch. Those plastic wing cappers are trash. Once you have a bench capper clamped to a bench, you can bottle one-handed while capping with the other hand. It shaves something like 30-35% of the time off of a bottling run.
Having shared this list, I started brewing with the Midwest Supplies deluxe basic kit available at the time (plastic bucket fermentor and 5-gal starter kettle).
We want to thank Chino Darji for his kind answer and illustrations. For a description of his kit, please see below. We hope that this response is helpful to those buying your homebrew equipment. You can find Chino on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Image: Chino Darji’s top homebrewing kit buys
From left to right:
- My 5-gallon (~19L) “starter” kettle with DIY ball valve. The ball valve is from HomeBrewStuff store on Amazon ($17 when I bought it). The kettle was free with starter equipment kit purchase.
- Grifo “Super” all-steel bench capper (sold as the MoreBeer Deluxe Bench Capper, $130) pictured along with two sets of nuts and bolts I use to secure it to my workbench.
- Silver serpent immersion chiller from Northern Brewer, $49
- Darkstar propane burner from Northern Brewer. I also got this for free with purchase of $100 of stuff, normally it was $49. This is the “1.0” version. This 55,000 BTU/hr model had some issues with soot. I made a tutorial on how to solve it: https://imgur.com/gallery/mvU8j. The current Darkstar 2.0 is based on a different burner module and has no issues with soot.
Image Credit: Chino Darji 2021 Published with full permission.
Buying your Homebrew Equipment: Get started and see for yourself!
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