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Author Topic: Opinions on Homebrewing Equipment  (Read 4692 times)

Offline kgs

  • Senior Brewmaster
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  • Sonoma County, CA
Re: Opinions on Homebrewing Equipment
« Reply #45 on: December 29, 2015, 08:35:01 pm »
I agree with other posters that compared to other hobbies, for the return on investment, brewing is a bargain. To be clear, I don't have any other hobbies... not that I brew all the time... but I have a huge day-job and am in grad school (for the last time, really) and have had various family "events" over the six years I've been brewing that have made it necessary for me to keep it simple.

I am about to step into kegging with a huge asterisk over my head ("please don't add complexity to my life now")  with the goal of making one thing that much simpler. I brew small batches (2.5 gal typical) and that is part of the simplicity effort. I have a propane burner I've used twice; I keep it as part of our earthquake gear. I have a March pump I have used several times and adore but don't really need... not getting rid of it for a while anyway. I gave away a copper immersion chiller -- used it once, but in a drought state, brewing small batches, a bag of ice is so much more sustainable. The small gear in my life is important: good thermometers, hydrometers, whisks, etc. I recently added an aeration stone + pump, and even if it isn't really better than whisking, it's cheap fun. Whee! Bubbles!

Things I use: my 9-gallon cooler with a strainer made from a plumbing supply line; the 10-gallon SS kettle with a SS ball-valve spigot, used primarily for a HLT but still beloved; strainers, spoons, etc.; high-temp hosing; a 2-litre flask; my Thermapen (not only for brewing, but for checking the ambient temp of storage spaces, and also for non-brewing tasks like checking the temp of melted chocolate); and lots of other small gear. It helps that I have two spare fridges at my disposal for fermenting and so forth.

Part of the joy of brewing is finding one's niche. I'm not destined to be a 10-gallon-batch award-winning brewer. Sometimes I brew beers I would be proud to share with others, sometimes it's just me, sometimes they are dumpers. It may well be that in a job that is high-pressure and with so many other expectations in my life, brewing gives me a place to fail, or at least not meet my highest expectations. If my Belgian didn't carbonate, I'll drink it. If my oatmeal stout is a little too heavy on the vanilla, my friends will enjoy it. Nobody expects me to be a great brewer, but a lot of people I am friends with enjoy that I even try to brew.

As hobbies go, brewing is pretty reasonable even if you aren't as modest as I am in my expenditures. As I said to a CFO once upon a time when he questioned me about an expenditure, "I've spent a lot more for a lot less."
K.G. Schneider
AHA Member