Our first post! I’m sorry I’m not a more consistent blogger yet, I need to get into the groove here. Let’s start: Welcome to the Ladies’ Homebrew Society! We’ll do another post about why we felt the LHBS was necessary, but for today, I want to talk about equipment. Because if you are reading this, and you’re not already homebrewing, I want you to be!
I was fortunate to have my friend and homebrewing mentor, Cookie, walk me through the homebrew store on my first visit. I was feeling intimidated because I wasn’t sure what I really needed, and what somebody might be trying to just add on to raise the price of the kit. Cooks also helped me to determine that even though homebrew start up kits often advertised that they were complete open-the-box-and-get-brewin packages, they did not include really important items. Like a pot. The big pot is key. In case you don’t have a homebrewing bestie like mine to get you started, here’s what we went with:
-The two plastic bucket ‘Ale Pail’ setup. One of these buckets has a spigot for bottling. One does not. These also came with a bucket lid with a hole for our
-Sanitizer. Our kit came with LD Carlson Easy Clean No Rinse Cleaner (which I really like).
-A racking cane
-A stick on thermometer (that I couldn’t figure out how to use. I might be slow.)
-A bottle filler
-and a bottle brush
On Cookie’s advice, and that of the books I got from the library, we also added:
-The big, aluminum pot (check restaurant supply stores)
-A thermometer (that I could figure out- also from the restaurant supply store)
-A glass carboy and the drilled stopper for the carboy.
-A gallon jug of water, because beer measurements often require a few gallons of water and I don’t have a measuring cup that large, so I reuse my empty jug.
We also got a beer kit from the homebrew store that had the ingredients, the recipe, the caps, and the priming sugar for our first batch. All told, I walked out of the homebrew store that day with all of my gear for about $200. We spent another $50 at the restaurant supply store.
Let’s take a moment to talk about your neighborhood homebrewing store. Our equipment and our first recipe came from The Bald Brewer in Longmont, who is amazing. Mark answered all my questions about the various pieces of equipment, about the beer recipe I chose, and taught me about different yeast strains and did not talk down to me. I appreciated that, because, while I’m new at this, I’m not stupid. This is a quality you should really prioritize in a homebrew store, especially if you are a member of the LHBS, because you’re not stupid either! And if your shopkeeper makes you feel like you are, or perhaps makes you feel like being a gal and being a homebrewer makes you a crazy and/or unwelcome anomaly, then that’s not the store for you. Or your two hundred dollars.
Cheers to standing out in the crowd!