Want to step up your homebrewing game? The right equipment can make all the difference, and today, homebrewers have their pick of a wide range of high-tech gadgets.
The following devices will give you more control over how your brew turns out and help you get a better-tasting result.
1. Electric Grain Mill
As you gain more experience as a homebrewer, you may decide to switch from using extract to mashing your own grains. While this method gives you more control over your brew, it is much more labor-intensive.
You can have a local homebrewing store mash your grains for you, but even that requires giving up some control over how your brew turns out. For maximum personalization, get yourself an electric grain mill. They come in various sizes and price points and will cost you at least $100.
2. Stir Plate
To create a good yeast starter, you need to aerate it. You can do this by manually stirring it, but a better option is to use a stir plate. This device consists of a base with a motor and two magnets, which spin a magnet placed inside your flask with your yeast.
This process aerates the yeast, releases CO2 and keeps it in suspension. This process increases yeast cell count and leads to a better brew.
3. Oxygenation Kit
Aeration is also important later in the process, once you’ve added your yeast to your wort. Again, you could do this manually. You could also use an oxygenation or aeration kit. Just hook it up to an oxygen tank and put the tube into your wort for perfect aeration and a tasty brew.
4. Wort Chiller
Before adding yeast to your wort, you need to reduce its temperature. The faster you can cool it down, the better —because you’ll give bacteria that can ruin your brew less of a chance to form. If you’re brewing a small amount, an ice bath might work.
At larger quantities, though, this becomes very inefficient. A better option is a wort chiller. They come in several varieties, including immersion chillers, counterflow chillers and plate chillers.
5. Temperature-Controlled Conical Fermenter
The temperature at which your brew ferments has significant influence over how it turns out, and the ideal temperature varies depending on the kind of beverage you’re brewing. Using a temperature-controlled conical fermenter ensures your brew is at the perfect temperature at all times.
These devices allow you to adjust the temperature of your fermentation to precise levels. This device will cost you at least $700, and many models cost several thousand.
6. Digital pH Meter
Acidity, or pH, matters at nearly every stage of the brewing process and can have a substantial impact on the flavor, color and other aspects of your beer.
With a digital meter, you can determine the precise pH level of your brew at any time. You can then adjust accordingly by adding lactic acid, tartaric acid or mineral salts or by doing an acid rest.
7. Wi-Fi Digital Hydrometer
The hydrometer is an essential brewer’s tool. The device measures the specific gravity of your brew, which tells you what the sugar content of your beer is. You can use this measurement to determine the progress of fermentation and calculate your beer’s alcohol content.
With a typical hydrometer, you can only take measurements before and after fermentation because it requires opening the fermenter and exposing it to potential contamination.
A digital hydrometer, however, stays in your brew during the entire fermentation process and automatically sends readings to an online dashboard or app.
8. Keg and Carboy Washer
Cleaning and sanitizing your kegs, carboys and other equipment is a necessary but time-consuming aspect of homebrewing.
Unless you have a large utility sink, their size makes it difficult to find a place to wash them, and you may have to take your keg apart to clean it. An automated keg and carboy washer takes the work out of cleaning your equipment and will likely result in a more thorough clean than washing by hand.
High-tech homebrewing gadgets can make the brewing process easier, fun and more precise. Ultimately, they can help you brew better-tasting beer in less time.
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