Putting Together a “Brew Day Box”

Why a Brew Day Box?
Over the years I’ve homebrewed, I’ve utilized a number of storage/organization strategies.  Some could be defined less as strategies and more as “piles”.  These strategies have ranged from, cardboard boxes, to big totes that I threw everything under the sun into to using smaller shoe box size containers and breaking everything out into categories.  The shoe box size organization method has worked well and other than a few large totes for bigger items, it’s what I’m currently using.  At some point after going to that, I realized that when brew day rolled around, I had to collect items from a number of these containers.  I usually forgot something and had to look around, multiple times per brew day trying to find whatever I lacked.  That evolved into putting together a container just for brew days.  I cleverly :) call that my Brew Day Box.  This container houses nearly all the small odds and ends that I use when brewing.  I’ve also tried to make sure those things don’t really need removed at other times.  For example I use a refractometer regularly, not just on brew day, so… I bought another refractometer.  It took a while to get there, but, for the most part things in my Brew Day Box stay there.  This keeps everything in one place and I’m not wasting time trying to find stuff when I should be brewing.

What’s in the Box?

1.  Five Stainless Steel 2.75 ounce Prep Cups from Crate and Barrel - Here

Stock Image

These cups are from Crate and Barrel.  I use them for portioning hops and other boil additions.  I used to use larger cups from Ikea.  Those were okay, but they were too bulky.  I like these stainless cups a lot.  They are a great size and they nest to save space in the box.

Stainless Steel Small 2.5″ Condiment-Prep Cup – $1.50 each

2.  500 mL Polypropylene Lab Containers from Bel-Art – Here

This 500 mL lab grade bottle is safe at boiling temps, it’s also autoclave and microwave friendly.  I use this container for rehydrating yeast.  Check out the Tips Page (tip #1) for my technique on that.  I use dry yeast enough that I wanted this in my brew day box.  My brew day refractometer also fits in this, so it saves some space and protects that piece of equipment.

I bought 12 of these in early 2011 and I’m still using the first one (in June of 2013).

Bel-Art 106320007 Scienceware Polypropylene Precisionware Wide-Mouth Autoclavable Bottle with 53mm Closure, 500ml Capacity, Pack of 12

3.  An inexpensive lighter from the dollar store

4.  Teflon Tape for weldless fittings

5.  A pair of Messermeister Take-Apart Scissors – Here

These are take-apart for easy cleaning and sanitizing

They also have a handy bottle opener

These get great reviews from a number of sources.  They have worked great for me.  Check out my Hands on Review - Here

Messermeister 8-Inch Take-Apart Kitchen Scissors

6.  A CDN DTQ450X Quick Read Thermometer – Here

 

This is a great brewing thermometer.  Check out my Hands on Review - Here

CDN DTQ450X ProAccurate Quick-Read Thermometer

7. KitchenArt Adjustable Tablespoon – Here

I use a measuring spoon for measuring yeast nutrient additions and other boil additions.  This is another space saver.  I wanted to easily fit everything in one shoe size box.  At one point, I kept an entire set of measuring spoons in the box.  This replaced that whole set.

KitchenArt Plastic Adjust-a-Tablespoon, White

8.  FastWeigh MS-500 Gram Scale – Here

This Top Find Gram Scale is great for measuring hops and other boil additions.  I’ve found it to be very accurate and it’s a great size.  Check out my Hands on Review - Here.  It also happens to be a bargain.  You can easily find it below $7.

9.  Taylor 5849 Quad Timer and Whiteboard – Here
This allows me to time up to four hop additions and also has a handy white board for noting what hops go in when.

Taylor 5849 Quad Kitchen Timer with Whiteboard

10.  Leatherman Wingman Multi Tool – Here

Another great bang for the buck with regards to space.  This thing is really well made and includes lots of features including pliers, wire cutters a knife, screwdrivers, a bottle opener and lots more.  Made in the US. Check out my Hands on Review - Here.

Leatherman 831426 Wingman Multi-Tool

11. Dual Scale Refractometer – Here

Refractometers use a sample size of just a few drops and can be used to measure gravity throughout the brewing process.  Check out Northern Brewer’s Refractometer Calculators for an easy way to estimate after fermentation begins.

Economic Beer Wort and Wine Refractometer, Dual Scale – Specific Gravity and Brix

12. Irwin 9 in 1 Multi-Tool Screwdriver – Here

Stock Photo


9 Functions


Disassembled


The nut driver works on all of my worm type tubing clamps

This is a handy screwdriver that gives you a lot of functions for the space.

IRWIN 2051100 9-in-1 Multi-Tool Screwdriver

13.  Rubbermaid Box - 10 Packs - Single

I have dozens of these boxes.  I like this specific model because: 1. The sides are clear.  That makes it easy to see what’s inside.  2. The lids are easy to snap on and take off. and 3. They stack nicely on top of each other.

You may be able to find these in a local store for less.  I’ve bought some online and stumbled across them another time in a local store for a couple dollars each.

Rubbermaid 6.5 Quart Clever Store Non Latching Bins 10 PacksSingle

Top View – Everything Loaded in the Box


Front View


The lid snaps on easily

A Brew Day box has been a big time saver for me.  Having most of the small stuff in one spot makes the brew day go more smoothly.  I recommend putting something like this together.\

Pinned: 8 Gallon Kettle · Refractometer · Brew Like a Monk · Brew Bag Sale

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8 thoughts on “Putting Together a “Brew Day Box”

  1. Jon Carter

    Great post! I might have to snag one of those refractometers from ebay. I thought they were a lot more expensive than that and I feel there’s way too much waste when you use a hydrometer.

    1. Anonymous

      Agreed, refractometers are great for checking Brix on grapes in the field or wort from the mash tun, but once fermentation starts, you still need the hydrometer. The alcohol throws off the Brix readings on the refractometer. With wines, a refractometer will read about 7 brix when an initially 20 brix must is fermented to dryness, which will read on a hydrometer at 0.997. Wort will behave in a similar manner.

  2. Kevin Zelenakas

    Agreed on having a brewday box. I use a inexpensive plastic Toolbox from Home depot. I can keep measures, scales, timers, etc in the bottom, refractometer, thermometer, hydrometer, pens, scissors, yeast nutrient, Irish Moss, and a couple odds and ends in the upper tray. the one I have also has part organizers as well on the outside for small parts (stirbars, gaskets, etc…) it’s nice, because if I brew at a buddies or go elsewhere, it is a grab and go deal.

  3. Caleb

    thanks for the post! I now have to assemble something like this. Also, I just ordered two refractometers from our link :-)

  4. Marc

    My brewday box is one of the Rubbermaid bus tubs you have recommended many times. In addition to what you list, I also keep:

    -Water adjustment stuff
    -Lactic acid
    -Irish moss
    -Fermcap
    -2 alumnium 2-quart pitchers (another great rec from HBF)
    -Stainless and plastic spoons
    -Hop spider and bags
    -Spray bottle of sanitizer

    All of the stuff in small bottles (the water and boil additions) fit nicely in an empty six-pack holder.

    I’m planning to brew sometime this weekend, so I’ll try to remember to take a picture at some point. I’ll post it on the HBF Facebook page.

  5. Anonymous

    Organization definitely makes a brew day go more smoothly. I put together a brew-day rubbermaid tub for brewing and now I have more time to drink beer instead of looking all over my basement for things I need.

    I also put a box together for kegging that includes wrenches, sockets, keg lube, cleaner and sanitizer, extra keg components (poppits, O-rings), etc … that I break out when working with kegs or the keggerator.

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