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
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.
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).
3. An inexpensive lighter from the dollar store
4. Teflon Tape for weldless fittings
5. A pair of Messermeister Take-Apart Scissors – Here
These get great reviews from a number of sources. They have worked great for me. Check out my Hands on Review – Here
6. A CDN DTQ450X Quick Read Thermometer – Here
This is a great brewing thermometer. Check out my Hands on Review – Here
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.
8. FastWeigh MS-500 Gram Scale – Here
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.
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.
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 Priming Sugar Calculator for an easy way to estimate after fermentation begins.
12. Irwin 9 in 1 Multi-Tool Screwdriver – Here
This is a handy screwdriver that gives you a lot of functions for the space.
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.
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.\