Top Finds

A selection of our Top Homebrewing Gear Finds and Shopping Tips.

VacMaster 8 inch by 50 foot Vacuum Bag Roll

Save a bundle on vacuum sealer bags with this 50 foot roll.  High quality 3.5 mill, compatible with all home vacuum sealers including FoodSaver.

Taylor 9842 Commercial Thermometer

Usually under $15 shipped  For the price, this is a great thermometer.  Waterproof, instant read, commercial quality.

Craftsman Cap Wrench Bottle Opener

Tool quality bottle opener with a lifetime warranty.

Allied Precision The Premier Line 742G Bucket Water Heater

A ready made 1000 watt heat stick for around $50 shipped.  Use to get brew mash and sparge water up to temperature more quickly or get your brew kettle to a boil more quickly.  Review

5 Gallon Elastic Opening Paint Strainer Bags 6 Pieces

(6) 5 Gallon Strainer Bags for about $1.68 per bag shipped.  I use similar bags for small batch BIAB brews.  As a bonus the product description hints at these being food safe "strainers also used by winery and juice plants".

Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen

This is the nicest brewing thermometer than I own.  It's very fast and very accurate. Review

Shopping Tip: Blichmann Fermenators and BoilerMaker Kettles

Blichmann Fermenators and BoilerMaker Kettles - It's my understanding that retailers cannot discount Blichmann items.  Adventures in Homebrewing offers free shipping on these items and offers the equivalent of 5% back through their rewards program.  This gets you a round about discount .  That plus the free shipping makes AIH one of the best places to pick this gear up.  Fermenators (here) and BoilerMaker Kettles (here)

Basic Homebrew Draft System - Ball Lock KEG400 - $219.99 Shipped

Includes Refurbished Ball Lock Keg, Tubing, Disconnects, Faucet, Regulator and CO2 Tank.

ThermoWorks RT600C

Super Fast read times, Digital Readout, Waterproof (dishwasher safe) and only 1/4" of the probe needs to be submerged to take a reading.  Min/Max feature for testing highs and lows over time.  Sturdy and high quality design from ThermoWorks. Review

Eva-dry EDV-E-500 Renewable Wireless Mini Dehumidifer

This works great for handling condensation in your kegerator!  Its also reusable!  When the beads turn pink, plug it in.  The built in heater drives off collected moisture and it's ready to be used again.  Mine has worked great for years.  Review

OXO Steel Pop Top Bottle Opener

Beautifully made cast stainless bottle opener.  Review

Beer Craft

A great intro to Homebrewing.  Gets you brewing small batch all grain with minimal cost and equipment.  This and How to Brew by John Palmer are my top two book recommendations for a new brewer.

CDN DTQ450X ProAccurate Quick-Read Thermometer

Quick read, waterproof and digital.  This is a great brewing thermometer! Review

STC-1000 Digital Temperature Controlle

The STC-1000 is a very popular homebrewing temperature controller.  It is a dual stage controller.  That means it has the ability to control both a heating and cooling device.  Great for a kegerator or a fermentation chamber/deep freeze.  110 volt version, reads in deg C.  Check out HBF Reader Greg's STC-1000 Build

1 Gallon Rubbermaid Commercial Bouncer Pitchers

Sturdy, 1 gallon, pitchers.  Great for recirculating wort and other duties around the brewery.  For me, Purchasing two gallon pitchers was a small upgrade that made a big difference.  I went from a mish-mash of too small plastic pitchers, found around the house, that bent under the weight of wort, dripped and leached who knows what into my beer to two high quality pitchers.  What a difference.  Alternate1 Gallon Aluminum Pitcher.  See my hands on review of both pitchers.

Brewer's Whisk: Update International FW-24 Stainless Steel French Whip, 24-Inch

24" 18/8 Stainless Mash Tun Whisk.  Use in your mash tun to mix and breakup dough balls, also great for incorporating malt extract.  Review

Cereal Killer Grain Mill

Adjustable two roller grain mill with hopper and base.  Hardened steel rollers, anodized aluminum body.  6 month warranty.  Mill your own grain to save money, increase efficiency and drastically increase grain shelf life.  $99.99 Shipped

Economy Stainless Kettles from More Beer

Available in both an 8.5 Gallon Size and a 14 Gallon Size.  Both generally include free shipping.  These kettles include 2 welded 1/2" NPT ports.  These ports allow you to easily add a thermometer and a ball valve without having to drill or deal with weldless kits.

MLCS 9089 Billy Pedal Foot Switch

I use one of these for easy, hands free control of my March pump while brewing. 

Johnson Controls A419 Digital Thermostat Control Unit

Pre-wired Digital Temp Controller.  I have two of these and they are great.

Sears Craftsman 11/16 x 7/8 in. Wrench, Ratcheting Box-End - Around $10

The perfect ball lock keg wrench.  11/16 and 7/8 to work with both of the standard ball lock post sizes. Review

FoodSaver V2244 Vacuum Sealer

Vacuum sealers are indispensable for storing and preserving hops and other brewing ingredients.  You can save money by getting in on bulk hop buys.  Use your vacuum sealer to break these up and to preserve freshness.  You can also store specialty grains in vacuum bags or using the mason jar attachment.  Other uses include: storing base grains, partial dry yeast packs and storing and preserving other beer ingredients.  Pays for itself in preserved ingredients.

March High Flow, High Temperature Brewing Pump

This is March's high flow model.  If you're wondering... this has the same footprint as the regular flow versions.  Along those lines, it fit's on the TopTier March Pump Mounting Bracket.  I've used this pump for years.  I use it for vorlaufing/recirculating, transferring from my mash tun to brew kettle, chilling with a recirculating wort chiller and transferring to my fermenter.

Snapware MODS Medium Rectangle Storage Container 17 Cups

Holds around 5 lbs of grain or around 4.5 lbs of DME  Review

Kegging System for $139.99

Includes Ball Lock Keg, Regulator, Faucet, Tubing and Disconnects.  Pick up a CO2 locally and you're all set.

UltraShip Scales

Usually available in the $30 range.  Tare feature and a removable face for easily weighing larger objects like buckets full of grain.  Review

10% Off at GrogTag

Custom Printed, Professional, Reusable Homebrew Labels and More.  10% Discount for Homebrew Finds Readers!  Use coupon code HBF.

Great Deal on 10 Gallon Ball Lock Keg

10 Gallon Ball Lock Kegs are generally difficult to find.  I use 10 gallon kegs as fermenters.  They work great, allowing me to easily transfer under pressure and carbonate in the fermenter.  Also great for kegging large batches.

Bayou Classic KAB4 High Pressure Banjo Cooker

210,000 BTU Banjo Style Burner.  I like the banjo style burner that's used on the KAB4.

Used 5 Gallon Ball Lock Cornelius Keg

Used Ball Lock Cornelius Kegs for $59.99.  Used kegs are becoming difficult to find.  This is one of the most reliable, economical sources of Cornelius kegs that I know of.

MegaPot 1.2

Northern Brewer has built a lot of features and value into their most recent revision of the MegaPot line.  Available in several sizes and versions - up to 30 gallons.  Available with and without ball valve and thermometer.

Perlick 630SS Forward Sealing Faucet

Perlick's follow up to the wildly popular 525SS faucet.  Stainless Steel Construction with a forward sealing design.  This offering from RiteBrew is one of the most economical sources for picking up the 630SS.

Speidel Fermenters

I use both 5.3 and 7.9 Gallon Speidel Fermenters.  They are available in sizes up to 31.7 gallons.  German Made, heavy duty and oxygen resistant HDPE construction, large opening for easy cleaning, easy transfer spout and all connections have gaskets.  These are great fermenters.

10% Off Blichmann BoilerMaker Kettles - Slight Cosmetic Damage

If you've looked for discounted Blichmann BoilerMaker kettles for very long, you'll soon learn that they... do not exist.  Prices on Blichmann gear are standardized.  An exception to that is periodic availability of "Slight Cosmetic Damage" BoilerMaker Kettles.  These are marked down 10% vs the standard offering.

100 Pint Vacuum Bags

via eBay seller adbcrf - 100 Pre-made pint bags.  Great for breaking up 1 lb hop buys.  Here is a specific product listing.  If that's not live, check out all of the sellers offerings to see if it's been relisted.

Brewer's Friend Free Unlimited Duration Trial Account

Brew in the Cloud with Brewer's Friend Brewing Software.  Brewer's Friend offers a generous unlimited duration free trial account.

Shopping Tip: Economy Kettle Lind from AIH

Available in sizes ranging from 5 gallons up to 25 gallons, these kettles are a great value.  They are available in both ported (1/2" NPT, both 1 and 2 ports) and unported versions.  The ports allow you to add a ball valve and thermometer without having to drill or deal with weldless kits.

Fast Weigh Pocket Gram Scale

Around $7.  1/10th of a gram precision.  Great for accurately weighing hops.  I like two have two scales, a smaller more accurate one like this and a higher capacity scale for weighing grain.  Review

6 Gallon Bucket with White Gamma Seal Lid

Store 25 to 30 lbs of grain in this airtight bucket/Gamma Seal Lid combo.  Emergency Essentials has an economical tiered shipping structure that tops out at $12, making this one of the best values for buckets and Gamma Seal Lids.  Review

Grain Storage: Vittles Vault Stackable 60 lb

Easily holds 50-55 lbs sack of grain.  Stackable, Airtight, FDA Approved, Food Safe, BPA Free, Large Easy Access Lid, Space Efficient, Made from high quality impact resistant plastic and pest proof.

Lifeline 7500 Vacuum Insulated, Stainless Steel Growler - 64 oz. Capacity

This double wall insulated stainless growler is amazing.  Check out my hands on review - Here.

Kent Systems Soda Bottle Cap - $9.99

Use to carbonate in a 1 or 2 liter PET soda bottle.  Tune in carbonation for competitions and pressurize draft beer in soda bottles for easy transport.  Save a bundle vs the other carbonation caps on the market.  More Info

Shopping Tip: Blichmann TopTier Brew Stand

I’ve had a Blichmann TopTier Brew Stand for years.  I like it very much.  I purchased it because it is relatively inexpensive for a brewing system, it doesn’t take up a lot of room, it easily moves around my garage and it’s modular.  I have the TopTier setup with a burner at the top, as my HLT, followed by a shelf tier for my mash tun, followed by another burner for my brew kettle.  I have the boil kettle burner situated so that the kettle is high enough to drain directly into a fermenter, in case I don’t want to use my pump.  Finally a march pump is mounted at the bottom.  It has worked great for me.

Adventures in Homebrewing offers free shipping on the TopTier.  That includes the stand and any add-ons to the stand configured on the TopTier Base Stand page.  Many retailers are charging calculated shipping and some are charging common carrier freight.  The TopTier also qualifies for AIH’s Rewards Program.  That gets you the equivalent of 5% back in the form of gift certificates good toward a future purchase.

Edelmetall Brü Burner

Edelmetall Brü Burner from Northern Brewer.  72,000 BTU, Adjustable to many kettle sizes, copper clad aluminum body, precise needle valve.

Sinbo DZ-280

This vacuum sealer has the ability to seal standard (non-channeled) bags.  It can also seal... Mylar bags.  Review

Brand New, NSF Approved Ball Lock Keg

Brand new, NSF Approved, 5 Gallon Ball Lock Keg for $84.99.  This is a great deal for a brand new keg.

8 lb PBW

8 lb PBW from More Beer - At about $6/lb with the potential for free shipping, More Beer's 8 lb offering of PBW is one of the best everyday values for PBW that doesn't require you to... spend $200 plus.

Membership in the American Homebrewer's Association

Membership in the AHA is a great deal.  Find out why!

Shopping Tip: Great Source for CO2 Manifolds

RiteBrew has great prices on CO2 Manifolds from 2 to 8 way.  All include check valves and 5/16" barbs that fit either 1/4" ID or 5/16" ID tubing

NEEWER Digital Kitchen Scale

Usually under $10.  If you are on a tight budget this makes a good all around scale.  11 lb capacity.  Review

Rubbermaid Commercial Bus Tubs

I use two of these on brew day and I find them invaluable.  I keep one below my March Pump setup.  That one catches drips and also offers a place to store wet items such as stirring spoons, mash paddles and my equally invaluable 1 gallon pitchers.  I reserve the other tub for clean and dry items.  Having two of these helps me keep dry/clean and wet/dirty items separate and means less lugging stuff around on brew day.

Camp Chef SH-140L High Pressure Burner with Detachable Legs

60,000 BTU, Commercial quality cast burner, 24" height allows you to drain directly into your fermenter.  This is a great burner!

Lifeline 7508 "Barrel Size" Vacuum Insulated, Stainless Steel Growler

All the benefits as the original, with a larger capacity.  Check out my hands on review - Here.

Grain Storage: Vittles Vault II 40 lb

Airtight and holds a full 50 lb sack of grain.

StirStarter Stir Plate - $42 Shipped

Nikobrew offers the StirStarter Stir Plate for $42 with Free Shipping.  That's one of the best values around for a stir plate.  I got my StirStarter back in June of... 2009.  It's worked great for me.  The constant motion of a stir plate integrates oxygen, puts yeast in constant contact with nutrients, relieves built up CO2 and generally helps yeast to grow more rapidly.  That also means smaller starters.

Winware 10 gallon Professional Aluminum Stock Pot

Commercial quality kettle. This gets great reviews and can usually be had for $50 or less including shipping. Larger sizes are available. Aluminum is a great material for brew kettles.

Shopping Tip: Blichmann Replacement Parts

Great Fermentations has an extensive selection of Blichmann Gear along with Blichmann Replacement Parts.  Most items ship for free under their Flat Rate Shipping.

Expandable CO2 Manifold System

Few things grow with you in homebrewing.  This system allows you to start out with a 234 or 6 way CO2 manifold and allows unlimited expansion, when you're ready, just by adding on another valve.  Built in check valves.  Works with both 5/16" and 1/4" ID tubing.

New Cornelius Keg Lid with Pressure Relief Valve - $15.99

New Cornelius Cornelius Lids often cost as an entire keg.  At $15.99 this is a great deal.

Bel-Art Polypropylene Bottles

I use the 1 L Size.  These bottles can withstand autoclave temps.  I place them in the microwave with the lid sitting loosely on the top (not tightened down!) - be careful - microwave until the water boils and you have a sanitized container that contains sanitized water that can be used for yeast hydration, yeast washing and more.  Check out Tip 1 on the Tips page for a full explanation.

RSG-100ATC Dual Scale Refractometer (Corrrected Scale)

Typical dual scale refractometers use a linear 4 x gravity to Brix conversion.  That's fine and dandy up until around 1.049.  At that point this linear scale starts to become inaccurate.  Brix 11 does equal 1.044, but Brix 12 does not equal 1.048.  It is 1.049.  It's only 1 point off here, but up at Brix 24, it's up to 5 points off.  Brix 24 equals 1.101 not 1.096.

From the manufacturer: "This is the only inexpensive Wort SG to be corrected. The only other corrected refrafractometers in existence are the BREWfractometer and the BREWfractometer Extreme."

Refractometers can be used to measure gravity throughout the brewing process.  After fermentation begins, you can use a calculator to get your beer's current gravity.  Check out Northern Brewer's Refractometer Calculators.

Infrared Thermometer

Since this is no touch, you can check the temp of yeast washing and yeast rehydration water and your starter wort without the risk of infection.  I find mine particularly useful for rehydrating yeast.

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