Homebrewing Blog and Resource

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Brewing Equipment Upgrades

Times are tight, hops are expensive, malt is on the rise, inflation is taking its grip and your brewing dollars just don’t go as far as they used to. But who cares — you’re still a homebrew gearhead and you want that new shinny kettle or keg.

I was thinking about the next piece of major equipment I need to buy (need being a very inaccurate word). I know that first and foremost my kegs are just too warm and lonely sitting in a garage without a kegorator to house them in. So that should be where I invest my spare brewing pennies. I do, however, have a couple other pieces of equipment I have had my eye on and I thought I’d share with you what I am mulling over.

March Pump – This is one slick piece of equipment. If I purchased this I would put it to use straight away doing a recirculating-whirlpool chill technique that Jamil Zainasheff has described as a great way to maximize the potential of an immersion chiller. Getting a pump for wort and water would also facilitate maybe moving up to my next equipment want.

Plate chiller – I am a big fan of the ease of use that an immersion chill provides. But I also like my toys small and easy to store (my backpacking background). The plate chiller is just that, a self-contained slab of copper and steel chilling dynamo. The use of a pump would make its operation that much simpler. My only concern with the plate chiller is I don’t do a good job of seperating hops and break material from my kettle to my fermentor. So that would require some more kettle mods, more upgrades and more money.

Brewing stand – Getting back to my comment about my love of all things compact and easy to store, the brewing stand is large but would be a great addition. I think that getting a brewing stand together, on wheels, would make a nice permanent place for my brewing set up. I could just wheel it out, brew, then wheel it away. Nice clean and tidy set up. Now all my brewing stuff is scattered on several shelves and I have to haul it out and put it away. I never do that. ┬áMy kettle and burner just sit in the garage until I get tired of tripping over it or walking around it.

Alas, good things cost money, even if I make them myself. For now I’ll just keep on keeping on with the equipment I have. I am still making good beer regardless. It’s just the equipment changes that help keep it new and fresh and easy. Ahhh, it’s fun to dream.

What’s in your bag of “must haves”?


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  1. Aaron

    Mostly I’m looking to get a bigger pot, but I’m being indecisive on what size. It’s simpler for me because it would be illegal for me to brew outside (live in a condo and can’t have an open flame within 25′ of the building, even though I have a patio), so a lot of this stuff doesn’t matter.

    Since I have to put it on my stove, I worry that a 10 gallon pot would be too much, but I like the idea of not ever needing to buy another pot. I worry that if I get a 7.5-8.5 gallon one, I’ll eventually want to replace it, too, since I plan on brewing barleywines with regularity and will have to boil a while to concentrate the wort.

    But if I can’t get it to boil, it’s a waste of money… I wish I could take one home and try it!

  2. corey

    I’m new to brew, purchased a minibrew systme, conical fermentor. Have three batches completed. This fermentor has a dumping system on the bottom. When would one dump the yeast? Should I let theyeast sit on the bottom for a few weeks, dump it, then let it secondary ferment for a few more weeks.

    I brewed a wheat beer and it turned out flat after sitting in a bottle for two weeks, missed a step or did I need to just sit and wait? Used a partial boil kit.

  3. Mike

    I don’t have a conical yet but the timing for getting beer off the yeast and trub is the same regardless of equipment. I would use your draw off port to take samples to let you know when fermentation is complete. I would also allow adequate time to let the yeast do post-fermentation activities (like removing diacetyl). Typically 10-14 days is plenty of time for a an average gravity beer (1.060 or less) a little longer for higher gravity beers.

    As for the flat wheat double check that you added your priming sugar. I know it seems simple but sometimes we forget and leave it on the counter or in the box. If you are sure you added priming sugar, then the beer likely just needs more time to carb up. Some yeast strains are slower than others. Try and keep the bottled beer at 70-75 degrees or so to be sure the yeast is active.

    If it doesn’t carb up in another couple weeks shoot me an email and we can hash out some more possibilities.

  4. Raul Benderman

    Very nice post.

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