Small Investments for a Big Impact
A lot of brewing equipment is expensive. Some of it is a necessary evil, but much of the money we spend on equipment is "nice to have," increasing the joy or convenience of our brew day, or just looking rad.
However, I've made a few upgrades over the years that had a minimal cost investment and yet which had a major benefit to my brew process. Here are my the top three cheap-yet-effective items in my brew closet:
- Wallpaper tray: I picked up one of these for about $5 at my local hardware store and have used it well over a hundred times. This thing is a tremendous container in which to soak your racking cane, wine thief, thermometers and other long breweries equipment for cleaning and sanitization. And, when not in use, it's the perfect storage vessel for these items.
- Clothes-Pin: the perfect tool to keep your racking cane/siphon out of the trub during racking. I attach it to the top part of my siphon with a rubber band (the clothes pin is upside-down, with the business end facing up) and hang it off the neck of my fermenter at just the right position so the bottom of the siphon sits right off the trub. Then I can walk away and do other things during the siphon
- Heating pad: I actually picked one of these up for its intended purpose at one point, but realized very quickly it is a tremendous aid to maintaining or increasing fermentation temperatures. I wrap my fermenter with it and set it to low, medium or high depending on my goal. And, most of these things are pretty energy efficient, using less energy than a standard incandescent light bulb. If you really want to get fancy, attach it to a light timer so you can cycle it on and off
Have you incorporated any low-cost, high-impact items in your brewery? Please share, we'd love to hear about them!