Ten Homebrewing Products to Keep on Hand

on Flickr”>Homebrew HeavenWe have all done it – embarked on a large project, generic only to cuss yourself a blue streak because you forgot a relatively small item that means the difference between finishing the job and stopping progress altogether. Not much is more maddening than this. Here is a collection of ten things I always try to keep on hand when I am homebrewing so I don't have to make the trek to the store in the middle of the job. All these items are available at almost any homebrew store worth its salt, seek
and some are even available at your local hardware store.

  1. Air Locks. I prefer the three-piece design and have extras on hand. They are only a couple dollars each, so it is not hard to stock up on these. This is especially helpful when I somehow lose one of the three pieces, which happens with alarming regularity. I always find the missing piece, but rarely when I need it. I need to get some more of these, in fact. I just put my last air lock into use yesterday and I feel a little weird not having a spare on hand.
  2. Hose Clamps. I have probably on the order of 20 hose clamps in use at the moment and occasionally have to remove them for maintenance and other purposes. I have had these break before and it's really no fun to not have a kegerator working for something as small as a hose clamp. I have about five extras just in case. They are cheap. Go get a few spares next time you are at the hardware store.
  3. Hose. Have you ever looked at your siphon or dispensing hose and been a little turned off by its yellowish tint? Occasionally you need to replace those, and you rarely think about it until you are ready to use it. Get a little extra and keep it on hand.
  4. Cleaner and Sanitizer. It's easy to run out of these chemicals. Every time I order ingredients online or make a shopping list for the homebrew store, I check to see if I am running out of these. It would really stink to be in the middle of brewing and need some extra sanitizer and not have any.
  5. Fittings. Sometimes fittings break, whether it is the spigot on your bottling bucket or a liquid or gas connector on a keg. These things need to be cleaned and replaced with alarming regularity, from my experience. It makes sense, though. They can get gummed up with beer pretty easily and be hard to remove or install, and sometimes start to leak. It's easier to just replace one and clean the culprit rather than have a keg out of commission.
  6. Stoppers. I have extras of these because from time to time they get misplaced, or they are all dirty when I need one. Having a couple extra in reserve has been plenty helpful during various homebrewing sessions.
  7. Rubber Seals. You never know when a rubber seal or grommet might wear out. I have an extra grommet for the tops of my fermenting buckets and plenty of seals for kegs as well. I love saving a trip to the homebrewing store and hate having to make that trip last minute. Seals are cheap enough that it makes sense to have plenty of extras on hand. A friend recently bought 100 each of all the keg seals he uses for about $10 total. That is enough to last his whole life, I figure.
  8. Dry Malt Extract. It's good for making yeast starters, or for when you simply want to add a little kick to your brew. A light dry malt extract is almost the perfect ingredient to raise the specific gravity a few points and give your yeast that much more sugar to munch on.
  9. Ale Yeast. I try to have an extra sachet of yeast on hand in case my normal yeast doesn't ferment as expected. I like Nottingham Ale Yeast because it is a generic yeast, is reliable, and does not have a lot of off-flavors. It ferments cleanly and will work in a good range of temperatures.
  10. Yeast Nutrient. Certain conditions make it desirable to add a little yeast nutrient to give your yeast the extra strength they need to get started munching away at the sugars. A high-gravity brew can benefit from a bit of nutrient, and so can one that uses a lot of adjuncts. This stuff is great to have around.

Is there anything I left off this list you recommend to keep on hand?

Homebrew Heaven by Another Pint Please…

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