It seems like most homebrewers who keg never have enough kegs.

  • It’s always good to have the next keg ready when the last one kicks.
  • they are good to bulk age beer in.
  • they can be used as fermenters.
  • and they’re stainless!! So shiny!!

If you’re shopping for a kegger, then perhaps the only important thing to know is that there are two kinds of keg fittings. Pin-lock and Ball-lock. Pin-lock kegs have little pegs that poke out of the top of the posts.


These are pin lock posts


this is a ball lock post


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This will sound weird, but Amazon is amazing for homebrewers. There are great prices on most brewing gear, books, and even ingredients. Getting most of those with free shipping is even better! I use prime all the time, and I cant really see going back to life without it. Oh yeah, a prime member can share their membership with people that they live with, so you could possibly be giving yourself the gift of prime as well! I’m sure that I spend more on amazon now that I have prime, but I also buy fewer cart-stuffers trying to get above the $35 minimum for free shipping!
Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

So consider prime to be a great gift for anyone who already has a strong amazon history, or for people who don’t live close to a homebrew shop! It’s also super useful for buying parts for DIY projects, like a cast iron draft tower

There are hundreds of brewing books out there, and thankfully there are books for any level of brewer. I’ll begin with beginner books and move on to more complex ideas.

Beginner brewers

These two books are both classics for beginner brewers. They cover theory and really answer a lot of questions that pop up in the first few brew sessions.

the complete joy of homebrewing how to brew john palmer

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For less than half of the price of the fancy kegerator you can buy a kit to turn an existing fridge into a kegerator. This kit gives you kegs, lines, taps and faucets. Add a 5# co2 tank to it and you are ready to roll for under $350.

diy kegerator kit homebrew kegs

I want to add that this is more work than the other kegerator, but some people like to build their own things. This could be one of those things.

The beer bug is a great tool that measures the temp of your beer and relays that info to the web. It has a great iphone app that allows you to monitor your progress as well. Temperature is important because yeast puts off heat when it works, and that heat can be used as a proxy to tell when the yeast is done working.


The beer bug is good for a person who likes to get into the nitty gritty of data, and tries to understand what input causes what output.

Owning a kegerator is a shared dream of most homebrewers. Not only does it make you feel like you own a bar, it allows you to serve fresh beer at a moment’s notice and it saves you a lot of time spent in bottling. This setup has everything your brewer would need to start kegging tomorrow. You could be pouring soda or wine out of one tap and IPA from the other!

kegerator ball lock keg homebrewer

Reducing brewing time

The biggest time-sink in brewing is cooling the beer (technically called wort, but whatever) down from boiling at 212 to around 70 degrees. This can take over an hour if you don’t do anything special, but it can be cut to under 10 minutes if you put a little bit of effort behind it. The best thing to help that is called a wort chiller. This is a coil of copper tubing that you dip into your boiling beer and push water through in order to cool the beer down. It’s like a radiator for your beer!
This chiller is one of the best. It has great hose connections, a LOT of copper to absorb the heat, and it’s really well-built.

copper wort chiller

For washing, drying and keeping spills off of your countertops I cannot recommend anything simpler and cheaper than BLACK TOWELSblack towelsGo to Amazon, buy four for $3-5 each, and be happy. Seriously. Black because they won’t be stained by the dark wort. Towels because that way no one will be tempted to use the kitchen towels, or use all of the paper towels, and they can sop up all but the biggest of spills.


The first step in brewing beer (called mashing) is very temperature sensitive. A difference in 5 degrees can mean your beer is noticeably sweeter, or higher in alcohol. Being able to measure temperature quickly and precisely is critical.

javelin pro thermometer

This thermometer the Javelin Pro is a great balance of a rugged, precise thermometer that also isn’t over a hundred dollars. It will make for better mashes and better beer!

Some homebrewers get more interested in the recipe formulation while others tinker with the process or the equipment. The Picobrew is an ‘appliance’ that handles most of the steps of making beer in a efficient robotic manner. This can appeal to some people because they like the planning and the drinking part, but they don’t necessarily enjoy watching a pot boil. I’ve seen people get one of these because they have kids now and don’t have 6 hours for a brew session, or because they have a small house and don’t want a lot of big pots sitting around. It is more precise and repeatable than your average homebrewer, and that can solve a lot of frustration about inconsistent results as well. The Picobrew costs $2000, and while this may seem to be quite expensive at first blush it can be justified with the time savings, or by allowing your homebrewer to focus on the other parts of brewing that they may enjoy more.

picobrew zymatic brewing robot