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A Homebrewer's Christmas

Posted by homebrewdad on 12/27/2012 at 09:33:49 PM

Christmas has come and gone at my house, and Santa was quite good to everyone. As is pretty typical for me, I got very little sleep on Christmas Eve - with three small children, I have a lot to do with helping Santa put together big gifts. My wife does a huge Christmas dinner, and I try to help her as I can; one of my annual tasks is making butterscotch fudge. This year, I had an extra task, as my wife wanted an exercise bike... and those don't come assembled.

I assembled gifts, made the fudge, and wrapped presents all night long, taking the chance to also watch two of my favorite Christmas classics - A Chrismas Story (which cracks me up every time) and It's a Wonderful Life (yes, I get misty at the end every time... sue me). The sun came up, and I was still prepping. My final task was to divide the gifts into piles for each member of the family before heading to bed (my kids like to sleep in, even on Christmas Day). When all was said and done, my head hit the pillow at about 7:20 AM.

The youngest woke me up at ten till nine; my wife was already up and making biscuits and blueberry muffins for Christmas breakfast. We woke the other two little boys up (the two big kids were already awake and anxiously waiting), grabbed the camera and camcorder, and the huge gift opening spree began.

My list this year was comprised almost exclusively of homebrewing gear; my hope was to be able to move to all grain. I have to say that my awesome wife really hit it out of the park. I received every single "gotta have" item from my list, a "fun" item or two, plus a couple of surprises. Please allow me to brag on the gifts that were piled upon me.
  • First off, a brand new 44 quart stainless steel stock pot - which means that I'll be able to do full boils of any gravity for five gallon batches.
  • A very nice, 62 quart rectangular Coleman cooler on wheels. Likewise, I'll be able to mash anything for a five gallon batch - even a massive barleywine will pose no obstacle.
  • No more guesstimating of ingredient measurements for me - I got a highly reviewed digital scale that can display increments as small as one gram/.05 ounce, all the way up to eleven pounds.
  • A custom maple mash paddle with a barley grain pattern on the blade and my "brewery" name engraved on the handle.
  • Some new silicon hose.
  • $100 gift certificate to Alabrew, my local homebrew store.
  • $100 gift certificate to Austin Homebrew Supply.
  • A 45 bottle bottle tree with a Vinator bottle rinser. This wasn't even on my list, but will be a hugely appreciated timesaver.
  • A copy of Beersmith 2 for the PC.
  • For good measure, my stocking also included a "Beers of the World" nine pack sampler from World Market, as well as a large bottle of Lucifer by Het Anker and a large bottle of Very Bad Elf by Ridgeway Brewing.

My wife had wanted to give me a recipe's worth of ingredients so that I could brew right away, but wasn't sure what to buy; she hoped that I could get a couple of recipes out of those gift certificates. I'm figuring that I'll get four recipes from them, likely with a little change on each!

Later on, my in laws (thanks, of course, to my wife) gave me a Bayou Classic SQ14 propane burner and a $50 Lowe's gift card for propane.

Needless to say, my wife is incredible, and I'm one very happy guy. I'll convert my cooler to a proper mashtun for batch sparging, and I plan to also go ahead and build my Son of a Fermentation Chiller. At that point, I'll step into the brave new world of all grain brewing. Yay for complete control over the beer - and for a lot of learning that I will surely do in the coming months.

Tags for this post: Christmas, homebrewing, gear, all grain, equipment, wife

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that all sounds great, what a wonderful wife and family you have! I would skip the Son of fermentation chiller if I were you though. I considered that myself but ended up getting a 6 ft chest freezer on Craigslist for $75. I plug it into a Johnson temp control unit and can fit several fermenters at once.

posted by BeerBDrew on 12/29/2012 at 09:07:58 PM