Contraptions

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“Whatever this is, I’m sure your husband wants one.”

Back in his homebrew-shop-employee days, Meadmaker Ricky was often asked a simple question:

My husband comes here all the time. I think he buys things to make beer. I don’t drink beer and I’ve never seen if he actually makes anything. Maybe he just buys buckets from you. You probably know him, in fact, he’s 5’ 10”, brown hair, looks like he’s somewhere between 28 and 56 years old and goes either by John or Mark. But I think he buys stuff to make beer. It’s our eleventeenth wedding anniversary and I want to get him something sweet and thoughtful and personal but something functional and perfect for his hobby, (if he really does make beer). What does he want?

Ricky was told not to say: “So, you want me to pick out something intensely personal for your husband? Won’t he take that amiss?” but rather, “I bet he’d love a gift certificate.” This was usually unsatisfactory because this individual wanted something SPECIAL, not some dumb-ol’ gift card.

The next line of defense was the one we’re going to present to you here today: 

The Big List of Contraptions that Make Homebrewing Easier, Faster, Geekier, or More Fun (in no particular order)!
  • A Refractometer – This nifty device tells you the gravity of your must or wort with a single drop rather than a whole vial as is required by a hydrometer.
  • A Fast-Flow Auto-Siphon – It’s like a normal racking cane but 1,286,508 times better!
  • A Kegging System (minus the fridge) – For a cool $135 you could be just under halfway to getting that hubby of yours kegging and dispensing his mead, cider, or beer on demand!
  • Oak Chips – What would he do with a bag of Medium Toast Hungarian Oak Chips? Anything he wants, really. Not really a contraption, but in the same vein.
  • A Mix-Case of Beer to Inspire Him – Definitely not a contraption, but better than a potentially useless bag of Medium Toast Hungarian Oak Chips.
  • An Electronic pH Meter – Y’know, for electronically checking the pH of every liquid in the house.
  • A Champagne Corker – You know you’ve always wondered how they get those funky corks into champagne bottles.
  • Nifty-Thing-He-Can-Put-on-the-Wall-That-Takes-off-the-Caps-Then-Drops-Them-in-a-Box-to-Be-Thrown-Away-Later – A product with a Dickensian Name
  • A 5-Foot Wooden Mash Paddle – If he’s into cider or mead, but not into All-Grain Brewing, at least he can use it to keep people out of his brewing area.

And, at this point, the spouse would look Ricky straight in the eyes and say, “Y’know, I think I’ll get him a Gift Certificate.”

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