When I first wanted to get into mead making, my fiance bought me three things: a carboy, an auto siphon, and some tubes. Half a decade down the line and even the starting kit we recommend to friends is looking drastically more complicated.
These are my five favorite tools, accessories, and necessities.
When we first went shopping for our initial batches, we were told to get a hydrometer. We wound up with a glass one that can be inserted into a wine thief for manual calculations, and honestly, we haven’t progressed further than that. But electric hydrometers do exist– and even ones that can be read with apps on your phone. Not only does the hydrometer assure you that the brewing is going as well and boozy as it should, but it’s also a nice way to lend legitimacy to your home operations. I personally have never felt smarmier than when someone asks for the alcohol amount in my mead– and I can tell them the sweet, dessert pomegranate is a mere 6% but our dry, spice has gotten above 16.3%.
2. Carboy Carrier
This $3 contraption has saved my fiance from days of back pain when we have to move carboys. When we had to unexpectantly move out of our apartment not three weeks after starting a new brew, it saved both of us the possibility of a very tragic accident. We’ve tried straps as well, but our local brewing supplies store told us we’d like this clip better– and they were right. It’s comfortable and offers more freedom of movement.
3. Wine Cooler
My dad was the one who bought us our wine cooler, and it was kind of a giant surprise. We were living in a tiny apartment at the time, with barely enough room for a regular fridge, let alone one meant for alcohol alone! But now, we’re not looking back– and we are even talking about getting another one. When we do a big bottling, it’s kind of hard to pick only fifteen bottles to put into cold storage.
4. Carboy clip
Another $3 gadget that changed our lives. My fiance, a known perfectionist, used to carefully control every movement of the auto siphon on bottling days. We do big batches, and that usually wound up with him feeling sore and uncomfortable as he titled our heavy carboys to get that good stuff out, while I worked the bottling wand below. This clip saves him that heavy-lifting, and has made his bottling experience gentler and easier.
5. Bottling Rack
My fiance and I didn’t realize how much we were going to need this until we didn’t have it. We’ve used a dishwasher, cookie sheets, and just plain old towels to no avail, but a bottling rack brought our bottling skills to new heights.
What are you favorites? Post them in the comments below or let us know on social media.