Ultra Super Deluxe Equipment KitSo, Santa left a beer making kit and ingredients under the tree and now you want to know what’s next…

First off, hopefully you received high-quality equipment and ingredient kits. But if not, we can definitely help you at TBI with our broad inventory of high quality products and fresh ingredients.
 
Second, do you have a good enough kettle to get started? Many start out with smaller 4-5 gallon kettles only to find that they’d rather have started with a full sized kettle for full boils. It makes for better beer, saves your back, and reduces spills—and burns—when you’re using a kettle you don’t have to pour by hand. Plus, it'd help your wallet in the long run while pursuing this beloved hobby.
 
If a new kettle is your first step forward from your kits, then what size works best? Well, a shiny new 9-gallon kettle with a built in thermometer and ball valve fitting allows you to easily perform a full boil of 6-7 gallons down to your target volume with some space to spare. Especially if you have a standalone gas burner available.
 
Why does the full volume boil matter? When you perform a full volume boil you increase hop utilization (i.e. less hop usage because you’ll have better isomerization), you maintain more precise control over the concentration of sugars, and can also add extract later in the boil to improve flavor and color with less risk of unwanted caramelization. Plus, you don’t have to sterilize and let chill gallons of post-boil water additions in advance. Which also reduces your chances of contamination and saves you time. So, let’s review: your hop additions go further with less, you won’t get that funky taste of over-caramelization that plagues many a homebrew, and you eliminate extra steps and efforts that could actually make your beer go bad.
 
Of course, maybe you’re worried about chilling down a full volume of boiling wort in a large kettle. But don't worry, there’s an easy solution. A coiled immersion chiller. With the proper conditions you can easily chill down a standard batch of wort to the proper pitching temps in less than 30 minutes. All you need is flowing cold water and time. If you want it to happen faster, just stir your wort or swirl the chiller around in your wort to give it better surface contact and heat exchange. Plus, outside of winter, an ice water filled immersion, plate, or counter-pressure chiller is really the easiest way to chill wort down to lagering temperatures.
 
Brew Better Beer: With a kettle that can support a full vigorous boil, a turkey fryer burner or higher quality banjo burner that’ll give you a good hot break, a chiller of some sort that supports better cold breaks—other than an ice bath, a tank of propane from the grill, and time, you can turn a recipe that made mediocre beer into a recipe that makes better beer without changing any ingredients. Your hop utilization is vastly improved by changing the concentration of your wort boil. You get the exact volume you wanted without watering down your wort and producing watery beer. And you have the chance to make spaced out extract additions over the course of 60 to 90 minutes to help improve your color and flavors.