Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Artisan Toolkits: Brewer

Weight: 22 pounds (9.98 Kilograms)
Cost: 77 gold

11 Bottles
Bottle Capper
22 Bottle Caps
Boiling Pot
Measuring Cups
Racking Cane
Wooden Spoon
Brewmaster's Guide
Various Ingredients (Malt, Barley, et al)

Where the Alchemist's toolkit required a distinction between a fragile, professional setup and the traveling kit that your average adventurer might use the Brewer's toolkit requires only a distinction in size. For our adventurous brewers their toolkits will be easily mobile until the two weeks required for fermentation, during which time the Fermenter will have to be stored in a cool, dark environment to allow the beer to mature.

For our adventurers the brewing toolkit is much as it has been for millennia with the only real variation being the ingredients and durability of the materials being used. For my purposes the Fermenter will be a large, thick, glass jug, the boiling pot will be a ceramic lined copper pot, and the racking cane will be made out of bamboo. I'm glossing over a lot of this kit since the materials are so common throughout the ages that finding them isn't really a problem.

That said there are two parts of this kit that deserve a bit of attention: the Brewmaster's Guide and the Various Ingredients. The Brewmaster's Guide will contain two recipes at the beginning of the character's career. These will represent the two most common varieties of beer in the region they're from. Other than that, the book is filled with blank pages so that new recipes can be added from their travels. As for the Various Ingredients the character will start with enough ingredients to make two batches of beer and after that they will be forced to either find new ingredients or purchase them.

My suggestion is to have them visit local brewers for new and replacement ingredients as that's the most logical way to find such things (and practically every town will have a local brewer - especially during the quasi-Medieval period that dominates Dungeons & Dragons games). This will give a bit of variation in the price of such ingredients. For my games I have established a baseline of 35 gold + 1d6 gold to account for local variations. This tends to put me right in line with the prices that I've encountered in shops and on Amazon so I feel pretty comfortable at that level.

While we're on the subject of home brewing let me just tell you guys that as I was researching the equipment for brewing that I have just fallen in love with the concept all over again. Back when I was in college one of the guys down the hall used to brew his own beer in the closet (which is a terrible idea since the shit can blow up) and we would go down to his room every so often and test out his latest creation. Sometimes they were just ridiculously good and then other times . . . Well, on other occasions I would switch over to rum and Dr. Pepper and go read Sartre since I now hated myself sufficiently enough to enjoy the bastard.

Anyway I've just ordered myself the Mr. Beer Premium Edition Home Brewing Craft Beer Making Kit from Amazon because it's on a stupid great sale (regular price $208.99 and I got it for $38.29!) and the True Brew India Pale Ale Home Brew Beer Ingredient Kit. They ingredient kit is a bit more than I would normally spend on something like this but the wife and I decided that it will pay off in the long run as I'll spend more on that on beer this spring in May alone - especially since my Dad and Brother can go fishing with me again! So I'm going to be brewing the beer we'll be drinking. Which is a bit full circle since I've started digging for my own worms again. Okay, that enough of that.

Artisan Toolkit Series


  1. Noooooooo!!! Aw man I wish you had mentioned this before you bought that kit. I've been home brewing for close to 4 years now. The most important thing I would have suggested is for you to get the 5 gallon bucket kit, the dinky set from MrBeer is very very low grade and will not make any real substantive amount of beer nor quality. Good news is you are not out much money when you end up throwing it away.

    I do think you may be confused on how the process works, or just unaware. You bought a 2 gallon brew kit but the ingredient kit is for 5 gallon batches. Sorry to say, I'm afraid this will not end well. If you choose to cut ingredient amounts to try and fit the 2 gallon limit, you will be throwing away the leftovers, as once opened they need to be used. I don't foresee any situation in which you could maintain/preserve them long enough to use in the next batch/run of beer without them spoiling. Specifically the liquid malt extracts.

    In the future, I HIGHLY recommend Brewer's Best.

    If you have questions, I will try and help the best I can. If you're interested I can email you the Brewer's Handbook my local brew shop gave me with my kit. Answers a LOT of questions you'll have.

    1. I was actually planning on learning with the Mr. Beer so that I could get my feet wet and then switching over to the process they've got on How to Brew.com and using the Pale Ale stuff. The process isn't really all that difficult from what I've seen but I want to have a solid handle before I start moving over to the Pale Ale (which is what I really want).

      Brewer's Best is better? What makes their stuff so good? Better ingredients?

    2. And now that site is all buggy again. This weather needs to stop sucking so my internet can catch up again. :(

    3. I've been impressed with the quality of ingredients in their kits.

      The process is not difficult, but there are nuances. And home brewed beer is a lot different than store bought in image, taste, color, and opacity.

      The most important thing, and I cannot stress this enough, is cleanliness. The easiest way to ruin a brew is to have non-sanitized or poorly sanitized equipment. It fucking blows having to pour out 5 gallons of potential beer, not to mention it's a complete waste of $50-$60. Ask me how I know.

      I still think you need to use a 2 gallon brew kit for the MrBeer unit. I don't believe simply scaling the ingredients down will work well.

    4. "I still think you need to use a 2 gallon brew kit for the MrBeer unit. I don't believe simply scaling the ingredients down will work well."

      I'm sorry, I didn't make it clear because the link was crap. I fully intend to move up to a five gallon size before I use the 5 gal ingredients. It should last long enough for me to do that from what I've read (so long as I don't expose anything to the air).

    5. Ah hah! Yes I missed that factoid. Enjoy! Nothing beats the smell of the house when the hops get put into the wort boil.

    6. Mr Beer uses the Malt Extract and Hops extract mix. It does not scale well. You were learn much better with a Brewers best or True Brew Kit.

    7. Mr Beer uses the Malt Extract and Hops extract mix. It does not scale well. You were learn much better with a Brewers best or True Brew Kit.


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