Taobao product recommendation – beer brewing equipment

Home brewing isn’t so popular in Singapore, but there are businesses (and I think only two) dealing with home brew equipment and supplies. As you can imagine, the equipment they sell, brought in from Australia/US/Europe, are not cheap, compared to what you can find on Taobao.

Actually, you don’t need fanciful equipment to brew beer. All you really need is an airtight food grade container with an airlock. You can easily improvise your own by cutting a hole on the container lid and sticking an airlock into the hole. The airlock is harder to DIY since it has to be silicone/plastic for contamination prevention, but it’s a small cost to get one anyway.

I’m lazy to go the DIY route when I can buy from Taobao. There are a dozens of stores dealing with home brew equipment and supplies on Taobao, not surprising since the Chinese are heavy drinkers. After scouting around, I decided to get the following items.

Stainless steel fermentation bucket

Fermentation bucket – a stainless steel bucket would be the envy of many brewers from the western hemisphere, where the cost of stainless steel equipment is prohibitively expensive. I love buying stainless steel products on Taobao, not just in the case of a fermentation bucket, because they are dirt cheap in China. Yeah, stainless steel everything.

The quality of this fermentation bucket is very good, save for some stain marks near the bottom of the bucket, which does not affect the fermentation anyway.

Temperature controller – there are not many choices on this, due to plug pin compatibility. I chanced upon this temperature controller that accommodates the 3 pin plug used in our part of the world (in fact it has universal pin compatibility), for a very good price of RMB 38 (S$8.50). You can find this for as low as RMB 32.50 from other sellers (search BY-LOX15A) who are not dealing with home brewing, but it may be better to just go with this seller to save on shipping if you’re buying other stuff together also.

Siphon
Bottle cleaning brush

This store specializes in home brew, so since i’m getting the temperature regulator from them, i decided to get other related items as well – a beer bottle cleaning brush (RMB 4 or S$0.90) and a siphon (RMB 58 or S$12.70). I’m not sure how well the siphon works as it is different from those typically used that come with an automatic bottle filler. You have to turn a valve to start/stop the flow, which is cumbersome and might even result in accidental overflow, but its salient feature is having a copper filter at the source end, which is absent from the commonly used “racking cane”. This will no doubt reduce the presence of sediments in the resulting beer. Given its relatively low cost, i decided to give it a try.

Update: it works very well in getting beer from fermentation bucket into bottling bucket, see my post on bottling.

The other two items to get are the bottle capper and bottle caps. The design of the bottle capper is standard (imitation of the Super Agata Bench Capper), but there are too many sellers/manufacturers to choose from and you can’t tell which is better, even if you read the submitted reviews. In such a case, i prefer to go with the seller who sells their own manufactured products. It is more expensive, at RMB 115 (S$25.20), vs the competition at RMB 80 (S$17.50), but i’m not willing to risk getting an inferior product.

Update: it works well – see review in my post on bottling.

Bottle caps are pretty standard, at RMB 6 (S$1.35) for 100. It doesn’t get any cheaper than this.

So there you go, the essential equipment to get from Taobao for home brewing. Don’t forget you can get cashback for your Taobao purchases through Shopback!

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6 thoughts on “Taobao product recommendation – beer brewing equipment”

    1. I have made 3 rounds already and i can tell you the beer taste really good! Making beer is really easier than it sounds. Don’t hesitate to ask me if you have any question. Nothing beats drinking as much beer as you want to without having to consider much about the cost. It’s so cheap when you make your own beer!

    1. Hi Minh, I buy the stuff directly from Taobao website and ship them to ezbuy’s warehouse, and then ezbuy ships them to Singapore. I don’t use an agent because I’m comfortable with handling the purchase on Taobao website myself.

  1. Good afternoon, chanced upon your website looking for equipment. I am a home brewer in Sg too. I DIY most of my equipment. Wanted to ask if you diy your steel fermenter ? If you did what clips did you use to secure the lid ?

    1. Hi fellow brewer Paley, I bought all my equipment from Taobao. I got the steel fermenter for about S$60 if I remember correctly. Apparently it is also DIY by the seller, whereby an outlet is welded to the lid. It is very well made in my opinion.

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