A good spoon is an essential item for every homebrewer. Not all spoons are created equal so here we’ll tell you how to choose a spoon for homebrewing.
If you are new to brewing, you may have noticed that there are some options when it comes to spoons and paddles. Yes, we’ll add paddles into the mix because they serve similar purposes, and eventually, you’ll probably need a paddle too.
We didn’t always have the big spoon in our brew kit, and it really was a game-changer when we finally decided to just buy the right tool for making beer. Our first brewing spoon was a silicone spoon with a long handle.
It worked fine for some applications, but it really wasn’t ideal. After a few brews using the silicone spoon, we decided to upgrade to a spiffy stainless-steel spoon. Brewing has been much more enjoyable since then.
Before you run out and buy a brewing spoon, check out our suggestions on how to choose a spoon for homebrewing.
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Spoons vs. Paddles
Brewing spoons are like any other spoon out there. Its job is for mixing and stirring.
When you’re brewing your spoon is a necessary tool for preventing boilovers, mixing malt extract into your wort, and agitating your fermenter after pitching your yeast, to add oxygen. A good spoon, one that is easy to sterilize and will hold up to heat and plenty of use is a must.
Paddles on the other hand, are not a typical object in the everyday kitchen. Paddles or mash paddles as they are most often referred to have a single job – making sure your mash doesn’t stick and you don’t get dough balls.
Mash paddles are a tool that you’ll add to your brew day equipment when you transfer from extract brewing to all-grain or BIAB brewing.
When it comes to picking a spoon for brewing you really have two options, plastic (or silicone) and stainless steel. Both materials are easy to clean and sterilize and are relatively durable. You’ll likely find both options at your local homebrew store.
In our experience, for working your boil or mash, stainless steel seems to be a great option. It’s sturdier and won’t bend under the weight of your grains. We like our long-handled plastic spoon for mixing wort in the fermenter if needed.
Even if you love to cook with wooden spoons in your kitchen, they aren’t a great option for brewing. Oh, and you can buy wooden mash paddles, but we still don’t love them as much as stainless steel.
Yes! Spoons have features that you’ll want to have! Here are some things to look for when shopping for a spoon for homebrewing.
- Handle Length – Look for spoons or paddles that have handles that are at least 21” long. This should be plenty long to reach to the bottom of your boil kettle or mash tun.
- Corrugated Handle – A feature on stainless steel spoons only. Corrugated handles add strength, so you don’t have to worry about your spoon bending or breaking.
- Food Grade Materials – You’re probably not going to find anything but food grade stainless steel or plastic at your local homebrew store, however, materials that aren’t food grade won’t sterilize as well, and may not hold up to the heat of brewing.
- Hook or Hole for Hanging – You’ll want to keep your spoon or paddle handy, yet out of the way. Many brewing spoons and paddles have a hole or hook on the handle so you can hang it from your kettle or wherever you store your brewing equipment.
- Paddle Head – If you’re looking for a mash paddle, look for one that has large enough holes to allow water and grain to pass through easily. Also remember that the larger the paddle head, the easier it will be to move it through your mash.
Our Favorite Spoons
We do have a few suggestions for spoons that you might want to consider when you’re shopping. Here are three of our favorites, just in case you need help deciding.
- Anvil Stainless Steel Spoon – Has all the right features. A corrugated handle with hook and hole for hanging, and a nice wide face for easy stirring.
- Northern Brewer Plastic Spoon – Food grade plastic to hold up to the boil, and a 24” handle that is plenty long to protect your hands from steam. Turn the spoon the other direction and the narrow end will fit through the neck of a carboy.
- Stainless Steel Mash Paddle – A bargain! Slotted face moves easily through mash, and the 24” handle is plenty of length for your mash tun. One of the few mash paddles with a hole on the handle for hanging.