Category Archives: Reviews

Update: Hands On – Spiegelau IPA Glasses

Here’s a Hands on Look at Spiegelau’s IPA glasses.  These glasses have a 19 ounce capacity, they are dishwasher safe and they are designed specifically for the enjoyment of IPA style beers.

Front of the boxSide of the box: “In collaboration with two of the leading IPA brewers in the United States, Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head and Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada, Spiegelau has created the new standard for IPA beer glassware. Achieved through a series of design and tasting workshops in which hundreds of possible designs were considered, the brewers ultimately and unanimously chose, by secret vote, one glass – ‘number 6’ – from a final lineup of eight custom-made prototypes. Designed to showcase the complex and alluring aromatic profiles of American “hop-forward” IPA beers, preserve a frothy head, enhance taste and mouthfeel, and present a comfortably wide opening for the drinker to savor each beer, Spiegelau’s latest design is the go-to vessel for enjoying IPA. Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada champion US hop farming. The breweries and donating their portion of the proceeds from this collaboration to benefit advances in hop research.”

Other side of the box: Durable, Lightweight, Brilliant with Max. Dishwasher Safety.

Unboxed

Spiegelau logo on the bottom of the glass.  When these first came out there was some discussion about where they laser etched nucleation point was at in these glasses.  I spoke with Spiegelau reps at NHC in 2014 and was told…. it’s the dot in the center of each glass.  This feature aid in slowly releases CO2 bubbles to enhance flavor and aroma.Looking great filled with More Beer’s Pliny the Elder

I’m really happy with these glasses.  They feel really well made and I like the way they look.  These have been my go to IPA glasses since receiving them.

Spiegelau IPA glasses reviewUpdate: 5/2015 – I have used these glasses for close to two years now.  The original two glasses that I purchased continue to look and function great.  They are typically my go-to glass for IPA beers.

Spiegelau 2-Pack Beer Classics IPA Glass, 19-Ounce

This glass is also available in a set that includes one each of Spiegelau’s IPA, Stout and American Wheat Glasses.

Spiegelau Stout Glasses · IPA Glasses · American Wheat Glass · Set


Ken Grossman and Sam Calagione talking about the developement of Spiegelau’s IPA Glass

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review:spiegelauipa

Hands On: 1000 Watt Heat Stick with Temp Trial

Here’s a hands on look Allied Precision’s 1000 Watt Bucket Heater


Font of the Box


Close up Front Left Side


Close up Front Right Side


The Heat Stick


In all, this is about 17″ Long


The shield portion of the heat stick is right around 8″  This is the portion you are supposed to keep submerged in water while the heat stick is plugged in.  The directions say that the unit cycles itself on and off, for safety, if the water level gets below 6″.  Otherwise, the unit is constantly on.


Close up on the handle end of the heat stick.


Top down view


Installed and working in my Blichmann BoilerMaker Kettle.  Getting ready to brew More Beer’s Citra Pale Ale.

Temperature Trial…


To test this out, I put 5 gallons of cold side tap water into a 6 gallon-ish kettle.


I used my ThermoWorks ChefAlarm Thermometer and Timer (First Looks Post) to track progress.  This thermometer tracks both min and max temps, has a built in timer and has an available waterproof probe.  I also used the alarm feature to let me alert me to notable progress points.  My tap water came in at 66.9 degrees F.


The probe wire going into the kettle


The water hit 80.9 deg F (+14 deg F) in right about 10 minutes.  Average increase: 1.4 deg F per Minute.


The water hit 100.5 deg F (+33.6 deg F) in 22 minutes.  Average increase: 1.53 deg F per Minute.


The water hit 160.5 deg F (+93.6 deg F) in about 1 hour and 10 minutes.  This is notable because, depending on your beer and mash profile, we’re getting close to strike water temperature.  Average increase: 1.33 deg F per Minute.


 The water hit 200.1 deg F (+130.2 deg F) in about 2 hours and 13 minutes.  Average increase: .98 deg F per Minute.

I use this to get a head start on my strike water and mash water.  I can have this setup and have someone else at home plug it in.  I recently brewed More Beer’s Citra Pale Ale.  This heat stick was plugged in about an hour and a half before I knew I would be home.  When I got home my strike water nearly ready to go.  I was mashing in within 10 minutes of arriving home.  That saves propane and it saves time.  After starting the mash I also use this to heat up sparge water.  Sixty minutes isn’t enough time to get there, but it gets me close and I can finish it off with my propane burner.  Similar advantages are available for extract batches.

This saves me time and propane.  It also helps me out in cold weather brewing, because I can leave my garage door closed longer.  Using this, I don’t need to fire up my propane burner until just before sparging.

Safety Caveats Apply:  This is an electrical device that’s being immersed in water.  It does have safety features (a guard and power cycling).  Always read and follow manufacturers instructions.

Allied Precision The Premier Line 742G Bucket Water Heater

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First Looks: Camco Premium Drinking Water Hose

camco rv drinking water hose review

Amazon is discounting Select RV Fresh Water Accessories by up to 52%.  The selection includes a number of drinking water rated hoses and water filters.

I picked up the 50′ size of Camco’s Premium Drinking Water Hose.  I ordered this on April 20th and received it on the 22nd via 2 Day Prime Shipping.

Here’s a quick first looks.  This is a “first looks” in that I haven’t had a chance to actually use it myself.  The operation of a hose is pretty straightforward.  I am planning to do a full review, however, I don’t expect anything earth shattering in that review.  It’s a high quality hose.  I expect it to work well.

camco rv drinking water hose reviewClose up on the center portion of the packaging.  Premium – 20% Thicker – Machined Fittings – Strain Relief Ends – HD Reinforced

camco rv drinking water hose reviewBottom side of the packaging.  Camco Premium Drinking Water Hose.  5/8″ Internatl Diameter.  50 ft, 15.2 meters.

camco rv drinking water hose reviewClose up on the UPC label.  Made in the USA.

camco rv drinking water hose reviewClose up on the female end

camco rv drinking water hose reviewClose up on the mail end

camco rv drinking water hose reviewSide view

My first impressions are… this is a heavy duty, high quality hose.  It feels much more heavy duty vs the one that I am replacing (recently burst – fortunately I was close by).  I look forward to using it on my next brew day.

img_purchased

This is available in 10, 25, 35 and 50 ft sizes.

Camco 22853 Premium Drinking Water Hose (5/8″ID x 50′)

Camco 22843 Premium Drinking Water Hose (5/8″ID x 35′)

Camco 22833 Premium Drinking Water Hose (5/8″ID x 25′)

Camco 22823 Premium Drinking Water Hose (5/8″ID x 10′)

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Hands On: 25 Quart Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler

Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler

I picked up Igloo’s 25 Quart Marine Cooler toward the beginning of this year.  I saw someone with one at an event and I really like the size and the looks of it.  I got this primarily for carrying and keeping beer and other items cold.  I’m not suggesting this as a good cooler to use as a mash tun (no drain).  I’m suggesting it’s a good cooler to use as a… cooler.

Igloo Marine Ultra CoolerClose up of the right hand side logo – Igloo Marine Ultra

Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler ReviewThe left hand side label – click to zoom.  UV Inhibitors Guard Against Sun Damage.  Long Lasting Hinges.  Stainless Steel Lid Strap.  Comfort Handles.  Made in the USA.  25 Quarts/23 Liters.  36 Can Capacity.

Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler ReviewThe lid

Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler ReviewHandle close up

Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler ReviewThis holds both larger/taller German Style bottles and 22 oz bottles.

Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler ReviewThe 22 oz bottles come very close to poking up over the top of the cooler, however, the lid has an indentation and closes fine with 22 oz bottles.

Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler ReviewYou can stack two 12 ounce cans, you can also stack a 16 oz can and a 12 oz can.  Two 16 oz cans are too tall.

Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler ReviewOf course standard and standard-ish (like these Anchor Porter) beer bottles work just fine.

Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler ReviewLoading it up

Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler ReviewMore beer

img_img_8393Without a lot of thought while packing… this cooler held all of this beer.

Igloo Cooler ReviewI’ve owned this since early 2015.  I really like it’s build quality and size.  It’s well made.  It’s compact, but can still hold quite a bit including the ability to carry larger 22 oz bottles.

Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler (White, 25-Quart)

Also Consider Lifeline’s Line of Double Wall Insulated Growlers for portable serving

Lifeline 7508 Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Double Wall Barrel Style Growler • Review • Lifeline Growler Carrier • Review • Lifeline 7502 40 Ounce Growler • Review • Lifeline 7512 Silver Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Double Wall Bottle Style Growler – 750ml. Capacity • Review

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First Looks: ITC-1000 Temperature Controller + PDF Manuals

ITC-1000 Temperature Controller

Here’s a First Look at the ITC-1000.  First, some background… The STC-1000 is a very popular homebrewing temperature controller.  One caveat of the STC-1000 (for some) is that the vast majority (maybe all?) display in Celsius only.  Yes you can do some firmware re-flashing and such things, but as far as off the shelf units, the vast majority read in Celsius.  Some may point to this offering.  It does indeed read in deg F, however, it appears to be the single stage version.

Enter the Inkbird ITC-1000… It’s 110 V, Dual Stage (can control both heating and cooling output), has an alarm to indicate sensor failure or high temperature and… it displays in Fahrenheit… finally!  It’s also said to be more user friendly than the STC-1000.  In addition to the ITC-1000, an ITC-2000 model is available.  That adds the ability to set both high and low temperature alarms.

The STC-1000 was already a great controller, arguably the best value in temperature controllers.  These improvements seem to make a great thing even better.

ITC-1000 Homebrew Temperature Controller BuildThe Inkbird ITC-1000 box

ITC-1000 Homebrew Temperature Controller BuildBox opened.  You get the dual stage controller, temperature probe and manual.

ITC-1000 Homebrew Temperature Controller BuildFront of the ITC-1000

ITC-1000 Homebrew Temperature Controller BuildSide view

ITC-1000 Homebrew Temperature Controller BuildThe top of the controller displays a wiring diagram.

ITC-1000 Homebrew Temperature Controller BuildBack of the controller.  This removable plate partially shields the wire connections.

ITC-1000 Homebrew Temperature Controller BuildTemperature probe.

ITC-1000 Homebrew Temperature Controller BuildFor size comparison next to the Lifeline 7508 Stainless GrowlerReview.

ITC-1000 Temp ControllerFor size comparison next to… a banana.  Yes, I ate this banana.  It was pretty tasty.

Inkbird All-Purpose Digital Temperature Controller Fahrenheit &Centigrade Thermostat w Sensor 2 Relays

Also ConsiderInkbird Relay &Temp Alarm Output Digital Temperature Controller Degree F &C Thermostat w Sensor

PDF Manuals:
Note – These are the current versions, as of this posting, however, software versions and manuals change over time.

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Hands On: ClosetMaid Shelf Caps (as Keg Lid Feet)

ClosetMaid 75355 24 Large and 60 Small End Caps, White, 84-Pack

I’ve heard for quite a while now, that these shelf caps (model 75355) from ClosetMaid make dandy keg feet replacement.  You get a total of 84 feet – 60 small and 24 large.  The small are the ones said to work as keg lid feet.  If you crunch the numbers on per foot cost, it typically ends up being a pretty big bargain.

I decided to put these to the test.  Do they work well as keg lid feet?  We’ll find out…  I’m sure you’re on the edge of you’re seat now! :)

keg lid feetThe package.  Hey… these are meant to be used as wire rack caps.  You get yourself a shelf, something like this, cut it to size and then use this caps to make it so you don’t cut yourself up when you grab a pair of socks or something.  They probably work great for their intended purpose.

IMG_7571As mentioned previously, you get two sizes of caps.  The small caps are the ones used for keg lid feet.

keg lid feetHere they are installed.  Hmmm.

keg lid feetIf you look closely you’ll see the “foot” pulling away as this closes.

Do these work?  Not really.  The thickness of the cap should help to exert pressure on the lid and help the oring seal.  These aren’t as thick as purpose made feet.  For the cost of the real thing (and considering what’s at stake – CO2… beer!), I would personally rather use purposed designed equipment for this purpose.

In fairness to those who have said these work well… 1. The stock picture looks different from what I received – maybe these have changed and 2. Maybe they do fit well on some feet.  Just not the ones I tried.

ClosetMaid 75355 24 Large and 60 Small End Caps, White, 84-Pack

Keg Lid Feet – $1.39

Related: Bulk Keg Orings and Keg Repair Part Numbers

843339 - Keg Closure Feet (Pair)

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Introducing ThermoWorks’ TimeStick Trio + Hands on Review

TIMESTICK TRIO

The ThermoWorks TimeStick has been around for quite some time.  I’ve owned two and used them extensively.  If you’re not familiar with ThermoWorks, they are the makers of the nearly universally lauded Thermapen – Review and along those lines produce quality equipment.

ThermoWorks has just released the TimeStick Trio.  That unit features three independent timers and is available to order as of this posting.

ThermoWorks kindly provided me with a pre-release unit and to prove that they are fans of homebrewing they have also lifted the media embargo just for Homebrew Finds.  That means you’re hearing it here first.  Their official announcement, along with other website’s coverage will come later.

Check it out – Here

Also Consider – Thermapen Open Box Sale

On to the review…

ThermoWorks TimeStick Trio ReviewIn the box.  It reads – 3 Timers in One, Easy to Set, Start & Stop, Backlit Display, Neck Lanyard

TIMESTICK TRIO thermoworks reviewBack of the box

TIMESTICK TRIO thermoworks reviewTop of the back of the box.  It reads…

“TimeStick Trio is the easiest-to-use triple timer in the world. Each of the three timers has its own display with its own Set and Start/Stop buttons. No confusion on how to set a timer, how much time is left, which one is sounding or how to stop any of the three.

Directly set your times on the rubberized and sealed numeric keypad. All the operations can be done in one hand. No Up/Down buttons that over-run your settings. When you set a Count-Down time, the Start button starts the timer. When the alarm sounds, a Count-Up starts so you know how long since the alarm sounded. Pause and continue any timer at any time. Each alarm has a distinct beep pattern so you can tell which alarm is sounding.

To use as a Count-Up Timer, simply start at 00:00:00 and hit Start. It’s like having three separate stopwatches in one.

Use Trio in the dark with the bright backlight. Hang Trio from your neck, slip it in a pocket or mount it to a magnetic surface. Rugged commercial construction and splash proof seals protect Trio from messy kitchens, sports or pool side use. The keypad can be locked to prevent accidentally disrupting a timer operation. Durability and super-simplicity make TimeStick Trio a solid value.”

TimeStick Trio ReviewBottom of the back of the box

TimeStick Trio ReviewUnboxed.  To the right you can see the included CR2032 Lithium Battery.

TimeStick Trio ReviewBack of the TimeStick Trio.  A built in magnet can be seen on the top third along with the battery door to the bottom.  The battery door features an oring for water resistance.  The TimeStick Trio is splash proof but directions say not to submerge the unit.

TimeStick Trio ReviewFront of the TimeStick Trio

TimeStick Trio ReviewEach of the three timers have corresponding set buttons on the side

TimeStick Trio ReviewIn addition to separate set buttons for each timer, the other side features independent Start/Stop buttons.  ThermoWorks set out to make an easy to use three timer device.  That’s really one of the areas where this shines.  The corresponding buttons make it easy to quickly set, start and stop the three timers individually.

TimeStick Trio ReviewBacklit display

TimeStick Trio ReviewFor size comparison, next to the original TimeStick

TimeStick Trio ReviewMultiple timers set

TimeStick Trio ReviewMultiple timers going.  Note that each timer plays a distinct sound pattern so you can tell what’s what.

TimeStick Trio ReviewTimers can be either up or down.  To set a down timer just hit the set button, key in the time on the number pad and hit set.  To set an up timer just set the time to zero and hit the start button.  You can easily tell if a timer is up or down on the display.  Notice the middle timer in this picture reads up with the top and bottom timers read down.

75per_img_7837Resetting the timers is also easy.  Hitting the set button once resets the corresponding timer to the last set time.  Hitting zero, clears the timer.

TimeStick Trio ReviewHere are the included instructions.

TimeStick Trio ReviewThe included magnet makes it handy.  Here is the Trio stuck to my fermentation deep freeze.

I haven’t had the TimeStick Trio long, but first impressions are that this thing is classic ThermoWorks – well designed and thought out and well built.  The multiple timers make it a huge win for homebrewers.  Thank you to ThermoWorks for providing an evaluation unit and for choosing to make this initial announcement to… homebrewers.  Kudos to ThermoWorks.

Check it out – Here

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