Category Archives: Reviews

Updated & Expanded – Hands on Review: Robobrew All Grain Brewing System

This review is by Homebrew Finds Contributor Brad Probert.  Brad is an engineer, expert homebrewer and experienced reviewer.  Grab a link to Brad’s website at the end of this review.

The Robobrew is an electric all-in-one eBIAB system. It allows you to brew the complexity of all-grain batches with the simplicity of electric heat/control in a single vessel system. There is a wide variety of these systems out on the market to choose from. Robobrew aims to be in the midst of these as far as features and function, but at a much lower price to attempt to get this tool in the hands of as many homebrewers as possible.

Robobrew System Overview

The Robobrew comes in 2 models- one with a built-in pump, and one without. The model without the pump retails for about $350, and the one with a pump for $480. Although a significant price jump, the $480 price tag is several hundred cheaper than its competition. Getting a unit with a pump allows you to take advantage of a lot of the process efficiencies from the eBIAB systems, with convenience of recirculation during mash and pressure-fed wort transfer into your fermenter.

The pump is built into the bottom of the unit, tucked away out of sight and out of the way. There is a stainless steel transfer pipe that takes output flow from the pump and sends it up top where it can be directed to where you want it to go. The pump inlet is through an opening in the bottom of the brew chamber. Also in the bottom is the wort temperature sensor and the two independently switched heating elements (1000W + 500W). Although the heating elements have their own manual on/off switch, the unit’s electric controller also has the ability to shut off and turn on power depending on measured mash temperature compared to your set temperature. Importantly, the controller is smart enough to know when it should be using one or both elements when it’s getting close to your set temperature. It also is smart enough to only switch on the 500W element while trying to hold a steady temperature and things start to drift a bit.

For mashing, you put your crushed grains into the stainless steel malt pipe, which has a false bottom mesh on the bottom of it to keep grains from getting circulated into the pump or scorched to the bottom. There’s also a second false ‘bottom’ screen, which slides down inside the malt pipe after you’ve filled it with your crushed grains. And if two false bottoms aren’t enough for you, Robobrew has you covered with a third false bottom that sits below the malt pipe, giving you another layer of defense against stray grain particles during the mash, but also importantly keeps hop residue from clogging up your pump or wort chiller.

The controller provides basic control function by allowing you to set a target temperature with simple + / – buttons and then letting the controller turn on the elements automatically to heat up and then switch off when the target temperature is reached. There is also a delay feature that allows you to program in a delayed start for when you want the target set temperature to kick in. Set it to something short like a few minutes and make a pseudo mash temperature step profile you program one step at a time. Or for longer times (up to 24 hours) if you want to fill it with water and have the unit turn on to be ready for you after work.

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Hands on Review: Fermentasaurus Conical Fermenter

This review is by Homebrew Finds Contributor Brad Probert.  Brad is an engineer, expert homebrewer and experienced reviewer.  Grab a link to Brad’s website at the end of this review.

Fermentasaurus Conical Fermenter

There are a lot of different fermenters on the market. Most of us started with the standard 6.5 gallon plastic bucket, and many never looked back. Going against its dinosaur-like name, the Fermentasaurus attempts to be a vision of the future, and differs from the plastic bucket in material, shape, and features.

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Hands on Review: Blichmann Engineering Riptide Homebrew Pump

This review is by Homebrew Finds Contributor Brad Probert.  Brad is an engineer, expert homebrewer and experienced reviewer.  Grab a link to Brad’s website at the end of this review.

Riptide Pump Review

In the world of hot wort pumps for homebrewing, there are a couple of big name players that have dominated the market for some time. There are also some new entries in this segment that offer just as good function, but at a much lower price. Blichmann came in with a completely different strategy. Rather than trying to do the same thing better, or the same thing for less money, they wanted to re-write expectations for what a homebrew pump should do. It’s like the first time you saw a BBQ grill that had lights to cook at night and a built-in bottle opener. You told yourself, “Wow, I didn’t know you could get one like that… I want one!”

As with anything Blichmann makes, the Riptide follows suit with top-notch quality and looks, and a price tag to remind you that you’re buying top of the line. In the case of this pump, they legitimately bring features that no other pump on the market has and at a price comparable to the current top of the line wort pumps (that don’t have these features). So it’s arguably reasonably priced.

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Damp Kegerator? Fix Kegerator Condensation

eva dry 500 kegerator condensation review

I use a converted chest freezer as my kegerator or keezer.  With the aid of some modifications like a collar and an overriding thermostat, it works really well.  The big downside I’ve experienced is… condensation.  Not just beads of water on the sides, I had pooling water in the bottom.  Not a good thing.  This varies by how often I’m in it and the weather, but the fact is, a chest freezer just isn’t designed to deal with condensation like a refrigerator is.

Enter the Eva-Dry E-500.  The Eva Dry contains a desiccant material that absorbs moisture.  The beads inside this unit absorb moisture.  As they do that they change color.  When they have gone from blue to pink, you know it’s time to “renew” the unit.  This is done by removing it from the kegerator and plugging it into an outlet.  The integrated heating element drives off any built up moisture.  When the beads turn blue (overnight), you’re ready to go.  I don’t have to do this often, usually every couple months.

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Hands on Review: Brewer’s Edge Mash & Boil Electric Brewery

This review is by Homebrew Finds Contributor Brad Probert.  Brad is an engineer, expert homebrewer and experienced reviewer.  Grab a link to Brad’s website at the end of this review.

Brewer’s Edge Mash & Boil

I reviewed a number of electric all-in-one brewing systems a little over a year ago. As a collective group, these systems offer a lot to the homebrewer. They provide the flexibility and control of brewing process of all-grain, and the equipment simplicity of brew-in-a-bag. The fact that they’re electric gives you the ability to brew inside and convenience of not having to chase propane tank fill-ups. The electric systems also have the ability to set a target temperature and control to it, giving you better control of your brew day. All of these combine to create a more streamlined and less stressful brew day.

Each system has its own strengths and they all span a wide price range. The units I tried last year ranged from $470 at the low end to $2,500 at the high end. When I saw the Brewer’s Edge Mash & Boil coming in at $300, I was intrigued to see how this unit would work and if you really could go all-grain with an electric system at such an affordable price point.

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Hands On Review: Stanley Vacuum Insulated Stein

Stanley Vacuum Insulated Stein.  18/8 Stainless steel.  Won’t rust.  Naturally BPA free.  Dishwasher Safe.  Latching lid helps keep beer cold and carbonated.

Available in Hammertone Green and Matte Black

Vacuum insulation helps keep your beer and other beverages cold (or warm) and should also reduce or eliminate condensation on warm days.  Since this is not made of glass it would be handy for the pool, beach and park.

First, I want to say that I’m a big fan of Stanley PMI branded coolers, growlers and such. I have a lot of their gear including multiple vacuum insulated growlers [Hands on Review].  I’ve been impressed by the quality, features and styling of the Stanley products that I own.  Considering all that I snapped up one of these steins shortly after I learned about them.  Here’s a hands on look.

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