Category Archives: Reviews

First Look… Anvil Brewing Equipment Brew Kettle!


The Anvil line of products, is… “a premier line ofanvil-brewing-equipment-palmer-approved-sm brewing equipment, designed and built by the geniuses at Blichmann Engineering, with help and inspiration from John Palmer! The entire suite of products work in unison to provide a perfect brewing experience from day one, and at a great value to you the homebrewer. You can rest comfortably knowing that Anvil equipment is backed by two of the biggest names in the homebrew industry. Anvil Brewing Equipment: Inspired by Palmer, Built by Blichmann, and Made for You!”

The lineup includes kettles, propane burners, false bottoms, scales, thermometers and more.

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Hands On: MoreBeer’s Expandable CO2 Manifold System

morebeer co2 manifold review

MoreBeer’s gas CO2 manifold system comes in a variety of sizes including 2, 3, 4 and 6 way variants.  An add-on is also available that allows you to add more runs to the manifold as you have need.

I have long extolled the virtues of this system.  This is one of a few things in homebrewing that can actually grow with you.  Example – I could not add 4 gallons to my 6 gallon extract kettle.  I had to replace it.  This system actually grows with you.  Here is a hands on look.

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Hands On: More Beer’s Plate Filtering Setup

More Beer’s Beer and Wine Plate Filter Kit in action

First… Why would you want to filter your beer?

  1. You want to drink your beer soon.  During conditioning, a lot of what we’re doing is waiting for stuff to fall out of suspension.  Filtering hastens that process.
  2. You want to transport your kegged beer.  Transporting your beer stirs up anything that’s in the bottom of the keg.  Filtering means you don’t need to worry about stirring a bunch of stuff up.
  3. Clarity.  You’re interested in having great clarity for a particular style of beer.
  4. You have a problem with your beer.  Filtering down to the sterile filter level may remove off flavors.  That’s a maybe.

The process for filtering beer is basically…

  1. Assemble the unit and hook up tubing.
  2. Run 1 gallon of water through the plate filter.
  3. Run Star San through the filter.
  4. Filter your beer.

Instructions say to expect the whole process to take about 45 minutes.  I’d say that’s about right.  The process was a breeze.  I was able to multi task and get other things done around the brewery during this process.

Here is the complete unit with tubing and disconnects

The fasteners on this plate chiller tighten by hand.
Notches are designed to make assembly quick.

One side removed

The center ring.  This takes two filter pads.  One on each side of this ring.

Pads are available in rough, polish and sterile.  You need to work sequentially through these.  Sterile is only recommended in the case that your beer has flaws.  That filter strips quite a bit of out of your beer.  I only used the rough filter in my test.  I was very happy with the clarity that the rough filter produced.

The whole thing sandwiched together

I fermented this 5 gallon batch in a 10 gallon Cornelius keg.  You can see that inside the deep freeze.  I hooked the filter directly up to the fermenter and sent the beer right to the receiving keg.

Here’s the used filter.

Here’s what’s left in the fermenter.

This beer was just sitting on the muck in the bottom of my fermenter

This setup does what’s it supposed to do.  It’s easy to set up and easy to use.  It adds a little bit of time to the kegging process, but you can do other things during that process.  It’s nice to have the option to filter when the situation presents itself.Here’s the bottom of the keg after the beer was consumed.  As you can see… no trub at all.

Beer and Wine Plate Filter Kit FIL45B – $69.99 Shipped

Beer and Wine Filter Pad (Rough) – Pack of Two FIL46 – $3.69

Beer and Wine Filter Pad (Polish) – Pack of Two FIL47 – $3.69

Hands On: Happybrew Universal Poppets


I use universal poppets exclusively when rebuilding kegs.  So far, they have worked in every one of my kegs.  I, generally, like their cost and also like the fact that I don’t have to figure out and pay for model specific, OEM parts.

Here’s a look at 5 universal keg poppets by Happybrew

cln_img_0436My 5 universal poppets arrived in bags inside of a bag.  Bags!cln_img_0439Here’s a look at a single poppetcln_img_0443Here it is disassembled.  Poppets generally have three pieces  – a spring, a small o-ring and a stainless piece that holds the o-ring.  This stainless piece has a groove to firmly hold the o-ring in place when assembled.cln_img_0445I have been in the process of testing 008 Buna-N O-Rings as replacement universal poppet o-rings.  Here you can see the two side by side.  The top gasket came with these poppets.  You can see OEM o-ring appears to be just a bit larger.  In spite of the differences I have found that the 008 size has worked on all 4 of the universal poppet styles that I have including this one.  Still testing, conclusions wait for… another post on another day.cln_img_0459I usually flip the assembled top part into the keg body and then put the spring in.cln_img_0460Spring installed.  I’ll then flip everything right side up (trying to hold the poppet in with one finger) and put the assmbly on the keg.cln_img_0461Here it is installed.  This picture doesn’t tell the whole tale, but… This is the gas side of a 3 gallon ball lock keg, mostly filled with water (to save CO2).  I sprayed this with Star San to test for leaks.  No leaks.cln_img_0466I used this gas poppet to relieve pressure.  If I were keeping these poppets in this keg, I would trim the spring the fit was a bit tight.  See tip below.cln_img_0472Here’s the spring after being installed and tested.  Hey.. it’s still a spring.universal poppet I completed this review along with preliminary testing on dash 008 o-rings for use as universal poppet replacement o-rings.  Here’s a picture that will probably end up in that post.  Going through my universal poppets, I initially thought I had 3 distinct styles.  Looking more closely, I believe I have 4 distinct styles.  Two types are very, very close, although I think they vary in length just slightly.

Tip: Universal Poppets the vast majority of kegs without issue.  I have had a couple kegs that ended up being a bit too tight with these.  It’s an easy fix.  Use a pair of wire cutters or Nipper Pliers to trim the universal poppet.  I suggest taking off about half of a coil and testing.  You want the QD to slide on easily and for it to reliably hold pressure when the QD is off.  Taking off a half of a coil and testing helps you make sure you don’t end up making the poppet too loose.

5 pieces / lot,Universal Poppet Valve for Cornelius Keg

AlsoKegerator Tips & Gear · CM Becker QDs · Keg Repair Part #s · Recent Keg Finds

First Looks: Stanley Classic Vacuum Insulated Growler

stanley insulated growler review

Stanley’s Stainless Steel vacuum insulated growler features vacuum insulated body and foam insulated lid to keep beer cold for 16 hours.  Made of 18/8 stainless steel and BPA free.  The heavy duty handle makes it easy to carry and allows you to pour smoothly with one hand.  Steel inner lid means no plastic is in contact with your beer.

It’s available in Hammertone Green and Hammertone Navy.  It’s also available as part of a Gift Pack Set that includes the growler along with stacking pints.

Here’s a first look at the growler…

cln_img_0133A closeup of what I’ll call the front of the label reads… Lifetime Warranty – Stanley – Since 1913 – Vacuum Steel Growler – Classic Vacuum Growler 64 OZ/1.9Lcln_img_0135If you are unaware about the how-tos, wheres and whys of using a growler… sit back and learn kids.  This product label is going to run you through it all. :) This particular panel highlights a good feature, you can pour this growler smoothly with one hand.

cln_img_0136This panel highlights more features – Steel inner lid – no plastic contact for your beer – Heavy duty handle is easy to carry and pours smooth with one hand – vacuum insulated body and foamed lid keep beer cold for 16 hours – 18/8 stainless steel won’t rust and is naturally BPA free.cln_img_0138This panel defines a growler as a refillable container used to transport draft beer and then goes into the history of the growler.. “Legend has it that the term growler dates back to the late 1800s when pub-goers brought beer home in a small lidded pail.  As the brew splashed around, the escaping CO2 created a growling sound and eventually the name stuck”cln_img_0139A little run down of ratings and featurescln_img_0140As I mentioned this growler label is all about letting you know about about growlers!  Here’s a diagram of how the total process works.cln_img_0142A look at the bottom.  It displays a printed government warning.  That may be handy depending on the growler laws of your state.cln_img_0144A look at the handle.  It feels solid and well built.cln_img_0146A look at the closurecln_img_0149Close up of the logocln_img_0151Top down view
cln_img_0156Inside of the lid including a nice thick gasketcln_img_0154Inside of the growler
cln_img_0161For size comparison, next to the Lifeline 7508

cln_img_0159Stanley’s Classic Growler in Hammertone Green

My initial impressions are… This is a feature filled, well built growler.  As a child of the 70s I love the styling of this growler.  It takes me back to my Dad’s Stanley lunch box and our family’s metal Coleman cooler.  To me, it’s a really cool growler.  So far, I’m impressed.

Stanley Classic Growler, Hammertone Green, 2 quart

Stanley Classic Growler, Hammertone Navy, 2 quart

Stanley Growler and Adventure Stacking Pints Gift Set, Multiple, Green/Stainless Steel

Pinned: Black Friday | New: Anvil Equipment | MoreBeer DoD | Chugger Pump

Review: Expandable CO2 Manifold System

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Brewing Great Fermentations “Big Little Guy” Session IPA

great fermentations big little guy ipa

Great Fermentations Big Little Guy Session IPA is inspired by Founders Brewing Company’s All Day IPA.  I brewed the extract version of this recipe.  It features Crystal 20L, Crystal 60L, Dark Wheat Malt, Flaked Oats, 2 Row, and Light Dried Malt Extract.  For hops it features Amarillo, Simcoe and Crystal.  All hops are added at the 15 minute mark or later.

About Session IPAs.  Session IPAs are lower gravity versions (Big LIttle Guy has a projected ABV of under 5%) of IPAs with the same level of hopping.  Great if you love hops and hop flavor but want an easier drinking beer that you can have a couple more of.

This recipe is available in both all grain and extract versions.

cln_img_9787A look at the recipe, excluding the hop additions.  A grain bag is included.cln_img_9793For this one, I left my Blichmann TopTier sitting alone by itself, awkwardly in the corner.  I used my newer KAB4 for this brew.  I did use my Blichmann G2 Kettle.  I’m filling up the brew kettle here.cln_img_9789Here’s a look at the boil hop additions in order.  Crystal, Amarillo, and Simcoe are all joining the festivities.  One once each of Amarillo and Simcoe (not pictured) are used for dry hopping.cln_img_9797Just starting to heat up.cln_img_9798Steeping grains are, well… steeping.  This recipe only calls for a 20 minute boil.  All the hops are late additions, so a full 60 minutes isn’t required.  That time savings offsets the 30 minutes used for steeping grains.  The recipe includes both Oats and 2 Row.  That means this is essentially a mini mash kit.cln_img_9801This is after the steeping/mini mash is done.  I put the grain bag in a strainer to let most of the wort drip off.

cln_img_9805That’s a boil guys!

Brewing this beer was straightforward.  As mentioned previously this has a shortened boil along with a mini mash making this about the same as a regular extract boil.  The mini mash is easy and explained in the directions.  Fermentation calls for the chico strain.  I used US-05.  Yeast options also include WLP01, Wyeast 1056 and… A07 Flagship one of the new Imperial Organic Canned Yeast Strains.cln_img_9851Kegging

cln_img_0248Pouring a Big Little Guy Session IPA from my kegerator.  Pictured: Mashed In Beer Gear Tap Handlescln_img_0263The finished beer in a Spiegelau IPA Glasscln_img_0258A closer look.  After a week or two in the keg, this beer has good clarity.  This picture is with a bit of condensation on the glass.


This is an apt tribute to All Day IPA.  Easy to brew and easy to drink.  Great hop flavor and an easy to drink lower ABV.  This was one of those beers that I was afraid I’d run out of before getting the in-the-glass picture.  This recipe makes a great beer.

Check it out: Big LIttle Guy IPA – Extract and Big LIttle Guy IPA – All Grain

AlsoBrewing “1 Hour” IPABrain Eater Pale Ale | Recipe Kits at Great Fermentations

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Review: Expandable CO2 Manifold System


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A look at… The New Imperial Yeast Can


Great Fermentations has picked up fresh to the market Imperial Organic Yeast.  This yeast is delivered in a can, is certified USDA organic and offers much higher (double) pitch rates compared to most standard homebrew packages.

Earlier today, I received an order from GF.  I got their new Xtreme Keg Wrap along with their Dark Side Robust Porter Kit.  For yeast on the Robust Porter, I wanted to try Imperial Organic Yeast.  The A01 House option was suggested for that recipe.

About A01… “House from Imperial Organic Yeast is truly a versatile strain that works great as, well, a house strain! It is well balanced, allowing both malt and hop character to shine in the finished beer. This yeast is clean all around, but will produce more fruity esters as temperature increases. While it works well on American IPAs and pales, it can be used in a plethora of ales, both British and American. This yeast is highly flocculant and will drop out of solution after fermentation, yielding brilliantly clear beers. A great choice for a house strain in your home brewery!”  Update: A01 was out of stock when I posted this.  It’s available again (as of 10/17/15).

Since this is a brand new packaging method, I thought I’d give you a quick look…

imperial yeastFor size perspective, here is the Imperial Yeast can next to a can of Founder’s All Day IPA.  If you like All Day IPA, check out GF’s Big Little Guy Session IPA.  From the pictures I had seen of of Imperial, I pictured it being a larger can, standard 12 oz can.  That’s not the case… it’s smaller.cln_img_0117A picture from the top down.  Again, thinking about it in terms of things I already knew, I figured this would have a regular size opening.  It does not.  It appears the whole top pops off.  That make sense to me.  I was wondering how you would get all 200 billion cells out through a smaller opening.cln_img_0118

Here’s a picture of the front.  It says… Store Cold.  Open Cold.  Imperial Organic Yeast.  200 Billion Cells.  Organic Yeast.  Proudly grown in Portland, Oregon.  Net 5 Fl Oz.  It also has the strain and canned on date.  I’m writing this on the 16th of October.  It was canned on… the 8th.  That’s crazy fresh y’all!cln_img_0119Side of the cancln_img_0123One other thing I’d like to point out… when I received this the ice bag was still frozen.  I am in the Midwest, although not in Indiana, so being relatively close helps.  It’s also cooler outside.  But still, I have never on any occasion received an ice pack that was still frozen.  This was packed well and delivered quickly.  Bravo Great Fermentations!  You can see my Thermapen Mk4 reading 32 in between the two ice packs.

Current Imperial Organic Yeast offerings include A04 Barbarian (rumored to be the Conan strain)imperial organic canned yeast, A05 Four square, B45 Gnome, B48 Triple Double, B63 Monastic, A07 Flagship, A09 Pub, A20 Citrus, A18 Joystick, A15 Independence, A10 Darkness, A01 House, B45 Gnome, B48 Triple Double, B56 Rustic, B64 Napoleon and B44 Whiteout.

These bundle with Great Fermentations $8.99 Flat Rate Shipping

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Pinned: Black Friday | New: Anvil Equipment | MoreBeer DoD | Chugger Pump

Review: Expandable CO2 Manifold System


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