Category Archives: Tips

Updated and Expanded: 32 Homebrewing Tips

Tip 1: Use Bel Art autoclave safe bottle to Rehydrate Yeast

  • Place the appropriate amount of water in the bottle.  Most manufacturers recommend 10 grams of water per 1 gram of yeast.  Most packets are 11 grams.  That’s 110 grams.  I’ve marked a line on my bottle so that I can easily measure out 110 grams of water.  Use an accurate gram scale to weigh the water.
  • Place the lid on top of the bottle.  Do not thread or tighten the lid!  It will explode.  You just want the lid setting on top so that it can be sanitized by the steam.
  • Microwave until the water comes to a full boil.
  • Very, carefully tighten the cap down.  This is going to be hot, be very careful!
  • Shake the water around a bit to cover all sides of the bottle.  Again… careful!  I use heat resistant gloves for protection.
  • Let this sit until it gets to the proper rehydration temperature (I shoot for around 95 F) or run cool water over the bottle to cool down more quickly.  I use an Infrared thermometer to check the temp.
  • Sprinkle the dry yeast in the container and place the lid on back on the bottle.  Let this sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Gently swirl bottle to ensure the yeast is thoroughly mixed.
  • Pitch when you’re ready.
  • This method ensures a sanitary process.  The initial container and water are sanitized.  There is no touching of the water with thermometers or stirring devices!
  • You could use a similar method to produce yeast washing water.
  • You can use a similar technique to save yeast using a vacuum sealer/FoodSaver.  See Tip 18.
  • Review: Hands On: American Weigh 100g x 0.01g Digital Scale
  • Related Categories: YeastScales

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Tips: Cleaning, Drying & Storing Tubing

Pictured: Gardner Bender 45-12BEADYW Beaded, Reusable & Adjustable Cable Tie, 12 in.

Tubing!  Homebrewers use a variety of sizes and styles of tubing for siphoning, beer transfer, wort and water transfer on brew day, keg to keg transfers, kegerator beer and gas lines and lots more.

Cleaning:  After using (depending on what I’ve used the tubing for), I’ll give the tubing a rinse to get the majority of stuff off and to keep my cleaning solution as clean as possible.  Next is a soak in hot PBW solution.  I’d say 5 to 10 minutes is typical for me.  Followed by a thorough rinse.  Tip: If you have a problem with water spots on your tubing, make your last step a rinse in a diluted mixture of Star San.  Not only will you get some sanitizing benefits, the Star San acts as a surfactant that helps fight water spots.

Drying:  I let wet tubing dry by hanging it with ends facing down until water has dripped off.  After it’s mostly dry (generally speaking, overnight), I will coil the tubing up and hang it with the ends facing up.  Facing the ends of the tubing upwards give moisture a place to escape as the tubing finishes completely drying.  Note: this is for any residual moisture that may be in the tubing, not large drops.  You can skip this step if you leave it drying U-shaped for long enough.  After the tubing is completely dry, I rotate it so that the ends are face down to minimize dust in the tubing.

Storage:  I store my most commonly used piece of tubing on my Bulldog Hardware Peg-A-System Pegboard.  One of the reasons I chose that pegboard is because it’s plastic and can handle a little moisture without issue.  That means I can do my drying on the pegboard.  For lesser used tubing and bulk rolls I’ll coil up each individual piece of tubing and use a reusable/adjustable cable tie (similar to what’s pictured at the top of this post) to keep each coil together to keep things from tangling together.  I keep those in a large tote, but a 5 gallon bucket would also work pretty well.  Tip: Make sure your tubing is completely dry before stowing.  Residual dampness in an enclosed space will harbor bacteria.  Depending on your circumstances, you may want to keep the lid off of your tote or bucket.  I also keep a smaller tote with odds and ends tubing (6″ or under) to keep on hand for projects and miscellaneous uses.

Food Safe Materials: One more tip…. look for tubing made from food safe materials that is rated for the temperature and pressure for your application.

Re-Shaping: If you have a pesky segment of tubing that is difficult to roll up correctly or otherwise sits incorrectly, try soaking it it hot water (be careful), bend the tubing how you want it and let it cool.

AlsoOetiker Stepless Clamps for Kegerator Gas and Beer Lines

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Saving Yeast With a Vacuum Sealer

7973Pictured: Safale US-05 via MoreBeer

I periodically brew small batches that require less that a full packet of dry yeast.  See: Small Batch, All Grain Stove Top Brewing + Water Calculation Spreadsheet.  For that matter, sometimes larger beers require a full packet plus.

To save money and reduce waste, I use my FoodSaver [Review] to store partial packets of dried yeast.

Here’s the procedure I use…

  1. Determine the proper amount of yeast using a pitching rate calculator.
  2. Prepare the proper amount of re-hydration water.  Generally, you’ll prepare 10 grams of water for every one gram of yeast needed, but consult manufacturer’s directions.  Check out Tip 1 on our tips page for how I do this using a lab bottle in the microwave.
  3. Put the prepared rehydration water on an accurate gram scale [review].  Make sure the scale has a “tare” feature or otherwise account for the weight of the container and water.
  4. Zero the scale out using the tare feature.
  5. Cut the yeast packet open and slowly pour the yeast into the rehydration water.  Careful, there’s no going back if you pour too much.  🙂
  6. When I get the amount of yeast I’m looking for, I immediately seal the yeast packet (if it’s a mylar type material) using the heat strip sealer on my vacuum sealer.
  7. I write the amount of remaining yeast on the packet using a Sharpie and then seal that in vacuum bag for additional protection.

This is quick and easy, reduces waste and saves money.

Some gear and ingredients to consider…

Need a pitching rate calculator? Free Non-Expiring Trial of Brewer’s Friend

AlsoYeast Starters & Fermentation | StirStarter Stir Plate | Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation

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AC Infinity Cooling Fan – $16.99 + Reducing Kegerator Foam with a Recirculating Fan

AC Infinity AXIAL 8038, Muffin Cooling Fan, 115V AC 80mm by 80mm by 38mm Low Speed

AC Wired Cooling Fan by AC Infinity

  • Designed for custom projects that requires or as a replacement fan in various machinery.
  • Includes a heavy-duty aluminum fan with power plug cord, two fan guards, and mounting screw set.
  • Dual-ball bearings have a lifespan of 67,000 hours and allows the fans to be laid flat or stand upright.
  • Low Speed: Has a lower noise and airflow rating than high speed models.
  • Dimensions: 80 x 80 x 38 mm | Airflow: 23 CFM | Noise: 28 dBA | Bearings: Dual Ball

img_purchdateI have this fan and use it in kegerator as a recirculation fan.  See: Kegerator Beer Line Temperatures & Reducing Foam with a Recirculating Fan

1/30/17 9 AM Central: This is selling for $16.99.  Shipping to most US addresses is also free with Prime Membership or a qualifying order. Price, shipping and availability can change quickly.  Check the product page for up to the minute price and availability.  See Recent Amazon Finds and our Amazon Fillers Resource Page to help you put together an order that qualifies for free shipping.

AC Infinity AXIAL 8038, Muffin Cooling Fan, 115V AC 80mm by 80mm by 38mm Low Speed

AlsoKegerator Tips & Gear | Keg Repair Part #s | 5 Recent Keg Finds | What’s the Difference Between Ball Lock Kegs and Pin Lock Kegs? | Kegerator Beer Line Temperatures & Reducing Foam with a Recirculating Fan

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3 Pack Metallic Sharpie Markers – Good for Dark Surfaces (like Kegs)

3 Metallic Sharpies by… Sharpie.  Metallic Sharpies are great for writing on dark surfaces, like… keg handles and bases.  Typical black Sharpies are black and don’t show up on… black very well. 🙂

Update: Since this post was published the price, availability or promotion has changed.  Check the product page for up to the minute description, price and availability.  Also: Today’s Deals on Amazon

Sharpie Metallic Fine Point Permanent Markers, 3 Markers, Colored

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Blue Rhino Propane Tank Rebate + Propane Tank Tips

As of this promo, Blue Rhino is offering a $3 rebate when you buy a Blue Rhino Propane Tank (with or without exchanging the empty tank).  Check Blue Rhino’s site for up to the minute details and availability.

RelatedPropane Tips – Refill vs Swaps and Extra Tanks

Blue Rhino Coupons and Rebates

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Two Pack of Eva Dry E-333 Dehumidifiers – for Kegerator Condensation

Eva-dry E-333 Dehumidifier, Twin Pack

Two Pack of Eva Dry E-333 Dehumidifiers.  Also available in Single Pack.

The Eva Dry E-333 contains a desiccant material that absorbs moisture.  As this material absorbs moisture it also changes color.  Dark blue means it’s dry and pink means it’s becoming saturated.  The great thing about the Eva-Dry is that the desiccant material is reusable.  The unit contains a built in heater that drives off built up moisture.  When it becomes saturated, plug it in overnight and it’s ready to go again the next day.

I use the larger E-500 in my kegerator.  Check out my extensive Handimg_cln_8-26-img_6170-225x300s on Review of the E-500 including condensation trials.

The 333 (and 500) in these model numbers stand for cubic feet.  The 333 is recommended for a maximum space of 333 feet.  The 500 is recommended for a maximum space of 500 cubic feet.  It stands to reason that two of the 333 units would work in a space of up to 666 cubic feet.  So, you could use two of these in your kegerator to help handle condensation and theoretically have more dehumidifying power than the 500 I use.  This would also be nice because you could swap one out to renew it and still have one in your kegerator.

Update: Since this post was published the price, availability or promotion has changed.  Check the product page for up to the minute description, price and availability.  Also: Today’s Deals on Amazon

Eva-dry E-333 Dehumidifier, Twin Pack

Also Consider:

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Recent Amazon Finds [view more]: