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Hands on Review: Mark’s Keg and Carboy Washer

Review Marks Keg and Carboy Washer

Here’s a Hands on Look at Mark’s Keg and Carboy Washer, including a couple of videos with it in action.

Mark's Keg and Carboy WasherThe front of the box.  “Clean and Sanitize Carboys, Corny Kegs, Brew Pails and Hoses” and “1 Year Guarantee”

Mark's Keg and Carboy WasherSide of the box.  It says: •Clean and Sanitize Carboys. No need for a bottle brush. Clean every square inch of the inside of a carboy in minutes. •Clean and sanitize Corny Kegs. No need to disassemble the keg. Clean the inside of the keg and the dip tube. •Clean and Sanitize Brew Pails and Hoses. •Spend your time brewing beer, not cleaning your equipment.

Mark's Keg and Carboy WasherOther side of the box.  It recaps features and then let’s you know what’s in the box: 1.25 gallon high density polyethylene basin, center holding rack with powerful jet nozzle, 520 gallon-per-hour pump with three adapters, instruction manual and warranty.

cln_img_4168The Keg and Carboy Washer unboxed.

Mark's Keg and Carboy WasherA look at the individual components.

Mark's Keg and Carboy Washer1.25 gallon basin.

Mark's Keg and Carboy Washer NozzlesA look at the four included nozzles/adapters.  From left to right: 1. T for use with cleaning Corny kegs.  The barb goes to tubing that feeds you keg’s dip tube, 2.  Barb for cleaning 3/8″ ID tubing, 3.  Jet nozzle for both carboys and kegs.  For carboys it goes directly on the vertical pipe, for kegs the T goes on first followed by the jet nozzle, 4.  Barb for cleaning 1/4″ ID tubing.

Mark's Keg and Carboy Washer PumpTop of the Pump

Mark's Keg and Carboy Washer PumpThis is the back side of the pump.  It has an adjustable louvre for regulating intake.  You’re probably going to want to just always have this wide open.  If you’re having flow issues, double check this to make sure it’s open.

Mark's Keg and Carboy WasherFully assembled and rigged to clean a carboy.  The bottom part of the basin holds about 1 gallon of water, cleaning solution or sanitizer.

Keg and Carboy Cleaner TubingFully assembled and rigged up to clean a ball lock keg.  You provide the Ball Lock or Pin Lock QD along with tubing.

cln_img_4246The Keg and Carboy Cleaner, cleaning a… Carboy

Keg and Carboy Cleaner BucketIt also works with buckets

Keg and Carboy Cleaner Ball Lock Kegand of course… kegs

cln_img_4401and can clean and sanitize tubing

cln_img_4255Mark's Keg and Carboy Washer Speidel Fermenterand… it works with Speidel Fermenters.  This is the 5.3 Gallon SizeReview.  The 7.9 Gallon Size has the same size opening and also works.  I will say that with a bucket, carboy or keg I feel pretty comfortable walking away for a bit while it’s working.  Not so with the 5.3 and 7.9 Gallon Speidels.  The opening is about the same size as the top of the carboy washer.  That means it sits on top instead of inside (like a carboy) or outside (like a bucket).  If you use this for your 5.3 and 7.9 gallon Speidels, you’re going to want to keep your hand on it to keep the fermenter in place.  I’m guessing, but do not know first hand, that larger Speidels, with their larger openings, work well with the Keg and Carboy Washer without such support, much like a bucket.

B2CAGkiIYAA1PBAUpdate: and… some kettles and keggles!  Thanks to Twitter Follower Christian for this tip and photo!

Mark's Keg and Carboy Washer Keg LidOne of the great things about this washer is that you do not need to disassemble your kegs to clean and sanitize them.  I ran through 5 kegs the first night I used it.  All were clean and sanitized when all was said and done.  Of course, you do have to take the lid off.  That, along with other small parts, can be tossed in the basin for cleaning and sanitizing.

This video shows the kind of flow rate you’re getting to the keg QD.   Looks good to me.

Mark's Keg and Carboy Washer Ball Lock KegFor keg cleaning, the instructions say to run with the QD connected for about 15 minutes and then disconnect the QD.  “This will maximize the pressure for cleaning the keg’s interior”.

One issue that I had with it when I first started using the washer for kegs was… the QD was a bit difficult to get on.  There isn’t a lot of spare tubing (and you don’t want a lot for pressure purposes) and requirement to exert pressure up on the QD while trying to hold the keg down is an awkward set of motions.  There isn’t a lot of leverage.  This problem ended up being a poppet issue.  I use universal poppets on nearly every keg.  Those work great, but can be on the tight side with some kegs.  I know that can be an issue.  The fix for that is and has been… simply trim a bit of the spring with a wire cutter.  I just hadn’t noticed it as a problem when trying to use the kegs in question in the typical orientation.  Using a wire cutter to trim a bit off the poppet spring fixed the issue making it a lot easier to hook up to the carboy washer.

Here’s a video of the Keg and Carboy Cleaner cleaning a 6 Gallon PET Carboy from MoreBeer – Review

I’ve owned this keg and carboy washer for quite a while now.  I had been using a DIY cleaning pump setup and that worked pretty well.  The purpose built Mark’s Keg and Carboy Washer works markedly (did you see what I did there :), better.  It uses less cleaning and sanitizing solution, it’s more versatile, takes up less space and… I don’t have to take apart my kegs to clean and sanitize them.

I’ve heard great things about this unit for some time now.  I’m happy to confirm that it works really well.

I purchased my unit at More Beer.  As of this writing, it’s selling for $99.99 Shipped – Here

Mark’s Keg & Carboy Washer can be found at…

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Mark's Keg and Carboy Washer Speidel Fermenter

New Hop Variety: HBC 366 Equinox

Equinox is a new hop variety from the breeders of Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe.  

Description: Also known as HBC 366, Equinox was developed by the Hop Breeding Company, and is now available to you the homebrewer. A pronounced aroma profile with citrus, tropical fruit, floral and herbal characteristics, this hop is sure to be great for your next hoppy masterpiece.

Check it out - Here

A video about Equinox from Brooklyn Brewery’s Garrett Oliver

From Hop Union: “A pronounced aroma profile with citrus, tropical fruit, floral and herbal characteristics. Specific descriptors include lemon, lime, papaya, apple, and green pepper.” and “The diversified and pronounced aroma characteristics combined with extremely high oil content and a tight cone structure make this hop variety very unique”

AlsoHeady Nugs West Coast Imperial IPA

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How To Brew with Malt Extract DVD – John Palmer and Brad Smith

John Palmer, author of How to Brew and all around legendary homebrewer, and Brad Smith, the guy behind BeerSmith, have teamed up to put together an instructional DVD on brewing with malt extract, aptly named How to Brew with Malt Extract.  This DVD is set to ship the first week of July.

Check it out – Here

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Video: New Big Mouth Bubbler Wide Mouth 6.5 Gallon PET Fermenter + Free Shipping

This new 6.5 Gallon Large Mouth PET Fermenter is available via both Northern Brewer (Here) and Midwest Supplies (Here)

Via Northern Brewer it bundles with $7.99 Flat Rate Shipping.  Via Midwest Supplies it bundles with the current (limited time) Free Shipping Promo.  The free shipping offer also works on heavy glass items including Glass Big Mouth Bubbler FermentersGlass Carboys and Bottles

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Northern Brewer – How to Build a Keezer, Step by Step

Step by Step – building a Multi-Tap Kegerator out of a Chest Freezer.

Check it out - Here

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Update – Hands On: ThermoWorks Thermapen – Including Response Time Trials + Buddy Sale

I’ve had a chance to use ThermoWorks much lauded Thermapen thermometer for a while now.  Here’s a hands on look including some response time tests.
In the box


The shipping box says… ThermoWorks.  
That’s good because you know it’s from ThermoWorks that way. :)
Back of the package.  Note: Identifying numbers including serial numbers and UKAS Certificate number have been blanked out in several of these photos, including this one.
The NIST Traceable Certificate of Calibration.
The Thermapen unboxed
Back side
Unfolded.  This automatically turns on and off as the probe is unfolded and folded back in.  I was a bit surprised by how large this is.  I think that’s a good thing.  The larger body size makes it easy to hold on to.  It also feels solid and well made.
For size comparison.  Unfolded next to the Top Find - CDN DTQ450X - Review
For size comparison.  Folded next to the CDN DTQ450X.


I used the Top Find - Lifeline 7500 Stainless Growler - Review - to create a consistent ice bath.  Hey, guess what.  It reads exactly 32 degrees.

The Thermapen measuring boiling water. It reads 211.8. The boiling point of water varies based on elevation/barometric pressure and mineral content of the water.  On two separate days, I’ve gotten two consistent and different readings for the boiling point of water.  The last time I tested, it was consistently 211.4 deg F.  The day this picture was taken with the water I was using, the boiling point of water was consistently 211.8 deg F.  Although I’m sure you could figure out what the boiling point of water should be at any one point in time based on atmospheric conditions, it’s really… a moving target.  Ice water is a much more consistent temperature.  The good news for calibrating thermometers at boiling temperature is that, for homebrewers, a variance of .4 to .6 isn’t usually a big deal.
How do you know that your highly accurate Thermapen (+- .7 deg F) with NIST Traceable Calibration is really accurate?  You use a even more accurate Reference Thermapen  (+- .07 deg F) that is calibrated to 5 points and reads to the nearest 1/100th of a degree.  This shows the Thermapen next to the Reference Thermapen, reading the same temperature.  By the way… I wouldn’t recommend using a Reference Thermapen on brew day.  What you gain in accuracy, you give up in response time.  It’s about 20 seconds, which is great for 5 point accuracy, but an unneeded trade off for most brewing applications.  The Reference model is good for double checking and calibrating other thermometers.

Response Times:

Test 1 – This video shows a response time test using the Thermapen.  I tried to do this with water that was around mash temperature.  I’m counting the start of the test as right when the metal basket hits the water.  The probe of the Thermapen is submerged at 3.42 seconds into the video.  It levels out at 149 deg F at 4.98 seconds.  That’s a response time of… 1.56 seconds.  That’s crazy.  It’s like this thing knows what you’re going to put it into and uses xray vision to start testing as it’s traveling.

Test 2 – By default, the Thermapen displays whole degrees.  I changed that setting to tenths and did another response time test.  The Thermapen is submerged at 1.06 seconds.  It levels out at 130.4 deg F at 6.46 seconds.  That’s a response time of 5.4 seconds.  It’s not quite as eerie as the whole degree test, but it’s still an excellent response time.

Brew Day:

Here is the Thermapen checking the temperature on the grain bill for 
More Beer’s Citra Pale Ale Kit.


Checking mash temp.  My mash for this beer came in a little low, I was aiming for 152 deg F.


  • Range -58.0 to 572.0°F (-49.9 to 299.9°C)
  • Accuracy ±0.7°F (±0.4°C) from -58 to 392°F (-49.9 to 199.9°C), ±1.8°F (±1.0°C) from 392 to 572°F (200 to 299.9°C)
  • Resolution 0.1°F/°C full range (user reconfigurable to 1.0°F/°C)
  • Response Time From 75°F to 32°F: ≤ 3 seconds to within 1°F
  • Probe 4.5 L inches, High Performance Type K Thermocouple
  • Display 0.55 inches (14mm) LCD
  • Auto Shutoff 10 Minutes (user reconfigurable to disable auto-off)
  • Environmental Range -4 to 122°F (-20 to 50°C)
  • Battery CR2032 (3V) lithium coin cell x 2, 1500 hours
  • Dimensions 1.85 H x 6.1 W x 0.75 D inches (47 H x 153 W x 19 D mm)
  • Weight 0.25 lbs (97g)
  • Certificate Includes NIST-Traceable calibration certificate
Bottom Line:
Because of my work on Homebrew Finds, I own a lot of thermometers.  A lot.  Overall, this is the nicest brewing thermometer I own.  It feels very well built, it has an amazing response time and it is spot on accurate.  This is a great brewing thermometer.


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