Category Archives: Amazon Reviews

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: Cyber Monday! | Barrels | Kegs from $30 | Chapman SteelTanks | Water

Recent Amazon Finds [view more]:

Hands on Review: Chemical Guys Chemical Resistant Heavy Duty Bottle & Sprayer

Chemical Guys Spray Bottle

32 Ounce Chemical Resistant Bottle and Sprayer. This bottle is chemical resistant, has an adjustable nozzle and is professional grade.  It has a 32 ounce capacity and is designed to be long lasting.  A dilution guide is printed on the side of each bottle.

Use to spray things :) around your brewery.  See: Star San Spray Bottle Method of Sanitizing

cln_img_0060Front of the bottlecln_img_0058This bottle has an area to mark hazard ratingscln_img_0062It also has areas for notating contents and ingredientscln_img_0057A closer look at the spray head.  The sprayer feels well made and delivers a smooth and fluid spraying action.


This is a spray bottle.  This isn’t an automated electric brew house.  It’s a simple uni-tasker.  My main concern was whether it would hold up over time.

I purchased this spray bottle in January 2015.  Since then it has been continually been filled with and used for Star San.  As of this review (10/14/15) it continues to work great.  No leaks.  The bottle and sprayer continue to function like new.  It’s a great spray bottle that I use regularly.

Chemical Guys ACC130 Professional Chemical Guys Chemical Resistant Heavy Duty Bottle and Sprayer – 32 oz.

Also: Star San Spray Bottle Method of Sanitizing · Great Price on Star San

Pinned: Cyber Monday! | Barrels | Kegs from $30 | Chapman SteelTanks | Water

Recent Amazon Finds [view more]:


Hands On: Nite Ize DoohicKey Stainless Multi-Tool and Bottle Opener

review Nite Ize KMT-11-R3 DoohicKey Multi-Tool, Stainless

I’m a big fan of Nite-Ize Gear.  I have… the S-Biner Ahh Caribiner Clip Bottle Opener (standard equipment for me when traveling), KBB9-03-01 KnotBone Adjustable BungeeSBL-03-11 S-Biner GetLit, StainlessC9L-02-01 Large Figure 9 Carabiner and Gear Tie Clippable Twist Tie.  In my opinion… they make some really well thought out, innovative and quality stuff.

Here’s a look at their DoohicKey Stainless Multi Tool

cln_img_9820Back of the package (click to zoom).  Highlights a couple of the main features… Bottle Opener and Box Cutter.

review Nite Ize KMT-11-R3 DoohicKey Multi-Tool, StainlessFront of the package (click to zoom).  Outlines the features of the DoohicKey.  Ruler (2″ on one side and 40 mm on the other), Carabiner Clip, Wrench (1/4″, 5/16″ and 3/8″), Bottle Opener, Box Cutter and Flat Screwdriver.

cln_img_9823A look at the DoohicKey fastened to my keychain.  The Carabiner Clip works nicely for adding and removing it to your keychain or other gear.

cln_img_9826Prior to getting the DoohicKey, did I have a bottle opener on my keychain?  Of course I did!  Here’s what the DoohicKey is replacing.  A nice little key shaped opener I got after taking a tour of Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City.


I’ve had this for a little while now and I like it very much.  I already carried a bottle opener, so having that along is nice, but it’s nothing new.  I’ve used the opener a good bit and it works well.  The feature I use the most is probably the box cutter.  It’s been very handy to have on hand.  It’s not very sharp, but it’s enough to work pretty easily on most boxes.  Beyond that the carabiner clip is a nice feature to detach this puppy as needed.  As far as the other features, they may come in handy in a pinch but they probably won’t replace your toolbox.

Overall, this matches the quality and ingenuity I’ve seen in other Nite Ize gear.  It’s a nice little keychain opener that I can recommend.

Nite Ize KMT-11-R3 DoohicKey Multi-Tool, Stainless, 1-Pack

KMT-11-R3 DoohicKey Stainless Multi-Tool by Nite Ize.  Key sized multi tool (can attach to key ring).  Stainless Steel, Box Cutter, Bottle Opener, Wrench, ruler and Flat Head Screw Driver.

HBF Reader EchoTony says: “I have this and it is great. Mostly use the blade edge for opening packages, but the opener has been handy a few times. Very simple, but works great.”

Nite Ize KMT-11-R3 DoohicKey Multi-Tool, Stainless, 1-Pack

Also Check out the S-Biner Ahhh Carabiner Clip Bottle Opener from Nite-Ize.  That’s a caribiner style bottle opener that I always carry with me when I travel.  It functions as a handy caribiner (no climbing) and a bottle opener.

Pinned: Cyber Monday! | Barrels | Kegs from $30 | Chapman SteelTanks | Water

Recent Amazon Finds [view more]:

Hands On: TRINITY EcoStorage NSF Stainless Steel Table

review TRINITY EcoStorage NSF Stainless Steel Tabl

I picked up Trinity’s EcoStorage Stainless Table toward the end of 2014.  I wanted a sturdy, easy to clean table for around the brewery tasks and storage.  This table is all stainless construction, NSF certified, has 150 lb capacity per shelf, features adjustable feet levelers and the shelf is fully adjustable.  48″ wide, 35.5″ tall, 24″.

cln_img_9607NSF Certification sticker.  The stainless surface table top can be cleaned and sanitized.

cln_img_9610Trinity logo on the left side of the shelf

IMG_9603A look down the table.  This is between my tub sinks and a storage rack

review TRINITY EcoStorage NSF Stainless Steel TablA storage rack on the left and my Utilatwin sink on the right.  After adjustment, this ended up at a good height next to my sink.  A couple inches higher.  A good height to set things as they are cleaned.

cln_img_9630Works great with my Keg and Carboy Washer [Review].  It’s nice have an easily cleanable surface and having this right by my sink makes it easy to fill and empty things like the Carboy Washer.

I originally heard about this table from HBF Reader [8 Ways to Connect with HBF] Jeff.  Jeff purchased it himself and shared some pictures and feedback  Thank you Jeff!

TRINITY EcoStorage NSF Stainless Steel Table, 48-InchReader Photo:  A picture of the table with a keggle on top for size reference.  Click the photo to enlargeTRINITY EcoStorage NSF Stainless Steel Table, 48-InchReader Photo: Underside of the bottom of the table.TRINITY EcoStorage NSF Stainless Steel Table, 48-InchReader Photo: Bottle tree and bucket sitting on top.

from Jeff: “I’ve been looking for some stainless steel tables for months now, but I was very leery about cheap non-sturdy tables. After receiving my Trinity work table today there is no question in my mind that it is 110% restaurant quality stainless worktable. I couldn’t ask for a more sturdy table. I could easily stand on this table (at 200lbs) and feel secure, however the instructions say not to. To my surprise, as I was putting the table together (super simple) I flipped table over I noticed fantastic reinforcements on the bottom. I’ve attached a picture of both!”

Follow up from Jeff: “I’ve used my table consistently since purchase, multiple times a week for brewing, bottling, cleaning, food table for parties, etc. Six months later, there is no question in my mind that this table was worth every cent!”

from Stephen: “I have the 24″ model that I have turned into a grain milling station and have to agree these tables are AWESOME!”


This is a well built heavy duty table.  The all stainless build also looks great.  I’m glad to have it for storage, as a general work area for brewing tasks and more.  This is a great table!

Although mine isn’t in my brewing area, this would also make a good brew day work table too.

TRINITY EcoStorage NSF Stainless Steel Table, 48-Inch

Also available in a smaller 24″ size…
TRINITY EcoStorage NSF Stainless Steel Table, 24-Inch

Also: Best Sellers in Commercial Worktables and Workstations Category

Pinned: Cyber Monday! | Barrels | Kegs from $30 | Chapman SteelTanks | Water

Recent Amazon Finds [view more]:

Hands On: Rubbermaid Commercial Product 1 Gallon Bouncer Pitcher

Review Rubbermaid Commercial Products FG321800CLR 4-Quart Bouncer Measuring Cup

There are several equipment purchases that I look back on and say… I’m really glad I got that, it’s made a big difference.  Sturdy, Food Safe One Gallon pitchers fit that bill.  I went from a mish-mash of too small plastic pitchers, found around the house, that bent under the weight of wort, dripped and leached who knows what into my beer to two commercial quality 1 gallon pitchers.  What a difference.

I started out with pitchers similar to these those work well, but have a couple of drawbacks.  I still use those for some purposes.   A while back, May of 2013, I picked up Rubbermaid Commercial’s 4 Quart Bouncer Pitcher.  Here’s a look at that.

Here’s the Rubbermaid commercial pitchers quart markings.  Clear sides make it easy to see what you’re measuring.

Liter markings.

Rubbermaid Commercial Products Division

BPA Free

NSF Certified

Easy peel off label.  That’s a pet peeve of mine.  This actually comes off clean.Made in USA

Thick, heavy duty plastic.  This pitcher feels sturdy.  My assumption is that these are called Bouncers because you can bounce them off the floor.  Have not tried that on purpose yet, but I do plan to mistakenly drop this at some point.  :)Bus Tubs HomebrewThree of my favorite brew day things – commercial bus tub for carrying gear and ingredients and catching drips, Rubbermaid Commercial Pitcher and my Brew Day Whisk.    Taken while brewing Brain Eater Pale Ale,

High Temps.  This pitcher is designed with commercial kitchen use in mind.  It’s made for both hot and cold use -40 to 212 deg F.

Two Pitchers.  If you are vorlaufing/recirculating, you’re going to want two pitchers and even if you’re not two pitchers are handy.

What I use this pitcher for.  Vorlaufing/recirculating, collecting water, topping up water, collecting wort from my mash tun, holding utensils on brew day, as a cleaning vessel for smaller items, mixing up PBW and Star San, general measuring.  I’m sure there’s more.

Rubbermaid Commercial Products FG321800CLR 4-Quart Bouncer Measuring Cup

I can highly recommend this pitcher to you.  I’ve been using it on brew day and beyond for years.  It’s on a short list of my favorite upgrades.

Rubbermaid Commercial Products FG321800CLR 4-Quart Bouncer Measuring Cup

Pinned: Cyber Monday! | Barrels | Kegs from $30 | Chapman SteelTanks | Water

Recent Amazon Finds [view more]:


Update: Hands On – Spiegelau IPA Glasses

Review 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.


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

Related: IPA Glasses [Review] · American Wheat Glass · 3 Piece Set · Glassware Tag

Pinned: Cyber Monday! | Barrels | Kegs from $30 | Chapman SteelTanks | Water

Recent Amazon Finds [view more]: