Category Archives: Amazon Reviews

First Looks: Camco Premium Drinking Water Hose – Best Price + up to 52% Off

camco rv drinking water hose review

Amazon is discounting Select RV Fresh Water Accessories by up to 52%.  The selection includes a number of drinking water rated hoses and water filters.

I picked up the 50′ size of Camco’s Premium Drinking Water Hose.  I ordered this on April 20th and received it on the 22nd via 2 Day Prime Shipping.

Here’s a quick first looks.  This is a “first looks” in that I haven’t had a chance to actually use it myself.  The operation of a hose is pretty straightforward.  I am planning to do a full review, however, I don’t expect anything earth shattering in that review.  It’s a high quality hose.  I expect it to work well.

camco rv drinking water hose reviewClose up on the center portion of the packaging.  Premium – 20% Thicker – Machined Fittings – Strain Relief Ends – HD Reinforced

camco rv drinking water hose reviewBottom side of the packaging.  Camco Premium Drinking Water Hose.  5/8″ Internatl Diameter.  50 ft, 15.2 meters.

camco rv drinking water hose reviewClose up on the UPC label.  Made in the USA.

camco rv drinking water hose reviewClose up on the female end

camco rv drinking water hose reviewClose up on the mail end

camco rv drinking water hose reviewSide view

My first impressions are… this is a heavy duty, high quality hose.  It feels much more heavy duty vs the one that I am replacing (recently burst – fortunately I was close by).  I look forward to using it on my next brew day.


This is available in 10, 25, 35 and 50 ft sizes.

4/23/15 1:33 PM Central:  The 50′ size is discounted down to $21.25 as part of this sale.  That’s the best historical Amazon price I could find.  Shipping is free as part of the Amazon’s Add On promotion.  Check the product page for up to the minute price and availability.  Also – Up to 52% Off Drinking Water Hoses and Filters

Camco 22853 Premium Drinking Water Hose (5/8″ID x 50′)

Camco 22843 Premium Drinking Water Hose (5/8″ID x 35′)

Camco 22833 Premium Drinking Water Hose (5/8″ID x 25′)

Camco 22823 Premium Drinking Water Hose (5/8″ID x 10′)

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Hands On: 25 Quart Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler

Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler

I picked up Igloo’s 25 Quart Marine Cooler toward the beginning of this year.  I saw someone with one at an event and I really like the size and the looks of it.  I got this primarily for carrying and keeping beer and other items cold.  I’m not suggesting this as a good cooler to use as a mash tun (no drain).  I’m suggesting it’s a good cooler to use as a… cooler.

Igloo Marine Ultra CoolerClose up of the right hand side logo – Igloo Marine Ultra

Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler ReviewThe left hand side label – click to zoom.  UV Inhibitors Guard Against Sun Damage.  Long Lasting Hinges.  Stainless Steel Lid Strap.  Comfort Handles.  Made in the USA.  25 Quarts/23 Liters.  36 Can Capacity.

Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler ReviewThe lid

Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler ReviewHandle close up

Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler ReviewThis holds both larger/taller German Style bottles and 22 oz bottles.

Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler ReviewThe 22 oz bottles come very close to poking up over the top of the cooler, however, the lid has an indentation and closes fine with 22 oz bottles.

Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler ReviewYou can stack two 12 ounce cans, you can also stack a 16 oz can and a 12 oz can.  Two 16 oz cans are too tall.

Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler ReviewOf course standard and standard-ish (like these Anchor Porter) beer bottles work just fine.

Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler ReviewLoading it up

Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler ReviewMore beer

img_img_8393Without a lot of thought while packing… this cooler held all of this beer.

Igloo Cooler ReviewI’ve owned this since early 2015.  I really like it’s build quality and size.  It’s well made.  It’s compact, but can still hold quite a bit including the ability to carry larger 22 oz bottles.

Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler (White, 25-Quart)

Also Consider Lifeline’s Line of Double Wall Insulated Growlers for portable serving

Lifeline 7508 Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Double Wall Barrel Style Growler • Review • Lifeline Growler Carrier • Review • Lifeline 7502 40 Ounce Growler • Review • Lifeline 7512 Silver Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Double Wall Bottle Style Growler – 750ml. Capacity • Review

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First Looks: ITC-1000 Temperature Controller + PDF Manuals

ITC-1000 Temperature Controller

Here’s a First Look at the ITC-1000.  First, some background… The STC-1000 is a very popular homebrewing temperature controller.  One caveat of the STC-1000 (for some) is that the vast majority (maybe all?) display in Celsius only.  Yes you can do some firmware re-flashing and such things, but as far as off the shelf units, the vast majority read in Celsius.  Some may point to this offering.  It does indeed read in deg F, however, it appears to be the single stage version.

Enter the Inkbird ITC-1000… It’s 110 V, Dual Stage (can control both heating and cooling output), has an alarm to indicate sensor failure or high temperature and… it displays in Fahrenheit… finally!  It’s also said to be more user friendly than the STC-1000.  In addition to the ITC-1000, an ITC-2000 model is available.  That adds the ability to set both high and low temperature alarms.

The STC-1000 was already a great controller, arguably the best value in temperature controllers.  These improvements seem to make a great thing even better.

ITC-1000 Homebrew Temperature Controller BuildThe Inkbird ITC-1000 box

ITC-1000 Homebrew Temperature Controller BuildBox opened.  You get the dual stage controller, temperature probe and manual.

ITC-1000 Homebrew Temperature Controller BuildFront of the ITC-1000

ITC-1000 Homebrew Temperature Controller BuildSide view

ITC-1000 Homebrew Temperature Controller BuildThe top of the controller displays a wiring diagram.

ITC-1000 Homebrew Temperature Controller BuildBack of the controller.  This removable plate partially shields the wire connections.

ITC-1000 Homebrew Temperature Controller BuildTemperature probe.

ITC-1000 Homebrew Temperature Controller BuildFor size comparison next to the Lifeline 7508 Stainless GrowlerReview.

ITC-1000 Temp ControllerFor size comparison next to… a banana.  Yes, I ate this banana.  It was pretty tasty.

Inkbird All-Purpose Digital Temperature Controller Fahrenheit &Centigrade Thermostat w Sensor 2 Relays

Also ConsiderInkbird Relay &Temp Alarm Output Digital Temperature Controller Degree F &C Thermostat w Sensor

PDF Manuals:
Note – These are the current versions, as of this posting, however, software versions and manuals change over time.

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Hands On: ClosetMaid Shelf Caps (as Keg Lid Feet)

ClosetMaid 75355 24 Large and 60 Small End Caps, White, 84-Pack

I’ve heard for quite a while now, that these shelf caps (model 75355) from ClosetMaid make dandy keg feet replacement.  You get a total of 84 feet – 60 small and 24 large.  The small are the ones said to work as keg lid feet.  If you crunch the numbers on per foot cost, it typically ends up being a pretty big bargain.

I decided to put these to the test.  Do they work well as keg lid feet?  We’ll find out…  I’m sure you’re on the edge of you’re seat now! :)

keg lid feetThe package.  Hey… these are meant to be used as wire rack caps.  You get yourself a shelf, something like this, cut it to size and then use this caps to make it so you don’t cut yourself up when you grab a pair of socks or something.  They probably work great for their intended purpose.

IMG_7571As mentioned previously, you get two sizes of caps.  The small caps are the ones used for keg lid feet.

keg lid feetHere they are installed.  Hmmm.

keg lid feetIf you look closely you’ll see the “foot” pulling away as this closes.

Do these work?  Not really.  The thickness of the cap should help to exert pressure on the lid and help the oring seal.  These aren’t as thick as purpose made feet.  For the cost of the real thing (and considering what’s at stake – CO2… beer!), I would personally rather use purposed designed equipment for this purpose.

In fairness to those who have said these work well… 1. The stock picture looks different from what I received – maybe these have changed and 2. Maybe they do fit well on some feet.  Just not the ones I tried.

ClosetMaid 75355 24 Large and 60 Small End Caps, White, 84-Pack

Keg Lid Feet – $1.39

Related: Bulk Keg Orings and Keg Repair Part Numbers

843339 - Keg Closure Feet (Pair)

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Step by Step: Rehydrating Dried Yeast Using Rubbermaid TakeAlong Containers

I have used Bel-Art Lab Quality Autoclave Safe Bottles to rehydrate yeast for years.  I bought a dozen of these back in February of 2011 and still have 9 or 10 unused containers.  These are great bottles and have worked really well for me.

Although the per container cost of these is generally reasonable, buying a dozen of these lab containers can be a bit pricey.  I stumbled across the Rubbermaid TakeAlongs line of containers while looking for a less costly alternative.  They are food safe, leak proof and microwave safe.

First a look at the container…

Rubbermaid TakeAlongs Twist and Seal Food Storage Containers, 2-Cup, Clear, Set of 3Stock Image

In the package.

Side of Box: Twist&Seal – Twist-tight, leak-proof seal.  Handles stay cool when food is hot.

On the lid: Remove lid before microwaving

Recycling code is PP 6, 2 cup/473 mL capacity, Top Rack Dishwasher Safe, Microwave Safe (symbol), Freezer Safe (symbol), Made in USA

Rehydrating Yeast Using this Container…

Disclaimer:  This process involves hot liquids and steam.  Use caution as this is a dangerous process and you could get hurt.  Always read and follow manufacturer’s instructions.

I used Fermentis Safale S-04 dried yeast for this process.  Here are rehydration instructions for this yeast.  Fermentis Safale US-05 directions are identical.  Check with your yeast manufacturer for specific rehydration instructions.

The instructions say to use 10 times the weight of yeast being rehydrated.  11.5 gram packet equates to 115 grams.  I used the my – Fast Weight MS-500 Digital Scale to do the heavy lifting here.

Since I use US-05 quite a bit, this is a pretty common weight for me, so I marked the side of the container with an Industrial Sharpie so I don’t have to weigh this out every time.

Next I placed the container in my microwave, with.  Remember… Remove the lid before microwaving.  I chose to set the lid loosely on top to allow the steam to sanitize the inside of the lid.

Next I carefully attached the lid.  Again: If you decide to do this, be careful and do it at your own risk.

As the container cools, the sides will collapse a bit (as pictured).  After this was all said and done, the sides bounced back pretty well but not perfectly.  I cooled the container and water under running tap water until it reached my desired temperature.  In this case 85 deg F.  The instructions say 80 deg F + or – 6 degrees.  I took the temperature with a touch free IR thermometer.  You could also use a sanitized digital thermometer.

The next step is to sprinkle yeast in the rehydration water.  I re-attached the lid and, per the directions, let it stand for 15 minutes or so.

Picture of the sprinkled yeast from the front

The directions say to gently stir for 30 minutes.  One of the beautiful things about using a container like this, with a lid, is that you can swirl instead of stir.  That keeps airborne bacteria and wild yeast to a minimum and you’re also not digging around in your yeast, with who knows what, for 30 minutes.  I swirled this occasionally and came out with this result.

End product.  Hey this looks like yeast!

These are food safe and microwave safe.  The leak proof lid allows you to minimize contact with the outside air.  This worked well for me.

With a pack of three you can use one for yeast and the other two for general storage around the brewery.

Rubbermaid TakeAlongs 2-Cup Twist and Seal Containers, Pack of 3

Bel-Art 106320007 Scienceware Polypropylene Precisionware Wide-Mouth Autoclavable Bottle with 53mm Closure, 500ml Capacity, Pack of 12

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Update: Hands On – CDN DTQ450X Quick Read Thermometer – Includes Accuracy and Response Time Tests

The DTQ450X in boiling water

The DTQ450X from Component Design (CDN) is a quick read digital thermometer thermometer.  It is NSF listed, waterproof and comes with a 5 year warranty.


  • NSF approved for commercial applications
  • -40 to 450 deg F
  • 5 inch stainless stem
  • Quick read: 5 to 6 second read time.
  • Digital
  • Food Safe
  • Waterproof
  • Easy re-calibration
  • 5 year warranty

In the package

Bottom view

Battery Door

Completely submerged.  Note: The manual explicitly says not to do this.  Guess what?  I did it!  I completely submerged this thermometer for version 1 of this review sometime around November of 2012.  The thermometer has gotten plenty wet since then and is still performing like a champ.  I’m not suggesting that you completely submerge yours.  You should follow the manual’s instructions.  I am saying, mine has held up to this type of treatment.


I’ve experienced different boiling temperature on different days using the same equipment and testing methods.  Boiling temperature is a moving target.  It is based on elevation and atmospheric conditions.  The day of this test, boiling point was a consistent 211.8 deg F as read by my highly accurate Thermapen.

The CDN DTQ450X reads 211.6 deg F.  It’s reading to .2 deg F low.  Well within it’s stated accuracy of +- 2 deg F.  Practically speaking, for our needs, this is right on.

Ice water is a more reliable reference point.  Here is the CDN DTQ450X head to head with the Thermapen.  As you can see, the Thermapen reads right at 32 deg F.  The CDN DTQ450X reads 32.9 deg F.  Again, well within it’s stated 2 deg F range.  This is a good result.  Not great, but good.  That fact that it is more accurate at the higher range bodes well for homebrewers.  We’re much closer to that end of the spectrum for most of the things we’re doing.

Response Times:

This video shows a response time test using the CDN DTQ450X.  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 thermometer is submerged at 2.28 seconds into the video.  It levels out at 138.3 deg F at 5.7 seconds.  That’s a response time of… 3.42 seconds.  For .1 deg F resolution, that’s a great response time.  In fact, it’s 1.98 seconds faster than a similar test I completed on my review of ThermoWorks Thermapen.

The DTQ450X measuring grain temperature

Bottom Line:

I’ve used the CDN DTQ450X since October of 2012.  This same unit continues to look and function well.  This thermometer is one of our Top Finds and it’s also a key component of my Brew Day Box.  It displays very good accuracy and it has a very, very good response time.  If you’re looking for a thermometer for homebrewing and general use this is an excellent choice that I can recommend based on experience.

CDN DTQ450X ProAccurate Quick-Read Thermometer

First Looks: Variable Speed AC Fan for DIY Stir Plate or Kegerator Circulation

img_img_7320Fan with included AC Wiring and Variable Speed Control.

I picked this cooling fan up primarily to put together a Stir Plate design that works with it.  I chose this model because… 1. It’s a good size (4.7″ square), 2. Is already wired for AC and, 3. Includes a variable speed function.

AC Infinity AI-120SCX Speed Control Fan Kit for Cabinet Cooling, Single 120mm

Here’s a first look…

DIY Homebrew Yeast Stir PlateFront of the Fan

DIY Homebrew Yeast Stir PlateBack of the fan.  This side actually rotates.  If you were looking to put together a stir plate, this is the side you’d put the magnet on.

DIY Homebrew Yeast Stir PlateHere’s where the AC wire plugs in.

DIY Homebrew Yeast Stir PlateThis shows the AC wire plugged in.

DIY Homebrew Yeast Stir PlateThe specs say this is 4.7″ square.  From side to side, I get 4 11/16″.  As you’ll see it’s large enough to hold a 5 Liter Erlenmeyer.

DIY Homebrew Yeast Stir PlateI’d call this just a hair under 1″ thick

DIY Homebrew Yeast Stir PlateFor size reference, with a 2L Erlenmeyer in the background.

DIY Homebrew Yeast Stir PlateWith a 2L Erlenmeyer on Top.

DIY Homebrew Yeast Stir PlateThis thing is all but begging to become a stir plate.  I put four of these rubber bumpers in the four corners (to hold the erlenmeyer in place and give it a little bit of clearance) and then put four of these magnets in the center.  Those just stuck on there with magnetic force and they ended up deciding to stack themselves two high.  It’s kind of hard to tell with this photo, but this is a 5L Erlenmeyer Flask with 2L of water with a vortex using that setup.  I’m not suggesting this as a final design.  I’m only that this fan is a great candidate for conversion.

DIY Homebrew Yeast Stir PlateThis photo shows the magnet/rubber bumper setup

I use a similar fan for recirculating air in my kegerator.  See: Kegerator Beer Line Temperatures & Reducing Foam with a Recirculating Fan

AC Infinity AI-120SCX Speed Control Fan Kit for Cabinet Cooling, Single 120mm

SEOH 2L Narrow Mouth Erlenmeyer Flask with Heavy Duty Rim 1/pk

Erlenmeyer Flask (5000 ml) Y450

Also Consider:

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