Category Archives: Amazon Reviews

Hands On: 5 Stage Reverse Osmosis Water Filter by Reverse Osmosis Revolution

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Here’s a hands on look at the Portable Universal 5-stage Reverse Osmosis RO Purification Water System with DI Deionizing Mixed Bed 0PPM postfilter by Reverse Osmosis Revolution

I have long wanted to take my brewing to the next level by using RO water.  When I ran across this unit, it seemed to be exactly what I had been looking for, so I took the plunge.  Using RO (Reverse Osmosis) or DI (Distilled) Water allows you to build your water profile from the ground up, creating exactly the profile you’re looking for.

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Hands on Review: FoodSaver V2244 Vacuum Sealer

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Here’s a hands on look at the Model V2244 Vacuum Sealing System by FoodSaver.  Features: Compact Size, Removable dishwasher safe drip tray,  Includes Accessory port and hose.

First, Why would you want a FoodSaver for homebrewing?  Vacuum sealers are indispensable for storing hops [See: 5 Recent Hop Finds].  You can save money by getting in on bulk hop buys.  Use your vacuum sealer to break these up and to preserve freshness.  You can also store specialty grains in vacuum bags or using the mason jar attachment.  Other uses include: storing base grains, partial dry yeast packs and storing and preserving other beer ingredients.

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Hands On Review: Inkbird ITC-308 Dual Stage Temperature Controller

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Inkbird’s Itc-308 is a dual stage, pre-wired Digital Temperature Controller by Inkbird

Dual stage means that the Itc-308 can control both a heating and cooling device.  Alternatively, it can control a heating or a cooling device.  This controller displays in Fahrenheit and Centigrade.  Maximum output is 1000 watt at 110 volts.  Dual Display shows both measured and set temperature.

I’ve been using this controller for fermentation for a few months now.  Here’s a hands on look…

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Hands On: Happybrew Universal Poppets

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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

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.

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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

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review:chemguysbottle

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.

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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.

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