Category Archives: Tips

Rubbermaid Professional Heavy-Duty Spray Bottle – $4.99 + Sanitizing for Pennies Per Batch

Rubbermaid Professional Plus Heavy-Duty Spray Bottle by Rubbermaid.

  • Durable spray bottle has heavy-duty sprayer with adjustable nozzle.
  • Measurements included on side of bottle for chemical portioning in fluid ounces and milliliters.
  • Trigger sprays 3.3 ml per spray.
  • High density polyethylene bottle construction is tough to last a long time.
  • Made in the USA.

Use for cleaning and sanitizing solutions around your home brewery and beyond.  Check out Star San Tips, Tricks and Guidelines – Using Star San In a Spray Bottle – that details the “spray bottle technique” of easily and effectively sanitizing for pennies a batch.

6/14/18 9 AM Central: This is selling for $4.99. Shipping to most US addresses is also free with Prime Membership [Try Prime for Free] or a qualifying order. Price, shipping and availability can change quickly.  Check the product page for current price, description and availability.  Also: Recent Amazon Finds and Amazon Fillers Resource Page

Rubbermaid Professional Plus Heavy-Duty Spray Bottle,32 fl OZ (946ml), (FG6C13PR06)


Also: Star San on Amazon | Star San Tips, Tricks and Guidelines – Using Star San In a Spray Bottle

More: Recent Amazon Finds

My Brewing Spreadsheet – Free Download

The spreadsheet is setup from my perspective, as a batch sparger.  Having said that, almost everything applies equally to a fly sparger with the possible exceptions of the computed mash ratio (more below), planning on a set volume of sparge water and the step by step batch sparge directions.

Brew Day Sheet (click to enlarge):
img_brewday

 This is the main sheet where you will fill in information about your beer and your mash parameters.

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Putting Together a “Brew Day Box”

Why a Brew Day Box?

Over the years I’ve homebrewed, I’ve utilized a number of storage and organization strategies.  Some could be defined less as strategies and more as “piles”.  These strategies have ranged from, cardboard boxes, to big totes that I threw everything under the sun into to using smaller shoe box size containers and breaking everything out into categories.  The shoe box size organization method has worked well and other than a few large totes for bigger items, it’s what I’ve settled on.  At some point after going to that, I realized that when brew day rolled around, I had to collect items from a number of these containers.  I usually forgot something and had to look around, multiple times per brew day trying to find whatever I needed.  That evolved into putting together a container just for brew days.  I cleverly 🙂 call that my “Brew Day Box”.  This container houses nearly all the small odds and ends that I use when brewing.  I’ve also tried to make sure those things don’t really need removed at other times.  For example I use a refractometer regularly, not just on brew day, so… I bought another refractometer.  Everything that’s in my Brew Day Box generally… stay in my Brew Day Box.  This keeps everything in one place and I’m not wasting time trying to find stuff when I should be brewing.

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Star San Tips, Tricks and Guidelines – Using Star San In a Spray Bottle

Star SanPictured: 32 Oz Star San – via Amazon

Star San is my sanitizer of choice.  When mixed properly, it’s food safe and no rinse.  Required contact time is one minute.  It has worked very well for me for quite some time and I’m convinced that it’s one of the most economical solutions available if you use the spray bottle method outlined here.  I’ve used a single 32 oz bottle for years.  Like 5+ years.

Cleaning, Sanitizing and… Sterilizing

The first step in sanitizing is cleaning.  Cleaning and sanitizing are two separate steps.  Cleaning physically removes dirt and large contaminants.  After your item is physically clean it can be microscopically sanitized.  Sanitization kills many (but not all) germs, bacteria and microorganisms on an already clean surface.  I typically use a mixture of PBW (Powdered Brewery Wash) for cleaning.  Sanitizing and Sterilizing are different.  Sterilizing is killing every living thing.  In home brewing typically, we’re not interested in sterilizing, we’re only interested in sanitizing.

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Updated & Expanded! – Portable Draft Beer Serving Options

Pictured: Micro Kegging System from William’s Brewing

Looking for options to serve your draft beer home brew on the go?  Here’s a roundup of some of the available options for your next tailgate, party or get together.

Included in this Post:

  • Growlers
  • Carbonation Caps – used with PET Bottles
  • Small Draft Systems
  • Tips and Tools for Filling Growlers and Small Draft Containers
  • Techniques and equipment for dispensing full corny kegs of beer
  • Portable Kegs and Systems
  • Coolers and Ice Packs
  • Other Issues: Chilling and Cloudiness

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Build a Spunding Valve! – How and Why

cln_img_0274

A Spunding Valve allows you to maintain a set pressure.  If pressure in the vessel exceeds the set point, it is expelled.  It generally consists of an adjustable PRV valve, a tee, a gauge and a way to connect to your keg.

Homebrewing Applications of a Spunding Valve

  1. Pressurized fermentation.  Ferment in a 5 or 10 gallon corny keg and use your Spunding Valve instead of an airlock.  This allows you to ferment at your desired pressure.
  2. Dry hop under pressure.  This allows you to dry hop earlier while reducing oxygenation.  Active yeast are more likely to metabolize oxygen that’s introduced during dry hopping during active fermentation.  Since CO2 is not exiting beer as vigorously under pressure, wanted compounds, flavors and aromas are more likely to stay in your beer under pressure.
  3. Naturally and accurately carbonate beer right in the keg.
  4. An airlock replacement.  Keep the valve wide open for non-pressurized fermentations.  Only do this if you have plenty of head space.  This wouldn’t make a great blow off tube.
  5. Keg to keg transfers.  Use the Spunding Valve to allow excess gas to exit the receiving keg as you transfer under pressure.  Helps you achieve a slow, controlled and pressurized transfer.
  6. Fix over-carbonated beers.
  7. Test for keg leaks.  Pressurize your keg to serving pressure.  Put the Spunding Valve on (with the pressure set well above your serving PSI) and note the reading.  The gauge should remain steady.  If pressure drops, you know you have a keg leak.  It’s worth noting that this checks the entire keg including gas body o-ring.  That spot is hard to check and other way as it’s only in function when the gas QD is on.  When the gas QD is on… it’s difficult to spray and check for bubbles underneath the gas QD.  Thanks to Scott Janish for this tip!
  8. As an airlock for long term aging of beers.  Airlocks can run dry over time.  A Spunding Valve will not.

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Kegerator Beer Line Temperatures & Reducing Foam with a Recirculating Fan

I have what I would call a reasonably well put together and balanced kegerator.  In spite of that, for years, I have dealt with the dreaded first foamy pint of beer.  After that, the beer pours great.  That is until a significant delay between pours – overnight or a few hours..

The cause of the problem is pretty clear.  Heat rises.  That means the top of your kegerator is going to be warmer than the bottom of your kegerator.  That warmer beer foams when it comes out.  The faucet and shank are also warmer.  That warmth adds to the problem.

How much is the temperature variance?  Of course, this will vary from setup to setup and climate to climate.  I was relatively shocked by the temperature difference in my own kegerator.

img_temps

The top reading about mid keg and the bottom reading is the top the top of my beer lines.  These are about 22″ apart.  This graph shows a point in time variance between the two of 14.9 degrees F.   My beer is about the temperature I want it, but the top of my serving line is much warmer.  That difference in temperature causes the first pint to have too much foam.  Pours that happen soon after the first are fine.  The tubing, shank and beer are relatively cool.

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Eva Dry E-500 Mini Dehumidifier [Fix Kegerator Condensation] + Hands on Review

eva dry e500 kegerator condensation

Like many homebrewers and craft beer lovers, I use a chest freezer for chilling and serving kegs. Eva Dry Kegerator Condensation The big downside I’ve experienced is with that is… condensation.  Not just beads of water on the sides, I had pooling water in the bottom.  Not a good thing.  This varies by how often I’m in it and the weather, but the fact is, a chest freezer just isn’t designed to deal with condensation like a refrigerator is.

Enter the Eva-Dry E-500.  The Eva-Dry E-500 contains desiccant beads  that absorb 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 E-500 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 also use on of these in my fermentation chamber.

See: Damp Kegerator? Fix Kegerator Condensation

New and Improved Eva-dry E-500 Renewable Mini Dehumidifier


What are other people saying?  Search this product’s Amazon reviews for “kegerator”

Also: Kegerator Tips & Gear | Keg Repair Part #s | Recent Keg Finds

Our Top Draft Resources

 

More: Recent Amazon Finds

prod:evadry500-B00BD0FN8A

Eva Dry E-500 Mini Dehumidifier [Fix Kegerator Condensation] + Hands on Review

eva dry e500 kegerator condensation

Like many homebrewers and craft beer lovers, I use a chest freezer for chilling and serving kegs. Eva Dry Kegerator Condensation The big downside I’ve experienced is with that is… condensation.  Not just beads of water on the sides, I had pooling water in the bottom.  Not a good thing.  This varies by how often I’m in it and the weather, but the fact is, a chest freezer just isn’t designed to deal with condensation like a refrigerator is.

Enter the Eva-Dry E-500.  The Eva-Dry E-500 contains desiccant beads  that absorb 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 E-500 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 also use on of these in my fermentation chamber.

See: Damp Kegerator? Fix Kegerator Condensation

New and Improved Eva-dry E-500 Renewable Mini Dehumidifier


What are other people saying?  Search this product’s Amazon reviews for “kegerator”

Also: Kegerator Tips & Gear | Keg Repair Part #s | Recent Keg Finds

Our Top Draft Resources

 

More: Recent Amazon Finds

prod:evadry500-B00BD0FN8A