Category Archives: Tips

Checking for Draft System CO2 Leaks – Using The Pressure Gauge Method

cln_img_0274Pictured: Spunding Valve – See: Build a Spunding Valve

For the most part, checking for keg liquid and CO2 leaks is pretty straightforward.  Is beer leaking?  Then you’ve got a liquid leak.  Is there six inches of beer in your kegerator?  That one’s really easy to spot.  If beer is shooting out like a geyser, you’ve got a… fast leak. 🙂

For kegerator CO2 leaks, it’s a generally a little more work, but still pretty easy… spray everything with Star San [via Amazon] solution (diluted of course) and look for bubbles.

A problem spot.  There is one place on the CO2 side that the soak-everything-with-Star-San method doesn’t really work…. the keg’s gas post.  Testing at this point using the spray bottle method is impossible (or at the very least difficult and messy).  Unless your poppet is messed up, leaks will only surface here when a gas QD is actually engaged.  The problem is, you can’t easily see that spot when a QD on.  Stated more simply, you need a QD on to see if it’s leaking, but you can’t see it if a QD is on.

Enter what I call the “pressure gauge method”.  The pressure gauge method can check the entire keg including gas QD connection and any connected tubing without soaking everything and the resulting clean up.

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My Brewing Spreadsheet – quick & easy brew day management

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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3 x Outlet Power Switches [Keg, Carboy and Draft Line Cleaner Pumps] – $9.97, $3.32 each + free prime ship

(3 Pack) Uninex White Grounded On/Off Power Switch with Amber Light ETL

Uninex White Grounded On/Off Power Switch with Amber Light ETL


From the product description, check product page for current description, price and availability:

  • Pack of 3, ETL listed, clear switch with warm amber color, energy efficient space saving design
  • Energy efficient outlet that draws zero power when in the off position. Rating: 15A, 125 VAC, 1875W, item color: white
  • Perfect for devices or peripherals without built-in power On/Off switch

I use a similar switch for switching on and off my Mark II Keg and Carboy Cleaner and Recirculating Draft Line Cleaning Pump.  You could also use it to control your March Pump on brew day.  Always read and follow manufacturer’s directions.  Always exercise caution when dealing with electricity or hot objects and materials.

6/12/19 11 AM Central: These are selling for $9.97. Shipping is also free to many US addresses with Prime Membership [Try Prime for Free] or a qualifying order. Prices, shipping and availability can change quickly. Please note that product prices and availability are subject to change. Prices and availability were accurate at the time this post was published; however, they may differ from those you see when you visit Amazon. Check the product page for current price, description and availability. Also: Recent Amazon Finds and Amazon Fillers Resource Page

(3 Pack) Uninex White Grounded On/Off Power Switch with Amber Light ETL – note multiple quantity options are available, a different version may show up at this link


Also: Build A Recirculating Draft Line Cleaning Pump | Mark II Keg and Carboy Cleaner Draft Line Cleaning Pump Conversion | Review: Mark II Keg and Carboy Washer | MLCS 9089 Billy Pedal Foot Switch, 2 Step ON/OFF(Continuous Running)

Free Homebrew Audio Books: Free 30 Day Trial of Audible + TWO FREE Titles – lots of homebrew & beer titles available

More: Recent Amazon Finds

Eva Dry E-500 Dehumidifier [Fix Kegerator Condensation]

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

 

Free Homebrew Audio Books: Free 30 Day Trial of Audible + TWO FREE Titles – lots of homebrew & beer titles available

More: Recent Amazon Finds

prod:evadry500-B00BD0FN8A

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.

Continue reading

2 x Outlet Power Switches [Keg, Carboy and Draft Line Cleaner Pumps]

(2 Pack) Uninex White Grounded On/Off Power Switch with Amber Light ETL

Uninex White Grounded On/Off Power Switch with Amber Light ETL


From the product description, check product page for current description, price and availability:

  • Pack of 2, ETL listed, clear switch with warm amber color, energy efficient space saving design
  • Energy efficient outlet that draws zero power when in the off position. Rating: 15A, 125 VAC, 1875W, item color: white
  • Perfect for devices or peripherals without built-in power On/Off switch
  • Offers a quick easy way to switch power ON and OFF for household appliances and holiday lights

I use a similar switch for switching on and off my Mark II Keg and Carboy Cleaner and Recirculating Draft Line Cleaning Pump.  You could also use it to control your March Pump on brew day.  Always read and follow manufacturer’s directions.  Always exercise caution when dealing with electricity or hot objects and materials.

(2 Pack) Uninex White Grounded On/Off Power Switch with Amber Light ETL – note multiple quantity options are available, a different version may show up at this link


Also: Build A Recirculating Draft Line Cleaning Pump | Mark II Keg and Carboy Cleaner Draft Line Cleaning Pump Conversion | Review: Mark II Keg and Carboy Washer | MLCS 9089 Billy Pedal Foot Switch, 2 Step ON/OFF(Continuous Running)

Free Homebrew Audio Books: Free 30 Day Trial of Audible + TWO FREE Titles – lots of homebrew & beer titles available

More: Recent Amazon Finds


Bus Tubs for Brew Day & Beyond – Save Time and Effort When You Homebrew

Bus Tubs HomebrewBus Tubs for Brew Day – A Rubbermaid Commercial Products Bus Tub/Utility Box with a Rubbermaid Commercial High Temp Pitcher and my Brew Day Whisk

Rubbermaid Commercial Products FG335100GRAY Standard Bus/Utility Box, 7.125 Gal, Gray

More Info

From the product description, check product page for current description, price and availability:

  • Constructed of commercial-grade plastic
  • Rounded corners for easy cleaning
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Reinforced handles for secure lifting
  • Measures 21-1/2″ x 17-1/8″ x 7″. Capacity – 7.125 Gal
  • Made of durable, commercial grade plastic, with reinforced handles, bottom and ribs for added strength
  • Rounded corners for easy cleaning

 

I use two of these on brew day and I find them invaluable.

  • I use these to cart around gear and ingredients – saving trips back and forth.
  • As brew day starts, I’ll keep a dry/clean bus tub and a wet/needs to be cleaned bus tub.  Having two helps me keep clean things clean.  That means less unnecessary cleaning.
  • If I’m using my pump, I’ll keep one below that.  It catches drips and also offers a place to store wet items such as stirring spoons, mash paddles, my mash stirring whisk and my equally invaluable 1 gallon pitchers.
  • The ridges on the bottom make these a great place to drain and dry just cleaned gear.
  • When these are unused, they stack together to save space and offer a nice place to store brew day items.

What are others saying?  Search this product’s Amazon reviews for “brew”

Rubbermaid Commercial Products FG335100GRAY Standard Bus/Utility Box, 7.125 Gal, Gray – note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear at this link


Related: Four Easy Upgrades for Brew Day

Free Homebrew Audio Books: Free 30 Day Trial of Audible + TWO FREE Titles – lots of homebrew & beer titles available

More: Recent Amazon Finds



prod:B000BC5EP8

Full Size Sheet Pan – Catch Drips & Easy Clean Up on Bottling Day

New Star Foodservice 36923 Commercial-Grade 18-Gauge Aluminum Sheet Pan/Bun Pan, 18" L x 26" W x 1" H (Full Size) | Measure Oven (Recommended)

New Star Foodservice 36923 Commercial-Grade 18-Gauge Aluminum Sheet Pan/Bun Pan, 18″ L x 26″ W x 1″ H (Full Size)

More Info

From the product description, check product page for current description, price and availability:

  • This food contact safe aluminum pan boasts great strength and durability. Use this pan to easily hold your heaviest foods like roasts, chickens, ribs, and vegetable dishes without worry of it bending or warping under the weight.
  • Sheet/Bun Pan made of Heavy Gauge Commercial aluminum and is designed to withstand both cold temperatures and high heat applications. Item features a wire-reinforced beaded rim for added strength.
  • New Star foodservice sheet pan’s aluminum construction, it heats up and cools down quickly. Its concave bottom flattens during heating for even heat distribution and consistent baking.
  • The tapered sides on this pan make it easy to stack and store multiple pans when they’re not in use. Stacking pans saves space to ensure that you’re not using up valuable kitchen real estate unnecessarily.
  • Hand Wash Only To preserve quality, this item should only be hand-washed and sanitized. SIZE: 18″ L x 26″ W x 1″ H (Full Size)

 

Why is this on Homebrew Finds?  I use a full size sheet pan to catch drips when bottling [See: Using a Full Size Sheet Pan to Make Bottling Easier – Catch Drips on Bottling Day].  These, generally, hold two full cases+ of beer bottles.  They help catch drips and speed up bottling day clean up.

New Star Foodservice 36923 Commercial-Grade 18-Gauge Aluminum Sheet Pan/Bun Pan, 18″ L x 26″ W x 1″ H (Full Size) | Measure Oven (Recommended) – note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear at this link


Free Homebrew Audio Books: Free 30 Day Trial of Audible + TWO FREE Titles – lots of homebrew & beer titles available

More: Recent Amazon Finds

Tips and Gear for Growler Filling

Pictured: Stanley Vacuum Insulated Growler via Amazon – Review

Filling a growler or small draft dispenser from your draft setup is an easy and straightforward process.  Here are some tips and tools for making this as easy and efficient as possible.

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Short On Time? Time Saving Homebrew Tips!

Time can be a big factor when it comes to homebrewing.  Sure, it may be nice to spend sunrise until sunset carefully hand crafting a batch (or batches) of beer, but the practicalities of life can and do factor in when we’re deciding if we can brew a batch of beer.  For your stage of life, time may not be a factor.  If so, that’s awesome.  For others, time saving tips and techniques could help you brew more often.

With those thoughts in mind, I put the call out to the HBF community [8 Ways to Connect with HBF] to get some time saving tips and tricks.  A selection  of those along with some of my own thoughts follows.  Thanks to all who participated!  A full list of contributors is at the end of this post.

How do I save time home brewing? Continue reading