Category Archives: Top Posts

Uses for Ice Packs

  • The first and most obvious use for these… use them in your cooler to keep your homebrew, favorite craft beer and more cold.  I went to ice packs instead of ice after watching a segment on packing your cooler properly on “Good Eats”.  Thanks to Alton Brown I have been ice free since and haven’t looked back.
  • Traveling someplace to brew – put your yeast and hops in a small cooler with an ice pack.
  • I like to keep an ice pack next to yeast in my fridge to help temp stabilize it.
  • If you’re using an ice bath to help keep fermentation temperatures down, use ice packs instead of ice.  This method saves you needing to drain water from the bath like you would have if you had added more ice, adding more gel packs doesn’t add any additional water to the mix.  If you’re in the practice of purchasing bags of ice for this, this method will also save you money in the long run.
  • If you have warm ground water temps, set up your system with a pre-chiller and use ice packs to help chill down your ground water.

Cooler Shock Performance Chart via their 3 x Large Offering on Amazon

Frozen water in gallon jugs and 2L bottles can also be used for some of these tasks.  Although their pound for pound performance may trail behind something like a Cooler Shock Ice Pack, they are an economical option.  I would lean more toward using 2L bottles are they are generally more rugged than gallon jugs.

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Faucet Locks for Perlick Faucets

Perlick Wrap Around Draft Beer Faucet Lock - Kegerator Bar Security - All ModelsPictured: eBay Offering – Perlick Wrap Around Draft Beer Faucet Lock – Kegerator Bar Security – All Models

A faucet lock allows you to secure your faucet to prevent unwanted use.  Kids, visitors, etc.

Perlick makes two models…

  • 308-40B works with Perlick 307, 425, 408, 410 and the 525SS faucets.
  • 308-40C works with Perlick 600 Series Faucets

Availability on these can be touch and go.  I’ve found that eBay can be a good spot for these

Search: 308-40b and 308-40c on eBay

  • Perlick 630SS @ AIH and MoreBeer – forward sealing (will not stick and more resistant to contamination) and stainless steel
  • Perlick 650SS @ AIH and MoreBeer – forward sealing, stainless steel and flow control.  Flow control allows you to vary resistance making it easier to serve higher carbonation beers with less beer line.
  • Intertap Faucets and Accessories – high quality forward sealing faucets & unique accessories
  • Growler Fillers – allow you to easily attach tubing to your growler.  Use a length of tubing to ensure that you’re filling from the bottom up – Standard Faucets | Perlick 525 | Perlick 600 Series

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Tips: Cleaning, Drying & Storing Tubing

Pictured: Gardner Bender 45-12BEADYW Beaded, Reusable & Adjustable Cable Tie, 12 in.

Tubing!  Homebrewers use a variety of sizes and styles of tubing for siphoning, beer transfer, wort and water transfer on brew day, keg to keg transfers, kegerator beer and gas lines and lots more.

Cleaning:  After using (depending on what I’ve used the tubing for), I’ll give the tubing a rinse to get the majority of stuff off and to keep my cleaning solution as clean as possible.  Next is a soak in hot PBW solution.  I’d say 5 to 10 minutes is typical for me.  Followed by a thorough rinse.  Tip: If you have a problem with water spots on your tubing, make your last step a rinse in a diluted mixture of Star San.  Not only will you get some sanitizing benefits, the Star San acts as a surfactant that helps fight water spots.

Drying:  I let wet tubing dry by hanging it with ends facing down until water has dripped off.  After it’s mostly dry (generally speaking, overnight), I will coil the tubing up and hang it with the ends facing up.  Facing the ends of the tubing upwards give moisture a place to escape as the tubing finishes completely drying.  Note: this is for any residual moisture that may be in the tubing, not large drops.  You can skip this step if you leave it drying U-shaped for long enough.  After the tubing is completely dry, I rotate it so that the ends are face down to minimize dust in the tubing.

Storage:  I store my most commonly used piece of tubing on my Bulldog Hardware Peg-A-System Pegboard.  One of the reasons I chose that pegboard is because it’s plastic and can handle a little moisture without issue.  That means I can do my drying on the pegboard.  For lesser used tubing and bulk rolls I’ll coil up each individual piece of tubing and use a reusable/adjustable cable tie (similar to what’s pictured at the top of this post) to keep each coil together to keep things from tangling together.  I keep those in a large tote, but a 5 gallon bucket would also work pretty well.  Tip: Make sure your tubing is completely dry before stowing.  Residual dampness in an enclosed space will harbor bacteria.  Depending on your circumstances, you may want to keep the lid off of your tote or bucket.  I also keep a smaller tote with odds and ends tubing (6″ or under) to keep on hand for projects and miscellaneous uses.

Food Safe Materials: One more tip…. look for tubing made from food safe materials that is rated for the temperature and pressure for your application.

Re-Shaping: If you have a pesky segment of tubing that is difficult to roll up correctly or otherwise sits incorrectly, try soaking it it hot water (be careful), bend the tubing how you want it and let it cool.

AlsoOetiker Stepless Clamps for Kegerator Gas and Beer Lines

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My Most Important Homebrewing Gear

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As of this posting, we’re in the process of moving Homebrew Finds headquarters from one house to another.  Moving…. it’s not fun.

In the process of selling our current house and getting ready to move to the new one, I paired down a LOT of my homebrewing equipment.  Some gear was sold and a lot went to storage.  However… I refuse to be without the ability to homebrew, even in a time of transition.  The scant gear I chose to keep, was my inspiration for this post.  It’s an indication to me of what’s the most important gear to me at this time.

That’s about it.  I have a few other odds and ends, Star San, PBW, tubing, some clamps.

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What’s the Difference Between Ball Lock Kegs and Pin Lock Kegs?

cln_img_3150Left [Brand New 5 Gallon Ball Lock from AIHReview] || Right [Used 5 Gallon Pin Lock]

Ball Lock Kegs vs Pin Lock Kegs – What’s the Difference?

The containers we call Ball Lock and Pin Lock Kegs come from the soda industry.  Also called Cornelius Kegs, Corny Kegs and Corney Kegs, they were originally intended to store and distribute soda pre-mix.  The big soda companies decided on different style containers for their pre-mix.  Pepsi landed on the Ball Lock style while Coke uses the Pin Lock style.

Homebrewers have since re-purposed these as homebrew beer kegs.

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Lesson Learned… Don’t Do This With Star San

Five Star Star San (32 Oz)Pictured: 32 Ounce Star San from Home Brew Supply

You probably already know this but, don’t… spill concentrated Star San solution on yourself.  I normally wouldn’t take the time to state the obvious, but I did this recently and got a pretty good picture out of the incident…

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Pictorial evidence of the aftermath.  These are a pair of some of my favorite short’s Columbia Sportswear Voyager Cargo Shorts that I was wearing at the time.  The white is a permanent feature.  Obviously Star San and Nylon do not play well together.  It’s almost like the Star San broke down the Nylon, or at the very least it bleached it white.  I had these in the wash within 1 minute or so of the spill, still, they have become work shorts

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My (cotton) Patagonia T-Shirt fared much better.  It was left unscathed.

I also had to rinse my legs and arms after this incident.  I was left physically unscathed except for one finger nail that had a bit of a burning feeling for a while.

Undiluted Star San is a relatively strong acid.  This will serve as a reminder for me to be more careful with it.

Related: Star San Tips, Tricks and Guidelines and pH Test Strips – testing Star San

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Flow Meter for Oxygenating Wort

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Most regulators that homebrewers use for oxygenating wort are simple setups – Example.  They attach to disposable oxygen tanks (typically sourced from a local hardware store) and are little more than on and off valves.  No gauges, no pressure control (other than the degree to which you open and close the valve) and no flow control.

Time and rate give you an idea of how much oxygen you’re really adding to your wort.  Time is easy to track.  Rate, not so much, at least with typical homebrew O2 regulators.  If you want more or less oxygen for your next batch, it’s mostly a guessing game.

The Oxyview Flow Meter is a pneumatic (no electricity required) real-time oxygen flow meter that works in any position.  Flow rate is displayed in liters per minute.  This particular model has a range of 0 to 3 LPM.  This allows you to know what rate of oxygen is going into your wort.

I’ve used one of these for years and it has worked great for me.

Note that these are typically used for medical applications.  You will need to figure out tubing and connections to your existing regulator and aeration/oxygenation stone.  I found some tubing that fits mine and use luer locks to connect it to other components.

Oxyview Flow Meter 1 3/8″ X 7/16″/0-3 L/M

Also:

Recent Amazon Finds [view more]:

Oxygenation and Aeration Supplies at William’s Brewing