Category Archives: Reviews & Top Posts

Hands on Review: IRIS 5 Quart Storage Boxes for Brewery Storage & Organization

Organizing Your Home Brewery

When I first started home brewing, I sourced several large totes to store and organize my gear and supplies.  I quickly learned that these consumed too much shelf space and were inefficient for the kind of things I wanted to organize.  Beyond that, it was hard to find things.  The sides were not clear and they were big enough that I had to do a lot of searching and digging around.

Next I moved to shoe box sized containers with clear walls.  I found these to be much better for organizing my home brewery.  They were small enough that I could use dozens of them, labeling each for easy identification.  They stacked and the lids were easy to get on and off.  I still keep a few larger totes for larger items, but much of my homebrew gear is in shoe box sized containers.

Here’s what I look for in these sorts of containers…

  • Clear – I want to be able to see in the container without opening it up.
  • 5 to 6.5 quarts or so
  • Easy snap on lids – I want lids to go on and come off easily.  For this application, I’m not looking for airtight
  • Stacking.  I want these to stack to save space.
  • Nesting.  When not in use I want to be able to nest these to save space.

Hands on Review IRIS USA, Inc. CNL-5 Storage Boxes for Homebrew Organization

The 20 boxes and lids that I received.  These stack for efficient storage when not in use.A look at the lid, these easily snap on and off.  They are clear, which is an improvement compared the other style that I use.


Check Current Pricing and Availability, Review Continues Below:

Continue reading

Hands on Review: Aquatic Life RO Buddie Reverse Osmosis Filter System – Dial in Your Brewing Water!

Why Use a Reverse Osmosis Filter for Homebrewing?

Using RO (Reverse Osmosis) or DI (Deionized) water allows you to start with a clean slate of sorts and build your water profile from the ground up using water salts.  That allows you to take control of an important aspect of your brewing, especially if you’re an all grain brewer and create exactly the water profile you’re looking for.

Water by John Palmer and Colin Kaminski, part of the Brewing Elements Series, is a great read to learn lots more about brewing water and water adjustments


Check Current Price, Review Continues Below

Aquatic Life RO Buddie Reverse Osmosis Systems – note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear at this link


Hands On Review

Continue reading

Hands On Review: Winco 4 Ounce Stainless Steel Portion Cups – for Brew Day Measuring & Samples


I’ve long been an advocate of using these sorts of portion cups for homebrew-related tasks.  I’ve kept small (2 to 2.5 ounce) portion cups in my Brew Day Box for years.  See: Hands On Review: Stainless Steel Portion Cups – for Brew Day Measuring & Samples for a review of those.

When I ran across these larger 4 ounce cups at a great price, I picked them up to use around my homebrewery.

These are generally intended for serving condiments and small amounts of food.  Considering their size, materials and efficient design, they are also well suited for use on brew day and around the brewery.

You can use these to portion out hop additions and other boil additions and for pH and gravity sample containers.  These are a great size and don’t take a lot of room since they nest together.

In the packaging
Wrapped out of the box12 stacked cups take up minimal space Continue reading

Using a Tire Inflator To Check for Keg Leaks

I see two primary ways to check for keg CO2 leaks

  1.  Soak everything with Star San and look for bubbles
  2. and… the Pressure Gauge Method

I’ve been a big proponent of the Pressure Gauge Method and, to my knowledge, coined the term and made the original case for this technique.  In practice, I use both as they compliment each other.

This post outlines a modified version of the Pressure Gauge Method using DeWalt’s DCC020IB Cordless Tire Inflator.  I’m a fan of DeWalt’s 20V Max Lineup of Tools.  Looking around for 20V MAX compatible equipment, I ran into the DCC020IB Cordless Tire Inflator.  Note that this post outlines something I have personally done.  I am not recommending that you do it.  See the end of this post additional disclaimers.

Why the Pressure Gauge Method?

The main benefit of The Pressure Gauge Method is it’s ability to check a certain problem spot.  Secondarily, it’s less messy than the “soak everything with Star San” approach.

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.

A Quick Look at DeWalt’s DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Tire Inflator DCC020IB

The left screen shows current pressure the right screen shows set pressure.  The dial allows you to set pressure and start and stop the inflator.A closeup of an installed 20V MAX Lithium Ion Battery.  Helping trim weeds one day and check kegs for leaks the next!

Continue reading

Hands on Review: ThermoWorks ProNeedle Thermometer!

This review is by Homebrew Finds Contributor Brad Probert.  Brad is an engineer, expert homebrewer and experienced reviewer.  Grab a link to Brad’s website at the end of this review.

Thermoworks ProNeedle

Beer brewing combines your artsy side (recipe creation) with your nerdy side (brewing process discipline). One thing your nerdy side can’t be without is temperature data. Whether it’s mash temperature or fermentation temperature, a few degrees difference can change your results. And to get repeatable results, you need to control your brewing process so you can hit the same temperatures again next time.

Thermoworks specializes in temperature sensors of all shapes and sizes. They were founded in 1997 and serve multiple industries that require temperature monitoring. Specifically well suited for homebrewing, they have quick-responding and accurate digital thermometers that are waterproof rated.

The ProNeedle has an accuracy of +/- 0.9 degrees F within the temperature band of 14F – 212F. It works at temperatures outside that band, but the accuracy drops off significantly. The digital display reads out in tenths of a degree. The thermometer senses when you rotate it, and the digital readout is able to flip 180 degrees to try to keep it readable. There’s a button you can push to backlight the LED in low light situations. It also has a min/max function, such that when finishing measuring something, you can pull up the maximum temperature read and minimum temperature read by cycling through it with a button push.

Measuring Mash TemperatureConfirming Mash Temp Using Max Function

You might be concerned about electronics up close to your wort since the things you try to keep dry somehow are the first bits to get splashed. The ProNeedle is certified to IP67 standard (can handle up to 30 minutes submerged to a 39” depth), so you don’t have to worry when it gets splashed, or even if you lose your grip and have to fish it out of the mash tun. The thermometer is designed to fit in your pocket, so it’s about the length of a pen. Half of that length is the electronics body with the buttons and screen, and the other half is the thin stainless probe. The probe is 2.9” long, but only needs to be submerged at least 1/4″ to get a temperature reading. It comes with a plastic cover to protect the probe when not in use (and also to protect you from the pointy end of the narrow probe).

It uses a small CR1632 battery, which is good for 3,000 hours (without backlight) of temperature measurements. If you forget to push the power button to turn it off, it has an auto-off feature that will shut it off after several minutes. Thermoworks stands behind the thermometer with a 5-year warranty, as well.


Get Current Pricing + Related, Review Continues Below

Continue reading

Using a Tire Inflator as a Pressure Source for Portable Serving


But Why??

This is part of our Homebrew Hacks series of posts.  The description of that series is “Making, re-purposing, modifying and enhancing for the cause of improving homebrewing processes and results!”.

I didn’t put this post together because no solution exists.  In fact, there are bunches of purpose built solutions.  See: Portable Draft Beer Serving Options!  for loads of options.

I’m also not specifically recommending that you do this.  This post outlines something I have personally done.  See the end of this post additional disclaimers.

This post is about thinking outside of the box and encouraging you to do the same.  When you come up with something awesome, send us a message and tell us all about it.

Please Read – about using Atmospheric Air to Serve Beer

Before you comment, email, tweet, etc [8 ways to connect] to me, PLEASE READ THIS…. This technique involves using atmospheric air to serve a keg of beer.  Yes, this will cause oxidation given enough time.  This is the exact same principle as party keg pumps – example – use.  Over a short amount of time, let’s say the course of a typical get-together, oxidation should not be an issue.  No, I am not recommending this for any long term arrangement.

Using a Tire Inflator as a Pressure Source for Portable Serving

I’m a fan of DeWalt’s 20V Max Lineup of Tools.  Looking around for 20V MAX compatible equipment, I ran into the DCC020IB Cordless Tire Inflator.  I thought it looked convenient and would be handy for inflating tires and such without firing up my compressor.  The fact that it has multiple power options including cordless operation with 20V Max batteries is a big plus.  As I was looking at reviews, I noticed the digital readout and precise controls.  This made me think this could be a viable solution as a pressure source for serving at parties and such.


Related: Using a Keg as a CO2 Source for Portable Serving!

Want to serve your beer on the go?  See: Portable Draft Beer Serving Options!  to learn more and for loads of options.


This post outlines something that I have personally done.  Always, make sure the components you use for your projects are compatible and rated for your intended application.  Contact manufacturer with questions about suitability or a specific application.  Always read and follow manufacturer directions.

A Quick Look at DeWalt’s DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Tire Inflator DCC020IB

The left screen shows current pressure the right screen shows set pressure.  The dial allows you to set pressure and start and stop the inflator.A closeup of an installed 20V MAX Lithium Ion Battery.  Helping trim weeds one day and helping to serve a keg another!

Continue reading

Tips for Email Subscribers – Connect With Homebrew Finds!

Subscribe Here

If you don’t subscribe to your email… why??   Stay in the loop!

Ok, now that we’ve got that settled, a couple tips…

  1. The table of contents at the top of the email doesn’t always work.  This seems to affect mobile clients more than desktop clients.  I’ve gone round and round with my email service… (rhymes with mailchimp) and it is what it is.  Depending on your client it may work and it may not work.  For whatever reason, this is an insurmountable thing that – rhymes with mailchimp – cannot overcome.
  2. If it’s not working for you, I would suggest scanning the table of contents and scrolling down to the body of the email.  Those links are clickable.
  3. If you want a super quick way to catch up… at the very top left of the email you’ll see “Recent Posts on Homebrew Finds | Our Last 50 Finds”.  Just click on Our Last 50 Finds at the top of each email and you’ll be whisked away as if by magic to our last 50 finds page.  Just go through that list and you’ll be totally up to date.

Let’s be friends!  More Ways to Connect – There are 8 Ways to Connect with HBF

More: Our Last Fifty Finds!

top:emailtips

Finding DuoTight Compatible Locking Clips

Kegland’s DuoTight Fittings are designed to work with EVABarrier Double Wall Tubing.  They offer quick, reliable connections, easy implementation, a variety of fitting options and feature amazing versatility.  They’re also, generally speaking, very well priced.  DuoTights are push to connect fittings and require no tubing clamps.

DuoTights are… awesome.  Check out my extensive Hands on Review

DuoTight Fittings have a collar that’s engaged and disengaged to connect and remove tubing without tools or clamps.  That collar can accept a locking clip to prevent the connection from disengaging.  These are not required for a solid connection and are not part of the official DuoTight lineup.

I’ve purchased a few different clips for this purpose.  This post details specific clips that I’ve used that have worked for me.  If you run across a specific offering that works, email me the details including a picture and I’ll add it to the list.  A single photo of the clip in action is good.

Note that availability of these offerings is subject to change.  Also, note that product pages can display multiple versions of a product.

JIUWU 1/4 inch Locking Clips for RO Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Fittings

The bag that I received.Installed on several DuoTight FittingsInstalled on the Inline Secondary Regulator – via MoreBeer – via William’s BrewingInstalled on the BlowTie Spunding Valve – via MoreBeer – via William’s BrewingThe top portion of these clips have a tab to aid with removal.

JIUWU 1/4 inch Locking Clips for RO Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Fittings – via Amazon,, Note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear at this link

John Guest Acetal Copolymer Tube Fitting, Locking Clip, 1/4″ Tube OD

John Guest Acetal Copolymer Tube Fitting, Locking Clip, 1/4″ Tube OD – via Amazon,, Note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear at this link

More Options?

  • There are lots of similar clips out there – Search Amazon for “john guest locking clip 1/4” to see what other options may be available. 
  • Make sure to source a compatible size.  I’ve found that 1/4″ size clips work with my DuoTight Fittings but your experience may vary.
  • If you run across a specific offering that works, email me the details including a picture and I’ll add it to the list.  A single photo of the clip in action is good.

Lots More DuoTight!

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

Our Top Draft Resources!

More: Our Last Fifty Finds!

Hands on Review: Kegland DuoTight Fittings & EVABarrier Tubing!


Make sure the components you use are compatible and rated for your intended application.  Contact manufacturer with questions about suitability or a specific application.  Always read and follow manufacturer directions.  top:duotightclips tag:tpr

Hands on Review: Craftsman Deep Well Sockets for Ball Lock Keg Posts

What Size Are Ball Lock Keg Posts Sizes?

There are two primary post sizes for standard ball lock kegs.  11/16″ and 7/8″.  These can come in both 6 point and 12 point, compatible variations.  I’ve seen two other post sizes. 5/8″ and 9/16″.  I consider those more non-standard.  This post focuses on 11/16″ and 7/8″.

I usually use a wrench when dealing with ball lock keg posts.  I have one wrench that works with both sizes – See: Hands on Review: “Ball Lock Keg Wrench” – 11/16″+7/8″ Ratcheting Wrench – via Apollo Tools Wrench Set – but having a socket is sometimes super handy and sometimes potentially required.

What about 12 Point vs 6 Point Posts?

ball lock post sizes

For the larger 7/8″ posts I’ve seen both 6 point and 12 point styles.  A 12 point socket will work on a 6 point post, but not vice versa.  For the smaller 11/16″ posts I have only seen 6 point.  Not to say that 12 point don’t exist, I just don’t recall seeing any.

This post looks at both sizes to prove what I’m saying here, however, when looking for a 7/8″ socket, I recommend a 12 point design.  That gives you the flexibility to work with both 6 and 12 point style posts.  For the smaller 11/16″ socket, a 6 point design should work.

These Only Work With Ball Lock Kegs, Why?

These sockets will only work with standard Ball Lock Keg Posts.  Pin Lock Kegs require a special socket that has a notch in it to allow the post pin to slip through.

Lots more info… What’s the Difference Between Ball Lock Kegs and Pin Lock Kegs?

If you need a Pin Lock Socket, See: Keg Sockets – Choose Your Sockets – via Keg Connection, choose the Pin Lock Option


Hands on Review Craftsman Sockets for Ball Lock Keg Posts

This post looks at four Craftsman Deep Sockets.  I purchased these at Amazon.  Note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear when you click on the product link

Since the driver that I keep in my brewery area is 3/8″ drive, I also used this adapter

Craftsman Socket Adapter 1/2″ Drive to 3/4″ (04271)

Continue reading

Omega Yeast Labs Homebrew Strain Guide!

omega

  • Each of the Omega packs contains 100mL liquid yeast slurry and at least 150 billion cells.
  • Through Omega’s proprietary process, they generate the optimal number of yeast cells, which vary from strain to strain, to yield the best and most consistent performance for each.
  • As a result of genetic differences, Omega Yeast Labs has observed strain to strain variation in cell counts even under identical growth conditions. Certain strains may contain up to 500 billion cells per pack while other strains may contain slightly less than 150 billion cells per pack.
  • Most importantly, all packs contain the optimal number of viable yeast cells to ferment 5 gallons of wort up to 1.060 OG at the time of packaging.

Want to know more about Omega Yeast’s Strains?

Omega-Yeast Homebrew Strain Guide

Finding Omega Yeast

Related: Propper Starter Review

Hands on Review: Propper Starter Canned Starter Wort!

More: Our Last Fifty Finds!

top:oylsg tag:tpr