Category Archives: Reviews & Top Posts

Hands on Review: Brewers Hardware The Dry Hopper!

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.

Brewers Hardware Dry Hopper

Dry hops. Homebrewers debate their favorite dry hop, how to calculate their IBU contribution, and when is the best time to add dry hops. While many love them, the technical challenge of adding them “right” is a hefty one. Whether you’ve heard of hop creep, or tasted an oxidized IPA, you are interested in minimizing the introduction of oxygen to your beer when you add dry hops.

Dry Hopper Assembly

If you add oxygen to your beer at the tail end of fermentation, you can spur your yeast on to keep going. When they would otherwise be content to be finished, the addition of oxygen gets them going, converting more sugars. The result is a lower FG, and a highly attenuated beer. And if you introduce oxygen after the yeast have officially called it quits, instead of the yeast using it up in fermentation, the oxygen is available to make oxidation compounds in your beer. These oxidation compounds are the things you taste in stale beer, and I’ve personally battled with harsh hop bitterness in IPAs when I got sloppy with oxygen intake on a finished beer.

Bottom Valve and Mounting Flange

Another dry hopping challenge is how to add the hops to a beer you’re fermenting under pressure. If you’ve gone through the work to finish up fermentation with your beer under pressure, you don’t want to simply vent the pressure to add dry hops. And if you’ve ever watched pressurized beer in a fermentor drop to 0 pressure, you know the whole thing becomes a churned-up mess- totally undoing all the work of precipitating trub and yeast.

Related: Fermenting Under Pressure

Sight Glass Hop Chamber

Brewers Hardware came out with the Dry Hopper to specifically deal with these challenges. The Dry Hopper attaches to a Tri Clover flange on your lid. There are two sizes- one for a 1.5” TC port, and one for 3” TC port. Both designs contain the same 3 elements- a valve at the bottom that mates to the lid of your fermentor, a tube in the middle to hold the hops, and a fixture on top with a gas ball lock port and a PRV valve. The 3” TC version is larger and holds more dry hops (14 oz) than the 1.5” TC version (4 oz).

Check Current Price & Availability, Review Continues Below:

Related Review:

Hands on Review: Kegland Hop Bong

Continue reading

How Often Should I Clean My Kegerator Beer Lines?

Clean kegerator lines are a key part of serving delicious beer. Bacteria and mineral build in lines can cause off flavors, quick loss of head, under-carbonated beer due to rapid co2 loss and lack of legs forming on the inside of your beer glass.

How Often Should I Clean My Beer Lines?

The Draught Quality Beer Manual says… every two weeks.

That recommendation is for a commercial operation.  What about homebrewers?  We serve far fewer beer on our kegerators, but on the other hand, we can have been on tap and in lines 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.  Considering all of this, my recommendation is to clean home kegerator beer lines every 1 to 2 months.

Line Cleaning Options

Our Line Cleaning Builds:

Continue reading

Using a CO2 Detector in Your Kegerator

INKBIRD WiFi Indoor Air Quality Monitor, CO2 Detector, Accurate NDIR Sensor, Temperature and Relative Humidity, Indoor CO2 Meter with Data Logger, for Cars, Wine Cellars, Grow Tents, Homes (INK-CO2W).Pictured: INKBIRD WiFi Indoor Air Quality Monitor, CO2 Detecto

Losing a tank of CO2 because of leak is frustrating. It’s a waste of time and money. Adding a CO2 monitor can help warn you of leaks minimizing loss, wasted money, wasted time and frustration.

A CO2 Monitor Alarm in Your Kegerator

Placing a CO2 Monitor with alarm inside of your kegerator can serve as another line of defense to protect against co2 leaks and loss. CO2 should not be building up in your kegerator. A CO2 monitor with alarm can alert you of this condition.

Options with WiFi and a companion app are nice because you can get notifications on your compatible phone.

Beyond CO2 Levels…

Some models display additional information that can be helpful information about your kegerator. These vary model to model and can sometime include temperature and humidity.

  • Temperature – monitor your kegerator temperature
  • Humidity – Help judge whether your Eva Dry (or similar) needs recharged for the purpose of handling excess kegerator and fermentation chamber wetness.  See: Damp Kegerator? Fix Kegerator Condensation

Not A Replacement for Checking for Leaks…

A do not consider a CO2 alarm as replacement for thoroughly checking for and addressing leaks. Rather this is another layer that could save you a trip to swap out a CO2 tank.

The Biggest Trouble Spot

Color coded post o-rings. From our Keg Rebuild Post – Jump To: Replace O-Rings

In my opinion the most difficult spot to check and the cause of many a lost CO2 tanks are… gas post o-rings.

Testing at this point using the “spray bottle method” (spray Star San everywhere and check for bubbles) is impossible or at the very least difficult and messy.  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 is on.

The problem 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. You can use what I call the pressure gauge method to check for overall leaks. But even using that method you know that you have a leak but it gives no indication where it’s at.

Be quick to replace gas side o-rings… I’m quick to replace gas post (and gas dip tube) o-rings. Beyond slow and no-carbing beers, a bad gas side o-ring can lead to empty tanks. That’s a waste of time and money and it’s frustrating.

These o-rings cost pennies each when you buy them in bulk. Liberally replacing these can save time, money and frustration.

Continue reading

Hands on Review: Kegland Hop Bong!

Thank you to HBF Contributor Aaron Nord for this hands on review!  Aaron is an advanced award winning brewer, a long time reader and a serial tipster!

Kegland Hop Bong

Keeping oxygen out of a fermenter after the initial yeast pitch is a goal of most fermentations, with a few exceptions being oxygenating a high gravity batch mid-way through fermentation, barrel-aged ales, or spontaneously fermented ales in open foeders. For a homebrewer who wants to brew a beer outside of those exceptions noted, avoiding oxygen introduction after fermentation has begun is paramount to a quality finished beer, a goal which is sometimes a difficult to attain. Notably, adding dry hops, other flavor components (e.g. wood chips or coffee beans), or clarifying agents (e.g. gelatin fining or Biofine) presents a challenge for most homebrewers if they want to avoid oxygen exposure in the fermenting wort.

Limited Time Availability Info:

Back In Stock… These have gone in and out of stock at MoreBeer since we first introduced them. As of this posting, both versions of this are back in stock. Check product pages for current availability.

There are workarounds and ways for homebrewers to limit oxygen introduction, conceived upon by crafty brewers over the years. Dry hops for example, can be suspended in a muslin bag above the wort by placing a magnet inside the bag and its mating magnet on the outside of the fermenter. In this way, the hops will be in the fermenter at the beginning of fermentation and can be dropped according to the dry hop schedule by simply removing the outside magnet, all without opening the fermenter. Or, to add clarifying agents without cracking the fermenter lid, a brewer can utilize a plastic bottle with a carbonation cap. This method entails adding the liquid substance to a plastic soda bottle and pressurizing the bottle with CO2 via the carbonation cap, purging it, and repeating the process multiple times to ensure the gas inside the bottle is mostly composed of CO2. Then, by using a ball lock jumper, the pressurized bottle can be connected to a fermenter’s ball lock post, if equipped, and the liquid will enter the fermenter, so long as the pressure in the fermenter is less than that of the bottle.

Although these workarounds exist and cut the mustard for my purposes, I was excited when I found out that Kegland was set to release a product that appeared to be a simpler solution all around. In looking into it further I found that it was advertised to have additional uses, aside from the main feature of enabling hop, flavor, or fining additions to the fermenter while limiting oxygen ingress. This highly anticipated product is called the Hop Bong.

I have been a proud owner of a Kegland FermZilla All Rounder fermenterHands on Review – for over two years now and have nothing but good things to say about it. As a manufacturer, Kegland is a homebrewing gear innovator and a leader in the market. They are continuing to come up with novel equipment and tools that span their wide array of product offerings including many for their FermZilla fermenter line. I was excited to see what the Hop Bong could offer as an addition to my All Rounder fermenter.

Kegland Hop Bong Current Price & Availability:

via MoreBeer

via William’s Brewing

Continue reading

Hands on Review: Nukatap Counter Pressure Bottle Filler!

Thank you to HBF Contributor Aaron Nord for this hands on review!  Aaron is an advanced award winning brewer, a long time reader and a serial tipster!

Nukatap Bottle Filler

As with many homebrewers, my experience with the hobby began with making a boxed kit on my stovetop with about 50 bottles of drinkable beer when all was said and done. It was enough to keep me coming back, advancing in skill and acquiring equipment as time went on. I realized quickly that bottling was my least favorite part and was looking forward to ditching the bottles and getting into kegging. This change was one that made a big impact as far as increasing enjoyment of the hobby for me – that and getting out of stovetop brewing and into an electric brewing setup.

Inevitably, I found myself in the situation where I still needed to fill a few bottles from time to time, mainly for competitions. Now that I was kegging all my beer, I wanted an option that wouldn’t interrupt that practice too much. At the time, the most prevalent options for homebrewers were complicated counterpressure systems or the Blichmann Beer Gun. I opted for the latter and used that for several years to successfully bottle my competition beers. It has its pros and cons (discussed more later), and I always kept my ear to the ground on other options.

Check Current Pricing & Availability:

Continue reading

Hands on Review: iSpindel Digital WiFi Hydrometer!


Thank you to HBF Contributor Aaron Nord for this hands on review!  Aaron is an advanced award winning brewer, a long time reader and a serial tipster!


Having the ability to precisely control fermentation temperatures was the change to my brewing setup I credit with one of the largest improvements in my finished beer quality. Being able to dial in specific temperatures for lagers, perform diacetyl rests for both ales and lagers, and cold crash a finished beer helped me to better control what was happening inside my fermenter. One of the data inputs that informed when to change the fermenter temperature was the gravity of the fermenting wort. At various times through the fermentation, I would test a sample to know where the wort was on its journey to become beer. Taking multiple samples was time consuming and it resulted in a loss, albeit a small loss, of the finished product due to the number of samples I was taking.

Enter the electronic, submersible hydrometer – a tool that can read out not only the gravity of a fermenting liquid, but also its temperature all from inside the fermenter, relieving the need to take numerous samples throughout the fermentation process. In addition, many of these devices could connect to an external source and log the data for the user to read in real-time. The brewer and technologist in me were both excited to see what one of these tools had to offer.

The iSpindel is one of a few offerings to homebrewers today in the category of an electronic, submersible hydrometer which also include the Tilt and Float products (I do have experience with the Tilt, which I will discuss later, but will focus on the iSpindel primarily in this review). All products rely on a sensor that can measure the angle of the device in order to calculate the gravity of the liquid. The iSpindel was born out of a desire to make a more cost-effective version of an electronic tilt measurement-based hydrometer, according to the creator, as the other offerings on the market are typically above the $100 mark.

I purchased my iSpindel on eBay from a seller in Canada for roughly half the price of the other devices available:


Continue reading

The Most Difficult Spot to Check for CO2 Leaks

hard to find keg co2 leak

If you’ve found this article odds are pretty good you’re having trouble tracking down a pesky leaks.

Check for CO2 Leaks

First things first, if you haven’t already used traditional methods to try to track down your leak, check out my resources on the topic.

The Most Difficult Spot to Check for CO2 Leaks…

Continue reading

Are Used Kegs Running Out??

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.

Are Used Kegs Running Out?

Continue reading

Craft Cleaning Chart – Contact Times, Dosage, Temperate and More for Star San, PBW and lots more

Resource Posts on PBW and Star San

I have resource posts on Star San and PBW that have loads of information, tips & tricks.

About Star San

Star San is my homebrew sanitizer of choice.  When mixed properly, it’s food safe and no rinse.  Required contact time is five minutes.  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’re using the “Spray Bottle Method” outlined here.

About PBW

Five Star Chemicals PBW – Powder Brewery Wash – is my go-to brewery cleaner. It is a non-hazardous buffered alkaline brewery cleaner and it… works great.

Five Star’s Craft Cleaning Chart PDF…

Continue reading