Category Archives: Reviews

Hands on Review: Kegland Ball Lock Kegs!

Updated: 6/17/2024

Kegland, based in Australia, produces a broad array of homebrewing gear. fermenters, electric brewing systems, loads of draft stuff (including DuoTight!) and lots more.

It’s obvious these folks are homebrewers at heart, because they’ve come up some really innovative stuff. The other thing they’ve generally done is hit really good price points. There is a balance between cost, features and quality and they seem to be hitting a lot of bullseyes.

This is an in depth hands on look at Kegland’s 5 gallon ball lock keg.

Hands on Review Kegland 5 Gallon Ball Lock Keg

A look at the boxThe other side of the box. This is one of the better looking keg boxes I’ve run across.


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Hands on Review: Blichmann Engineering BoilerMaker G2 Kettle Customization

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.

Blichmann Engineering BoilerMaker G2 Customized Kettle

Blichmann has made brew kettles for a long time, but it is only recently they added the ability for you to custom configure the G2 BoilerMaker Kettle to your liking. Although customization can feel like it makes things more complicated than just getting a “standard kettle”, it can also be viewed as making things simpler because you don’t have to invent a complicated workaround because your kettle doesn’t have the features you want. And doing internet searches of all the options out there can leave your head swimming as you try to find exactly what you want. If you find yourself in this scenario, custom kettle configuration is a great thing.

The most obvious customization choice is the kettle size. Blichmann offers choices on the smaller side that some vendors don’t (as small as 7.5 gallons), and they go up on the big size beyond others (as big as 55 gallons). Once you decide on the size of your kettle, you need to decide what type of ports/fittings you want. They give you the option of both the age-old standard of 1/2″ NPT, or the latest preference of Tri-Clamp (or Tri-Clover if you prefer, or simply TC). The 1/2″ NPT is handled via weldless fittings with o-rings.


Blichmann BoilerMaker G2 Kettle

This is built around Blichmann’s G2 Kettle.  See our Hands on Review of the G2

Related: Hands on Review: Blichmann Engineering BoilerMaker G2 Mash Tun


Your customization order is done online through Blichmann’s website. You first pick which style of fittings you want on your kettle- TC or Threaded NPT. The minimum kettle requirement is a port for a drain valve. Everything else is optional. You can add a thermometer port, and you pick the location of it, as well as whether you want an analog or digital thermometer to be kitted for you. You can add the sight glass for volume markings or go without. You also have the option of adding any of these: AutoSparge, HERMS Coil, BoilCoil, Whirlpool port/valve, False Bottom, and HopBlocker. You can make it as complicated or as simple as you want it.

1-inch TC Sight Glass Added to Output


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Hands on Review: Blichmann Engineering BoilerMaker G2 Mash Tun

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.

Blichmann Engineering Mash Tun

When selecting a mash tun, there are lots of choices out there. There are all-in-one electric systems, converted Igloo coolers, aluminum stovetop pots, and many different types of stainless steel kettles. If you’re not going down the path of the all-in-one unit, stainless steel is usually the predominant choice. That’s because it is sturdy, easy to clean, has a very broad temperature range, and doesn’t contain questionable stuff that comes with that California Prop 65 warning.


Blichmann BoilerMaker G2 Kettle

This mash tun is built around Blichmann’s G2 Kettle.  See our Hands on Review of the G2


Handles with Cool Grip Comfort Pads

Blichmann’s kettle offering is the BoilerMaker G2. It’s made from 304 Stainless Steel and has a brushed finish. According to Blichmann, although both inside & out have a brushed finish, the inside is a bit smoother to make stuff less likely to cling to it. The kettle has volume markings on it, but instead of etched or stamped markings, it uses a borosilicate sight glass with volume markings on the outside of the kettle. The handles are located at the front and rear of the kettle, so when you’re carrying it, you don’t have the drain valve sticking out in front of you at risk of banging into things or facing the other way and digging into your leg.

Kettle with Temperature Port Offset to Side

The kettle comes with either welded 1.5” TC ports or weldless ½” NPT Threaded fittings for a drain valve attachment and a thermometer port. For the thermometer port you can get either an analog dial thermometer with an adjustable angle face, or a digital BrewVision. The kettle comes with the Blichmann Linear Flow Valve for the drain, but the TC kettle also has an option for a butterfly valve. The Linear Flow Valve’s exit comes out at a 90-degree angle from the inlet, and you can point it in whatever direction you want to eliminate tight hose bends or having to add an additional 90-degree elbow fitting.

Welded TC Port on OutsideWelded TC Port on Inside


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The Boilermaker comes with many customization options. If you want it to be an electric boil kettle, you can order it with the Blichmann Boil Coil. You can even take the customization further and select additional ports and add-on additional Blichmann kettle accessories. Beyond the add-on features, you can pick the size- from as small as 7.5 gallons to as big as 55 gallons.

If you plan to use the kettle as a mash tun, the Blichmann Button Louver false bottom is made to fit inside the kettle and connect with the pickup tube that feeds the drain valve. The false bottom sits on the stepped bottom rim in the kettle, and the pickup tube passes through a hole in the false bottom, drawing wort from below it. The false bottom is covered with small 1” circular stampings (where the “button” part of the name comes from) which are slit along the sides (for the “louver” part of the name). With this design, the gaps are on a vertical edge, not on the flat horizontal face. That means you don’t have gallons of water and grain pushing down on your cracked grains, trying to push them through slits or holes like most false bottoms do.

Last on the list of nifty features is the lid. Lids don’t do much on kettles, and generally are pretty boring. Blichmann made their lid do something others don’t. Instead of the normal handle bracket welded on both ends, they left one end open, so it forms a type of hook/hanger. With the cantilevered hanger design, not only can you hook it to the kettle handle, but you can hang it from any side of the kettle, simply by hooking it over the rim.

Hands on Review

I evaluated a 10 Gallon G2 kettle with the Button Louver false bottom, to use as a Mash Lauter Tun in my 2-vessel brewing setup. The 10 Gallon size worked great for 5-gallon batches. The look of the kettle right away stood out as different. The brushed finish made it less shiny than highly polished kettles I’ve used before when pulling it out of the box. However, the brushed finished meant it stayed bright and consistent after several brews. I found the brushed finish inside seemed to require a bit more effort to clean afterwards than my smooth kettles. But if I compared the amount of effort to get my smooth kettles shiny and new looking, the brushed finish was easier to get it back to “like new” finish. So what initially seemed like a downside, was actually a benefit.

The other thing I noticed when pulling it out of the box was its weight. It felt lighter than other kettles. Sometimes there are legit reasons to brag about gauge thickness of your kettle. The beefier it is, generally the more resistant to wear & tear and potential denting. However, when you’re talking about kettles in the region of 5-gallon batches, clean-up usually means lugging them somewhere to clean/rinse them. And when you’re doing that, you appreciate a kettle that isn’t thicker just for bragging rights. The Blichmann kettle seemed robust enough to be considered sturdy, and it seemed a good balance when lugging it around for cleaning.

Hands down the most impressive feature of using the Blichmann BoilerMaker as a mash tun was the Button Louver false bottom. Technically this is an add-on, and not part of the kettle. But if you buy the kettle to use as a mash tun, you of course buy the false bottom. I’ve used different designs of false bottoms in different mash tuns, but none have worked as well as the Button Louver one. I had previously optimized my grain crush on another mash tun to be at a point that I didn’t get a stuck mash, but still had good mash efficiency. I was milling my grain at a 0.033” gap on a 3-roller MM-3 Monster Mill. On my other mash tun this resulted in good mash efficiency, no stuck mashes, and a small amount of grain fragments that made their way into the boil kettle. This same grain crush setup on the Blichmann false bottom gave me the same mash efficiency, no stuck mashes, but I was shocked to see no grain bits in the boil kettle. I thought this was a fluke on my first batch, but I watched it on a total of seven test batches with the same results.

Button Louver Closeup

The one exception to this “grain free” performance happened once during my trials. I found later that what happened was I dislodged the washer on the pickup tube where it goes through the false bottom. The washer is a loose piece that has a tight clearance around the pickup tube and blocks an oversized hole in the false bottom. While stirring the grains during mashing in, I stirred too deeply and scraped this washer up. Grain got under it, and I then had a large hole where grain could get through while recirculating the mash. By the end of my 60-minute mash, the grain was able to set up a decent filter bed, and I only got a few debris in the boil kettle during sparging. But I did have to do some clearing of my recirculation tubing at the start of the mash to get the giant slug of grain out of there. Now I know to not stir so deep as to scrape across that washer.

Linear Flow Valve with TC Ends

Conclusions

The G2 BoilerMaker kettle worked well for me. The lighter weight made it nicer when it came time to cleaning and moving the kettle over to the sink. The brushed finish grew on me after a few batches, as I recognized it kept the kettle looking as good after several brews as it did when I pulled it out of the box. The Button Louver false bottom earned a spot in my unofficial list of “favorite brewing gear” with its stellar performance of keeping grain particles out yet still providing plenty of pass-through liquid slots. With the ability to custom-order the kettles with the types of fittings, number of fittings, and location of fittings, it can be a great tool for many types of use.

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More Photos

Brushed Finish InteriorPickup Tube with Over-molded GasketTri-Clamp with GasketWasher Accidentally Lifted Allowing Grain to Pass Underneath

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More Tri-Clover/Tri-Clamp!  Tri-Clamp Fittings at Proflow Dynamics

Special Thanks to Blichmann Engineering for providing the unit used for evaluation in this review.

By Brad Probert.  Check out Brad’s website – beersnobby.com

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.

Price, promotions and availability can change quickly. Check the product page for current price, description and availability. review:blichmash tag:tpr

Hands on Review: Kegland Fill-O-Meter

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.

Kegland Fill-O-Meter

Homebrewing is full of gadgets. There are some things that are high tech versions of common equipment everyone has and uses. Then there are gadgets that are unique in what they do. They maybe aren’t a requirement for brewing, or aren’t things you’d find in every brewer’s toolbox. The Kegland Fill-O-Meter is definitely one of these. The Fill-O-Meter has two functions- turning on & off the water flow, and measuring the amount of water that goes through it. The intersection of these two functions is where it becomes a handy tool in the home brewery.

Fill-O-Meter in BoxSpecs on Side of Box

The Fill-O-Meter has ½” threaded inlet and outlet ports. They are BSP thread, not NPT, so you need to be extra careful when tightening on any NPT fittings to make sure you don’t strip out any threads or end up with leaks. The solenoid inside has a fail-safe such that if you lose power for some reason, the solenoid stays closed and prevents water from flowing. The unit comes with a 24V power supply plug to run the on/off solenoid, as well as the LCD backlit digital screen. The screen displays the current flow rate (in gallons/minute or liters/minute), your target water volume, and how much water has flowed past it since you turned it on. You can select for the display to be in units of US Gallons, or in Liters. You also have the option to display language in English or Chinese (if you’re in the mood). You can also tweak the flowmeter calibration constant to improve the accuracy for your given setup or if you’re going to measure in US gallons (adjustment needed, as explained in my hands on review section).

Contents of Box- Meter and Power Supply


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Hands on Review: BrüMate Hopsulator Trio

brumate hopsulator trio review

BrüMate Hopsulator Trio

I received a BruMate Hopsulator Trio as a birthday present from my beloved daugher. I had seem them around, but hadn’t had a chance to pick one up yet, so I was excited about the present.

BruMate makes a number of can coolers or high end coozies. These generally double wall insulated stainless steel construction and are designed to work with different sizes of cans and for some models (like the Trio), they’ll also function as tumblers all by themselves.

Hands on Review

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Review: Barebottle Brewing Company Torcido Lager – Homebrew Recipe Kit

Updated: July 10, 2024

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.

Torcido Lager is a Mexican Lager. Sort of. I don’t know much about the style definition of a Mexican Lager, but MoreBeer’s site describes the recipe creation from Barebottle Brewing (San Francisco, CA) as non-traditional. Apparently, Barebottle likes mixing things up, so they describe this beer as a Mexican Pilsner with a German Helles twist. For Barebottle, this beer scored a Gold in the 2019 GABF, so crazy description aside, I figured the beer had some cred behind it.


Limited Time DEAL:

Barebottle Brewing Companys Torcido Mexican Style Lager - All Grain Beer Brewing Kit

Barebottle Brewing Companys Torcido Mexican Style Lager from MoreBeer:

The most compelling stories always have a twist. Barebottle’s award-winning Torcido is a Mexican pilsner with a German Helles twist. Combining these styles results in a light and refreshing lager that would make even M. Night Shyamalan do a double take. Originally developed by Barebottle brewer John “Magic” Montes, Torcido took gold in the 2019 Great American Beer Fest and in turn became the inaugural inductee into the Viking Malt Hall of Fame. Brewed with Viking Pilsner, flaked corn, a dash of Carahell®, and hopped with two additions of Crystal and Saaz.

Barebottle Brewing Company was born in San Francisco, CA with the idea that craft brewing shouldn’t adhere to the strict guidelines of established beer styles. Founded by a trio of friends and former classmates, they continue to pay homage to their homebrewing roots by printing a scaled down version of their recipe on every label. If you ever see one of their creations out in the wild, we highly recommend that your buy it, drink it, and then brew it!


  • MoreBeer’s Kit of the Week offers a 20% discount on a select recipe for a limited time.  Choose from all grain or extract versions while supplies last.
  • Shipping is also free to many US addresses with a qualifying $59 order
  • Custom Tap Handle: All of MoreBeer’s original recipe kits come with a full color insert that works with this custom tap handle
  • Easy Filler Item….  If you’re looking for a filler item to help you qualify for free shipping, consider grabbing some PBW

Check out this week’s Kit of the Week! – remember coupon code KOTW


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MoreBeer Recipe Kit Deals!

MoreBeer.com Recipe Kit Deals

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Hands on Review: Kegland 2.5 Gallon Ball Lock Kegs!

Kegland, based in Australia, produces a broad array of homebrewing gear. fermenters, electric brewing systems, loads of draft stuff (including DuoTight!) and lots more.

It’s obvious these folks are homebrewers at heart, because they’ve come up some really innovative stuff. The other thing they’ve generally done is hit really good price points. There is a balance between cost, features and quality and they seem to be hitting a lot of bullseyes.

This is an in depth hands on look at Kegland’s 2.5 gallon ball lock keg.

Why a 2.5 Gallon Keg?

2.5 gallon kegs are great for splitting batches, small batch brewers, doing one-off beers from split from a 5 gallon batch… or for easily serving on the go.  Purge with CO2, fill from your tap and place in ice in a 5 gallon bucket…. whammo! You can also use these in conjunction with an inline secondary as a CO2 source for portable serving.

Hands on Review Kegland 2.5 Gallon Ball Lock Keg

A look at the boxThe other side of the box. This is one of the better looking keg boxes I’ve run across.


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Hands on Review: Kegland Digital Gauges!

Kegland’s DuoTight system along with their EVABarrier Tubing are amazing. Check out my extensive hands on review for a deep dive into the system.

Kegland has released a digital gauge option that works with their great inline secondary regulator and BlowTie Spunding Valve.  They have also released a DuoTight version. This is a hands on look at both including upgrades of the inline regulator and BlowTie.

MoreBeer

William’s Brewing

Keg Connection

Gauge Features

  • These gauges both read from 0 to 90 PSI.
  • They features backlight illumination
  • Use easy to source CR2032 batteries
  • Estimated battery life of more than 2 years (using the gauge once daily).
  • Auto off after 15 seconds.
  • The DuoTight version is made for 8mm connections

MoreBeer’s Description sheds some more light on the construction and design of these gauges.

Get instant pressure reads with the back illuminated Digital Mini Pressure Gauge from KegLand. Compatible with 8 mm Duotight fittings and Gray Ball Lock QDs. If you’re using the original BlowTie spunding valve without pressure gauge, you can use a Duotight tee fitting in-line between the ball lock QD and the BlowTie to take pressure readings with the Digital Mini Gauge.

KegLand has developed the world’s most compact mini digital gauge with backlight illumination. This very compact design retains high accuracy while still meeting the desirable small form factor. This meets the growing need as mini keg systems, mini regulators and other more compact keg dispensing solutions are required.

Traditional analogue gauges require a small capillary mechanism where a small pipe expands and unravels under pressure. This in turn drives a mechanical cog to rotate the gauge needle. This age-old technique works quite well especially in large gauges but as this mechanism is manufactured smaller and smaller a tradeoff between accuracy and size becomes the issue. With very small gauges such as a 27mm x 27mm Mini Gauge, it’s difficult to make them better than 10% accuracy due to the physical constraints of the mechanical components.

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Hands on Review: NukaTap Flow Control Faucets!

Updated: 6/18/2024

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.


Announcing: KegLand Nukatap Gen 2 Flow Control Faucets!

NukaTap® Stainless Steel Beer Faucet | Flow Control Gen 2 | Forward Sealing

NukaTap® Stainless Steel Beer Faucet | Flow Control Gen 2 | Forward Sealing

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

  • G2 model features redesigned flow control mechanism for improved shank sealing and flow control
  • Make instant adjustments to beverage flow as you pour
  • Switch from pouring pints to filling growlers without adjusting your CO2 regulator
  • Reduced first pour foam due to low thermal mass
  • Forward-sealing design prevents beer residue from gumming up the faucet
  • Unique shuttle design greatly improves laminar flow, improving the pour of carbonated beverages
  • Compatible with all Intertap faucet accessories and shanks

Generation 2
The NukaTap Flow Control G2 uses a completely new flow control mechanism with better sealing properties against the shank as well as improved flow control.

Control the Flow
The flow control model is a great option for users that often switch between beer styles with different carbonation levels. No need to rebalance your lines or play with your regulator settings. Instantly make adjustments as you pour to dial in the flow rate. This is also a super convenient feature for when you want to grab a quick growler on your way out. By dialing back the flow rate, you can gently fill your growler so CO2 stays in solution and your beer doesn’t pour flat when it comes time to share. The NukaTap Flow Control faucet is also the first FC model to be fully compatible with the optional self-closing spring.

First Pour Foam Reduction
Every kegerator owner knows the letdown of pouring your first pint of the day and getting too much foam. Even with perfectly balanced draft lines, first pour foam is sometimes unavoidable simply due to the temperature of the faucet itself. Running beer through the faucet will drop the temperature, and the foaming will subside, but not without a bit of wasted beer from pouring off excess head. The NukaTap beer faucet drops to beer serving temperature much faster thanks to its lower thermal mass. Simply put, the bulkier the faucet is, the more beer is needed to flow through and chill the tap. The NukaTap is over 20% lighter than its Intertap predecessor, and even lighter still compared to other brands of faucets.

Improved Laminar Flow
The inspiration for the NukaTap name comes from its uniquely designed “nuke-shaped” shuttle that resides on the inside of the faucet. The NukaShuttle went through numerous rounds of redesigns and countless hours of testing to find a shape that provides superior laminar flow. This means that liquid passes by the shuttle with very little resistance, allowing highly carbonated beers or hard seltzers to pour like a dream.

Sanitary Design
The NukaShuttle is the world’s first seamless single-piece design. Traditional taps feature an o-ring seated on a stainless steel shuttle, which can cause a couple of issues. After many pours, the stainless shuttle rubbing against the internal body of the faucet will create small fissures that become potential infection sites, and the seated o-ring can be difficult to clean in place, making your draft cleaning and sanitizing process less effective than you realize. The NukaShuttle is an advanced TPV rubber matrix that has been seamlessly formed over a durable PP skeleton. This single-piece design eliminates the pitfalls of older manufacturing methods, making it one of the most sanitary faucets on the market.

Forward Sealing vs. Rear Sealing
From tap rooms to home bars, forward-sealing faucets are the ideal choice for any draft setup. In traditional rear-sealing taps, beer will drain out of the entire faucet when it’s in the closed position. This means the internal mechanism is coated in beer, which then dries and becomes a sticky residue. Forward-sealing faucets, on the other hand, keep the tap full of beer so it never has a chance to dry and gunk up the internal parts. This makes the faucet much easier to clean and also reduces the chance of off flavors transferring to your beer while you pour.

  • Made from stainless steel
  • Shuttle made from TPV
  • O-rings made from EPDM

Kegland Part Number: KL15523


 

Flow control faucets feature a built in flow compensator that allows you to adjust the resistance your faucet is exerting.  That means less tubing and potentially less foaming and wasted beer. The compensation feature also makes it easier to serve higher carbonation beers as you can set the faucet to provide resistance to offset the increased pressure needed to store and serve these beers at higher pressures.  Instead of replacing your beer line with ever increasing lengths of tubing, you simply turn a knob to increase resistance.

NukaTap® Stainless Steel Beer Faucet | Flow Control Gen 2 | Forward Sealing


Nukatap Flow Control Keg Faucet

There are a wide variety of options for how to take your kegged homebrew with you to a party or meet up with friends. There is a big draw to kegging your homebrew because of how it simplifies the process of serving your beer after it’s finished in the fermentor. But it’s obviously less portable than individual bottles. There are mini keg/growlers you can fill from the tap, or bottle fillers that you can connect right to your tap. But these options all come with the extra step of cleaning and filling additional “stuff”. Being able to serve directly from the keg has advantages from that perspective.

Flow Control Faucet Disassembled

The most common option of serving from the keg is the picnic tap/cobra tap attached to a length of beer tubing. The downside of cobra taps is their propensity to fail, or propensity of your partygoers to not know what they’re doing and end up spilling/wasting a lot of beer. A jockey box is great for a bigger event where you’re going to be pouring a lot of beer over a longer period of time. But these are expensive, big/bulky to haul around, and makes another thing that has an involved cleaning process afterwards.

There have been ball lock keg faucets out on the market for some time. But unless you’re using these on a growler with a restrictive dip tube in it, these aren’t very practical. Putting a regular faucet on a keg gives you a cup of mostly foam unless you take special care to nearly de-carb your beer first (and who likes flat beer?). For these to work properly when directly attached to a keg, you need a flow control faucet. Kegland’s ball lock shankReview – has the same interface as a regular keg shank like you have on your keezer, so they just mate this to their regular Nukatap. Then you can serve directly from the keg, and it’s not a big piece of gear to haul around with you or clean up later.


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NukaTap Faucets come in three variations. Stainless, Stealth (Matte Black) and Flow Control. All feature stainless steel construction, forward seal design and all the other NukaTap innovations.

I’m also linking to Intertap faucets and accessories where applicable because all Intertap spouts work with NukaTap

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Hands on Review: AMCYL Ball Lock Kegs!

AMCYL manufacturers compressed gas cylinders, kegs and brewing equipment.

According to AMCYL, as of this posting, their kegs are made of food grade 304 stainless and are NSF approved. They produce both sanke and ball lock style kegs. Their ball lock kegs are available in 2.5, 3 and 5 gallon sizes and come in single and double handle versions. This is a hands on look at the double rubber handle 5 gallon keg.

Hands on Review AMCYL Ball Lock Kegs

Here’s the box. This particular keg is showing as part # CK-N5-DRH-INX. Capacity 5 Gallons. Made in India.A look at the seam side of the keg. Generally speaking the body of a keg is cut from a sheet of stainless steel. A rectangle is bent into a cylinder and then welded. This vertical line is that weld.Close up of the T, where the vortical weld meets the top most weld.Top down view

Single Handle vs Double Handle: There are two main styles of keg handles – double rubber handles and single strap handles. I prefer double handles because… you’ve got two handles 🙂 and, more importantly, the even top means you can invert a keg to drain or dry and potentially stack kegs. Single strap handle kegs are tougher to invert, but they’re also generally a little less expensive.


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Hands on Review: Valuebrew’s EPDM Keg O-Rings

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.

In the world of homebrewing, you can surround yourself by as little or as much science as you want. O-rings, seals, and gaskets come in different varieties in homebrewing. The most commonly found material is silicone, and it’s often elevated as the “best” material. As with most things, there are benefits/drawbacks to each different type of material. Silicone has a very wide temperature range, making a good gasket seal choice at cold temperatures, as well as at hot/boiling temperatures. Its high flexibility makes it well-suited to sealing uneven gaps or perhaps non-ideal sealing surfaces.

Some Old Dip Tube O-rings Were in Rough Shape

However, one of its drawbacks is it does not handle acid-based cleaners well, so Star San sanitizing can deteriorate the material. The occasional sanitizing spray might not be a significant degradation, but you definitely don’t want to soak silicone parts in Star San for extended periods of time. When you’re dealing with the cold side like fermentors or kegs, you’ll be sanitizing frequently, and this compatibility might be a consideration for you.


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Note that Valuebrew has regularly struggled keeping products in stock. If something you’re looking for is out of stock, connect with us and we’ll keep you up to date on availability issues.


Another aspect of silicone that’s pertinent to cold side operation is its ability to allow oxygen to pass through it. It’s difficult to find good, standardized comparisons of material alone between silicone and EPDM because there are so many factors involved like additives in the material, thickness of material, temperature, pressure, etc. I was able to find one research paper (link below) that tested common dimension TC gaskets with different materials, and it showed the Oxygen permeability of silicone was roughly 25x as high as EPDM. So for those long durations of either sitting in your fermentor, or even longer in your keg, EPDM is the better choice to minimize oxygen mixing in through the seals. On kegs, the biggest pathway is of course the keg lid, but there are also O-ring gaskets on the dip tube, gas & liquid posts, and even inside the disconnect housing itself.

Keg lid o-rings



Hands on Review

I hadn’t changed my keg O-rings since the kegs were new, which had been several years. I got a full set of EPDM O-rings that ValueBrew offered- keg lid, keg post, dip tube, and internal QD. The feel of the EPDM material was notably different. It wasn’t stiff, but was relatively stiffer than super-compliant silicone O-rings. The material had a very high-quality feel- smooth with a slightly waxy texture. It definitely had the feel of quality.

Aside from the feel and visual review, I wanted to get some “data” on how the O-rings performed. The biggest draw of EPDM for me was the low oxygen permeability. But this is hard to objectively measure, and simply tasting a beer would likewise be prone to other differences overshadowing oxygen pickup. I had a Milwaukee MW600 DO meter, but the level of oxygen uptake that could allow oxidation reactions to happen is below the threshold of measurement for the meter. Not to mention that once oxygen is available and goes through oxidation reactions with the beer, it’s no longer pure oxygen to be measured by such a meter. I gave it a try anyway. I did a side-by-side keg test with two kegs filled with water. One keg had a set of silicone O-rings, the other the EPDM O-rings. The kegs were first purged by filling with water completely and pushing that out with CO2. Then they were filled with water in through the dip tube until completely full again, and then 0.5 gallons of water pushed out with CO2 so both kegs had the same amount of headspace. Measurement with my MW600 showed indetectable DO at the start of my test, the two checkpoints in between, and at the end of a month. Not surprising since staling reactions happen at a lower level of DO than the MW600 can detect, but it does tell me that silicone O-rings aren’t a complete disaster.

Keg Post O-Rings

The other test I did was a pressurized test to look for leaks. For this I used 6 kegs that were retrofitted with EPDM O-rings that I had recently cleaned and purged. I pressurized them all to just over 10 psi of CO2 from my tank and let them sit at basement temperature (65F). I went back and checked them all for pressure loss using a Spunding Valve. With multiple checks over a one-week period, only one of them had any pressure loss.

Dip Tube O-rings

For that keg, I was able to see it was leaking quite significantly from the bottom of the liquid out keg post. Tightening the post had no effect, and swapping to another EPDM O-ring (plus keg lube on the O-ring) also had no effect. I then got my calipers out and started measuring O-ring thickness. I’ll preface these numbers with the disclaimer that measuring thickness of a compliant material with a handheld gauge is problematic. That said, I found the original dip tube O-rings I had removed from my kegs all measured about 2.8 mm thick and one measured 2.4 mm. New parts from the EPDM bag (including the ones that were leaking on my keg) measured 2.4 mm. I happened to have a keg O-ring replacement kit, and that O-ring measured 3.0 mm. I swapped that 3.0 mm O-ring onto the diptube and my pressure leak was gone, and the keg held pressure for my 1-week test.

Internal QD O-rings



My research indicated the most common cross-section thickness of these O-rings is 3/32”, which is 2.38 mm. So the EPDM rings were a standard thickness. The keg I was using it on was a keg I bought new probably 5 years ago, so it was in good shape. It was not a used reconditioned keg that had seen a lot of use & abuse in the field serving Pepsi at some random diner. It just happened to need a slightly thicker O-ring. Lesson learned for me here was to always do a pressure test like this, and not just assume all new O-rings are going to be better than the old O-rings they’re replacing.

Pressure Holding Test with Spunding – Related: Hands on Review: Kegland BlowTie Spunding Valve – Build a Spunding Valve! – How and Why

The final evaluation I did was on a rehabbed pin lock keg that I had bought used, converted over to ball lock by my LHBS. When I got that keg, I found it had a slow leak through the lid, and upon closer examination, I found the lip of the opening had a slight dent in it. I had previously bought a silicone O-ring for this lid, as I had heard that silicone was more compliant, and would deal with this sort of thing better. I wasn’t sure if these EPDM O-rings would handle that, but the keg held pressure with the EPDM lid O-ring the same as the other kegs.

Conclusions

In conclusion, I found the ValueBrew EPDM O-rings to be of high quality. My leak tests showed that the O-rings worked well, but it wasn’t a complete guarantee, so you need to test it on your specific kegs. And although I didn’t have the right equipment to characterize the benefit EPDM has over Silicone when it comes to oxygen permeability, the science is there to back it up. And one less thing to spoil my hoppy beers sounds like a good idea to me!

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Note that Valuebrew has regularly struggled keeping products in stock. If something you’re looking for is out of stock, connect with us and we’ll keep you up to date on availability issues.

Also: Hands on Review: Valuebrew Stainless Steel Ball Lock Jumpers – Works with Liquid AND Gas

Valuebrew Carries Custom Green and Blue Post O-Rings

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By Brad Probert.  Check out Brad’s website – beersnobby.com

Special Thanks to Valuebrew for providing the o-ringst used for evaluation in this review.

Price, promotions and availability can change quickly. Check the product page for current price, description and availability.

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.  review:vbepdm tag:tpr

Hands on Review: AEB Italian Made Ball Lock Kegs!

Updated: 6/17/2024

AEB has been manufacturing stainless steel drums, tanks and… kegs in their facility in Andalo Valtellino, Italy for over 30 years.

AEB leans hard into their Italian roots… “THE MADE IN ITALY IS OUR IDENTITY” can be seen plastered on their website in all caps. If I were to take a read on homebrewing, my read is that the general sentiment is that AEB kegs are among the highest quality kegs available to homebrewers. Just a guess and certainly a generalization.

Hands on Review AEB Ball Lock Kegs

A look at the boxA.E.B. Made in Italy. AEB leans heavily on their Italian identity. That makes sense to me as I generally think Italian made = high quality. That’s a broad stroke, but my espresso machine was made in Italy and it’s amazing. So, fair or unfair, that’s where I’m at.Close up of the keg imprint. NSF P/N 29744PS, Max Capacity 5 GAL, Year 2020, A.E.B. Made in Italy, N 004420, Warning, Never Exceed Maximum Working Pressure of 130 PSI.

Tip: If you’re looking for replacement parts look for your keg’s imprint. It should show the manufacturer and model number.


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Hands on Review: KegLand Ball Lock Disconnect With Shank

Kegland is making some great stuff. Really well thought out, innovative and generally well-priced gear. When I see something new from Kegland I’m generally left with one of two responses, 1. I’ve been wanting something like this for a long time or, 2. I would have never thought of this tweak/product, it’s ingenious.

Kegland’s Ball Lock QD with integrated shank is par for the course. A really good idea. I’ll take a closer look at it in this review and also discuss the general idea behind this and similar solutions.

But first, what does a shank adapter do?

Corny Keg Faucet Adapters have been around for a long time. They allow a keg QD to connect to a compatible faucet. An MFL/male flare QD, ball lock or pin lock, connects to the FFL/female flare side of the converter. Basically you’re adding mini shank to your QD. Dandy!

Old style faucet converter and QDThis allows you connect a compatible faucet to a keg QD. No tubing necessary. Really nice for mobile serving and more.

Hands on Review: KegLand Ball Lock With Shank

Kegland’s Ball Lock QD with shank has a standard looking ball lock QD body. Instead of a flare or barb outlet it features and integrated shank and sleeve.


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Hands On Review: Winco 1 Pint Measuring Cup

Homebrewers measure a lot of things around the home brewery… pH, gravity, temperature and volumes. This is a look at Winco’s 1 Pint Measuring Cup.

Hands on Review Winco PMCP-50 Pint Measuring Cup

This measuring cup features polycarbonate construction and two measuring scales. I found an unofficial source that says this is heat resistant up to 210 degrees F. Here are the pint/cup markings. These are in red.


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Winco PMCP-50 PintWinco Measuring Cup, Polycarbonate, 1-Pint, Clear – affiliate link, note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear at this link

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Hands on Review: Kegland DuoTight Rigid Joiners

Rigid Joiner pictured with a check valve and DuoTight Ball Lock QD

Updated: 5/15/2024

Kegland’s DuoTight system along with their EVABarrier Tubing are amazing. Check out my extensive hands on review for a deep dive into the system.

This is a look at Kegland Rigid Joiners, part number KL18012.

These are designed to easily join DuoTight fittings together without using EVABarrier tubing.  That’s handy for close connections and if… gasp, you aren’t a DuoTight/EVABarrier user.  The rigid joiners allow you to put DuoTight parts and pieces together without purchasing an entire roll of EVABarrier.

Rigid Joiners, part number KL18012. To my knowledge these are available in 8mm only. I’d venture a guess that this is the most common size.


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Hands on Review: Inkbird Vacuum Sealer!

Why would you want a Vacuum Sealer for homebrewing?

Vacuum sealers are indispensable for storing hops.  You can save money by getting in on bulk hop buys – See: Recent Hop Finds. Use your vacuum sealer to break these up and to preserve freshness.  You can also store specialty grains in vacuum bags.  Other uses include: storing base grains, partial dry yeast packs and storing and preserving other beer ingredients.

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Hands on Review: FLOTit 2.0 Floating Dip Tube w/DFI, Double Filter Inlet!

Updated: 5/13/2024

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.

FLOTit Floating Dip Tube

Floating dip tubes are a hot commodity in the homebrewing world lately.  Many people are ditching their fixed steel tubes and replacing them with a length of silicone tubing attached to a stainless ball float.  If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know the point of the floating dip tube, it’s pretty simple.  It floats on top of your beer so that as you draw out beer, you get clear beer from the top while everything else precipitates out and makes its way to the bottom


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Also available at Keg Connection: FLOTit 2.0 Stainless Steel Floating Dip Tube | NO BEER LEFT BEHIND

A version is also available that works as an upgrade to traditional ball float floating dip tubes

FLOTit 2.0 – Double Filter Inlet (DFI) with 500/300 micron mesh for floating dip tube with a ball float for always clear beer, less beer waste, and no clogging. Best upgrade for pressure fermenter – affiliate link, note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear at this link

Related:


Related: Fermenting Under Pressure!


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Hands on Review: Avid Armor CHAMBER Vacuum Sealer – seals mylar bags!

Why would you want a Vacuum Sealer for homebrewing?

Vacuum sealers are indispensable for storing hops.  You can save money by getting in on bulk hop buys – See: Recent Hop Finds. Use your vacuum sealer to break these up and to preserve freshness.  You can also store specialty grains in vacuum bags.  Other uses include: storing base grains, partial dry yeast packs and storing and preserving other beer ingredients.

What’s a Chamber Vacuum Sealer?

A FoodSaver (or similar) is a standard home suction type vacuum sealer that relies on special bags. We generally call them… vacuum sealer bags. These bags are embossed or textured to create channels on the inside of the bag. Those channels allow a FoodSaver to draw out air and create a vacuum all while the machine is clamped down. When this process is done a heat strip seals the bag locking in the vacuum state.

A chamber style vacuum sealer does not rely on channeled bags. It evacuates the entire chamber and seals the bag. When this is done, prior to pressure equalization the bag does not look like it’s vacuum sealed at all. When pressure equalizes the bag immediately collapses and whammo, it’s sealed.

What are the Advantages of Chamber Vacuum Sealers?

  • Generally speaking, these remove more oxygen than FoodSaver machines.
  • Vacuum sealing wet or moist items is much easier. Since the entire chamber is evacuated, these aren’t prone to drawing out liquid like FoodSaver machines.
  • Bag cost. The special bags required by FoodSaver are more complex to produce and can lead to higher costs. Smooth sided vacuum bags can be had for less. If you’re re-using Mylar bags your bag cost essentially goes to 0.
  • One of the biggest benefits, to me, is being able to seal Mylar bags. Mylar bags have smooth sides and do not work with FoodSaver and similar. The lack of channels foils the process.

Why Mylar

Generally speaking Mylar bags consist of three layers. Two Mylar layers that laminate a center aluminum foil layer. This combination provides strength, flexibility and durability along with an extremely low Oxygen Transmission Rate (OTR). These bags also block potentially damaging light. Combine this with vacuum sealing and you’ve got an outstanding way to store food & more.

For homebrewer’s… Vacuum sealed Mylar bags are an excellent  way to store hops and other oxygen sensitive materials.  As a testament to this, many hop distributors distribute hops in Mylar bags.  Sometimes those are vacuum sealed and sometimes they are nitrogen flushed.

Re-using packaging can be a big money saver. You’ll see in my review below that I re-use hop bags. Those cost me $0 and are an excellent vehicle for storing hops

I have a post on some techniques that I developed to seal Mylar bags with traditional vacuum sealers. That’s one of the most popular posts on Homebrew Finds, I’m guessing that many people that find that post are not homebrewers, but are interested in this because of the prohibitive costs of Mylar capable machines.


A note to non-brewers: Based on the popularity of our Mylar sealing post, it’s entirely possible that you don’t homebrew. If that’s you, most of the trials in this review focus on sealing hops. If you don’t brew A: Why not? Connect with Us and start! or B: Picture… other things instead of hops 🙂


In the past, chamber vacuum sealers have been very expensive. When I published my post on sealing Mylar bags back in 2011, they cost thousands of dollars. They were generally intended for commercial use and had price tags to match.

I’m happy to say some much more economical options have become available. Here’s a hands on look at Avid Armor’s USV20 Chamber Vacuum Sealer.

Hands on Review Avid Armor USV20 Chamber Vacuum Sealer

The USV20 fresh out of the boxA look inside. It came with manuals, vacuum sealer bags, a quick start guide and a vac sealed toy avocado.A look at the contents


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Note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear at these links

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Hands on Review: Valuebrew Stainless Steel Ball Lock Jumpers – Works with Liquid AND Gas

Updated: 5/3/2024

Hands on Review Stainless Steel Ball Lock Jumpers from Valuebrew

This ball lock jumper features stainless steel construction and food grade silicone post o-rings.  It allows you to connect two keg lines together via ball lock keg QDs. This is handy for at least a few uses, the most popular one probably being cleaning multiple kegerator lines at the same time.


Limited Time Deal, Review Continues Below:

Valuebrew is offering a pack of two jumpers and 25 replacement o-rings for $32.97. Coupon code JUMP discounts the combo by a whopping 32%.

Double Jumper Special! < note that you must use this link along with coupon code JUMP to get the deal, the standard product will not get you the discount

Valuebrew’s jumper is unique because of the custom color, food grade o-rings and because … it works with both liquid and ball lock jumpers.


In the package. As of this posting, this comes in singles with the option to add a second on for a reduced cost. Check the product page to see if that’s still available.A look at the jumper. It has a nice heft to it and feels generally well builtA look down the jumper. You’ll notice a stainless steel bar. This jumper doesn’t have traditional poppets. Instead these bars take their place enabling connected ball lock QDs to open when connected. This is actually a really good feature because it means the jumper is open to the air when unused and can be clean, dried and sanitized.


Alternate Uses

Drain Keg Lines

The other thing this design allows you to do is connect just one QD to open up a line to drain. Let’s say you wanted to clear the liquid from a kegerator line. Attach this to let air in, elevate the QD/jumper and open the faucet. No need to remove or disassemble the QD.

Flush Keg Lines and Transfer Tubing with CO2

Place this on a gas QD and attach to another gas QD (gas QD to gas QD) to flush gas lines. Attach to a liquid QD (gas QD to liquid QD) to flush serving lines

Flush Buckets, Compatible Fermenters and Kegs with CO2

Place this on a gas QD to open it up to assist with flushing compatible containers with CO2

Keep Reading the Review

Hands on Review: Kegland Ball Lock Cleaning Kit and Party Pump

July 2, 2024

Kegland Draft Line Cleaning Pump

Kegland’s Draft Line Cleaning Pump is a single hand operated pump that attaches to a tee. The tee takes a hand pump and ball lock carbonation cap which connects to a dip tube. This hardware has some alternate uses that this review will also explore.

In true Kegland style this setup is innovative, packed with some surprising features and well priced. Here’s a hands on look.


Limited Time DEAL!

William’s Brewing has a short 15% off sitewide sale going on right now. Applies to orders of $59.99 or more. Some exclusions apply.

William’s rarely does % off sales. When they’ve done them, they haven’t been this much, at least that I can recall.

15% off William’s Brewing! use coupon code15OFF

This works this great setup and related components with a qualifying $59.99 order.


This is currently available via via William’s Brewing and MoreBeer – the offerings are slightly different. See the breakdown of different options and separate components toward the end of this review.

Bag o’ stuffThis is what you get with the basic pump. Tee, carbonation cap, pump and dip tube.I installed this on a 2L bottle. You’ll notice the carbonation cap has changed colors. I used one I already had (Kegland brand, just a different color), because I already has a dip tube trimmed to size and installed from a recent update to My Simple Draft Line Flushing Build.I decided to try and clean two draft lines with this pump to really test it. Here’s the key piece of hardware to clean two ball lock lines at the same time. It’s a Ball Lock Jumper from Valuebrew. There are only a couple similar offerings out there, to my knowledge. This one is unique because it uses their custom color, food grade post o-rings AND… it works with both liquid and ball lock jumpers.Here it is installed. This is connecting two 10′ EVABarrier tubing runs.Complete test setup

The plumbing for my test is as follows

  • Kegland Ball Lock Cleaning Pump (on left) >
  • Ball Lock Line Jumper – 2 ball lock QDs with a short length of EVABarrier tubing >
  • Intertap ball lock spout on right faucet >
  • 10′ EVABarrier tubing with ball lock QD >
  • Ball Lock Jumper Fitting >
  • 10′ EVABarrier tubing with ball lock QD >
  • Intertap faucet (second from right) >
  • 2 Quart collection pitcher

Ball Lock QD Installed on the pump assemblyIt’s a little difficult to see but… it works. With some pumping, I got a slow steady stream of liquid. Keep in mind this is cleaning two 10′ lines at the same time.William’s Brewing has a package that gets you the pump + a large 2.5 liter growler and BLC. They also sell the standalone pump kit.  I actually purchased everything separately because I wanted a full case of these growlers.

Use it for.. Portable Serving!

Add on a ball lock faucet and you’ve got a portable serving keg without paying for expensive CO2 cartridges.  Before you email me/comment/etc… yes this will cause oxidation, I would not suggest this as a long term solution. Only for the occasion that you and your friends will be able to drink an entire growler in an evening.  Oxidation won’t have enough time to become a factor. Use another solution for longer term applications.

Use it for… Mini Pressure Fermenter

Remove the tee, add a 2.5L PET Bottle and a Spunding Valve to convert this into a pressure capable mini fermenter. You could potentially do 2 liter batches. Not ideal, but a great way to play around with pressure fermentation at an unbeatable price. See: Fermenting Under Pressure for more on the topic.

Convert it to a Mini-Keg For Your Kegerator!

Replace the pump with another carbonation cap, use a 2.5 liter bottle and… you have a 2.5 liter keg you can use in your kegerator!

Conclusions

This collection of economical hardware is extremely versatile. As far as a cleaning pump goes, it works well, but, I prefer my own draft line flushing build. That’s very similar but replaces pumping with a quick shot of CO2. That’s less work. Having said that, you get a lot of equipment and capability with this setup. If you’re looking to build my flushing assembly, I suggest buying the Kegland cleaning setup and another carbonation cap. That gives you a ton of flexibility.  Line cleaner, mini fermenter, party pump and ball lock mini keg.  Overall, this is another win for Kegland, innovative, packed with features and well priced.

via William’s Brewing

via MoreBeer

via Valuebrew

Related Resources!

Build a Simple Draft Line Flushing Setup

Keg Deals!

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Build a Recirculating Draft Line Cleaner

Rebuild Your Kegs!

More Kegland Gear Reviews!

More Homebrew Finds!


This post may contain affiliate links. We may make a commission when you use our links. This will never cost you extra. Thank you for supporting Homebrew Finds!

Price, promotions and availability can change quickly. Check the product page for current price, description and availability.

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. tag:lnksfxd review:kldlcp tag:tpr