The Complete Joy of...Tinkering?

Chris Jensen · July 30

I love this hobby. And I'm not the only one.

If I had a hop pellet for every time I've heard or read someone call it an "obsession" I could brew the most bitter beer known to man!

What is is that makes people so passionate about the hobby? Is it a fascination with the idea of producing something that can get you inebriated? Is it the love of sharing the a great home-made product with friends? Is it the science?

Realistically, it ...

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Insulate Your Mash Tun with Reflectix

Chris Jensen · July 25

Hitting and maintaining your mash temps is one of the most critical steps to producing a good beer. Unfortunately, metal mash tuns (including keggles) are not particularly good at maintaining temperatures with out an external heat source. So, many brewers choose to insulate their mash tuns to help maintain a consistent temperature throughout your mash schedule.

For the first few years of my current mash tun's life, I used a long sheet of foam rubber with bungee cords. It was cheap, easy, and maintained ...

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A year of using my Speidel Plastic Fermenter

Jeremy Short · July 16

I wrote a review for the Speidel Plastic Fermenter just over a year ago. At the time I had used it for just a couple of batches. Now I’ve had the thing for over a year and have fermented at least a  dozen batches in these carboys and I still think they are the best deal out there. Sure, if you are rolling in the dough you could drop a big wad of cash on a stainless steel conical, but I don’t have ...

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Tap Room Tour: Odell Brewing, Ft. Collins

Chris Jensen · July 9

I'd been to Odell's about 7 years ago, well before the recent remodel. Back then it was overshadowed by its striking neighor, New Belgium. It was modest, but not in a start-up brewery kind of way. More in a production brewery that didn't pay attention to the details way.

As we mentioned in our post on the world's best Double IPAs, we are quite fond of Odell's. They make outstanding beer, some of the best in the state (if not ...

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The Best Homebrew Control Panel Labels

Chris Jensen · July 2

I've seen a lot of back and forth on the forums out there about the best place to get engraved labels or tags for brewing applications, especially control panels. On his Electric Brewery site, Kal recommends a Canadian firm called Signs Banners Tags. Seems like they do good work, but I emailed them for a quote and never heard back, and shipping from Canada is not going to be as cheap or quick as shipping from the US to my location.

I'd also ...

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Tap Room Tour: TRVE Brewing

Jeremy Short · June 27

If there was ever a post that needed some sort of musical into, this would be it. Since I hate websites that just start playing sounds without warning, let’s just imagine a guitar playing absurdly fast in a dark deep minor chord. A man’s grim voice warns you of impending doom while the drummer slams the bass drum like the heartbeat of Satan. YOU HAVE ENTERED TRVE BREWING. And then there’s me sitting at the bar unconsciously head banging to the dark ...

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How to Use a Step Bit to Drill Stainless Steel

Chris Jensen · June 25

Drilling stainless steel with a hand drill is a hefty job, especially so with the robust stainless found in a keg. After drilling my first couple holes I dreaded having to drill more, until I figured out some tricks which made it 10 times easier. 

The two most important parts of drilling stainless are speed and pressure:


You should, almost always, drill at a very low speed. Patience is extremely important to this process. Run your drill at low speed and high torque. If ...

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Tap Room Tour: Renegade Brewing

Jeremy Short · June 20

Another week, another brewery. This is my second visit to this week's brewery: Renegade Brewing. My first visit occurred long ago. I don’t know, maybe a couple years ago. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t a fan. Thin, watery, bland, nearly every beer I tried fit into one or all of those descriptions. Times change. Brewers master their brew houses. Beer gets better. Renegade won a bronze medal this year at GABF for their Hammer and Sickle Russian Imperial Stout. They ...

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Review: The Best Timer for Homebrewing

Chris Jensen · June 18

I never thought much about my timers. When I brewed on the stove I relied on its timer which worked well, and when I moved it outside I primarily relied on my cell phone.

I find the cell phone timer to be awkward, however, as I have to remember to pull it out and start it, and if I’m interrupted with a call or text in the middle I have to navigate back to my timer to figure out where we are in the ...

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Tap Room Tour: Black Shirt Brewing

Jeremy Short · June 11

Here is a brewery I've attempted to visit on three occasions and each time they were closed. Twice I arrived too early and once too late. This time I reviewed their hours over and over and determined it was safe to visit and voila they were open. Closing at 9 PM on a Saturday seems early, right? I did overhear a guest ask about the odd hours and the bartender had an interesting reply: "we want to be people's first drink, not their ...

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Sour Beer Shortcut: Brewing Sours the Easy Way

Chris Jensen · June 4

I love sour beer. It's one of my favorite styles and I can find a sour beer for any occasion. Clearly I'm not alone: according to a GuestMetrics report, sour beer is the second fastest growing segment of beer. But, I'd argue that my love of sour beer goes beyond that of most. Most people I know who say they love sours say it was an acquired taste: that the first time they tried a sour beer they didn't like it ...

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