Beer Gear

Check out this cool beer and homebrew shit. 

The Grainfather: A bargin or a bust?

Jeremy Short · March 30

After brewing up three batches of beer on my new Grainfather I can now say whether all my pre-purchase research (documented here) was worth it. Quick answer: yes! I am pumped about  this thing and it’s inspired me to get back to brewing. While It’s not perfect it hits everything I was looking for in an electric homebrew system. Let’s dig into this system and find the good and the bad.

First thing I was excited about when the Grainfather arrived was ...

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How to Choose an Electric Homebrew System

Jeremy Short · February 6

Maybe a better way to title this post would be, How I Choose My Electric Brew System but I am totally trying to get you to click/find my link on Google. Did it work? Did you click on my link? Yes? Well good news for both of us! I think you will find this article both invigorating and rewarding (mostly)! As a fellow homebrewer you may have followed a similar path as me. I started homebrewing on the stove, then I moved outside with ...

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I think I went too far with my homebrewing gear

Jeremy Short · January 2

I love to homebrew. And guess what? I haven’t homebrewed for the last four months. I have a long list of reason for that (work, children, school, etc), but that’s rarely stopped me before. What’s actually holding me back the most is that I’ve gone too far. My homebrewing gear and setup are weighing me down. It takes too long to setup. The brew day went from a couple hours to nearly six hours. Those are six great hours, but it ...

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Review: Cheap Scale for Homebrewing (Epica)

Chris Jensen · December 19

I can't believe I waited as long as I did to pick up a grain scale for weighing grains and hops. For years, I'd weigh all my grains at the HBS (even for a short time after I started buying my base grains in bulk) and I'd just eyeball my hops. For what it's worth, I still don't think that latter part is a big offense as you can probably get pretty close when working with 1 oz portions of ...

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Review: Black Box Fermentation Controller

Chris Jensen · December 3

I recently used the Black Box Fermentation Controller and my experience could not have been better.

The device shipped directly from Black Box via USPS and was ready to go out of the box. For my initial test, I used a heat wrap (as described in our Small Investments for a Big Impact post) to apply heat to a Dusseldorf Altbier fermentation. I programmed a specific fermentation temp profile by following the instructional videos on the Black Box website and found it to be incredibly ...

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Homebrewer Gift Ideas

Pintwell · November 19

One thing we have done consistently here at Pintwell is coming up with gift ideas for homebrewers every year. Just check out this list and this list (in case the new one here isn't enough). Why are we so good about doing this list every year? Because we want all this stuff, too! We just need to get our famlies to read our blog so they know what to buy us every Christmas. 

It's interesting to see how our list changes each year ...

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Small Investments for a Big Impact

Chris Jensen · October 19

A lot of brewing equipment is expensive. Some of it is a necessary evil, but much of the money we spend on equipment is "nice to have," increasing the joy or convenience of our brew day, or just looking rad.

However, I've made a few upgrades over the years that had a minimal cost investment and yet which had a major benefit to my brew process. Here are my the top three cheap-yet-effective items in my brew closet:

  1. Wallpaper tray: I picked up one ...
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Review of the Barley Crusher Malt Mill

Chris Jensen · September 10

For years I held out on picking up a malt mill. My LHBS has a mill, I insisted, so even if I stock up on bulk grain at home I can mill at the HBS when picking up my other ingredients (I typically buy my specialty malts from the HBS since I don't stock up on those at home).

However, I recently had a couple of brew sessions in which my efficiency inexplicably fell like a rock, and after careful evaluation I realized that ...

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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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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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3 Tips for All Grain Brewing: What I Wish I Knew

Chris Jensen · May 14

It took me a long time to make the leap to all grain brewing, much longer than for most people. It was 13 years between my first brew and my first all grain brew, and 5 years from when I got serious until I went all grain. Frankly, I thought it sounded like a pain in the ass, and I was already producing award winning beer that, more importantly, I enjoyed drinking. I was reluctant to drop the expense associated with all that added equipment ...

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Where to get CO2 in Denver: Fills + Exchanges

Chris Jensen · April 9

In the past I've had a difficult time tracking down a great place to have my kegorator's CO2 tank refilled in the greater Denver area. Places are inconsistent, prices are all over the map, and a lot of places (like grow shops) only offer 20 lb tanks.

I've compliled a short list of friendly shops that will fill or exchange your CO2 tank for a reasonable price.

  
 
Shop Area Address Price Fill/Exchange
Centennial Tap Berkeley 1930 W 41st Ave, Denver, CO ...
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Shirron Plate Chiller Review

Jeremy Short · April 2

We’re on a plate chiller writing spree at Pintwell! While Chris is a fan of the Duda Diesel, for the money I think the Shirron Plate Chiller is a solid choice. At a touch less than $100 the Shirron Plate Chiller is cheaper than many immersion chillers you will find out there. And it’s compact and does the job. I can cool down my wort to pitching temps in half the time it takes me with my immersion chiller.

The Good

It’s ...

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How to Clean and Sanitize Your Plate Chiller

Chris Jensen · April 2

As we discussed last week, I’m on the plate chiller/heat exchanger train and couldn’t be happier. One of my primary concerns about making the leap to a plate chiller was the sanitization and clean-up process. I definitely did not want to add more work to an already crowded brew day.

To my pleasant surprise, I have found that with a little planning both sanitizing and clean-up are as easy, if not easier, than they were on my immersion chiller set up.

To ...

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Duda Diesel Plate Chiller Review

Chris Jensen · March 26

I've used an immersion chiller since I started brewing regularly 7 years ago. Prior to that I used an ice bath, so at the time thought it was quite an upgrade. The immersion chiller worked well enough for my purposes, especially when I used to do partial boils, so I thought that a CFC or plate chiller was just overkill. When I started doing 10 gallon batches, I added a pond pump and a whirlpool arm to my chiller so to improve my chilling ...

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How to Wire a Pump to Your Brew Stand (and other simple applications)

Chris Jensen · March 21

Upon building the Bad Larry wood brew stand, I knew I wanted to include simple electrical to run a pump and my heatstick. I debated about the simplest (and safest) way to do this, looking for a solution that was functional but which also looked clean. I eventually landed on a solution that allowed me quick and easy access to control the pump and heatstick, while incorporating the primary safety elements I was concerned with.

Please note that I am not an electrician, so be ...

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Is the Blichmann BoilMaker worth all that money?

Jeremy Short · March 14

When you walk into your local brew shop or look through a homebrew website one kettle looks more fancy than the rest: The Blichmann BoilMaker. Much of the equipment used and found in the homebrew world looks like it was built for something other than brewing beer like cooler mash tuns, turkey fryers or converted kegs. The BoilMaker is one of those fews products that looks purpose built for homebrewing. All the features and designs of the BoilMaker have the homebrewer in mind and they ...

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Tubeless RIMS: How to Recirculate Your Mash with no Additional Equipment

Chris Jensen · February 19

As my homebrewery has expanded, one key component I've considered adding to my system is a RIMS tube or a HERMS. As with most things in my brewery, I like the elegance of the HERMS concept: specifically the fact that you leverage one process (heating your liquor) to benefit another (heating your mash). I'm also comfortable working with a heating element, having built a heatstick, and I like the efficiency of the RIMS. 

However, HERMS would be inneficient in my system and I ...

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Carboy Cleaner Review

Chris Jensen · February 11

Cleaning a glass carboy is rough. It's one of my least favorite chores in the brewing process because it's awkward, time consuming and slightly dangerous.

In the past, I used a combination of carboy brush and Soul-Train-style ass shaking to clean my carboys. Only after 15 minutes and 1500 calories burned did I feel confident that there wasn't any junk left clinging to the inside of the vessel.

That is, until I got the Carboy Cleaner a year ago. Ever since, I ...

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Wood Brew Stand Plans

Chris Jensen · January 17

I debated for years about what would make my ideal brew stand. There are a million variables including substrate, size, automation, etc. Ultimately, I decided to go with a fairly simple wood stand as I think they are sexy and, more importantly, I could build it myself (I find that those things I can do myself in the home brewery are more rewarding than those I outsource). I do not have strong woodworking skills, but patience and care will go a long ways.

I also ...

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2013 Homebrew Gift Guide

Pintwell · November 11

Looking for a great holiday gift for your favorite homebrewer? Let us help you find the perfect gift to delight the dabbling, dreaming, or downright obsessed homebrewer in your life.

To make it extra easy on you, we've broken the gift ideas out by cost to help you find the right homebrew gift for your budget. Plus these gifts will work for the homebrewer who is just getting started to the homebrewer who has been making batches of beer for years. 


Affordable options (under ...

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How to fucking clean your kettle or mash tun

Jeremy Short · September 26

You've been brewing up beer for a while and then one brew day you look down in your kettle and realize crap, this fucking thing is looking like shit. Well here's a quick guide on how to get that shit out of there.

Cleanliness is fucking important in brewing. That’s why I am going to say shit and fuck a lot in this post. Got it? Fucking good.  

Here's the shit you're going to have to fucking buy to get ...

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Sustainable Brewing: Tips for reducing your environmental impact

Chris Jensen · April 22

For many, brewing represents a battle between the want to conveniently brew excellent beer and the desire to minimize one’s environmental impact.

There are no two ways about it: brewing beer takes a lot of resources. Regardless of whether you’re a modest homebrewer or a world-renowned pro, you still have to heat your water, cool your wort, clean your equipment, and develop your sugars. Many professional breweries have implemented sophisticated systems to waste less water, recapture energy, and reuse their resources. But what ...

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Bottle Your Homebrew the Easy Way

Chris Jensen · April 17

Bottling your beer can be a real pain. On top of all of the cleaning and sanitizing required for the bottles, you also need to manage a lot of gear: buckets, bottling wands, or, if you are lucky, bottling guns. 

But it need not be so complex! About a year ago I discovered a new solution that has revolutionized my bottling procedur,e which costs about $15. It works just as well as any counter-pressure filler and will keep your beer carbed for months. This ...

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How to Clean Your Tap Lines

Chris Jensen · April 10

Nobody likes a dirty tap. You go to all this trouble to create this beautiful, aromatic, tasty delight…the last thing you want to do is cover that up with the smell of a band-aids and dirty socks.

So clean it up! We recommend cleaning your tap lines and faucets every time you change out your beers as it only takes a few minutes and will save your beer all kinds of problems. There are several ways to skin this cat. I’ve found this ...

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Is this the best homebrew carboy? A review of the Speidel Plastic Fermenter

Jeremy Short · April 4

After waiting months for the Speidel Plastic Fermenter to be back in stock at MoreBeer, I was finally able to buy two 20L Speidels this August. Now that I've had a chance to run a few beers through them, what do I think? I sold all of my other carboys and now exclusively use the Speidels. So yeah, I like them.

Since I first started brewing I've always used plastic or glass carboys. There are several problems with both types of carboys: cleaning ...

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How to clean your homebrew kegs

Jeremy Short · March 27

You've upgraded. You have a fancy new (well probably used) keg for your homebrew and you’re ready to fill it with your precious creation. But wait! Your keg smells a little funky! Here are a few quick steps to get your kegs clean and pouring tasty delicious homebrew.

1 - Rinse. I like to give a thorough rinse to my kegs as soon as they kick. The longer the residual sugars sit around, the more of a pain they will be to clean off ...

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Book Review: Randy Mosher's Tasting Beer

Jeremy Short · December 21

If you like beer you should own a copy of Randy Mosher's Tasting Beer: An Insider's Guide to the World's Greatest Drink. It's as simple as that. There are few books about beer that are as complete without feeling weighed down with too much information. You can pick up this book with no beer knowledge and then set it down a fully initiated beer geek. That's a good thing. At least I think so.

From the brewing process to drinking ...

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From Firkins to Ponies: the many ways to measure the volume of beer

Jeremy Short · February 4

There is a surprisingly vast array of ways to measure how much beer you got. Vast! And each of these measurements can get a bit confusing. For example the US and the UK use pints, but while they have the same name they're not the same thing. Why? Because it's more exciting that way. Here's my attempt to sort some of these measurements out.

Let's start with things that fit in your hand, and given the name of this blog I ...

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Calculating Finishing Gravity with a Refractometer is Nuts

Jeremy Short · January 21

Santa kindly gave me a Refractometer for Christmas this year, which rocked because it was on my list of gifts for your favorite homebrewer. And just a couple of weeks ago I brewed up a doppelbock and got to try my new toy out. It was everything I dreamed it would be. Geeky. Easy to read. Rather badass looking. I was happy. Then I went to take a reading after fermentation had slowed down and got a sky-high reading. Wait? Did I under-pitch? Was the ...

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Cleaning out used beer bottles for your homebrew

Jeremy Short · December 28

I'll start out by saying this is probably one of the least exciting aspects of homebrewing. Bottling will never rank as exciting and the process of getting ready to bottle? Yeah, not a lot of fun here. Nonetheless this is a key part in sharing and enjoying homebrew and I guess it does have a kind of meditative quality. Meditative? Is that the word?

Anyway, let’s start with what bottles do you want: brown ones! Don’t even bother with clear or green ...

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Gifts for Your Favorite Homebrewer

Jeremy Short · December 14

If you're not a homebrewer but you want to get a gift for a homebrewer you might have no idea where to start. So start here! Here is a list of a few things that most hombrewers would enjoy getting under the Christmas tree. Well, at least, these are gifts I would like to see under the Christmas tree. All of these gifts are fairly universal and would be great for everyone from the beginner to the advanced homebrewer.

Looking for more?  Be sure ...

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Yeah, this is kind of like my homebrew setup

Jeremy Short · June 10

If you've ever wondered what goes into the making of Hahn Super Dry, you should check out their very imformative commercial. I also use a life sized panther shaped tank for my hopback. I mean, I wish I used a life sized panther shaped tank for a hopback. Who wouldn't? Now if you're looking for a more practical approach to making beer you may want to check out Sapporo. Although it looks like you need to enlist a lot more help to ...

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