Category Archives: Product Reviews

The hop Death Star

That’s no moon…it’s a space station. When not making a super hoppy beer I use a tea ball infuser. Below is the one I use that just so happened to be part of a fancy tea set – I rarely drink tea so repurposed it. The picture on the right is a 0.25oz of hallertau blanc hops that I added half way through the boil of a gose batch. It safely can hold 1 ounce and there is enough room for expansion of the plant matter. I attempted it with 2 ounces once and it was a cake of hop in there so probably lost some extraction on that batch. You could also double up on tea balls and add two or more to the boil or even fermenter for dry hopping. There is a hook on the end that I tie kitchen twine to. Make sure the kitchen twine you pick up is food safe, unbleached, etc or it may leach chemicals into the beer.

Here are a couple of options I researched if you want to pick up a tea ball infuser or two.

This is a 2 ball set from Amazon for $6 bucks. These are adequate to use for 1oz of hops at a time so having a couple handy might be the way to go.  teaball amazon

Another option is the hop bomb from Morebeer Stainless Hop Bomb which will hold 1oz and maintain good extraction. This is a good add on item to get you over the free shipping threshold at $4.00 a pop.


I go back and forth between OxiClean free and PBW (from Five Star) due to the cost of PBW and how effective i find plain old OxiClean to be.  Oxiclean is a versatile oxygen activated cleaner that when combined with water (hot is best) releases oxygen and scrubs away stubborn stains and organic material.  Be sure to get the “free” version which has no perfumes or dyes and is chlorine free. Bonus points for using it in my laundry as well, especially whites. OxiClean is about 1/5th of the cost of PBW.

I typically fill the entire vessel (keg, carboy, bucket) up to the top with the appropriate concentration of cleanser. In my early homebrewing days I would just fill up a gallon or two and shake, stir, or agitate the vessel. But that was time consuming and dangerous around glass. It is worth it to me to fill the whole volume and let it soak overnight and it is typically ready for a hot water rinse in the morning and ready to be sanitized.

Oxygen based cleaners do tend to foam up if agitated. I recently graduated to an DIY “automated” keg cleaner (review and DIY build coming soon) and it will begin to foam out of the bucket. I just shut it down for a few minutes and let the foam subside before restarting. It also becomes quite slippery so be extra careful around glass.

PBW does contain about 30% Sodium Metasilicate which is not in OxiClean.

OxiClean is not recommended for aluminum kettles as it will oxidize the metal and cause darkening.

The big box stores also sell a Sun brand version of it so you can pick up a bucket. And always remember, cleaners are not sanitizers and vice versa. You can’t sanitize an dirty carboy.

Overall, PBW is a superior product with more cleaning potential that I will use for deep cleaning sessions. But I find that if I kick a keg and clean it that night OxiClean does the trick.

You can grab either of them here:




Lube…for kegs

Brewer’s Edge Keg lube to grease your parts. Specifically O rings and gaskets. It is safe for rubber, silicone and plastic. Makes keg fittings easier to install and remove and extends the life of your seals.IMG_3199.jpg

I just picked up this keg lube from Amazon earlier last month. I have a 2 tap kegerator but found that I can fit two cornys and a 2.5 gallon torpedo keg up on the ledge, which is a beautiful thing.

However, I am always switching around the CO2 connections and the beer line connections to sample from all three kegs. There is not a lot of maneuverability in the kegerator to disconnect and reconnect the fittings. The lube has made it easier to connect and reconnect without the room to apply a lot of pressure from the top of the fitting. It also helps seal the lid O ring and ensures a tight seal. Only a $6 investment and the lube seems to be lasting throughout the life of the beer.

I haven’t been using it long enough to test the claim that the lube will extend the life of the gaskets and O rings, but will keep an eye on them – I rarely replace them as it is unless its a real tear.