Product Review

Product Review: The original Carboy Cleaner

I’m reviewing ‘the Original Carboy Cleaner’ and ‘the Original Keg Cleaner’ as I own both. They have made cleaning up after my brew days easier. Please note no one has paid me to say this or given me the product for review*. I did not however purchase them, as I received them from a family member as a gift.
The product is as easy to use as indicated in the tacky video on
their website. Three steps, add water & cleaner, insert the cleaner, spin! All the fermentation gunk quickly disappears. I generally use a hot water and give it a good swirl, then attack it with the cleaner. My only challenge is cleaning around the neck area of the carboy, it requires a little finesse to get clean, but it’s something you figure out.IMG_1682
Using the keg cleaner is similar, disassemble the keg, swirl hot water, and clean. One challenge with using it, is keeping it centered as you approach the top. It’s a minor complaint, it gets where I can’t reach and can’t see, and does a good job quick. I wouldn’t want to clean either without it. However I wouldn’t recommend it for better bottles, as those require much gentler handling. As far as value, the product would be really simple to DIY project. A steel shaft, drilled at one end, with a nut through it, holding two felted pads on with plastic washers. It’s very simple, but its effective. For the cost, 32.50, it’s reasonably priced for those who can’t build their own, but if I need new one, I’ll build it myself.

*I’m open to offers of brewing gear, ingredients, or software for home brewing. Please note, I’ll be giving my honest evaluation, and

Fresh hop delima

I got the call that my hops were in September 5th. It’s now the 15th and I haven’t used them. They are still languishing in my fridge. This is a post about my dilemma with fresh hops. When I ordered them I was extremely excited to have ordered them. Now that they are over 10 days old in my possession, I’m a little less ecstatic.
In hindsight I don’t think I’d do this again, not this way it’s just not worth it. This isn’t a slam on the grower, the home-brew shop A&G homebrew, or wet hops in general, just that my particular scenario doesn’t seem to make any logical sense to use them. I need to invest in more shelf stable ready to use ingredients not extremely perishable ones.
I had to place my order them well in advance, July for a mid september arrival. I have a hard time predicting if I’ll have time to mow the lawn, let alone brew on short notice. One must understand agricultural product not grown locally subject to the whims of nature, and long distance shipping. I also ordered them from a shop far from home, requiring an hour and a half drive to get them, further complicating the logistics of brewing with them. Due to their freight, perishable nature, and the cost of retrieving them, they are expensive. $19 for 1LB of fresh Amarillo hops. When all said and done, they’ll have the alpha acid of 1/4-1/8th that, making it more than $6 an oz. Finally I don’t have any info on AA. Making it impossible to know what I’ll get from them. When I do get them into some wort, it’s likely going to be a mystery what I’ll get, and next to impossible to reproduce.
With all that said, I still need to get this hops into some wort. My next batch will be based on my first batch, a hoppy Amarillo American wheat, I originally called 2 AM Maiden.
The plan is to make it using the fresh hops as a flavor/ aroma addition at 5m. I am trying to reduce some of the bitterness, and add more hop flavor, the hop schedule I used for the original batch, had additions at 60, 45, 30, 15, and dry. The new hop schedule, which Beersmith calculates at 30 IBU, has 60m, 5m and dry hop additions. It’s an extremely basic extract recipe. Just what I’ve got time to make on such short notice. More later, but I’m off to start my starter.

Product Review: Carboy Carrier

I’ll be up front when I receive a product for review, this isn’t one of those times. I bought this product with my own money, because I’d heard good things about it, and because carrying a large glass bottle full of liquid is a dangerous proposition. I’ve heard one too many stories of accidents where a single slip can result in a loss of a batch of beer, and a trip to the ER.
The Brew Hauler is well worth the $10-15 price tag. The primary reason I bought it, is that I brew out on my back patio, and have to carry the full carboy down to the basement where I keep the swamp warmer. It has made that trip a lot easier. It can also make hoisting a carboy into a chest freezer much easier.
I’m hoping to get a few more for my other carboys. It’s a little tricky to attach to the carboy, but once on, it stays put nicely.You can find them here* Brew Hauler Carboy Carrier on amazon.

*I link to amazon using my Associate ID, but encourage you to buy these things from your local home brewshop.