Every craft beer drinker needs a sturdy beer fridge or two. Especially when you have a spouse who keeps reminding you that your beer is taking up too much space in the kitchen fridge.
A few years ago I lost my beer fridge when we sold our house and the people who bought it included my beloved fridge in their house offer and we had to accept.
Initial thoughts on this beer fridge
I was in Belgium (drinking amazing beers) for a few weeks when this fridge arrived so it took me a while to get it completely out of the box. One of the first things I noticed was that they really packed and it arrived in perfect condition.
Taking it out of the box, my biggest beef with the wrapper was the energy guide sticker they placed on the glass. I'm still trying to get rid of it (okay, but pretty boring). Sure, there is some strong, crazy glue on it.
Other than that little annoyance, my first impressions were that it's a sexy fridge. It is amazingly designed and I would love to have a bigger place in my home to keep it because I love the way it looks, especially with the light shining through the glass.
Unfortunately for me the best place for this is in the garage.
After storing the refrigerator and using it for a few weeks, I got a good idea of the pros and cons of the AB-1200B. If you are looking for a small beer fridge, here are my thoughts on that particular fridge.
Advantages of the AB-1200B
The layout is great
They say it can hold up to 126 standard cans, but I didn't have too many to test. I have no doubts about their assertion as it holds a lot for its small size.
One of my favorite features of this fridge is the 5 removable shelves which are super flexible. I have more bottles than cans so I can easily organize the fridge to accommodate different sizes of bottles. There are so many slots (about every inch) inside the refrigerator for the shelves to get in and out that you will easily find a layout that suits you.
It does what a refrigerator should do ... Keep things cold
At the top there is a dial with 7 different thermostat settings so you can keep it at the temperature you want.
Got a cheap beer that you don't really want to taste? Crank it up to 7 and it will cool down to around 34 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, if you have a heavier beer that should be served hotter, you can simply adjust the temperature up to 64 degrees (or somewhere in between).
The front is double-glazed glass, which helps keep the cold air inside while still allowing you to see your selection.
It's super quiet
Since it's in my garage, the noise isn't that bad. However, if I had a place to put it in the house, I would like to make sure my refrigerator was quiet.
While it's not completely silent, it's pretty close. It comes with a 35dB compressor which does a great little job of keeping things cool while not making a lot of noise.
I know I've mentioned this before, but it's a beautifully designed refrigerator that will look great in any room. The light inside can be turned on or off according to your preference, so that it matches your style.
I especially like being able to see what's in the fridge without opening the door. So while I'm trying to decide what to drink next, I don't even have to get up if I don't want to.
He has a lock
With small children at home, I appreciate that there is a lock to keep them out. It's super basic so my Westvleteren 12 bottles could be stolen quite easily by a burglar, but it's good to keep the kids outside.
It also works to prevent buddies who come and want to drink the good stuff without asking. They'll think twice if they see it locked.
Disadvantages of the AB-1200B
I know I just mentioned the lock as a pro (which it is), but I have to mention that it can be chosen quite easily. If someone really wanted to get in, they wouldn't even need to know how to pick a lock to get in.
It's really not a big deal for me, but if you're looking for the Fort Knox of beer fridges, you might be disappointed.
The energy efficiency sticker
Hope this was right on the template they sent me but I can't get this sticker completely. Granted, I didn't spend time scouring the internet for hacks to remove stubborn stickers, but a simple piece of tape would have been a better option.
The fridge is listed for $ 289.95, but at the time of this article they have it on Balance at $ 245.95. It's more than a fair price for this quality of a small beverage refrigerator.
They also offer 1, 2 and 3 years product protection plans via Extend if you are worried about mechanical breakdowns.
You can get a 20% additional reduction on the NewAir website on this refrigerator using the code BLOGABOUT20 by clicking here.
This little guy is 18.5 inch D X 18.8 inch W X 32.5 "H and weighs 62.85 lbs. The internal volume is 3.4 cubic feet.
Other important specifications
- Voltage: 110 volts
- Watts: 85 watts
- Amps: 1.3 amps
- Frequency: 60 Hz
Where to buy it
You can order yours directly on New Air website via this link.
As you can see the downsides really aren't a big deal and I love this little fridge. It has a lot of drinks in it and it looks great. It would fit perfectly into any home, garage or small office.
If you're in the market for your next beer fridge and don't have a lot of space for a full-size option, I highly recommend you check out the New Air AB-1200B.
Whether it’s your first time with a pack, or your hundredth all-grain brew, you need to ferment it in something suitable. Most of the time your options are between a bucket and a carboy. Carboys or demijohns look nicer, especially if they’re glass, but can be a pain to clean. Food-grade plastic buckets lack glamour, but are practical – just make sure you get one with a close-fitting lid that’s suitable for an airlock. As with most things there are more expensive options, but while they’re good, they’re not necessary. You can find buckets and demijohns at Brew Store or The Malt Miller.
If you’re making beer, then you need to be rigorous about cleanliness during the brew. VWP is an absolutely no-nonsense cleaner and steriliser for getting everything ready beforehand. During the brew, a no-rinse sanitiser is invaluable. Between the two, spoilt and infected beer shouldn’t be a problem. You can buy cleaning products online from Brew Store and The Malt Miller.
Invest in some airtight plastic containers. Malt, kept dry and cool, should be fine for six months, but get rid of it after that – you’re only going to get stale flavours if you use stale malt. Likewise, dried yeast will keep, if sealed and chilled, but it will lose potency and reliability. Hops do not improve with age. Be doubtful of any before last year’s harvest, however cheap.
While a good book is an invaluable reference, there will be a time you come across something that flummoxes you. It’s very unlikely you will be the first, and just as unlikely someone else hasn’t discussed it. From the magisterial, if abondant, How tera Brew by John Palmer to the uncountable cercles d'entraides and blogs discussing minutiae, such as Brewer’s Friend, there’ll be something to help.
Avoid grande amounts of table sugar, cane sugar or dextrose as fermentable sugars in your homebrew. They will ferment out completely and leave a very dry, almost ‘cidery’ flavour to your beer. This is what is recognized by many as the ‘homebrew’ taste. If you are looking for an easy way to improve this, swap these sugars with dry malt extract.
Most kit beers are designed to appeal to a wide range of people and therefore have a fairly simple flavour that it not very bitter. They are also generally bittered by using hop extract that adds bitterness but little hop flavour or aroma. Boil some water and add ½ an ounce ( 14 grams ) of any hop variety known for their flavour and aroma characteristics for 20 minutes. This will add a much improved change to the flavour of the beer. Add another ½ ounce ( 14g ) for the last 5 minutes of the boil to add a pleasant hoppy aroma. Simply strain the ‘hop soup’ into your fermenter with the rest of the top-up water. These simple hops additions will make a remarkable difference to your kit beers.
tera wake a packet of dry yeast up and ensure that it is ready to start work as soon as it is pitched, try rehydrating it. Boil a cup ( 250mls ) of water for 5 minutes and then pour it into a sterilized container. Wait for the water to cool down to at least 80°F/27°C and sprinkle your packet of yeast over the top. Leave this for about 15-30 minutes, when you should start to see it get nice and foamy. Once your wort has cooled enough, pitch this and it will start fermentation much earlier.
If you would really like to get things started, follow the process above but add a tablespoon of dry malt extract to the water before boiling it. After pouring the water to a jar, add your yeast when cool enough and place cling wrap over the top to protect from the environment. Leave for at least quarante cinq minutes at room temperature and you should start to see fermentation activity.
The length of time for fermentation on the side of your kit beer can is almost definitely not long enough. The manufacturers are in the business of selling product and these indications will make beer, but it won’t be great beer. This should be extended out to 10-14 days.
Although your beer will be carbonated after about a week in the bottle, leave it for a few more to allow for the flavors to settle. This is especially relevant for beer made from kits as it will help remove some of the tige found in young/’green’ beer.
In order to efficiently multiply and get to the business of converting sugar to alcohol, yeast needs a sufficient amount of oxygen in your wort. If brewing using malt extract this can be reached a few ways including by shaking the water you are using to top up your wort, or by pouring it from a great height into your fermenter.
Don’t be too worried about removing your beer from the primary fermenter as soon as fermentation has finished. The Autolysis that you are seeking to avoid will take well over a month and in most cases a single stage fermentation is fine.
If you are looking to control fermentation temperature, place the fermenter in a large conteneur of water to cool it and prevent temperature fluctuations. Wrapping a wet towel around it and pointing a fou at it cools it even more through evaporative cooling. A few frozen plastic bottles of water are also perfect for cooling the water and your fermenting beer.
If you insist on using a two stage fermentation, use a bottling bucket ( or something else with a spigot ) for a primary. That way you only need a length of hose to rack into the secondary. The spigot will also be far enough off the bottom that the trub will get left in the primary with little extra effort – just tilt the fermenter forward at the end.
The activity of your airlock should only be seen as one indication that something is happening. There are many others indications and a faulty seal on your fermenter could stop anything from happening in the airlock.
The starting cell count is usually quite low with liquid yeast d'environnement. If you make a yeast starter about a day before brewing, you can avoid some potential issues from under-pitching the yeast.
If you are trying to cool a partial boil, place the whole brew bocal into a sink or tub of cold water. You may need to change this water a few times but it is far easier to cool a small pot of wort in a temperature conductive container ( i. e. your brew bocal ) than a large amount of liquid in a fermenter. Adding your cooled wort to even colder water ( or ice ) in the fermenter will serve to cool it even further and should hopefully get you close to yeast pitching temperatures.
Dry yeast packets are perfect for new homebrewers. They have a nice high cell count and are very easy to use. Hydrating these takes very little time and will help get fermentation sérieux earlier.
Get into the habit of sanitizing everything that will come in contact with your wort or beer after the boil.
Extract packs have come a long way from the dusty back shelves of Boots of yesteryear, and give you a simple, affordable way to try out the hobby with very acceptable results. Established breweries like St. Peters and Woodfordes have decent kits in shops and online at about £20, for example from Wilko or Brew.
Use a no-rinse sanitiser… This shouldn’t need an explanation and I am yet to hear of a real reason not to
Following on from above – Don’t use bleach as a sanitizer…ever. It is to rinse out and if any comes in contact with the maltose in your wort it has the potential to completely ruin your batch. There are so many better products available that this shouldn’t even be a consideration
Whatever sanitizer you use, put some of it in a spray bottle for quick sanitation during brew time.
Make sure you read and understand the recipe before you start brewing. Also make sure that you have all the ingredients handy before you start. These seem like simple things but the last 15 minutes can get a little crazy… especially if you started drinking while sanitizing
Beer is very resilient so don’t be too worried if you make a mistake while brewing. Although it may not be exactly the beer you were after, you will probably still have something tasty and worth drinking.
Leave the lid off your brew bocal while it is boiling. The process of boiling actually vaporises chemicals that are not wanted in the beer and they evaporate out. The lid doesn’t need to be completely off if you are having dysfonctionnement maintaining a rolling boil but should at least be enough for the steam to escape.
Keep a record of every beer that you make, no matter how simple the recipe. This record will allow you to recall and tweak your brews when all that remains in the future is a couple of stray bottles and a desire for more
Especially when starting out, keep your ingredients and brews as simple as possible. It is much easier to add to a simple recipe that is missing something than it is to remove from something complex
Start by getting a solid grasp of the sanitization, fermentation and bottling processes and work from there.
If you have a choice, choose a fermenter or bottling bucket with a spigot/tap over one without. The siphoning required otherwise isn’t hard but it is still one more unnecessary step.
Bulk priming your beer is a simple addition to your bottling process that will add much greater control and consistency in the amount of priming sugar in your bottles.
The quality of your beer will be incomplète to the quality of the ingredients used. Always go for the freshest and best quality possible. Always make sure that extract is within any specified dates, yeast is fresh and that hops are nice and green
But most importantly… just relax and remember that you probably aren’t going to ruin your beer – It isn’t as delicate as you think