Unboxing the QuickCarb

Unboxing the QuickCarb

I attended my first HomebrewCon in 2016 in Baltimore. The number one thing is that I came away from at the conference was how awesome the expo was. I was like a kid in a candy store, no, I was a kid in a candy store. My money was literally burning a hole in my pocket, so I came away from this wondering what I wanted to spend my money on. One of the the most influential item that could be squeezed in my budget was the Blichmann QuickCarb. This was something that shot up to the top of my list on must haves in my home brewery. Why? Recently I have been brewing a lot for events and as most homebrewers will tell you, they are very huge procrastinators. Maybe I’m stereotyping all homebrewers, well that’s because I am. Because there is no way I procrastinate. </sarcasm>

Back onto the QuickCarb. This is something I have never seen before. My eyes widened as the Blichmann rep was explaining the product to me. The things I could do with this thing! Carbonate beers, transfer beer from one vessel to another, ok I don’t have anything else. I was pleased that the second option came up. Having this would only my feed of procrastination, I mean being a planner!

I have used it a handful of times and I wanted to share with you my pros and cons. This may end up being an every evolving list. Maybe this will show up on a Google search so if you are looking into purchasing this, I hope what I say will sway you.

I have enjoyed using this product. Looking back, is this something I would still purchase? I cannot answer that right now, but I will say that I do not regret buying this. I am glad it is in my inventory.

QuickCarb Pros:

Like the the name says, QuickCarb. Your beer will be carbonated in just under an hour.

Will not over-carbonate your beer. If you follow the procedures that are laid out, your beer will be almost perfectly carbonated.

Self priming pump. Yes, you heard me right here, SELF PRIMING PUMP! I have had so many issues with my brewing pump, this is a joy to my ears and my fingers got really excited typing self priming pump. Oh it makes things much easier. Do a quick search for self priming pumps, you’ll find that most self priming pumps are about the same price point as I say is a con.

You can carbonate a beer under an hour. Yes, this deserves two pros. Just saying.

QuickCarb Cons:

Price Point – $180 is a bit steep, but if you’re willing to pay for the convenience of carbonating your beer to a proper carbonation level, then jump onto the ship with me.

Storing – I haven’t really found the perfect way to store this thing just yet. Right now I let it air dry then put it back into the box that it came in, but the box is starting to fall apart now from getting wet. I need to find a case for it.

Bulky – All the lines coming from the keg to the pump from the CO2 tank to the pump, etc. It is just awkward.

Sour beers – Yes we all know you cannot contaminate your equipment with sour beers. I do brew a sour beer here and there, but I realize I would need to purchase another one to accommodate me wanting to quick carb a sour beer. Right now I just carbonate those like I did in 2015. Sigh.

Here is a very short video of the QuickCarb in action. This time I just had the QuickCarb laying on my kitchen counter.

My homebrew club does a a intra-club competition that we call the Makeshift Mashout. We have everyone put ingredients into 3 hats: a brewing ingredient, a hop, and a yeast. I believe I entered oats, mosaic hops, and Vermont Ale  yeast because I’m kind of on a New England IPA kick, yes, I’m brewing with the trends these days, excuse me there. The three ingredients that were selected were oats (WOOT!), CTZ hops, and saison yeast. I started on my journey of formulating a recipe. Where do I go to none other than The Mad Fermentationist Blog. I found a recipe of his using Columbus hops and oats. I used his Softer, Juicier, and Uglier APA recipe as the basis for this beer.  I didn’t have any Nelson Sauvin hops and me being me, I didn’t want to buy a pound of them. I ordered 8 ounces of El Dorado hops. The descriptors of these hops were pear, watermelon, and stone fruit. This is exactly what I’m looking for in this IPA. I had some Amarillo stashed away in the freezer and ordered some CTZ hops with the El Dorados and now I’m about ready to fire up the kettle.

My grain bill was missing malts that would drop the mash pH in the effective range, this is why the initial grain bill called for acidulated malt. If you’re wondering no, I don’t have a reliable pH meter, I’m going all on gut instinct, which, well probably isn’t the best method. A reliable pH meter is on my wish list which will happen sooner than later. The acidulated malt I had in stock was overrun with weevils. It was disconcerting the amount of bugsthat had taken over the malt. I ditched them out in the yard and went onto something else. Since it was just for lowering mash pH, I added phosphoric acid to my mash water. At least this was a quick fix. Have I mentioned I need to go ahead and buy a reliable pH meter?

Harvester of Aqua

Also to note, I harvested my water from a spring that is 20 miles south of where I live. The water is very pure tasting and it has made some fantastic beers. I would love to get my hands on the analysis report. I do have a Total Dissolved Solids meter and it read 13 PPM. Pretty pure if you were to ask me. I built up a small water profile by using a 2:1 ration sulfites to chloride. Why the small numbers in these? Well I only had 6.6 grams of gypsum, so there you go. I wanted to use 2 grams of gypsum per gallon of water used, that didn’t happen as you see. No problem though, at the end I’ll still have beer.

Now onto my fermentation, this thing was super active which made me a happy brewer. The saison yeast was a few months past the prime, but I did a yeast starter and both yeasts were happily fermenting.

NE IPA and the “saison” fermenting away nicely. #homebrew

A video posted by wickdawg (@wickdawg) on

I can’t wait to write up some tasting notes on this bad boy. When I open the chest freezer to check on my babies in there, it smells glorious. I hope that transpires into what I am about to enjoy.

This beer has had a lot of life so far. There is a local artisan bakery in town. I sent him a text the morning of my brew day and told him this was a little different grain bill than usual and he was interested in what I had. He came by a few hours later to pick up my spent grains and he made some lovely loafs of bread. If you ever want to know what a brew day smells like, this bread delivered those aromas to his customers. It smelled of sweet grains and wort to boot. It was mighty tasty bread. I believe it might have been my favorite bread to come out of his bakery.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
11 gal 60 min 56.5 IBUs 3.9 SRM 1.061 1.012 6.4 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
American IPA 21 A 1.056 - 1.07 1.008 - 1.014 40 - 70 6 - 14 2.4 - 2.9 5.5 - 7.5 %

Fermentables

Name Amount %
Pale Malt (2 Row) US 14 lbs 56
Oats, Flaked (Briess) 5 lbs 20
Wheat Malt, Bel 5 lbs 20
Carafoam (Weyermann) 1 lbs 4

Hops

Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Columbus (Tomahawk) 2 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 17.8
El Dorado 3 oz 0 min Boil Pellet 13.9
Amarillo 1 oz 0 min Boil Pellet 7.2
Columbus (Tomahawk) 1 oz 0 min Boil Pellet 17.8

Miscs

Name Amount Time Use Type
Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) 6.60 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Calcium Chloride 3.30 g 60 min Mash Water Agent

Yeast

Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
Leeuwenhoek Saison Blend (WLP564) White Labs 78% 64°F - 90°F
London Ale III (1318) Wyeast Labs 73% 64°F - 74°F

Mash

Step Temperature Time
Mash In 152°F 60 min

Notes

Heated 8 gallons of water in the BK to mash. Doughed in with 170 degree water. Initial mash temperature was ~142 degrees. Boiled ~1 gallon of water to add to mash to raise the mash temperature. Added to the mash, the mash was inconsistent as far as temperature, but was averaging around 152 degrees. Added 1/2 tsp of phosporic acid to mash water to help lower pH. I do not have a pH meter, just blindly did this.

Heating 8.5 gallons of water in the HLT with my immersion circulating heater covered with foil to keep heat in.

Anvil FIAK
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Wyeast 1318 London Ale III
12 hours after pitch - 1 ounce El Dorado Hops
1 ounce El Dorado - 14 Days
1 ounce Amarillo - 14 days
.5 ounce Columbus - 14 Days
1 ounce El Dorado - 7 Days
1 ounce Amarillo - 7 Days
.5 ounce Columbus - 7 Days

6 Gallon Glass Carboy
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WLP564 Leeuwenhoek Saison Blend
1 ounce El Dorado - 14 Days
1 ounce Amarillo - 14 Days
1 ounce Columbus - 14 Days