Monday, September 28, 2009

Homebrew With Balls

I came across this as I was leaving the Great American Beer Festival on its final day. It was early Saturday and the throngs had not fully arrived yet so I was able to easily navigate my way past the different vendor booths.

My attention was drawn to the BrewBalls display, which at first I thought it was a gimmick until closer inspection when my thoughts were confirmed. Tom Merline, the representative for BrewBalls was on hand to deflect my suspicions and tried earnestly to stifle my laughter and finger pointing. He's a nice guy and very sincere about the value of his product but still, it was difficult not to tease him.

The idea behind BrewBalls is that as the beer ferments in your carboy, the different density balls sink as the malt sugars are converted to alcohol. This gives you clear evidence that the beer is fermenting properly as you peer through the carboy and observe the sinking balls. Each ball is labeled to indicate the sugar gravity without you having to take a hydrometer sample. The benefit? According to Tom, primarily the prevention of any airborne vectors slipping into the top of your carboy while the stopper is removed, (possibly contaminating the batch) while taking samples for instance. Additionally, it's just plain fun to watch. Based on a survey I did here recently, this makes sense. The survey questioned why as a brewer you use a glass carboy. The largest percentage of responses was "the ability to watch the fermentation process". So, I guess BrewBalls would satisfy many brewers that enjoy that aspect of brewing beer at home.
Would you utilize BrewBalls? Leave a comment.


Tom Merline said...

Your web site referral showed up on our web site. I hope you do not mind this reply to your artical. Thanks for the honest(yes, I really am a nice guy who believes in the product!)article about your visit to our BrewBalls booth at the GABF. We truly appreciate all the feedback and comments. The show was a great firsthand learning experience with all the home-brewers who attended. We are equally happy about both the funny beer and ball jokes as well as the serious discussion on the potential value of and possible improvements to this new product. I do think brewing is just plain fun!
Thanks again,
Tom Merline, 949-278-8715

mark said...

Hi Tom,
Thanks for checking out Beer Diary... and I wish you the best of luck with your product.

Sean T. McBeth said...

I'd use brew balls, but I'd be more inclined to make them myself. A few ping-pong balls, a syringe, some salt water, and a bottle of everclear for calibration purposes should do the trick. said...

That's really the true spirit of the homebrewer. I can't count the amount of brew stuff I have that I have duplicated on my own. Not necessarily to save money but to challange my abilities. For me, it seems like an integral part of the hobby.

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