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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: bendbrew on February 14, 2010, 04:14:29 PM

Title: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: bendbrew on February 14, 2010, 04:14:29 PM
I was recently turned onto Hops Direct.  In order to keep the unused portion of hops preserved I am considering purchasing a vacuum sealer.  The prices seam to vary greatly.  Does anyone have any recommendations?

Thanks
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: weazletoe on February 14, 2010, 05:30:23 PM
I have that cheap-o Ziplock suck-n-seal dealio'. Works great for me.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: Hokerer on February 14, 2010, 07:19:07 PM
I have that cheap-o Ziplock suck-n-seal dealio'. Works great for me.

I used to use the Reynolds Handi-Vac cheap-o suck-n-seal thing.  I found it to be very hit or miss with the bags maintaining their seal.  I'd pull the hops container out of the freezer and some bags would still be sucked down and other would be loose.

On the recommendation of someone (forget who) on one of the other boards, I switched to using Mason jars and the thing called a Pump-n-seal.  There's a little tab thingy you put on the Mason jar lid and then you put the pump over and pump it a few times.  Seems to hold a good reliable vacuum in the jars for a long time.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: hopfenundmalz on February 14, 2010, 07:58:20 PM
We have the Foodsaver brand.  I keep hops for 2+ years vacuum packed and in the freezer.

The other benefit is that it works great on...    Food! 

We think it was a good investment for the kitchen let alone for storing hops.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: rabid_dingo on February 15, 2010, 06:37:55 AM
We have the Foodsaver brand.  I keep hops for 2+ years vacuum packed and in the freezer.

The other benefit is that it works great on...    Food! 

We think it was a good investment for the kitchen let alone for storing hops.

+1
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: bendbrew on February 15, 2010, 02:35:41 PM
We have the Foodsaver brand.

Which one?
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: hopfenundmalz on February 15, 2010, 03:24:53 PM
You made me put down my coffee and get up to look.

Foodsaver by Tilia.  Model number V1085.  Bought it at the big box store 4 or 5 years back for about $90, and figure that it has saved much more than that by helping to preserve hops and food in the freezer. 
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: dontblake on February 15, 2010, 04:21:46 PM
+1 on Foodsaver.   Any model will do.

I also have one of the reynolds zip-loc vacu-suck things.  And a batch of bad bags (Can't seem to get em to suck).   They are, however, pretty handy for hop use - if you brew frequently, they are easier than dragging out the big foodsaver gizmo.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: The Professor on February 15, 2010, 04:30:16 PM
I've been using a FOODSAVER for my hops and to seal and freeze home made sausages.  Works like a charm, is very reliable, uses barrier bags, and has been working perfectly for well over 15 years.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: dean on February 15, 2010, 04:35:49 PM
Another +1 on the FoodSaver!  We just bought one last spring and started using it for food this past fall, finally used it on some hops and its Awesome.   8)
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: bendbrew on February 16, 2010, 03:59:44 AM
Thanks everyone, I appreciate all the advice.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: ndcube on February 16, 2010, 02:46:00 PM
We have the Foodsaver brand.  I keep hops for 2+ years vacuum packed and in the freezer.

The other benefit is that it works great on...    Food! 

We think it was a good investment for the kitchen let alone for storing hops.

+1

+2 - I'll make a bunch of stromboli's or something and freeze them for quick & easy lunch at work when I need it.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: bluesman on February 16, 2010, 03:33:25 PM
We have the Foodsaver brand.  I keep hops for 2+ years vacuum packed and in the freezer.

The other benefit is that it works great on...    Food! 

We think it was a good investment for the kitchen let alone for storing hops.

+1

+2 - I'll make a bunch of stromboli's or something and freeze them for quick & easy lunch at work when I need it.

+3

I use my Foodsaver almost daily.

Keeps hops fresher longer!
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: Robert on February 16, 2010, 03:40:44 PM
I'm late to the thread, but let me add this. Don't waste the money on the Zip-Loc one. The bags are very hit and miss. I've found that if any hop dust gets anywhere near the "suck-hole", it will never properly seal. I'm getting a Foodsaver model in the near future as i tend to buy meat in bulk when its on sale.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: hopfenundmalz on February 16, 2010, 03:51:45 PM
That is one of the things that make the vacuum sealer pay for itself.  If some cuts of  meat  are on sale, my wife gets 2 or 3 times what she normaly would, fixes some for dinner, and seals up the rest for the freezer.   

Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: denny on February 16, 2010, 05:08:15 PM
Thanks everyone, I appreciate all the advice.


I bought a bottom of the line Foodsaver at Bimart for about $50.  I've been using it for several years now and I'm pleased with it.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: mikeypedersen on February 16, 2010, 05:09:18 PM
That is one of the things that make the vacuum sealer pay for itself.  If some cuts of  meat  are on sale, my wife gets 2 or 3 times what she normaly would, fixes some for dinner, and seals up the rest for the freezer.   


+1 there.  I will buy ground beef in bulk and seal it freeze it.  Plus, when pork chops, or chicken breast, or just about anything else goes on sale buy a bunch and seal it up.  It really does save a lot of money.  It's also great for when roasts are on sale and you can make a bunch of pulled pork or beef and then freeze that along with some sauce.

Not to mention the huge bonus for having lots of hops on hand all the time.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: dean on February 22, 2010, 06:13:06 PM
I just ran out of foodsaver bags, we broke down 1/4 pound of both Columbus and Cascade.  We're making bbq porkloin today and half of it or so  will need to be vacsealed so going to the store for more.  Love this machine... it even has a marinator attachment!   8)

Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: babalu87 on February 22, 2010, 06:40:24 PM
Another +1 on the Foodsaver

A tip for freezing meats.
Partially freeze the meat first, then it holds its shape AND liquids. Prevents having to clean up the vacuum channel
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: denny on February 22, 2010, 07:41:30 PM
GREAT idea!  Thanks!
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: blatz on February 22, 2010, 08:22:24 PM
Another +1 on the Foodsaver

A tip for freezing meats.
Partially freeze the meat first, then it holds its shape AND liquids. Prevents having to clean up the vacuum channel

wow.  that is brilliant.  thanks!
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: ndcube on February 22, 2010, 08:50:00 PM
Another +1 on the Foodsaver

A tip for freezing meats.
Partially freeze the meat first, then it holds its shape AND liquids. Prevents having to clean up the vacuum channel

wow.  that is brilliant.  thanks!

Suddenly I feel like a Guinness.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: enso on February 24, 2010, 10:03:00 PM
I'm late to the thread, but let me add this. Don't waste the money on the Zip-Loc one. The bags are very hit and miss. I've found that if any hop dust gets anywhere near the "suck-hole", it will never properly seal. I'm getting a Foodsaver model in the near future as i tend to buy meat in bulk when its on sale.

Not to mention they do not seem to be available anymore.  Or is it the Reynolds?  Can't remember.  I have one of them.  It has the battery eating operated vacuum.  All local stores still carry the vacuum but no bags?!

They worked well enough.  Some were hit or miss but it was a cheap solution for a while.

I guess next season I will need a new system, but every review I read about all the various $$ brands (foodsaver,  seal-a-meal, deni, rival, etc...) out there are pretty uninspiring.  All seem to have there issues. Whether expensive bag material or ineffective sealing.  It seams like you need to spend a few hundred dollars!

Guess that is why I went with the $10 solution to begin with.  Wish the still sold the bags.

 :(
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: charlie on February 24, 2010, 11:20:45 PM
I like the Sorbent Systems VS280. Had mine for almost a year and no problems. Advantage is it will seal Mylar oxygen barrier bags which the seal-a-meal type won't.

http://sorbentsystems.com/sinbosealer.html

Charlie
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: bspisak on February 25, 2010, 07:46:42 AM
I like the Sorbent Systems VS280. Had mine for almost a year and no problems. Advantage is it will seal Mylar oxygen barrier bags which the seal-a-meal type won't.

I assume the snorkel is what gives the machine the ability to seal mylar bags. Is it hard to pull a tight vacuum on loose things like pellet and leaf hops? Would the channel type bags that FoodSaver uses do better?

Brian
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: dean on February 25, 2010, 01:24:05 PM
I've got some larger mylar bags, I wonder if I can cut them down and make bags on the FoodSaver  ???  Maybe I'll give it a try this year, anybody tried it?
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: bspisak on February 27, 2010, 12:05:32 AM

The FoodSaver requires special bags that are channeled which I believe is what allows the air to escape when the bag collapses. I'm guessing that to use mylar and other non-channeled bags, you need a unit with a snorkel.

It seems that the problem with a snorkel bag is that you need to get the snorkel right up against the contents of the bag. That would imply that something loose like hops might get sucked up as the vacuum is pulled.  I'm wondering if the channel bags do a better job or if it's even a problem???
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: euge on February 27, 2010, 07:03:59 PM
I bought a Seal-a-meal that started malfunctioning after a few months. It was the sealer strip that sealed the bags with a flaw in the seam.

The Foodsaver I bought next appears more robustly built. And it's still working over a year later.

The Seal-a-meal had a stronger vacuum than the Foodsaver does but even so I don't recommend this brand. Lot's of poor reviews online.

I also don't recommend freezing store bought raw meat. Usually it has been previously frozen so freezing it a second time in a vacuum bag wrecks the meat. No freezer-burn mind you but all the juices will run out of the meat when it is thawed again. Ruined a couple nice prime NY strips this way.

If you notice all the "advertisements" feature cooked meats. So besides hops these bags get BBQ and left-overs.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: denny on February 27, 2010, 08:35:58 PM
I also don't recommend freezing store bought raw meat. Usually it has been previously frozen so freezing it a second time in a vacuum bag wrecks the meat. No freezer-burn mind you but all the juices will run out of the meat when it is thawed again. Ruined a couple nice prime NY strips this way.

No experience with steak, since it never crosses our threshold  :(, but it works fine for chicken.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: bearcat on March 01, 2010, 06:26:49 PM
I hadn't seen this benefit listed to FoodSaver yet... the attachments - I like the Mason/Kerr canning jar one.  I have row of mason jars of pellet hops in the freezer.   Pop it open - measure out the addtions...the put the same lid back on and put on the attachment ..push the button and done.  The hops are now in  a low/no oxygen glass storage in the freezer--I have no idea if it better than the bags but it can't be worse.   Just a method I have seen other more experience brewers use... so I figure it can't be a bad way to do things and save on bag costs.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: euge on March 01, 2010, 06:31:43 PM
^^^^That's a good idea. The bags are f'ing expensive.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: Hokerer on March 01, 2010, 08:24:10 PM
^^^^That's a good idea. The bags are f'ing expensive.

A vacuum sealer is f'ing expensive too.  That's why I use the Mason jars like I stated in the third post in this very thread.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: euge on March 02, 2010, 03:49:10 AM
I was thinking of the FoodSaver attachment for jars... :D

Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: lupy on March 02, 2010, 04:42:11 AM
Foodsavers don't have to be expensive. I got a VAC 350 (no tube port) and a VAC 1050 (w/port) each for less than $5 at my local second hand store (St. Vincent DePaul, Goodwill, etc.). It took some patience to find but both work great and were near new when I found them.
I even found an older jar sealer but I can't get it to work and I can't bring myself (yet) to spend $10 on a new jar sealer attachment. As soon as my current batch of bags is done, maybe.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: bluesman on March 03, 2010, 09:37:25 PM
Another +1 on the Foodsaver

A tip for freezing meats.
Partially freeze the meat first, then it holds its shape AND liquids. Prevents having to clean up the vacuum channel

+1

Great technique that can also be used for tomatoes and other watery vegetables as well.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: 1vertical on October 02, 2010, 04:00:23 PM
Bump;
I am thinking about getting this technology. There are SO many  varieties and it
is pretty confusing.  I mainly want to be able to use this for Hops, meats and foods.
The pre-par- frozen method is the bomb...nice babalu nice...!  I want to get mylar bags and
I read the site for the snorkelvac seems that the mylar WILL seal with an iron and or
heat sealer IF you buy THEIR product....well these kinds of sales really make me nervous
cause I feel like I am getting set up for the proverbial TRAP....

More discussion on this please as I need to order hops and sealer technology soon....thanx in advance
 ???    ???    ???
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: denny on October 02, 2010, 04:38:28 PM
All I can tell ya is that I bought a bottom of the line Food Saver for about $50 around 5-6 years ago.  I use cheap generic vac seal bags.  It's worked great for both hops and food.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: beerocd on October 02, 2010, 04:57:27 PM
Bump;
More discussion on this please as I need to order hops and sealer technology soon....thanx in advance
 ???    ???    ???

Snorkels are the best, chambers are the cheapest. Tilia used to make good stuff, stay away from the latest and greatest.
With a snorkel you can use almost any kind of bag, with a chamber you need to use the textured bags, but the patent ran out so they are much cheaper than they used to be. Funny thing is - you WANT one thinking you will use the snot out of it. I had one over a decade ago. Just like exercise equipment or any other gadget - the novelty wore off and I quit using it. Now that I am growing hops I find a need for it again and I had to buy another. (sold old one on ebay ages ago.) If you're gonna pop good money - get one that is repairable, the new tilia stuff is disposable.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: ullarsskald1989 on October 02, 2010, 05:41:39 PM
My wife and I have a Foodsaver by Tillia, which was made in October 1989 and we bought at the BX at Offutt AFB in early 1990; got both sizes of canning jar attachments.  Still works like a champ.

We also use the Ziplock "suck-o-cheap." :D  Mixed results as written previously.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: The Rabid Brewer on October 03, 2010, 04:19:20 AM
The primary difference between the snorkel and foodsaver type sealers are the types of bags you can use. The foodsaver sucks from the edge of the bag or (with the newer handheld model) through a one way valve. To prevent the bag from collapsing around the suction and preventing complete evacuation, foodsaver bags are ribbed internally that allow air to flow even once they are fully collapsed. With a snorkle type vac, you push the snorkle into the bag which holds it open while it sucks the air out.

If you want use other bags, including resealing mylar bags, you have to go with a snorkel type vac. Snorklevac website warns that even then, to ensure complete evacuation, you have to have the contents of the bag as close to the snorkle as possible. I consider this a downside in that the vacuum might suck up the loose hop material, though I'd have to hear other's comments on this since I've never used one.

Interestingly, I just bought the handheld foodsaver that works with reusable bags: a huge bonus, IMHO. The bags seal with a ziplock type closure, then you press the unit to the outside where I one-way valve is located. No heat sealing, and you can reuse the bags. You can also get containers. The starter kit is reasonably priced at $29, but I got a deal on mine at $5! Seems to do a decent job.

Be interested in hearing other opinions and experiences as well. I'm sure some of these more expensive units can suck a pretty good vacuum, but realistically, you want to be using your hops relatively soon and definitely within the same year. So, it's not clear to me how important this really is. If you want to store hops long term, nitrogen evacuation is the ticket, and for this you need an expensive setup.

Brian
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: The Rabid Brewer on October 03, 2010, 04:20:53 AM
Oh, and as far as sealing the bags go, you want to seal the bag while the vacuum is applied. Not sure how you would do that with an iron without loosing vacuum or even why an iron is necessary for the mylar bags.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: 1vertical on October 03, 2010, 12:44:05 PM
Seems to me that you could get the snorkel device and incorporate a piece of  foam
like the type used by us brewers for stopping erlinmeyer flasks ...
(http://www.northernbrewer.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/265x/5e06319eda06f020e43594a9c230972d/7/0/7098.jpg)

that would solve the problem of getting all the air out.

Do these snorkel style units also have an accessory port that will allow use of Mason Jars????
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: Hokerer on October 03, 2010, 01:46:40 PM
Interestingly, I just bought the handheld foodsaver that works with reusable bags: a huge bonus, IMHO. The bags seal with a ziplock type closure, then you press the unit to the outside where I one-way valve is located. No heat sealing, and you can reuse the bags. You can also get containers. The starter kit is reasonably priced at $29, but I got a deal on mine at $5! Seems to do a decent job.

Keep an eye on those bags.  I used to use one of those setups with the reusable bags but, go check the bags after a week or two and I always found half of them had lost the "ziplock" seal.  Needless to say, I don't use those any longer (use the mason jar vacuum thingy now).
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: woody8620 on October 03, 2010, 02:25:47 PM
like many on this thread i use the foodsaver, old model dont rememer how old, i use it to keep dry malt extract from turning into a rock between makeing starters.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: gordonstrong on October 03, 2010, 02:31:09 PM
Quote
i use it to keep dry malt extract from turning into a rock between makeing starters.

Minor thread hijack: a bigger cause of rock-like DME is holding the open bag over the boiling pot while measuring.  Steam going into the bag introduces moisture, which is the problem.  Same thing happens when measuring spices when cooking.  Do them away from the heat.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: The Rabid Brewer on October 04, 2010, 11:41:45 PM
I used to use one of those setups with the reusable bags but, go check the bags after a week or two and I always found half of them had lost the "ziplock" seal.

Unfortunately, I'm starting to see the same thing. At least it was cheap!

Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: beerocd on October 05, 2010, 12:24:29 AM
Seems to me that you could get the snorkel device and incorporate a piece of  foam
like the type used by us brewers for stopping erlinmeyer flasks ...
(http://www.northernbrewer.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/265x/5e06319eda06f020e43594a9c230972d/7/0/7098.jpg)

that would solve the problem of getting all the air out.

Do these snorkel style units also have an accessory port that will allow use of Mason Jars????


The snorkels pull all the air out. The sealer is in front of the snorkel, so once it's pulled the vacuum then the heat bar melts the plastic to seal the package. Search ebay for vacupack. It's ugly but it seems to be a good machine.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: corkybstewart on October 05, 2010, 02:11:22 PM
I use a Foodsaver also.  We buy 2 bushels of green chile every fall and vacuum-seal them.  After roasting the chiles produce a ton of water that makes it a PITA to seal, but I've found 8 year old bags of chiles in the freezer that were still good.  We wouldn't think of not having a vacuum sealer of some sort, it's just way too handy.  This fall we processed and froze 85 pounds of peaches, and I have about 30 pounds of bratwurst left from Oktoberfest. 
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: euge on October 05, 2010, 05:56:51 PM
I've busted some smoked Pork-loin out that I vac sealed on 10/9/09. Looks as good as it did a year ago and no burn. Hops I bought 2 years ago look the same as the day I got them. Really one can't go wrong with a vacuum sealer. Unless you buy the wrong one. Avoid Seal a Meal. Buy a Foodsaver
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: tat2pompadore on October 06, 2010, 12:06:21 AM
I have a standard food saver.  It does the trick.  I also use the food saver canisters to draw the air out of my crushed grains, sugars,and malts for storage. 
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: 1vertical on October 09, 2010, 07:15:00 PM
Ok, after much soul searching, and research...damn the steep learning curve, I hate it!
I opted for the cheepo (on sale at target) bottom end foodsaver for sixty bux new...
I bought a jar sealer accessory set up from Cabellas (both wide and reg mouth jars)
I tried this unit using some old mylar hop bags..and with a cut piece of  the channeled
foodsaver patented stuff, you can indeed seal the mylar it works trust me.

Since I am getting past my doom and gloom end of the earth survivalist mode of existance,
I really do NOT need to vacuum pack a beef for subsistence/existance conditions,
this unit I hope will do the job...thanks all for your comments and guidance.

Besides storing my soon to arrive hops in jars, I will as well be able to vac pack some other stuff. :P
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: corkybstewart on October 15, 2010, 04:45:33 AM
I bought 2 bushels of green chiles and vacuum sealed the first one tonight.  My Food Saver kind of let me down, about half the bags didn't seal properly and were full of air after 30 minutes.  I broke out my backup, a Black and Decker and it came through for me.  It's slower and noisier, but it works like a champ.  IIRC it was a lot cheaper than the Foodsaver also.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: 1vertical on October 15, 2010, 04:54:36 AM
Well I got an update here, I got the hops from hops direct and they are packed in some
heavy duty mylar.  The foodsaver will NOT get quite warm enuff to seal this material back.
I was able to however cut a long sleeve and roll the mylar/hop bag into the thing and vac pack
seal it in that fashion....
I got the Jar lid attachments and sealed some quarts full of fresh hop cones seems to be a
good way to go, just shake out the needed amount and vacuum the jar shut again, then
back in the freezer....more on this later perhaps.    ::)

Wish I had some green chilies to vac pack!
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: tschmidlin on October 15, 2010, 06:00:33 AM
Wish I had some green chilies to vac pack!
Seriously!  Hey corky, what does a bushel of chiles go for?  They don't sell them by the bushel in these parts  ;D

We can get bushels of oysters and apples, but I don't know what they cost. :)
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: corkybstewart on October 15, 2010, 02:47:09 PM
They're $18 + $6 for roasting at the farm in Artesia NM.    I used to roast my own but I don't have time anymore(got a real job)  Since we're having a long summer the  fields are still full of green chiles, plus there are lots of red ones ready for drying.  We buy a bushel of the hottest and a bushel of the milder ones, but even the mild ones can be pretty hot.
We have apples down here but the only oysters I can get come from my boss' cattle ranch and a bushel of them is not on my menu.
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: tschmidlin on October 15, 2010, 03:58:45 PM
For $6 I'd let them roast them too, that's a deal.  Hopefully I'll have a better crop next year.

So you're a christmas person, or are you sometimes red and sometimes green?

We have apples down here but the only oysters I can get come from my boss' cattle ranch and a bushel of them is not on my menu.
;D
Title: Re: Vacuum Sealers
Post by: corkybstewart on October 15, 2010, 04:06:37 PM
If I'm eating out(very rare)  I'll order the Christmas on burritos, but for enchiladas I'm a green chile guy, posole I like red, and I make tamales with either.  Green chile chicken tamales and oatmeal stout are about as fine a breakfast as a person can eat.