Author Topic: What's the product that upon purchase you've been most disappointed with...  (Read 4554 times)

Offline mugwort

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Just about everybody experiences it--buying something promising and exciting, only to realize it's mostly crap.

Many of us then try to pretend that we like the item or are at least somewhat ok with the purchase.  Slowly the facts of the matter begin to intrude but we try to reason them away.  This wrestling can go on for a while but usually ends in some kind of acceptance.  At least this is what happens to me.

I'm not looking to start a trash talk topic but we should be able to pull off some constructive criticism and/or therapy.  If need be, you can choose to be less than brand-specific but hopefully still share a past disappointment and cautionary tale.

What are your brew purchase regrets and how did you move past them?  Or are you still saddled with the item and looking for a solution via advice from your fellow brewers?
Baby T Aleworks | 100% Organic Abode-Crafted Ales | San Gabriel, CA | On tap...
MU5 Saison 6% * Republican Enclave Red Lager 5.5% * MU5 Hibiscus Saison 6% * Passionfruit & Pineapple Tart Wit 5% * Idunna II Summer Saison 7% * Monkey's Uncle Wit 5% *  empty * Shenanigan Irish Red 5.5% * Ziggurat Dark Sour 9%

Offline mugwort

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I'll start off with a story of the brewpot that couldn't.

Nearly two years ago I found myself wanting to do 5 gal batch full boils without all the excitement that comes with using my 7.5 gal pot.  Plus the thought of getting a new pot with a spigot was very appealing.

After seeing some of the prices out there I thought I would just go cheap.  Should have known better since this philosophy generally has not served me well elsewhere in life.

Anyway, I online-ordered the 10 gal brewpot from the budget line of a respectable Northern California homebrew retailer (who had recently revamped the line, claiming  improvements).

Should have sent that back right when I got it, but just like a bad relationship I thought I could make it work.  The stainless was rolled and rippled and far flimsier than any pot I'd ever seen.  The bottom popped in and out with a thin loud echo if pushed on, a bit like a lid on an applesauce jar.  But it did hold ten gallons and there was a brass ball valve for draining.

Boiling 7 or so gallons of wort, it did the job.  Sure the painted metal valve handle burned like a mother when I touched it but I kept telling myself I could wrap it to solve that problem.  And so a few brews were made in this cheap but functioning vessel.

But once nearly 9 gallons of hot wort had been fed into it, my confidence in its integrity weakened.  I imagined the seam running the length of the bulging pot giving way to bathe me in boiling disfigurement.

My imagination was interrupted by searing and hissing as wort bubbled and smoked its way down the sides of the pot.  No, not a boil over thankfully, but the wort level had risen to the pot handles and was slowing seeping out of the little bolts fastening the handle to the pot.

That was the last time I bothered with that pot.  Now it has surrendered its role to a new MB heavy duty 15 gal megapot.  Couldn't be more different.

Rather than kick that 99 dollar POS down the hill I drafted it as an HLT.  So, I guess in the end it was not really a waste.  After all, you can't really put a price on lessons learned.  It's a lesson I remember each time I burn my fingers on the spigot handle.

Merry Christmas everyone!  Oh, if someone gives you junk, just try to remember they mean well and then promptly return it.  Don't try to learn to like it.  That's for other aspects of our lives.

Life is too short to settle for crap equipment or crap beer.

Baby T Aleworks | 100% Organic Abode-Crafted Ales | San Gabriel, CA | On tap...
MU5 Saison 6% * Republican Enclave Red Lager 5.5% * MU5 Hibiscus Saison 6% * Passionfruit & Pineapple Tart Wit 5% * Idunna II Summer Saison 7% * Monkey's Uncle Wit 5% *  empty * Shenanigan Irish Red 5.5% * Ziggurat Dark Sour 9%

cornershot

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A cheap tool is an expensive tool!
Last year I purchased a used freezerless fridge for $200 for my beer fridge. It fit 5 kegs in the bottom and another 2 carboys on the top shelf. All was well for about 6 months. Then one day, just before leaving for work, I happened to walk past my fridge and could hear a crackling sound. When I opened the fridge door flames and smoke poured out! I grabbed a fire extinguisher and emptied it's contents into the fridge. The fire was out and I was left with quite a cleanup.
I've since replaced it with a big old used upright freezer with a new temperature controller. Now 2 years later it's still going strong.
Lesson learned? $#!+ happens!

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Online ynotbrusum

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10 gallon round Igloo style water cooler with false bottom - no longer used.  A friend borrowed it and I have never asked for it back.  I use a sanke with false bottom for my larger batch brews and a rectangular cooler with braid for smaller brews.  That round one couldn't fit a hefty grain bill for a 10 gallon batch and I don't miss it a bit....
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Offline duboman

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The Brew Belt. Before I got a temperature controlled fermentation chamber I was doing the whole swam cooler thing and using a brew belt with a Johnson controller for my warmer temperature requirements like my Belgians.

Well, using it for the third time I smelled something in my brew room that just wasn't right and sure enough the damn thing must have shorted out as it was beginning to melt a hole in the side of my bucket! Fortunately I caught it in time before it burned through or worse, started a fire!

It wasn't all that expensive but I was not pleased having only used it 3 times and epically failing............
Peace....Love......Beer......

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Online klickitat jim

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Carared,  it's not red and C40 tastes better. I'm saving it for a day that I run out of chicken scratch.

Offline bigchicken

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My blue Rubbermaid cooler turned into a mash tun. I fell in love with a model that has the drain in front instead of one of the ends.
After purchasing, I found the inner drainage channel to be very steep, making it difficult to use fittings to attach a valve. I found the drain to be an off-size that is a bit too big for 1/2" pipe and fittings. I could have returned it, but was determined to make it work. So after buying enough fittings and cpvc, copper, and stainless piping to fill a storage shelf, I found no other alternative to make it work and keep from leaking other than food grade silicone.
What started out as a project to have a nice looking functional mash tun, turned out to be a beat up siliconed disaster. It works fine now, but I could have saved a ton of money and time if I'd gone with a traditional and much cheaper setup.
TJ Cook
Proud paying member of the AHA since 2013.

On Deck: Split batch 12 gallon IPA / Blonde
Fermenting: Chocolate Cherry Stout
In bottles: Northern Brewer Dry Irish Stout, Snow Eater Winter Warmer 2012, Apple Wine

Offline BrewArk

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Gilda corker (for wine bottles).  In addition to not being very stable when it worked, it broke while corking my first case.  I went back to the old corker that leaves a dimple in the corks but seals just fine.
Beer...Now there's a temporary solution!

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Offline majorvices

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Carared,  it's not red and C40 tastes better. I'm saving it for a day that I run out of chicken scratch.

It is red in the mash - if you use enough of it you will see what I'm talking about. And it isn't anything like c40, I agree. In fact, if you actually taste the malt itself you will see it isn't a crystal malt, so if you are expecting it to perform like crystal I can see your disappointment. I actually very much like the flavor the malt gives to a couple of reddish beers I designed around it.

My biggest disappointment was with the Blickmann false bottom that converts the 45 gallon kettle into a MT. It leaves a huge gap on the sides and never worked to act as an actual filter.

Next biggest disappointment was Blickmann 45 gallon fermentors. Terrible, awful design with the 2 piece dome and conical. The gasket that conjoined them has to be just right or it crimps and leaks and there were so many contamination issues with with them I was glad to see them go. Nightmare 2 hour job to clean.
Keith Y.

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Online klickitat jim

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How much is enough. I think I used about a pound in an APA.

Offline majorvices

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Re: What's the product that upon purchase you've been most disappointed with...
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2013, 01:37:22 PM »
How much is enough. I think I used about a pound in an APA.

When I am shoveling out my mash tun I come across swaths of the cara red and it is a reddish color for sure. Granted, this is at 310 lb batch. You might not see it on a 10 gallon batch. The malt itself also has a reddish hue to it. But it's not really RED red and cara red by itself won't just make a "red" beer (least not in the quantities I have experimented with) not without some help from a darker roasted malt. But it will add a reddish color in high enough quantities and still be more fermentable than crystal malt.

Kinda like Red Tail hawks don't really have a red tail. They have "reddish" tails. Same way with cara-red. If you are thinking coca-cola red you will be disappointed.
Keith Y.

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Offline alestateyall

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Re: What's the product that upon purchase you've been most disappointed with...
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2013, 02:36:55 PM »
5' lines for my cobra taps. Every pour was 3/4th glass of foam.
Tommy M.
Starkville, MS

Online kramerog

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Re: What's the product that upon purchase you've been most disappointed with...
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2013, 07:04:53 PM »
Orange, round, 40-qt cooler for mash.  Very quickly started deforming and cracking.  Much happier with rectangular 50-qt cooler.

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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: What's the product that upon purchase you've been most disappointed with...
« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2013, 07:26:56 PM »
Orange, round, 40-qt cooler for mash.  Very quickly started deforming and cracking.  Much happier with rectangular 50-qt cooler.



+1. That was my experience with the round cooler I had (then switched to batch sparging).  I love the braid as the false bottom much better as well.  Also I spent a ton of $$ on glass carboys, and had a couple of hairline cracks end up in breakage and got severe cuts on two occasions. I've got 2 kids, so for safety's sake I decided to go back to plastic buckets and have stayed there. I think the risks of fermenting in buckets were overstated back in the day. I've always had sanitation OCD , and my beers are just as clean as they were in glass.
Jon H.

Offline theDarkSide

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Re: What's the product that upon purchase you've been most disappointed with...
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2013, 06:44:55 AM »
The aquarium pump aeration system.  At the time I thought it was great, but then I got an O2 wand and regulator from Williams Brewing and wish I had gone this route in the first place.  So I was only disappointed when I found something better but that seems to be the way for a lot of homebrew stuff.

Also, I wish I had spent a bit more money when I bought my chest freezer for fermenting.  I got a 5 cu ft, but now wished I had gotten one big enough to hold 2 carboys at the same time.

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