In which I wax lyrical about a seemingly mundane piece of equipment.
One of the many irritations about brewing has been the problem of weighing out the grains. There’s plenty of scales around the house: in the bathroom, two in the kitchen and another in what we call ‘the store’, scales for weighing suitcases. I’ve used them all.
No shortage of scales but weighing out 15kg of grain on any of them is a chore, with buckets perched precariously on tiny surfaces, displays obscured, everything on the edge of tipping over. You can measure maybe 3kg at a time. And more than once I’ve forgotten how many 3kg loads I’ve weighed out and had to start again.
Browsing on the SIBA website I came across an advert for the Marsden B100 – a waterproof, stainless steel scale capable of weighing up to 15kg and on offer for £115. These looked like proper scales and with a free set of smaller scales – the IP2101 – that can weigh up to 5kg and were also waterproof and stainless. This is the perfect combination for weighing big batches of grain and then for weighing out small amount of hops.
Also, in the tiny Brew Shed, there’s always the potential for water or beer to get everywhere. So for any brewer, far from being a bonus, waterproof is essential.
- they are both sturdy, solid bits of kit designed for everyday use in a working environment
- both units have clean, uncluttered panels and the buttons have a positive feel to them. You won’t accidentally press the wrong button
- you can switch off the auto-off: scales switching themselves off before I’m finished is a real bugbear of mine
- the main displays face up and can be and the B100 has a display at the back
- both units are mains or battery powered – perfect for me because I need to be able to move them around when they’re not in use
- The B100 is rechargeable, with either 9V battery or mains adapter on the IP2101
- the B100 has a big, sturdy weighing plate easily able to take a 20ltr bucket, which is big enough for 10kg of grain
- even with a big bucket on the scales of the B100 or a large bowl on the IP2101, you can still see the display.
Once you’ve got a recipe to the point where you’re happy, you want everything to be consistent so being able to reliably weigh out grains and hops is huge bonus. The convenience of a scale able to weight large amounts of grain makes the setup for brew days much more straightforward.
Of course, there’s other bits of shiny that money can be spent on but getting the basics effortlessly correct. That’s priceless.