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Old 10-05-2008, 01:02 PM   #1
ThickHead
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Default Looking for Feedback on Blichmann Engineering

As I continue to walk the rewarding path of the homebrewer as a fledgling, aspirations of applying refined technique with sophistocated gadgetry and expanding imagination drives me toward better brewing system development. In the brief space of time in which any brain cells have been devoted to this endeavor I have come across varied types of equipment for various tasks.

That said, I was hoping to acquire feedback from the HBT community relative to the equipment developed and fabricated by Blichmann Engineering. Your thoughts?

Cheers!

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Old 10-05-2008, 02:19 PM   #2
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I bought one of the Blichmann Fermenators F3-14 from Austin Homebrew Supply just before the prices went up. At first I had buyers remorse because of the expenditure; however, after using it the first time and harvesting yeast for the next batch I love it. It seems the designer(s) of these small cylindroconical vessels put some nice thought into it. Well made, sturdy, easy to use, easy to clean/sanitize are words that come to mind.

I've got a Shirron plate chiller and it works well but my brewing buddy has the Blichmann Therminator and it is by far a superior plate chiller if you're comparing apples to apples. Again, well made and nice options for mounting the chiller unlike the Shirron which can be mounted but takes a little additional effort.

I've got a few other odd and ends from Blichmann and one thing I will say is their products aren't cheap but then again quality products generally aren't.

I know a gentleman who is mod. on this forum who has one of the new Blichmann kettles and I'd like to see it in action sometime and hear his feedback on their products as well.

My $0.02 on Blichmann, nice products, good customer service (yep believe it in this day and age), high priced but for some items I'd say is worth it.

Jeffrey

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keg 1-Graham Sander's Tropical Flower Wit
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keg 4-XXX Stout
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Old 10-05-2008, 03:19 PM   #3
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Thank you for your feedback. It does look like quality equipment made with care and thought relative to its application. I certainly dont mind paying for quality, particularly when I am trying to create quality using it. Thanks again for your opinions on this equipment.

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Old 10-05-2008, 07:52 PM   #4
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JMO's here no flames please. I'm thinking like runhard also wanting a Blichmann Fermenator F3-14 in size as they are a high quality product. I must add all of the Blichmann's products are of high quality and reflected by their prices also. To balance out my budget I will spend the money on a F-3-14 Fermenator but can not see spending more money on their HLT, MLT and Boil kettles when I can build my own keggles from used kegs. So far I have eleven 15.5 and three 7.75 gallon kegs for a total of $55 spent. My labors free plus they can be designed how I want them. The money saved can be used to purchase March pumps, false bottom, valves, heating elements, PID's, probes and other needed items. Just making my money go longer on my brewing equipment purchases. Blichmann's in the business to make money that's ok but it goes against the grain with me spending all that money when I can build and save. I must not have as much disposable money as some people being forced into retirement early. Again all JMO's.

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Old 10-05-2008, 09:53 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by BrewBeemer View Post
JMO's here no flames please. I'm thinking like runhard also wanting a Blichmann Fermenator F3-14 in size as they are a high quality product. I must add all of the Blichmann's products are of high quality and reflected by their prices also. To balance out my budget I will spend the money on a F-3-14 Fermenator but can not see spending more money on their HLT, MLT and Boil kettles when I can build my own keggles from used kegs. So far I have eleven 15.5 and three 7.75 gallon kegs for a total of $55 spent. My labors free plus they can be designed how I want them. The money saved can be used to purchase March pumps, false bottom, valves, heating elements, PID's, probes and other needed items. Just making my money go longer on my brewing equipment purchases. Blichmann's in the business to make money that's ok but it goes against the grain with me spending all that money when I can build and save. I must not have as much disposable money as some people being forced into retirement early. Again all JMO's.
Thanks for the feedback. In fact, the more I toss ideas for equipment and rig design around (not to mention looking at the many brew rigs showcased here at HBT) the more I find the need for design flexibility to maximize personal preference options when it comes to overall design and preferred function integration. I will probably look at many other options for HLT, MLT and BK but man...a 14.5 gallon conical fermentor just might be finding its way into my plans permenently!
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Old 10-05-2008, 11:40 PM   #6
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You can, of course, do what you like.

If you are all that "fledgling" (per your first post) I'd heartily recommend brewing more with whatever you have before getting sucked down the path of new-toy-itis, at least so that you have really identified what new toys you really need, as opposed to which ones happen to be getting marketing.

I have managed to pass right through "wanting a cylindro-conical" to not wanting one without having bled my bank account white. If I need 14 gallons of primary fermenter, I'll put it in 3 carboys or buckets, each of which I can pick up and move when full. No way I can do that with a 14-gallon unit.

As with fermenting itself, give it time. There are many toys. Most of them are not really essential. Which ones you want enough that it looks like a need is up to you, but you should get there and be sure, or you risk becoming one of the guys who's got $2000 in equipment and never (or rarely) gets around to brewing...

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Old 10-06-2008, 12:20 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ecnerwal View Post
You can, of course, do what you like.

If you are all that "fledgling" (per your first post) I'd heartily recommend brewing more with whatever you have before getting sucked down the path of new-toy-itis, at least so that you have really identified what new toys you really need, as opposed to which ones happen to be getting marketing.

I have managed to pass right through "wanting a cylindro-conical" to not wanting one without having bled my bank account white. If I need 14 gallons of primary fermenter, I'll put it in 3 carboys or buckets, each of which I can pick up and move when full. No way I can do that with a 14-gallon unit.

As with fermenting itself, give it time. There are many toys. Most of them are not really essential. Which ones you want enough that it looks like a need is up to you, but you should get there and be sure, or you risk becoming one of the guys who's got $2000 in equipment and never (or rarely) gets around to brewing...
Thanks for the advice! At this point I am by no means anywhere near purchasing components or assembling any complex HERMS, or such similar, style set-ups. I have just begun my journey and am mining for opinions from experienced users of popular, or even obscure, market equipment. However, there is no doubt that it is easy to be consumed by the "kid in the candystore" impact of opening the doors on the world of homebrewing.

Having said that, my approach from the beginning has been to utilize minimalistic techniques in an effort to learn the manual mechanics of the process. At the moment my "rig" consists of little more than would come in any market brew kit (except I was adament about starting with 2 glass carboys for my first brew). I have no aspiration of buying a "push-button" rig that doesnt allow me to get my hands dirty to learn how I like to brew.

Must......have......shiny......stainless... ...stuff......
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Old 10-06-2008, 01:03 AM   #8
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While I love my 14 gallon fermenator I can say that the only slight advantage that it offers over my homemade keg fermenter is ease of harvesting yeast. For the price of a few fittings and ball valve, piece of acrylic, and rubber gasket material my first fermenter is good enough and worked for years before I journeyed down the road of a cylindroconical form Blichmann. I tend to agree with previous post that buying pumps, false bottoms, some form of wort chiller, etc. are definitely the wise investments.

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keg 1-Graham Sander's Tropical Flower Wit
keg 2-Yooper's Fat Sam - I highly recommend it
keg 3-Yooper's Fat Tire
keg 4-XXX Stout
keg 5-empty


Fermenter #1-Graham Sander's Tropical Flower Wit
Fermenter #2-empty

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Old 10-06-2008, 01:13 AM   #9
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...false bottoms, some form of wort chiller, etc. are definitely the wise investments.
A wort chiller is my next investment to be sure. If there was one mistake that I made during my first brewing it was that I followed instruction quite too literally on the amount of time for ice bathing my wort in the brew kettle. After the suggested 30 min bath I had 56 degree F wort. I ended up transfering it and pitching the yeast at about 60 F. Not that big of a deal, but the lack of control is a bit limiting.

I am always thinking ahead when I am purchasing though. One thing that I cannot abide doing (if it can be avoided) is purchasing equipment that I will use for only a short time before needing/wanting an upgrade.
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Old 10-06-2008, 01:49 AM   #10
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I have two 14g Fermenators and a Therminator (see sig for details on each). My rig consists of three keggles atm, but I'm always making changes. I also just picked up two 30 gallon steam kettles but am still contemplating how to incorporate them... but back to blingmann.

I like the Fermenators and feel the price was justified based on their engineering. They are very easy to clean, seal tightly, and can hold enough pressure to push the beer with C02 into kegs (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/coni...strated-75794/).

Also, the Therminator does an excellent job cooling my wort to pitching temps.

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