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Old 10-25-2010, 08:27 PM   #1
hatfieldenator
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Default Advice for upgrading my brewing set up

Right now I only have the ability to do 5 gallon batches of partial grain/extract recipes on a simple bayou burner. I would really like to start getting into all grain brewing but I'm not sure the best way to upgrade to this. I really don't have the time to set up a big DIY brewing rig like you see on here. I work alot (I'm in residency) so that's out of the question. I have the money to get a nice turn key system like the Brewmagic and I really like that system, but I'm not sure if I should jump from a simple 10gallon boil kettle set up to a system like the brew magic right away or do something more in between first?

I've found a used electric herms set up for sale locally, but I'm not sure if I should buy this system now so I can start brewing all grain immediately and then upgrade to a nicer system later or just wait, continue to brew like I am now and be patient rather than spend money on something now that I will likely need to upgrade on later anyway.
Any advice?

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Old 10-25-2010, 08:32 PM   #2
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I would recommend switching to all grain before moving on and dropping the money on a HERMS system. You can convert a cooler into a Mash Tun for cheap and upgrade the pot (if its not 7.5+ gal) so you can do full boil all grain. You may discover that you don't like AG (it takes more time that partial/extract) and it would be a bummer to drop $5000 and not have enough time to use the system.

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Old 10-25-2010, 08:47 PM   #3
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Good points zwood15, I have tried a few all grain batches with my friend. We converted a couple of coolers into a mash tun and hlt, but I didn't like doing it that way because I didn't like having no control over the mash temperature once it was in the cooler. I decided after that that I don't want to get into all grain until I have a system with good temperature control and the ability to do multiple temperature mashes and recirculation of the wort. So, that's what got me considering a brew magic. I love the fact that a system like that is so easy to get the mash temperatures consistently right and automatically recirculates the wort.
The system i found locally is a fraction of the cost of a brew magic and offers me the option of using HERMS immediately. My biggest dilemna is whether or not I should just wait and go with the brew magic once I feel ready to take that plunge? My thinking is that I'll still end up wanting to buy a brew magic eventually anyway, so it might be a waste of money to buy a used system now?

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Old 10-25-2010, 09:00 PM   #4
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Spend the money once if you're looking for that kind of control. Just my $0.02.

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Old 10-25-2010, 09:12 PM   #5
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I have found that if you really want a particular item but for whatever reason you settle for something else that you will eventually get the desired item and more or less end up wasting what you spent on the lesser item. So if money is not a problem for you then I'd just get the Brew Magic like you want.

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Old 10-25-2010, 09:46 PM   #6
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Yeah, that's what I'm afraid of. I don't want to feel like I wasted my money on a lesser system only to end up buying the nicer one later anyway.

Although, from a smart budgeting/personal finance perspective, it would be smarter to wait until I'm really sure I need a bigger/nicer system before investing $5000+ in one. I can come up with the funds for it, but it would be a bit of a hit on our savings account. Its always better to leave money in savings whenever possible right? (I typically make terrible personal finance decisions, so this is a big step for me to try to exercise fiscal responsibility!)
If this lesser system is capable of doing essentially the same thing, just not as neatly, there's no real advantage to the brew magic now anyway. The used system will only allow me to do 5 gallon batches, but my fermenting and refrigerating equipment only really allows me to do 5 gallon batches right now anyway, so I don't need the ability to do 10gal batches...yet.

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Old 10-25-2010, 09:49 PM   #7
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If you have a 10 gallon boil pot and a bayou burner already, the only thing you really need to go all grain is a mash tun.

That's all I use, but I just did my first all grain yesterday.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/chea...version-23008/

Edit: actually I forgot you'll probably need another smaller pot if you want to batch sparge so you can heat your sparge water.

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Old 10-26-2010, 03:46 AM   #8
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Well, I decided to go ahead and get the used HERMs system. I just felt better about it financially and figured that it would give me the oppurtunity to start learning immediately rather than having to wait for who knows how long before I could justify dropping 5K on a brew magic.
I got an awesome deal on an all electric herms system. The nice thing is that I'll be able to use my current equipment for the boiling and fermenting. The mash tun and hlt that comes with this system is exactly what I needed to get into all grain brewing. I'm picking it up tomorrow evening! I'll be sure to post pictures of it once its here.
If anyone saw the thread from craigslist in dayton, oh yesterday (titled "10 minutes from my house" or something like that), that's the system I bought! It was just too good of a deal to pass up, especially since it was better suited to our budget.
I'm so excited I feel like a kid on christmas eve!

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