Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Electric Brewing > Anyone used a Brewmation system?
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Old 12-31-2011, 06:43 PM   #1
rickprice407
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Default Anyone used a Brewmation system?

I want to get into electric brewing but really don't have the time available to assemble one from a multi-sourced kit type system. I am looking to buy a decent system and have found them to be a strange set of systems from the single tank, spargeless Braumeister to some dual tank and top heavy appearing 3 tank systems. One that looks promising for a home system and later a pilot system for a brewpub is the Brewmation 1/2 bbl system. They can supply a 3 bbl system later for the pub. Has anyone ever used one? Or have you used another, at least mostly assembled (not a DIY special project) system.

Ready to get this going but would prefer to get it right the first time.

Rick near Atlanta


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Old 12-31-2011, 07:54 PM   #2
samc
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http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/brew...risons-163149/


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Old 01-01-2012, 06:00 AM   #3
jusware
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A friend of mine has one as part of his brew on premise at the LHBS. Seems like he's always having problems with it. I've lost count a long time ago of how many times he's texted me saying he's waiting for a replacement part.
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Old 01-02-2012, 04:24 PM   #4
rickprice407
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Still trying to narrow the list. The Braumeister has some advantages. It has a small footprint, can do a step mash, has a 200 liter model that could support a brewpub (maybe 2 of them) and is a pretty simple system overall. The spargeless feature concerns me though as far as mash efficiency. The guys I talked to said that the average is 'around 70%'. Not bad but not overly impressive either.

The Brewmation seems to be more traditional with three vessels, sparging, plate chiller and so forth ...but with bigger price tag. Not sure it is able to step mash with the controller or what I can expect in mash efficiency.
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:42 AM   #5
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Yes. Do you have a specific question?

Plate chilling is not part of the brewmation. That's BYO, although the step is part of the software. You just BYO chiller. Several parts of my system (if mine is what you're talking about) are mine and not part of the factory unit. Mainly the plate and the in line ox setup I made.

I did have some issues in the beginning, but they were fixed and my brewmation works perfectly now. Many were not brewmation's fault, such as my peristaltic pumps breaking 3 times in a row (bad run from the manufacturer that all came from the same batch). Not that I'm saying that there aren't some things I don't like about it, but other than that the system is awesome.

I'm getting at least 75% efficiency, sometimes more, so the sparging system works great. And, manual step mashing is part of the software now. Meaning, you input your total mash time and manually change the temps at the time you want by just pressing buttons. It's a little simpler than having to put in all of the step mashes in the software. I haven't done a real step mash yet other than the programmed mash out step (which is programmed, not manual). It works. I have augmented that step with my retired IC chiller, which is now a herms coil and my starter chiller. If I were doing a step mash from 122 to 152 or something, I think I'd probably do it HERMS assisted. If I had to guess, I'd say it would be at least 10 minutes for the element alone to reach 152 from 122, but that's a huge guess. (And that's not bad by itself either). So, it works... Basically, I step away from the brewmation from somewhere towards the end of the mash until I hear the boil alarm sound, so around 2 hrs.

After solving the initial beta problems followed by the upgrades in system software, I would say that my brewmation is one incredibly versatile machine and I don't regret buying it. The main problem I have with it (and that would be how the mash element connects to the sink) is not easily solvable because it would require welding to a thin gauge sink which would warp it badly. Anyhoo, it's not a huge deal but it drips and it's just not a professional connection like a tri-clamp. Everything else rocks though, I think. I mean, there are a total of 6 pumps on my brewmation, fer crying out loud.

Please (IMO) don't buy this or a braumeister to put in a brewpub. Get a Stout Tanks 2 or 3 barrel system at least, (which, by the way brewmation does the electronics for). After knowing the wonders of automation, I can definitely report that my brew days are still 8 hrs long. Automation doesn't wash your equipment. 3 bbl is as small as I'd ever go for a 1 or 2 tap brew pub (other taps being purchased beer). Kevin is doing a whole bunch of the Stout Tanks systems now, more than his own brewmation systems I think. Told me he had a touch screen in the works, but I haven't seen it yet.

FYI- I like the braumeister. Neat unit. Not so sure I'd want to do single vessel for large batches, that's the only thing I see from afar.


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