Brew Systems: Spike, Blichmann, Sabbco

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PeteSeattle

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Hello brewers. I’m hoping to get some advice from those with a similar experience looking to upgrade one’s brew system but would love advice as to what system people chose and why.

I’ve been brewing since the late 90s with my Home Depot cooler and keggles. All on a makeshift stand of plywood and cinder blocks (propane system). I’ve tried BIAB which is fine and I sprung for a Pico C (for very cheap eBay deal) but I guess I’m old school and love the 3 vessel set-up.

I’m seriously looking at Sabco’s Brew Magic. And at the same time looking at Blichmann and Spikes electric system (any other system suggestions welcomed). I’m not a handy person so I’m not one to diy a new system. But I’m at a point in my life that I can afford this upgrade (midlife crisis denial stage right now).

I certainly have the space. I’d only need an electrician if I go eBrew. I would love to hear from other brewers who have traveled this same path. Thanks for any meaningful and valuable stories.
 

MrEggSandwich

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Hey hey.....I made jump from partial mash to all grain 3 years ago. I have 10 gallon Blichmann BrewEasy....See the thread on it here. Electric is the way to go IMO....I never saw need for 3 vessel system...Just more to clean. If I can make 10-15 gallon batches at 65% efficiency, that works for me. I like the system. Take a look.

Spike makes some nice **** as well. Both Blichmann and Spike have awesome 3 vessel systems. Win-win for you...decide what you want/need (2 V 3 vessel).

Good luck!
 
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PeteSeattle

PeteSeattle

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@MrEggSandwich
Thanks for your insight into the BrewEasy system. Yeah, I’ve been looking at that too. I haven’t ruled that out but my damn old habits die hard. I have been doing BIAB for my last few brews to see if I could stand one vessel. While most folks really like the method reverted to my fly sparging methods along with my keggle HLT. The only thing I upgraded was a pump which has made a world of difference since I’m not spry anymore. I will be at Hombrew Con so I’ll be able to see systems in person. I really like Spike but Blichmann systems look pretty solid.

@triletter
Speaking of Blichmann that is a very nice set-up. What’s your temp control for your conicals? Is the the new glycol chiller I spy next to one?

Thanks for responding, guys.
 
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triletter

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I put this together before either Spike or Blichmann put their package system out. Love the controllers for temp control. I like the combination of hands on for setting pump outputs and still can tweak things as needed to get numbers and repeatability. I went with the SS BMC’s and bit the bullet on their glycol chiller. Can maintain temps year around in the brewbarn for Ales, Lagers and cold crashing. The FSS system makes it simple to set and monitor. For all practical purposes, I have my own pilot brew system.

Life be good since the wife drinks more beer than me!
 

augiedoggy

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electric is definitely the way to go.
I dont have a stor ebought system myself but as far as configurations go I do use a 3 vessel electric setup with a rims and I average 90% efficiency these days with very slow pump flow using small DC pumps which I think helps in multiple ways with less channeling and better recirc flow as well as eliminating the need for rice hulls or a course grain crush.
I use an arduino/brucontrol software controlled panel I built now but a pid controller works just as well depending on what your wants are.
since I have a dedicated brew area in my house I dont mind the 3 vessels... theres still only two that have to be cleaned since the HLT is only used for water so I dont see the inconvenience myself. (a basket or bag of grain is really a second vessel to clean BIAB guys.. Dont fool yourselves)
 
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PeteSeattle

PeteSeattle

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@augiedoggy
That’s where I’m comfortable, with the 3 vessel system. Been doing it since the 90s and don’t mind doing it now but would like it a little more automated then my current set-up. Having 3 vessels does give me the flexibility to just use one kettle for BIAB 3 gallon brews. And then use all vessels for bigger brews. I’m definitely now leaning more towards electric as I dislike refilling my tanks.

I wish I had the aptitude to diy. Seems you have a great system. Thanks for your input.
 

DonMagee

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I am looking into getting back into homebrewing and building a new system. Im also looking at the spike electric system and comparing it to SS brew tech. Are you happy with your decision? I'm looking at the 15 gallon Spike+ System.
 
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