Build versus buy if I have tons of parts already.

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djonesax

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I don't brew much anymore because of the time commitment but I kind of want to buy the Spike Solo because I do brew a couple times a year and maybe I'd brew more if it were easier. I got to thinking though, I have kettles, pumps, fittings, false bottoms, hoses, sparge arms, chillers, so much more to potentially build my own with the addition of a controller, heating elements, time, etc.... Years ago, I switched to BIAB and have tons of stuff I don't even use anymore, from my three-vessel system, and today I have kind of a redneck rigged BIAB set up. Is it worth building my own system these days, or should I sell all my stuff and just buy a Solo.
 
If you don't brew that much, I'd recommend selling all your current gear and just buy an Anvil Foundry and plug it in to 240v. It will be a joy to run occasionally. My guess is that you'll end up netting a profit in the exchange and you don't even need to build anything
 
If you don't enjoy building things, then @Bobby_M 's advice is probably the best. If you want to build something, then you are looking at $400 +/- for a solid BIAB controller + element.

Brew on :mug:
 
As 1 who uses an AIO, important question: Are you wanting to do all-grain, extract, or both? They're perfect for extracts Set the temp to 160 and let the grains steep, pull them out, change temp to 218, go back later and dump in the extract, and set an alarm to remind you when to go back to dump in the hops. Time commitment with extract is negligible. Takes a couple hours total, but only takes about 15-20 minutes of my time. Most of that is chilling when done. You can also do AG with them, but takes a little practice to get your process down. I enjoy having the option to do both, as I do extract when supply is getting low and time is short. I do AG when I have time to myself and want to clear my head and relax. Another question: How important is space? AIO's tend to have a much smaller footprint than a DIY (and are easier to clean). I think you can see where my preference is...
 
To me this is the key: is building a new system how you want to spend your time?
To me the build or buy decision comes down to two things, 1) how much do you enjoy tinkering and 2) how important is it that the finished product is perfect. The answer to the first one is usually pretty easy but the second one can be harder to answer.

For me, I love to tinker and build/repair things and I have a pretty high skill level with most types of projects but when it comes to my brewing gear I want it to work flawlessly and simply. I like having a well engineered system that doesn’t require little work arounds or force me to deal with the little problems like finicky connections, drips or parts that just don’t fit quite right, that often show up in home built systems. I know for some people those things wouldn’t bother them at all but I think knowing which group you are in might help guide the decision to build or buy.
Either way, good luck and keep brewing. 🍻
 

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