Getting back into homebrewing, seeing how the landscape has evolved

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

Erroneous

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Messages
629
Reaction score
62
Location
Tallahassee
The last beer I brewed was an AG Belgian Tripel in 2020 on a whim (how many people started brewing in quarantine?) but before that I hadn't brewed with any regularity since 2013 when my wife was pregnant with our first kid. Turns out I bought a porter kit as well but didn't brew it 🙃. Oh well, I think 2 years is a bit much for cracked grains so into the soil those go.

From what I've been seeing electric recirculating BIAB is all the rage now with at least a handful of popular vendors offering all in one solutions for $300-500 which seems awesome. My only question for those are a) how often do they break down and b) how easy are they to fix? Specifically I'm thinking of the Anvil Foundry 10.5 because I just love being able to start at 120v and upgrade to 240v in the future. If these all in one solutions break down and aren't easy to fix would something like the Wort Hog BIAB 10 gallon be better since it's all made from parts you can replace? I think if I can get 7-10 years out of it that's worth it, but if it's more like 2-6 then I might as well spend that money on an easier to repair system. I was intrigued by the idea of an electric brewery when I was last brewing and absolutely love the idea of a single vessel system.

Dry yeasts have really come along which is great because my LHBS retired a few years ago. Shipping liquid yeast in Florida is pretty limiting, even with ice packs. I especially like dry yeast for the sheer amount of cells compared to liquid yeast, no starter required most of the time. Has the advice changed on that? I've been seeing youtube videos where they make a starter from dry yeast for large beers instead of pitching 2 packets. I believe the consensus when I was last brewing was that you didn't even want to rehydrate the yeast first, let alone use a starter. Is there a spreadsheet somewhere that pairs the dry/liquid yeast equivalent strains across the most popular vendors?

Right now I'm in the process of taking inventory and organizing my garage for brewing. My side by side fermentation fridge/kegerator has undergone a few hardware changes over the years. I started with an Arduino hard coded to specific temperatures, then loading settings from and logging to an SD card, then BrewPi on a Raspberry Pi and Arduino, then BrewPi Remix. The thing I hated about BrewPi was that it didn't use temperature format just for display, but also for the history and settings. I had it get reset from F to C once and got a MUCH warmer fermentation than I was expecting. Now I've got CraftBeerPi 4 installed and am setting up a Pi GPIO shield to do away with the Arduino. At some point I need to install a fan between the 2 chambers so I don't completely freeze the kegerator side when I'm fermenting something cool.

Pressurized fermentors also seem to be pretty popular (especially with kveik yeast). I started fermenting in an old sanke keg with the spine removed and a stopper and an airlock. I found that I purchased what looks to be a brand new Brewers Hardware Sanke Fermentor kit in my brewing supplies (same design, has BH imprinted on the top, looks to be top notch hardware), though I don't think I ever purchased from Bobby M. Maybe I got it when my LHBS closed or as a gift, but it definitely beats my old setup!

I'd also like to set up an iSpindel. Those little tilt based hydrometers really seem to have revolutionized how easy it is to know how your fermentation progresses. I'm a little iffy about whether it'll reach my router ~10 feet away through a keg, fridge, and wall. I'm more iffy it'll reach when I move the fridge another 10 feet away and through another wall. I'll probably set up another router then.

I've used BeerSmith for a long time, but I see Brewfather and Brewer's Friend are pretty popular now. I suppose they don't all do the same thing, but I'm mostly looking at recipe formulation. I think I'll stick with BS for now, but I'm curious to know if there's some great things people use other software for. I'm still on BeerSmith 2, so there's likely a purchase in the future.

There seems to be lots to catch up on! Gives me something to do while I clean out and organize my garage. I think I'll also reread Brew Like a Monk, Yeast, and some of my other brewing books.
 

mashpaddled

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2018
Messages
963
Reaction score
752
Location
Denver, CO
Definitely a lot of changes in the past ten or so years. Those were the days of turkey fryers and coolers. BIAB was starting to take off but it was actually a a bag. These days there is a lot less DIY and plastic--a lot more stainless steel and more professional emulating equipment. I'm still out here using my coolers but as you point out these all in one eBIAB type systems have become very affordable. Kinda makes it hard to justify spending almost as much putting together a DIY system unless you just enjoy that aspect of the hobby. I know how my current equipment works so until it either breaks down or physically I need to pursue other avenues to brew, I plan on continuing to use it.

Along the same lines, I'm still using beersmith 2. I know how it works and what my beers are like in relation to what the software says it should be. The new version is subscription based which I don't like. Brewer's Friend is definitely absorbing a lot of that marketspace. All the software is fairly similar IMO so whatever interface you find most helpful is the one to use.

I don't know what the longevity is on these newer systems. Some of the more expensive ones seem more durable but that may be window dressing. In my non-scientific perusal of threads discussing them the cheaper systems seem to have more problems. At their core all of them are electric urns hooked up to a PID type controller. Like any electric water heater the element eventually gives out with use. It doesn't seem like it would be terribly difficult to replace the element though. I'm sure people with better experience with those can speak to their journey.
 
OP
OP
E

Erroneous

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Messages
629
Reaction score
62
Location
Tallahassee
Definitely a lot of changes in the past ten or so years. Those were the days of turkey fryers and coolers. BIAB was starting to take off but it was actually a a bag. These days there is a lot less DIY and plastic--a lot more stainless steel and more professional emulating equipment. I'm still out here using my coolers but as you point out these all in one eBIAB type systems have become very affordable. Kinda makes it hard to justify spending almost as much putting together a DIY system unless you just enjoy that aspect of the hobby. I know how my current equipment works so until it either breaks down or physically I need to pursue other avenues to brew, I plan on continuing to use it.

Along the same lines, I'm still using beersmith 2. I know how it works and what my beers are like in relation to what the software says it should be. The new version is subscription based which I don't like. Brewer's Friend is definitely absorbing a lot of that marketspace. All the software is fairly similar IMO so whatever interface you find most helpful is the one to use.
It looks like you can pay for BS 3 with a lifetime purchase for $35 but you get that pretty stiff limit to cloud recipes and you don't get major updates or web editing. The limit for number of machines you can use is not something I like either.

I don't know what the longevity is on these newer systems. Some of the more expensive ones seem more durable but that may be window dressing. In my non-scientific perusal of threads discussing them the cheaper systems seem to have more problems. At their core all of them are electric urns hooked up to a PID type controller. Like any electric water heater the element eventually gives out with use. It doesn't seem like it would be terribly difficult to replace the element though. I'm sure people with better experience with those can speak to their journey.
Yeah my biggest question is probably replacing the controller. I figure the temperature probe, pump, and coils are replaceable. The controller though is likely proprietary and is usually attached to the side of a vessel sitting at 214F for an hour. That doesn't bode well for most electronics imo.
 
Joined
Oct 6, 2017
Messages
4,137
Reaction score
3,125
Location
_
I suspect the current consensus has become more balanced recently. And some of the details in the consensus are becoming strain specific. For example: not all strains have a 1 packet for 5 gal pitch rate.


When starting with home brewing, sprinkling it dry into the wort (or re-hydrating) is simple & effective. So there's probably no compelling reason, when starting out, to make a starter with dry yeast.


If one continues brewing, the cost of yeast can be a factor - and making a starter appears to be one way to reduce that cost. Lallemand has information on making a starter with dry Diamond lager yeast. And, IIRC, Fermentis videos from 2020/21 talk positively about re-pitching yeast in the Q&A section of those videos.
 
Last edited:

Broken Crow

Ale's what cures 'ya
Joined
Oct 12, 2020
Messages
666
Reaction score
683
Not to slam High Gravity Fermentations or anything, but if I were able to physically handle the bag I'd go with Bobby's system; Premium Recirculating Electric (240v) BIAB Package (SPIKE brand kettle) and build my own controller. Bobby's is sensibly made in that the Spike kettle is standard and the pump meets the actual usage specs rather than massively overpowering it with a more costly Riptide (don't get me wrong, I love the Riptide, but much smaller pumps are more appropriate to that kind of system) Also, Bobby's gives you a further 1000 Watts, which lessens wait times for boil. As to the fermenting in Sankey's, the Norcal Cross-fermenter has a bit more versatility, though it costs a bit more. Sanke Keg Cross Fermenter Kit. NorCal Brewing Solutions
Not trying to push anything here, just offering personal opinions....(I'm always budget minded, but also aware you get what you pay for.)
 
OP
OP
E

Erroneous

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Messages
629
Reaction score
62
Location
Tallahassee
Thanks for the great suggestions! I was actually looking at the Norcal kit before I found the Brewers Hardware one unused already in my hardware.

I haven't seen that spike system yet. That looks like a great way to go. I already have a chugger pump, so this looks amazing. The only possible downside I'm wondering about is whether that element can scorch the wort. I was specifically looking for something ultra low watt density, but would be interested to know if that is something seen on this system.

lol I confused Brew Hardware with Brewers Hardware, probably not the first person to do that. I was a fan of Bobby's sight glasses when I first saw them but never got around to purchasing one.
 

Broken Crow

Ale's what cures 'ya
Joined
Oct 12, 2020
Messages
666
Reaction score
683
I've been using the Camco 5500W element in my keggle on a simple SSVR controller and even on max, I've never approached carmelizing. Granted though; I do run constant reciculation on my keggle with a cheap ebay RM-15 pump (recently marketed as the 'Pumpzilla' I believe.)
 

Joe P

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2022
Messages
89
Reaction score
109
Totally enjoy reading how much "things" have changed in brewing. Makes me laugh thinking back to 1977 when we'd brew Birch Beer by boiling Birch Tree Bark then add the sugars. And then...those insane original SS Pressure Cookers. Yes, ALOT has changed.
 

bwible

I drink, and I know things
HBT Supporter
Joined
Oct 31, 2017
Messages
2,138
Reaction score
4,183
Location
Oxford, PA
I have the Anvil Foundry 6.5. I’ve had it 2 years in April. Works fine. I don’t think they’ve been around all that long to get an idea how long they really last. I use mine for 3 gallon batches. I can tell you I brewed 20 batches for 2020 and 21 batches for 2021. I’m on batch 12 for 2022.

I have the Anvil pump too. It’s a great little pump. I don’t boil in my Foundry though. Because I find when you pull the basket you disturb the grain bed and then you don’t get clear wort. I pretty much use the Foundry as a mash tun. I love being able to do step mashes. I drain to my kettle and boil on the stove. I have the Anvil 5 gallon kettle.

Things have changed. For me, especially with smaller batches, these little electric systems are the way to go. I can’t speak to running a larger system than I have on 110v. The 6.5 does well.

There’s a whole giant thread and community of people who do small batches, a whole thread for 1 gallon batches. There are a couple small batch automated beer making systems like Beermkr.

Some new styles have taken over, which you can’t help but notice if you’ve been to a brewpub or the beer store recently. Hazy and cloudy ipas that look like a glass of orange juice are 4 out of 5 taps at every micro and brewpub. The words “juicy” and “dank” are over used. Cheaper canning machines hit the market. Every micro has one and some homebrewers even have them now. Lot of people want to can rather than bottle now. Cans of ipas are all over the shelves in the beer store and most of them are not properly labelled to know if its hazy/cloudy or not. IPA is a lost and confusing style for many now. Yet surprisingly these orange juice looking beers don’t seem to be winning every beer competition. Big thread from people who want to make ipa clear again.

Lots more people brewing sour beers, which is the other hip and trendy style now.

Hops from New Zealand are all the rage. There are so many new hops now that nobody can keep up. 60 min boil hops are not being used as much. More people want to put all the hops in the whirlpool now or keep all the hops additions to 15 min or less.

Low oxygen brewing is now all the rage. Lots of spirited debates. Don’t you dare siphon your beer from an open carboy into another open carboy (nobody uses “secondary” carboys anymore) or into an open keg. The oxygen monster will get you.

New yeast companies besides Wyeast and White Labs. New strains. Kviek yeast some people love some people hate. New trend of being able to ferment 34/70 at ale temps and still make good lager. Still have to lager after primary, we’re just talking about skipping the 50 degree primary.

Totally agree on the Tilt. It is a real game changer to be able to monitor fermentation without pulling samples. Some people say they have calibration problems with it though. But its useful to know when fermentation is done.

I’m on 25 years brewing this year. I owned a homebrew shop from 2000 - 2004. Things have changed.
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
E

Erroneous

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Messages
629
Reaction score
62
Location
Tallahassee
I suspect the current consensus has become more balanced recently. And some of the details in the consensus are becoming strain specific. For example: not all strains have a 1 packet for 5 gal pitch rate.

When starting with home brewing, sprinkling it dry into the wort (or re-hydrating) is simple & effective. So there's probably no compelling reason, when starting out, to make a starter with dry yeast.

If one continues brewing, the cost of yeast can be a factor - and making a starter appears to be one way to reduce that cost. Lallemand has information on making a starter with dry Diamond lager yeast. And, IIRC, Fermentis videos from 2020/21 talk positively about re-pitching yeast in the Q&A section of those videos.
I believe I was remembering an experiment someone did, maybe Basic Brewing Radio, where they compared the results of pitching yeast directly and rehydrating, and they couldn't tell a difference. Looking back now, if that's what it was then there's definitely a lot more experimenting to be done like a) a more objective way of determining off flavors, b) testing different gravities and pitch rates, c) testing different strains, and d) testing different styles that might want stressed yeast. I believe I did a tripel with a packet of T-58 and no rehydration or nutrients and it turned out ok, but it was also a little under my target SG.

One thing I'd like to do in the future is develop good Belgian Trappist style ales. Constant iteration would make good use of yeast washing. I'll be looking into direct oxygen injection too, since that seems to be very important.
 
OP
OP
E

Erroneous

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Messages
629
Reaction score
62
Location
Tallahassee
I have the Anvil Foundry 6.5. I’ve had it 2 years in April. Works fine. I don’t think they’ve been around all that long to get an idea how long they really last. I use mine for 3 gallon batches. I can tell you I brewed 20 batches for 2020 and 21 batches for 2021. I’m on batch 12 for 2022.

I have the Anvil pump too. It’s a great little pump. I don’t boil in my Foundry though. Because I find when you pull the basket you disturb the grain bed and then you don’t get clear wort. I pretty much use the Foundry as a mash tun. I love being able to do step mashes. I drain to my kettle and boil on the stove. I have the Anvil 5 gallon kettle.

Things have changed. For me, especially with smaller batches, these little electric systems are the way to go. I can’t speak to running a larger system than I have on 110v. The 6.5 does well.

There’s a whole giant thread and community of people who do small batches, a whole thread for 1 gallon batches. There are a couple small batch automated beer making systems like Beermkr.

Some new styles have taken over, which you can’t help but notice if you’ve been to a brewpub or the beer store recently. Hazy and cloudy ipas that look like a glass of orange juice are 4 out of 5 taps at every micro and brewpub. Most the shelves in the beer store. Yet surprisingly they don’t seem to be winning every beer competition. Big thread from people who want to make ipa clear again.

Hops from New Zealand are all the rage. There are so many new hops now that nobody can keep up.

Low oxygen brewing is now all the rage. Lots of spirited debates.

New yeast companies besides Wyeast and White Labs. New strains. Kviek yeast some people love some people hate. New trend of being able to ferment 34/70 at ale temps and still make good lager. Still have to lager after primary, we’re just talking about skipping the 50 degree primary.

I’m on 25 years brewing this year. I owned a homebrew shop from 2000 - 2004. Things have changed.
That's interesting using the Anvil for a mash/hlt tun. I've been in the process of pricing it out and I like the idea of making 5 gallon batches because I like having a corny keg full of beer after I do a full day brewing and waiting 2-4 weeks for it to ferment. Currently I only have a single primary fermenter so that could be a different story if I say bought some corny fermenter lids for smaller batches. If I was making beer every 1-2 weeks though, I'd probably have to go smaller batches.

It seems like right now my considerations are:
a) Anvil 10.5 gallon for $425. I can start out 120v and move to 240v after getting a 240v gfci receptacle installed. Making 5 gallon high gravity beers might be an issue with max 16 lb grain bill.
b) Anvil 18 gallon for $700.
c) Brew Hardware's 15 gallon spike system + PID controller for about $1100 + shipping. I'd have to get that receptacle installed first (I'm estimating about $300 since it'd go only about 5 feet from my panel) but it could make anything I want and I can replace anything that breaks. I might be able to skip shipping since I have family in NY that I might need to visit.

When I think about final cost including the outlet, $725 vs $1000 vs $1400 the spike system is looking pretty nice.
 
Joined
Oct 6, 2017
Messages
4,137
Reaction score
3,125
Location
_
I believe I was remembering an experiment someone did, maybe Basic Brewing Radio, where they compared the results of pitching yeast directly and rehydrating, and they couldn't tell a difference. Looking back now, if that's what it was then there's definitely a lot more experimenting to be done like a) a more objective way of determining off flavors, b) testing different gravities and pitch rates, c) testing different strains, and d) testing different styles that might want stressed yeast. I believe I did a tripel with a packet of T-58 and no rehydration or nutrients and it turned out ok, but it was also a little under my target SG.
If you are interested in brewing with dry yeast, take some time to read/listen to the current content that Fermentis and Lallemand offer.
 

bwible

I drink, and I know things
HBT Supporter
Joined
Oct 31, 2017
Messages
2,138
Reaction score
4,183
Location
Oxford, PA
That's interesting using the Anvil for a mash/hlt tun. I've been in the process of pricing it out and I like the idea of making 5 gallon batches because I like having a corny keg full of beer after I do a full day brewing and waiting 2-4 weeks for it to ferment.
The 6.5 has an 8 lb grain capacity. Thats fine for an average 3 gallon batch. But 8 lbs for 5 gallons I can only get to about 1.040. So yeah - that’s one of my issues. If I want to fill a 5 gallon corny I either have to brew twice, supplement with extract, or make a 1.040 session beer. I also still have my 5 gallon orange cooler mash tun and I can use that too.

I like to make lagers too. And those take more than 3-4 weeks.

I have 12 cases of bottles and most 3 gallon batches go into bottles. My kegerator has 2 taps. I do have 3 gallon kegs.
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
E

Erroneous

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Messages
629
Reaction score
62
Location
Tallahassee
If you are interested in brewing with dry yeast, take some time to read/listen to the current content that Fermentis and Lallemand offer.
From Lallemand their own research has shown no difference between rehydration and dry pitching (though they don't mention rehydration with yeast protectants vs dry pitching). At the link's timestamp they show there are still advantages to rehydration like being able to add yeast protectants and on high gravity and low ph beers it produces less stress on the yeast, though they say it doesn't affect performance. The Fermentis video on direct pitching is much less informative but says you can do either depending on how you want to do it.
 

mashpaddled

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2018
Messages
963
Reaction score
752
Location
Denver, CO
Yeah my biggest question is probably replacing the controller. I figure the temperature probe, pump, and coils are replaceable. The controller though is likely proprietary and is usually attached to the side of a vessel sitting at 214F for an hour. That doesn't bode well for most electronics imo.

Definitely a guess but I bet if you cracked the control panel open, especially on the cheaper models, you would find a Raspberry Pi or similar component. Whether you could swap them out is above my pay grade but I would be real surprised if they built a system off a generic electric urn but then built out proprietary hardware.
 

Broken Crow

Ale's what cures 'ya
Joined
Oct 12, 2020
Messages
666
Reaction score
683
Take your time weighing your options. An option I haven't seen mentioned here: Depending on your level of DIY ability/comfort, building your own gear can often save quite a bit of money as well as tayloring your system to your own liking. The PID controller, in particular is an area you can save significant cash and there are plenty of finished and working designs on this this site. I'm not suggesting cheaping out there though... But putting a new breaker and outlet in your own home is quite simple and barely more complex than changing out a power cord on a lamp...just a couple more and bulkier parts, and there is plenty of online guidance regarding Code conformance. Word of warning there though: If you lack confidence in working with electricity, by all means hire someone else! A PID controller on the other hand, built with breaker and GFCI protection and the guidance you can find on this forum, is something anyone can do if they are determined. Again though, it is all how much you feel like doing.
Just a thought. :) :mug:
 
OP
OP
E

Erroneous

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Messages
629
Reaction score
62
Location
Tallahassee
I've done a decent amount of soldering and home electrical repair (replacing outlets, switches, light fixtures, fans, etc), but when it comes to high voltage and high amperage, I (and my wife) would rather let a pro do it I think. I can make something that works, but I don't have the experience to know how safe it is until it burns down the house.

I'll definitely take my time. I don't want to spend a good deal of money on a system I want or need to replace in 5 years and I do have a system that works, even if it's not everything I'd like it to be. I'd prefer to stay away from solutions that do more than necessary. Adding bluetooth, wifi, and an app doesn't add anything for me, but it adds a ton of complexity, maintenance, and points of failure to the controller. I'm on the fence on the Blichmann controller with its touch screen because it isn't as simple as switches and segmented displays. In that particular case it might be prejudice against newer technology having shorter lifetimes. There are fewer moving parts on a touch screen, after all.

I'm a computer programmer and have been using Linux for about 16 years. In my experience stuff breaks when you need to use it, and rarely gets noticed until then. One thing I don't want to have to do is go through trying to pair a new phone on brew day because I forgot I haven't brewed yet. Make me press real buttons and listen for timers.
 

Broken Crow

Ale's what cures 'ya
Joined
Oct 12, 2020
Messages
666
Reaction score
683
In my experience stuff breaks when you need to use it, and rarely gets noticed until then
With you 100% on that! ..which is why I build my own controllers. I was mainly in the Linux and various BSD's camp myself at the end of the last century becuase I have always valued having the facility to replace faulty components, wether software or consumer hardware. Being able to maintain and extend the useful life of every tool is a fundamental part of my choice in tools and machines of any kind. I have no use for the more esoteric 'total automation' myself either, but I am heavily biased these days owing to an injury that limits the complexity of my working cognition..thus; discrete controllers for each unit: An Inkbird Inkbird PID Temperature Controllers Thermostat ITC-106VH, K Sensor, White Heat Sink, 25A DA Solid State Relay, 100ACV - 240ACV for Sous Vide, Home Brewing, Pump, Hatching : Amazon.ca: Industrial & Scientific for my HLT, an Auber EZboil for Boiling, Step Mashing, and Low Oxygen (LODO) Brewing DSPR320 EZBoil Controller for Boiling, Step Mashing, and Low Oxygen (LODO) Brewing [DSPR320A] - $72.50 : Auber Instruments, Inc., Temperature control solutions for home and industry for my RIMS tube, and at the moment a simple SSVR, pot, relay, switch and power (V/A) meter for my BK, but building a new unit based on the Auber 'Digital Power Regulator' Digital SSR Power Regulator for Wort Boiling Control [DSPR1] - $35.95 : Auber Instruments, Inc., Temperature control solutions for home and industry for total manual/visual control of the boil. Basically, the contollers can be built for less than half the cost of the ready-mades available, and as overload protection is built in, this is where one of the greatest savings can enter the picture for those who are not comfortable with doing their own residential wiring, but will have the comfort to experiment by building a box, along the lines many on here provide information and feedback on without risking life and shelter. ;)
Not trying to push 'my way', just trying to provide options and encouragement to explore every option there are threads for on this site. Oh, ..on that note: I sometimes hate this sites search engine and when looking for a specific discussion, I'll search it in duckduckgo.com, with the addtion of "homebrewtalk.com" in my search and I get back many more relavant results.
 
OP
OP
E

Erroneous

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Messages
629
Reaction score
62
Location
Tallahassee
With you 100% on that! ..which is why I build my own controllers. I was mainly in the Linux and various BSD's camp myself at the end of the last century becuase I have always valued having the facility to replace faulty components, wether software or consumer hardware. Being able to maintain and extend the useful life of every tool is a fundamental part of my choice in tools and machines of any kind. I have no use for the more esoteric 'total automation' myself either, but I am heavily biased these days owing to an injury that limits the complexity of my working cognition..thus; discrete controllers for each unit: An Inkbird Inkbird PID Temperature Controllers Thermostat ITC-106VH, K Sensor, White Heat Sink, 25A DA Solid State Relay, 100ACV - 240ACV for Sous Vide, Home Brewing, Pump, Hatching : Amazon.ca: Industrial & Scientific for my HLT, an Auber EZboil for Boiling, Step Mashing, and Low Oxygen (LODO) Brewing DSPR320 EZBoil Controller for Boiling, Step Mashing, and Low Oxygen (LODO) Brewing [DSPR320A] - $72.50 : Auber Instruments, Inc., Temperature control solutions for home and industry for my RIMS tube, and at the moment a simple SSVR, pot, relay, switch and power (V/A) meter for my BK, but building a new unit based on the Auber 'Digital Power Regulator' Digital SSR Power Regulator for Wort Boiling Control [DSPR1] - $35.95 : Auber Instruments, Inc., Temperature control solutions for home and industry for total manual/visual control of the boil. Basically, the contollers can be built for less than half the cost of the ready-mades available, and as overload protection is built in, this is where one of the greatest savings can enter the picture for those who are not comfortable with doing their own residential wiring, but will have the comfort to experiment by building a box, along the lines many on here provide information and feedback on without risking life and shelter. ;)
Not trying to push 'my way', just trying to provide options and encouragement to explore every option there are threads for on this site. Oh, ..on that note: I sometimes hate this sites search engine and when looking for a specific discussion, I'll search it in duckduckgo.com, with the addtion of "homebrewtalk.com" in my search and I get back many more relavant results.
Thanks for the recommendations. After looking at typical builds it does look like something I can handle no problem though I'd still want an electrician to install the outlet and breaker. I'm thinking I should be able to build a controller for under $200.
 

Bobby_M

Vendor and Brewer
HBT Sponsor
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
26,390
Reaction score
6,316
Location
Whitehouse Station
Of course I'm partial to my eBIAB system but definitely agree the most cost savings can be hand building the control box as I think the markup is highest on that component (certainly not my markup). No matter what, put the Auber DSPR-120 inside.

Contactor
Element Switch
Pump Switch
SSR
Heatsink
DSPR120
Temp probe
Box
 
Last edited:

Broken Crow

Ale's what cures 'ya
Joined
Oct 12, 2020
Messages
666
Reaction score
683
Of course I'm partial to my eBIAB system but definitely agree the most cost savings can be hand building the control box as I think the markup is highest on that component (certainly not my markup). No matter what, put the Auber DSPR-120 inside.

Contactor
Element Switch
Pump Switch
SSR
Heatsink
DSPR120
Temp probe
Box
Does the DSPR120 have an advantage over the DSPR320?
EDIT: Oh! The price! :p
 
OP
OP
E

Erroneous

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Messages
629
Reaction score
62
Location
Tallahassee
Of course I'm partial to my eBIAB system but definitely agree the most cost savings can be hand building the control box as I think the markup is highest on that component (certainly not my markup). No matter what, put the Auber DSPR-120 inside.

Contactor
Element Switch
Pump Switch
SSR
Heatsink
DSPR120
Temp probe
Box
Would you say 220V eBIAB Design - Wiring Diagram Review this post has a good schematic to go by?
 
OP
OP
E

Erroneous

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Messages
629
Reaction score
62
Location
Tallahassee
I'm still doing research on controllers, but it's looking like if I buy all the parts for doug293cz's eBIAB controller from Auber it's just over $300. The DIY CUBE 5E kit is $356, so I think you're paying maybe $50 for cutting holes in the enclosure and slightly different design (high amp breaker instead of keyed switch and contactor, 2 120v AUX ports instead of 1, no element lamp, unlit switches).

The Electric Brewing Supply kit is $375 but has the EBS200 PID controller instead of the EZBoil. It's hard to not drool at that stainless EBS kit though.

Still a lot to mull over. Might end up getting an Anvil 10.5 for a little more than just a controller. I'm having a hard time finding a lot of references to problems with it. And if I need to do a batch with a higher grain bill I can use it as a HLT and break out my old mash tun cooler.
 

Broken Crow

Ale's what cures 'ya
Joined
Oct 12, 2020
Messages
666
Reaction score
683
In my opinion, the SSR, PID/Power regulator, and temp probes are the parts you want to "buy once, cry once" and the others can be sourced cheaper elswhere provided you be sure they meet your specs. The enclosure is one expense I personally find absurd, but then I do take a utilitarian-first view on most things. My first simple boil-controller cost less than $100 and I made an enclosure more appropriate to my own brewing ergonomics, from the side panels of an old 486 computer:
IMG_0860.jpeg
IMG_0894.jpg

Milage can vary and Auber is top-notch, but less critical components can be found cheaper elswhere. As you mentioned, you can Buy the Anvil 10.5 and even if you expand, it will remain useful. As to your link to https://www.homebrewtalk.com/members/doug293cz.189994/ ...highly recommended! You might want to look up and peruse his other posts, as he's one of the handful of authorities in this area you can trust completely and has led many away from harm or damage in these threads.
 

Bobby_M

Vendor and Brewer
HBT Sponsor
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
26,390
Reaction score
6,316
Location
Whitehouse Station
I have a strong opinion about the increased utility of either the Auber DSPR-120 or 320 over a standard PID and it's really only something you can appreciate after you've brewed on them. If you want to read some comparisons between the two, I have a buyer's guide here: Electric Controller Buyer's Guide

There's nothing particularly wrong with an all in one system except for the proprietary integration of the controller and elements. Will parts always be available? I don't know but Blichmann (makers of the Anvil products) were without replacement parts for their Brew Commander controller for many months recently. A secondary contrast is the power. If you run the Foundry on 240v (and you should), it's 2800 watts which pales in comparison to a system with a 5500 watt element.

The cost of a DIY controller should be around $200 if you use a reasonably priced enclosure. You don't need more than a single contactor. You don't need an E-stop button. Actually a lot of the price will depend on how you get power in and out of the box. It's way cheaper to use cord grips and hard wire the cables into the box rather than put connectors on the cables and use panel mount plugs/receptacles. The latter adds probably $60 to the cost.

Something like this is fine QILIPSU Hinged Cover Stainless Steel Latch 370x270x150mm Junction Box with Mounting Plate, ABS Plastic DIY Electrical Project Case IP67 Waterproof Dustproof Enclosure Grey (14.6"x10.6"x5.9") - - Amazon.com
 
Last edited:

Broken Crow

Ale's what cures 'ya
Joined
Oct 12, 2020
Messages
666
Reaction score
683
Actually a lot of the price will depend on how you get power in and out of the box. It's way cheaper to use cord grips and hard wire the cables into the box rather than put connectors on the cables and use panel mount plugs/receptacles.
Agree completely! Although my BK controller is just a simple SSVR, the same in/out connections apply and the cost differences are staggering. Here's the backside of that unit I showed after 2 years of use, (also in pic is the cheap adapter I made so I could use an L14-30 in my stove outlet in my kitchen)
IMG_1335.jpg
 
OP
OP
E

Erroneous

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Messages
629
Reaction score
62
Location
Tallahassee
I have a strong opinion about the increased utility of either the Auber DSPR-120 or 320 over a standard PID and it's really only something you can appreciate after you've brewed on them. If you want to read some comparisons between the two, I have a buyer's guide here: Electric Controller Buyer's Guide

There's nothing particularly wrong with an all in one system except for the proprietary integration of the controller and elements. Will parts always be available? I don't know but Blichmann (makers of the Anvil products) were without replacement parts for their Brew Commander controller for many months recently. A secondary contrast is the power. If you run the Foundry on 240v (and you should), it's 2800 watts which pales in comparison to a system with a 5500 watt element.

The cost of a DIY controller should be around $200 if you use a reasonably priced enclosure. You don't need more than a single contactor. You don't need an E-stop button. Actually a lot of the price will depend on how you get power in and out of the box. It's way cheaper to use cord grips and hard wire the cables into the box rather than put connectors on the cables and use panel mount plugs/receptacles. The latter adds probably $60 to the cost.

Something like this is fine QILIPSU Hinged Cover Stainless Steel Latch 370x270x150mm Junction Box with Mounting Plate, ABS Plastic DIY Electrical Project Case IP67 Waterproof Dustproof Enclosure Grey (14.6"x10.6"x5.9") - - Amazon.com
You may want to update the buyers guide for the Cube 5e (I think functionally the same as the 3e) and maybe remove the Cube 3e BH custom. The table is still great for comparing the DSPR-120 and DSPR-320. Also I can't find the Cube 3e on the site anymore but thought I could Monday.

For an enclosure I was actually thinking of doing the Auber Portable Project Box which appears to be similar to the Cube's enclosure and is only $50.

I've played around with the components and design a bit, but if I go for the Auber RTD PT100 probe, DSPR-320, 40A SSR, it's $134. That's without switches, contactors, fuses, enclosure, or heatsink, though does include the XLR upgrade on the probe for $9. I'm not saying you can't do it for under $200 these days, but probably shouldn't if you want Auber PID and sensor. I can get the entirety of doug293cz's design from Auber for about $300 and the prices on the components besides the probe, pid, and heatsink are pretty reasonable from my limited searching on amazon. I think at this point I'd rather get something made from quality components if it is going to last a bit longer. Honestly if I could get the EBrewSupply BIAB controller Kit either without their PID or with the EZ Boil then I'd go for that.

It's always possible prices have increased for a lot of these components because of supply chain issues.
 

Bobby_M

Vendor and Brewer
HBT Sponsor
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
26,390
Reaction score
6,316
Location
Whitehouse Station
You may want to update the buyers guide for the Cube 5e (I think functionally the same as the 3e) and maybe remove the Cube 3e BH custom. The table is still great for comparing the DSPR-120 and DSPR-320. Also I can't find the Cube 3e on the site anymore but thought I could Monday.

For an enclosure I was actually thinking of doing the Auber Portable Project Box which appears to be similar to the Cube's enclosure and is only $50.

I've played around with the components and design a bit, but if I go for the Auber RTD PT100 probe, DSPR-320, 40A SSR, it's $134. That's without switches, contactors, fuses, enclosure, or heatsink, though does include the XLR upgrade on the probe for $9. I'm not saying you can't do it for under $200 these days, but probably shouldn't if you want Auber PID and sensor. I can get the entirety of doug293cz's design from Auber for about $300 and the prices on the components besides the probe, pid, and heatsink are pretty reasonable from my limited searching on amazon. I think at this point I'd rather get something made from quality components if it is going to last a bit longer. Honestly if I could get the EBrewSupply BIAB controller Kit either without their PID or with the EZ Boil then I'd go for that.

It's always possible prices have increased for a lot of these components because of supply chain issues.
Yeah, the 3e switched over to the 5e about a week ago. The only change is a small toggle switch to turn the DSPR's display off. I just changed the references over now but the info is still the same.

You're right, the components have gone up quite a bit and I priced my list using a cheaper plastic junction box.
 
OP
OP
E

Erroneous

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Messages
629
Reaction score
62
Location
Tallahassee
Just an update on what I ended up doing

I got someone's complete homebrew setup from a local Craigslist. He was looking to leave the hobby to move onto something new. It's a 3 vessel HERMS setup designed by theelectricbrewery.com. 2x spike 15 gallon kettles for mash tun and boil kettle, 1 keggle for the HLT. It had all kinds of extras like a keezer, grain mill, Tilt, fermentation mini fridge, Speidel plastic fermentor, pH meter, TDS meter, 3 stainless chugger pumps, CFC, 5L flask, obligatory glass carboy, various fittings. The whole setup was a couple hundred more than I was going to pay for a new single vessel BIAB system with controller. It takes up a little more space and is more to clean, but I did use to dream of getting this setup when I first saw it. The controller uses Inkbird ITC-106VH PIDs and an Auber DSPR1 boil controller. It's basically everything I wanted and some of the future purchases I wanted as well (Tilt, 6 keg keezer, grain mill, pH meter, smaller fermentor refrigerator).

Now to get that 240v GFCI installed :D
 

Attachments

  • PXL_20220718_121842416.jpg
    PXL_20220718_121842416.jpg
    2.9 MB · Views: 0
  • PXL_20220718_121857418.jpg
    PXL_20220718_121857418.jpg
    2.5 MB · Views: 0
  • PXL_20220718_235926910.jpg
    PXL_20220718_235926910.jpg
    3.6 MB · Views: 0
  • PXL_20220718_235939444.jpg
    PXL_20220718_235939444.jpg
    3.2 MB · Views: 0
Top