Quantcast

Going Electric

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Erik Rodriguez

Active Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
43
Reaction score
8
Greetings all,

I have been brewing all grain on a gas setup for a while. I always seem to struggle with temperature control, so I want to go electric.

I have a 14gal conical fermenter that I modified to have temperature control. It works quite well and maintains temperature within .5C. I am happy with that. But since this is 14 gallons, it also dictates my batch volumes a bit.

So, doing a lot of looking around I see two reasonable solutions. I do brew in my garage, but even then, space is a little limited, so reducing the number of kettles needed would be very nice. Again, that leaves me with two options that seem to fit my needs:

1) RoboBrew is coming out with a 10 gallon batch setup. My concerns here are that there have been a number of issues with its control board burning out, the heating coils malfunctioning, and that you have to lift out the mash grain, which can be quite heavy for a 10 gal batch. I do hear that they are improving the reliability of these components in the next product release though.

2) A Blichmann BrewEasy 10 gal setup. The upside here is that the system is (from what I have been reading) far more reliable. Operation seems to be quite a bit more streamlined. The downside is the cost.

So, any comments/advice/suggestions on a suitable easy to use setup are welcome. I also have some questions:

Since the BrewEasy comes with a 20gal boil kettle, is it possible to get a batch that is 12-13 gallons?
 

JONNYROTTEN

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 21, 2009
Messages
4,054
Reaction score
1,327
Location
Long Island
I brew with a 20 gallon pot BIAB and brew 12-13 gallon batches every time doing a full mash. Never had close to a boil over.

If you didnt want to buy a pre built system you could make your own. Its really not hard.

With BIAB you only need one pot for the whole brew day and no coolers so it sounds like it would work for you
 
OP
E

Erik Rodriguez

Active Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
43
Reaction score
8
Is the Grainfather not big enough for the amount you wanna brew ?
In considering price, this is between the RoboBrew and the BrewEasy. From what I read about the reviews, there are several complaints about how Grainfather is arranged. Odd things poking out and so on. That is not a problem for me really and sounds more like noise than anything else. So, Grainfather is a consideration on par with RoboBrew.
 

Jag75

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 24, 2018
Messages
5,806
Reaction score
2,416
Location
Taft
In considering price, this is between the RoboBrew and the BrewEasy. From what I read about the reviews, there are several complaints about how Grainfather is arranged. Odd things poking out and so on. That is not a problem for me really and sounds more like noise than anything else. So, Grainfather is a consideration on par with RoboBrew.
I just got a Gf and I can say it's awesome. I've done 1 brew on it so far . Very well built and the connect display is really cool because you can run it from your phone .
 

mongoose33

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 16, 2015
Messages
8,009
Reaction score
7,527
Location
Platteville, WI
My son has a RoboBrew; if he had to do it over again, he wouldn't buy it. Temp control iffy, the pump didn't seem to work right--he wishes he had his money back.

I don't know enough about any of those all-in-one systems to speak authoritatively about them (save maybe the RoboBrew), but what I can say is this: almost all all-in-one systems (combo fax/phone/printer/scanner, brewing system, whatever) make compromises to accommodate the all-in-one.

Those systems have never appealed to me because I have a suspicion that they make some compromises in places that you cannot change, and thus you're stuck with them. This is just a general resistance to those kind of design compromises, versus being able to do a modular system that is exactly what YOU want, not the compromises the all-in-one designer wanted.

YMMV and all that, and I'm sure there are people happy with their automated system. Heck, @Jag75 above is happy with his GF. And I certainly don't wish you ill; I hope you find a solution with which you're happy.

But those things aren't for me.

*******

I just switched to electric brewing in August, and it's not cheap, at least the way I did it. Cost me close to $500 just to run 240-v to the garage, and that was with an electrician friend advising me and handling only the connections. Then there was the panel for controlling it....and a lot of other stuff.

I can see the appeal to an electric system, even an all-in-one system. But if you end up spending in the area of $700-$1000, maybe it's worth asking if you'll truly be happy, or if adding another $500 or so would get you a system you really want. Including, in my case, a 5500-watt heating element that takes 8.25 gallons of 60-degree water to boiling in 29 minutes.
 

Jag75

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 24, 2018
Messages
5,806
Reaction score
2,416
Location
Taft
I was gonna do the 3 kettle thing but I have absolutely no room so the all in one seemed to be the right choice . I looked at the mash and boil and robobrew for a while . Just too many bad things I heard about the robobrew. Exactly what happened to your sons mongoose. I only decided on the Grainfather because I know someone who's had it for a long time and have done tons of brews and they couldnt find a negative thing about it except the time it takes to get up to boiling temp. I've seen some pics that members post of their set up. I love the big shiny 3 kettle system and the nice panels . If I had a nice basement or a nice extra room it be awesome . However those ain't cheap . I agree with Mongoose if spending an extra 500 gets you what you really want do it . You will end up regretting it and may even get what you want a year down the road and be out more money in the long run. The mash and boil is supposed to put a new version out at the end of the yr with a pump and some more features.
 

RM-MN

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2010
Messages
14,372
Reaction score
5,098
Location
Solway
Before you blow a ton of money on a fancy brew system give BIAB a try. Use the kettle you normally would for boil and fill it with the amount of water you need. Heat it to strike temp, drop in a strainer bag, stir in the grains (well milled, much finer than you are used to seeing), put the lid on and walk away. Don't try to control the temperature. It isn't necessary. If your grains are milled fine, the conversion will be over before the temperature drops enough to matter and the enzymes will be denatured quickly. When you get bored from the wait or when the hour is up, pull the bag of grains out and let them drain back into the kettle or drop them into one of your buckets. If you want you can do a sparge step to get more volume and better efficiency.
 
OP
E

Erik Rodriguez

Active Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
43
Reaction score
8
I am not looking to automate my brewing, just to be clear. Automation tends to constrain, I certainly want to control the process. Just making that clear.

Yes, RoboBrew has some historical issues that I have been keeping track of. The burned out control board seems to be the most common, the pump seems to be a fairly close second.

Does anyone here use the Blichmann BrewEasy? I would love to hear about your experiences with it. Strengths, weaknesses, would you buy again?
 
Top