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Has anyone ever switched from 3 vessel to all-in-one?

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Rik van den berg

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I have had a 3 vessel system going for a few years. It all works good and I get nice efficiencies out of it and great beers.

I was reading about all-in-one systems (anvil etc) and the convenience seems attractive to me.

has anyone ever up (or down?) graded from a 3 vessel system to an all-in-one? Experiences? Regrets? Never look back?

thanks!
 

AkTom

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I have a 3 vessel 3/tier propane. I started with it, love it... I now have the Anvil 10.5. I love it even more. Being able to brew inside is great! So far the only down side is I can’t do 10 gallon batches. Sniff, 😢. There. I’m over it. I’ll be moving from cold climate to hot soon. I’ll still brew inside in the comfort of ac. If I want, for another lousy $400, I’ll get a second one and still brew inside!
No regrets. Funny, I read lots of biab posts. Never appealed to me. Finally started thinking 3v electric. I know... 3-5k. I watched a video on the anvil a long time ago. Last spring I’m brewing outside, slipping on the snow and ice. I started thinking, man it would be nice to be inside and warm. The old failing memory kicked in, i rewatched the Anvil review a couple of times. Asked some questions, and got one ordered. Love it. I got the pump kit. NICE! May not to the best pump in the world... it’s the only and best one I have. Wouldn’t do without one.
Cheers
 

Sammy86

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I went from two vessel to all in one Brewzilla 65L...absolutely in love it! No more lugging water or wort...cleaning is an absolute breeze...throw everything back in, add water from the CFC and PBW turn on the pump and bam everything shines like new!

Also, got to move inside to the insulated garage which is fantastic...nice and roomy and everyone leaves me alone!
 

Jtvann

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I went from 3v to a brew boss all in one 20 gallon system. I really enjoyed making the move. I was able to save about 2 hours in the process. The beer was just as good. I learned a lot about the biab process and came to respect it more.

In the beginning of my brewing hobby, I just wanted to crank out more and more good beer. The brew boss was great for that. In the end, I felt like I missed the long process. I’m drinking a lot less these days, and with making 10 gallon batches, beer sticks around a lot longer. Back with 5 gallon batches, I’d brew at a minimum every other week. I’ve gone as much as 4 months now between brews. Now, I look forward to a long brew day. I went back to a top tier 3v electric system.

Whatever you do, go electric. Either one is equally as good as the other. It takes time to learn a new system, but that’s part of the fun.
 
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Rik van den berg

Rik van den berg

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I went from 3v to a brew boss all in one 20 gallon system. I really enjoyed making the move. I was able to save about 2 hours in the process. The beer was just as good. I learned a lot about the biab process and came to respect it more.

In the beginning of my brewing hobby, I just wanted to crank out more and more good beer. The brew boss was great for that. In the end, I felt like I missed the long process. I’m drinking a lot less these days, and with making 10 gallon batches, beer sticks around a lot longer. Back with 5 gallon batches, I’d brew at a minimum every other week. I’ve gone as much as 4 months now between brews. Now, I look forward to a long brew day. I went back to a top tier 3v electric system.

Whatever you do, go electric. Either one is equally as good as the other. It takes time to learn a new system, but that’s part of the fun.
I have been in the planning stages of upgrading my two cooler/propane keggle system to electric herms and electric keggle.. I am toying with the all-in-one idea but am in a similar position as you: I don’t brew that much anymore. So I have been debating on getting serious on putting my electrical brewery together or going ‘the easy route’ of all-in-one and selling all the electrical components I accumulated over the years .. damn first world problems lol
 

Jtvann

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I have been in the planning stages of upgrading my two cooler/propane keggle system to electric herms and electric keggle.. I am toying with the all-in-one idea but am in a similar position as you: I don’t brew that much anymore. So I have been debating on getting serious on putting my electrical brewery together or going ‘the easy route’ of all-in-one and selling all the electrical components I accumulated over the years .. damn first world problems lol
I have changed my setup so many times over the years. Home brewing is all about DIY. I went as far as using the brew boss all in one controller in a 3 vessel rims system. I’ve done rims, herms, batch, biab, fly, basket/bag, diy glycol... I feel like there isn’t something I haven’t dabbled with at least once. Not sure if I regret any of it, but I sure wish I had the money I’ve wasted on various attempts.

I went all in with a Ssbrewtech 3v system. 14 gallon unitank and 1/5 glycol chiller. If Ssbrewtech makes it for 10 gallon batch size, I probably have it. I probably also had a diy version of everything cobbler together at one point. Having a streamlined purpose made system sure is nice.

I’m sure all systems are similar and have their advantages. Ssbrewtech, Spike, Clawhammer, Brew Boss, Unibrau, Anvil plus everything else out there. They all make good beer. Just find something that you think is cool and makes you happy. If you ever feel like “something could be better” you’re likely to regret not getting that from the start years down the road.
 

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@Jtvann 's story is similar to mine, only we didn't end up with the same gear - of course! (That's why hobbies are personal)

I started with 5 gallons, a propane burner, a cooler mash tun, two kettles, fly sparging, and a DIY gravity-based wood brewstand. That's what the books said I needed, so what did I know? Once I learned how to physically make wort, I realized that there are a million ways to achieve the same end. In the ensuing years, I've tried many configurations, because I like to DIY and tinker and experiment.

My big epiphany along the way was that I wanted to brew smaller batches, and that ultimately drove me towards certain options. There are very few turnkey systems for 2.5 gallon batches, but that's slowly changing. I did invest in an all-in-one system (Braumeister 10L) that I really like. It's small, yes, but that's exactly what I wanted. Same with the 2.5 gallon kegs. Nearly the same price as the bigger ones, but... exactly what I wanted.

I just bought a Clawhammer 120V setup to experiment with, since it's confirmed to be able to brew 2.5 gallon batches in addition to larger ones. And unlike the Braumeister, which is 220V, I can take it anywhere and that's an option I wanted to play with.

I actually prefer using two vessels, with a separate boil kettle. I feel it produces clearer wort into the boil than the all-in-one systems are capable of. And while that's not strictly necessary, I like it that way. So I also employ a small kettle on a 220V induction burner.
 

Dog House Brew

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When I build my house in 2022, I'm going 3V electric HERMS in the basement. I'm over brewing outside! I currently have 2 systems, 25g 3V NG HERMS, and a new 5g BIAB system. I used the BIAB and that isn't for me. I thought I would like it more. I looked at the all in ones. I've tried and grown several times. I want to be able to wake up to strike already heated. That is a must for me, I've seen a few that can do this. I'd definitely go all in one if I were staying where I am. Indoors is the way to be. My issue is 5g batches just won't do it for me. Too many sucking on the taps. If I'm a 5g brewer, I can't imagine not liking an all in one.
 

kevin58

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I haven't switched but I am considering adding an all-in-one to use in addition to my 3-vessel system.

I brew in an unattached, unheated garage with my 3-vessel 15 gallon HERMS system. Brewing outside in the winter was fun and challenging when I was younger but is not something I want to do anymore now that I am approaching my mid 60's. So my plan is to get something like an Anvil to use indoors during the winter months.
 
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Rik van den berg

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I’m enjoining all the comments! I just went through all the stuff and parts I accumulated over the years for my electric brewery and Being quite the DIY-er myself am getting pretty excited again lol. I think I might start putting together my control box and see where I end up!
 

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Just popping my head in to say there's a bunch of intermediate options between a 3 vessel and All in One brewery. My primary issue with all in one systems is that they are proprietary in build and slow to heat. I built my system to be as simple to operate as an all in one but used a 5500 watt element to speed up brew days.
 
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Rik van den berg

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Just popping my head in to say there's a bunch of intermediate options between a 3 vessel and All in One brewery. My primary issue with all in one systems is that they are proprietary in build and slow to heat. I built my system to be as simple to operate as an all in one but used a 5500 watt element to speed up brew days.
looking forward to watching your YouTube to see what you came up with!
 

bwible

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I bought the Anvil 6.5. I like it and use it for some batches. I like the idea of the temp control and at least in theory having the ability to do step mashes, though thats another area of debate among homebrewers as to whether its necessary or achieves anything. It’s at least good for raising temp to mashout.

The Anvil comes 110V but can be easily switched to 220V. Thats the first drawback to the electric all in ones. The bigger the system, the more power it needs and the slower its going to be to heat. Not everybody has access to 220V. The Anvil 6.5 does pretty well on 110V, I can’t imagine their larger 10.5 system does.

I have the pump kit, I think its critical to that system. If you are not recirculating then the bottom part of your mash is going to be hotter and the top part of your mash is going to be cooler.

Though I like the Anvil, I have not gotten rid of my cooler. I still have it and use it for different batches.

The second and biggest drawback to the all in one systems is grain capacity. The Anvil 6.5 has about an 8 lb grain capacity. They recommend you don’t exceed that. Obviously, that limits what you can brew, even at a 3 gallon batch size. This is going to be the case with all of them. Grain capacity vs batch size and what you want to brew. If you want to brew stronger beers, then you would need to supplement with extract or use a system with a larger grain capacity.

The all in ones are also essentially all BIAB systems, just using some form of SS basket instead of a bag. The principles are identical. There is no vorlauf with these systems.
 
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McKnuckle

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There is no vorlauf with these systems.
But there is if you use recirculation. In fact it's a continuous vorlauf throughout the entire mash, which creates super clear wort as one would expect.

The problem is that pulling the bag (worse) or basket (better) to lauter disturbs the carefully settled grain bed, and may dislodge small particles from the top into the runnings.

This can be avoided with baskets that have a bottom drain only, such as the 6.5 Anvil or Braumeister. The baskets with holes all around are a little harder to control, but not impossible if you lift with a pulley and go slowly.

I like to drain the wort into another kettle or just a simple holding vessel, without pulling the bag/basket. Just leave it in place and open the ball valve. Once the grain in the bag/basket is no longer submerged in liquid, the grain bits and muck will stick in place. Then you can drain it over a filter and collect the rest of your wort.

Or you can ignore all of this, of course.
 

bwible

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But there is if you use recirculation. In fact it's a continuous vorlauf throughout the entire mash, which creates super clear wort as one would expect.

The problem is that pulling the bag (worse) or basket (better) to lauter disturbs the carefully settled grain bed, and may dislodge small particles from the top into the runnings.

This can be avoided with baskets that have a bottom drain only, such as the 6.5 Anvil or Braumeister. The baskets with holes all around are a little harder to control, but not impossible if you lift with a pulley and go slowly.

I like to drain the wort into another kettle or just a simple holding vessel, without pulling the bag/basket. Just leave it in place and open the ball valve. Once the grain in the bag/basket is no longer submerged in liquid, the grain bits and muck will stick in place. Then you can drain it over a filter and collect the rest of your wort.

Or you can ignore all of this, of course.
This has been discussed at length in another thread. The recirculation doesn’t move everything, especially the areas around the side of the basket.

Your idea for draining into another vesssel sounds good, but a) is not how this was designed to be used and b) defeats the purpose of the all in one system where you mash and boil in the same unit.
 

McKnuckle

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I don't think it entirely defeats the purpose. People modify their rigs all the time, and the process change I mention is not necessary - it's just a preference. The all-in-ones also provide onboard temperature-controlled electric heat, which seems to vanish once you expand to 3 vessels (or at least it becomes far more complicated and expensive to support).

Anyway, the purpose of vorlauf is to remove small particles from under a false bottom (or bag) and deposit them on top of the grain bed, preventing them from getting lautered and boiled. Even with a partial dead space around the basket, I'm not convinced that these particles aren't removed as intended.

I feel this way because I've seen the wort produced when the bag/basket is NOT pulled (most folks draining in place don't get to see that).
 

NewJersey

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I went from 5 gallon propane 3v, to 5gal natural gas 3v, up to 10gal ng 3v, and finally back to 5 gallon 240v eBIAB. I added recirculation as a means of avoiding temperature stratification.
Much happier brewing now.
 

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But there is if you use recirculation. In fact it's a continuous vorlauf throughout the entire mash, which creates super clear wort as one would expect.

The problem is that pulling the bag (worse) or basket (better) to lauter disturbs the carefully settled grain bed, and may dislodge small particles from the top into the runnings.

This can be avoided with baskets that have a bottom drain only, such as the 6.5 Anvil or Braumeister. The baskets with holes all around are a little harder to control, but not impossible if you lift with a pulley and go slowly.

I like to drain the wort into another kettle or just a simple holding vessel, without pulling the bag/basket. Just leave it in place and open the ball valve. Once the grain in the bag/basket is no longer submerged in liquid, the grain bits and muck will stick in place. Then you can drain it over a filter and collect the rest of your wort.

Or you can ignore all of this, of course.
With my robobrew I sit the grain basket on the holders at the top and use the lid upside down to hold the recirc hose in place and recirc for 10 mins or so, then let drain. It works quite well. The wort is clearer pre boil. Not that I notice much difference in final product
 

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When I moved to my new home 4 months ago I had the opportunity to jump to a 3v electric system. I haven't used it yet as finally got the electricians in to make the connections but hope to break in the new system soon. Previously I've been propane and extract brewing. I'm happy to finally get out of the cold but still have the ability to go back to the old method or do BIAB (it took so long for the contractors to come back that I ordered a new propane brew kettle and a ss brewing basket insert, but as Murphy's law goes, the day the new kettle was delivered the contractors came back to do the wiring.

I have a 120v 1st generation Grainfather but a bit disappointed with it as it takes forever to heat up and still needs a separate sparge water heater source and a 20 gal brew kettle for the big batches.

I think the trick is flexibility and adjusting your method to time, weather, and budget
 

David Coy

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I have had a 3 vessel system going for a few years. It all works good and I get nice efficiencies out of it and great beers.

I was reading about all-in-one systems (anvil etc) and the convenience seems attractive to me.

has anyone ever up (or down?) graded from a 3 vessel system to an all-in-one? Experiences? Regrets? Never look back?

thanks!
You don't mention the size of your 3 vessel, but I'd guess it's at least a 15 gallon keggle system.

Why not just add the Anvil and have both? Try out the Anvil on small batches and still have the 3 vessel for 10+gal batches.
 

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I brew with 3 other friends on a 3 Vessel 1/2 barrel system system (well 4 vessel we have a forth brew kettle to do back to back batches). I would hate to get rid of this system. We also have a 10.5 gallon (which is misleading b/c 10.5 is for 5 gallon batches) Anvil that we use regularly to make experimental brews. If I was starting out again, downsizing, or I was just brewing for me, I would only use the Anvil. It's a great system. Relatively cheap, portable, easy to clean, indoor friendly. Doing 3 vessels for 15+ years, I was skeptical about all-in-one BIAB type systems, but I have no complaints.
 

cmac62

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I have a 3 vessel 3/tier propane. I started with it, love it... I now have the Anvil 10.5. I love it even more. Being able to brew inside is great! So far the only down side is I can’t do 10 gallon batches. Sniff, 😢. There. I’m over it. I’ll be moving from cold climate to hot soon. I’ll still brew inside in the comfort of ac. If I want, for another lousy $400, I’ll get a second one and still brew inside!
No regrets. Funny, I read lots of biab posts. Never appealed to me. Finally started thinking 3v electric. I know... 3-5k. I watched a video on the anvil a long time ago. Last spring I’m brewing outside, slipping on the snow and ice. I started thinking, man it would be nice to be inside and warm. The old failing memory kicked in, i rewatched the Anvil review a couple of times. Asked some questions, and got one ordered. Love it. I got the pump kit. NICE! May not to the best pump in the world... it’s the only and best one I have. Wouldn’t do without one.
Cheers
Tom, I'm guessing you could do a 10 gal batch of moderate ABV, make the biggest wort you can and dilute pre-boil to the top of the foundry. :mug:

I started out with a cooler MT and BK, then went for the upgrade to a tippy dump 3v setup and the cleaning and process was a pita, so I recently purchases an Anvil 10.5 and so far love it (only three batches in). I may make some changes to my process yet, but I love the foundry. :mug:
 

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I downsized from 3 vessel to BIAB on the stove, so I suppose its almost like all in one. Its way easier for me but I can see why it won't work for bigger batch brewers. The wort isn't clear but my lagers come out clear in the end.
 

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I mostly brew small batches stovetop so I definitely understand the appeal of brewing indoors. I very rarely pull out the turkey fryer for a 5-6 gallon batch. I'll need to soon for some larger sour beer projects I need to start up but generally 95% of my brewing is done completely indoors. I use the traditional mash tun cooler/kettle setup.

The convenience of these systems are undeniable. I've seen a couple used and they look so easy. If I were starting as a new AG brewer I'd definitely get one. I have seen a fair amount of complaints about the cheaper systems so I'd do some research around the right balance of cost and quality.

You definitely have to be comfortable making beer with that kind of BIAB system. If you're committed to low oxygen brewing then they probably aren't a good fit for you.
 
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Rik van den berg

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You don't mention the size of your 3 vessel, but I'd guess it's at least a 15 gallon keggle system.

Why not just add the Anvil and have both? Try out the Anvil on small batches and still have the 3 vessel for 10+gal batches.
Mostly because it'll set me back $500 or so.. that's $500 i could also spend on rebuilding my current propane system to electrical. I am still kind of up in the air but leaning towards the latter.
 

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I went from a 3 vessel garage based system to the all in one in my sig in the kitchen. I've never been happier brewing.

Thing1 is designed for 6 gallon batches. It could have been designed for larger batches.

I'm not aware of anything a 3 vessel system can do that Thing1 can't.
 

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Difference I see is, when I use my propane burner beside my 3V HERMS, is I can boil one 15 gallon (preboil) batch while the next one is mashing, and have cleanup water heating at the same time, so it's more time efficient for large amounts. Part of the reason I brew multiple batches at a time though is because it is a huge amount of cleanup with 3V. I prefer brewing outside with my 60' extension cord In the cold. Seriously.
LOL.
 

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Difference I see is, when I use my propane burner beside my 3V HERMS, is I can boil one 15 gallon (preboil) batch while the next one is mashing
Yes, if you are going to do back to back brews, having 3 vessels allows you to be mashing the second while boiling the first.

and have cleanup water heating at the same time
if you brewed in a kitchen or used an on demand hot water heater, you'd have access to as much clean up water as you wanted without using a vessel. A hot water heater is much more efficient at producing hot water.

A propane fired vessel is a very costly way to make hot water. I know, I used to do it.

Part of the reason I brew multiple batches at a time though is because it is a huge amount of cleanup with 3V.
The clean up on an all in one is very quick.

I prefer brewing outside with my 60' extension cord In the cold.
All the more power to you. I prefer the kitchen.
 
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brewman !

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I went from two vessel to all in one Brewzilla 65L...absolutely in love it! No more lugging water or wort...cleaning is an absolute breeze...throw everything back in, add water from the CFC and PBW turn on the pump and bam everything shines like new!
Yeah, I don't get the 3V builds with big panels anymore. An all in one does everything they do. And the all in ones are economical, space efficient and don't take months to build.

I also don't get having an entire room dedicated to a 3V. What does it do on the 354 days you don't brew ? Look pretty ? Gather dust ? An all in one can be stored in a closet, with lots of room to spare.

I also don't get the hugely automated builds. It's dead simple to brew with an all in one. The non automated "work" that needs to be done during the brew session is almost nothing. It takes less time to do the "work" than it does to clean the fully automated system.

Maybe I'm more about the brewing and drinking part of the hobby than the building part.
 
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Sammy86

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Yeah, I don't get the 3V builds with big panels anymore. An all in one does everything they do. And the all in ones are economical, space efficient and don't take months to build.

I also don't get having an entire room dedicated to a 3V. What does it do on the 354 days you don't brew ? Look pretty ? Gather dust ? An all in one can be stored in a closet, with lots of room to spare.

I also don't get the hugely automated builds. It's dead simple to brew with an all in one. The non automated "work" that needs to be done during the brew session is almost nothing.

Maybe I'm more about the brewing and drinking part of the hobby than the building part.
I get why people want them, build them and are excited to share them. I wanted to be one of them but as I did my research and budgeted out the money it didn't make sense for me money or time wise.

As the old saying goes, there's more than one way to skin a cat...and there is definitely more then one way to brew a beer!

:mug:
 

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My primary issue with all in one systems is that they are proprietary in build and slow to heat.
And the pumps suck. And the grain basket is too small. And they aren't on wheels or the right height. Yes you can fix all those things but by the time you do that you might as well build one from scratch.
 

brewman !

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I get why people want them, build them and are excited to share them. I wanted to be one of them but as I did my research and budgeted out the money it didn't make sense for me money or time wise.
Or space wise. They aren't small or portable. So you generally need a dedicated space for them. And if you want to run more than one vessel at a time, you need more power. And you'll need to put a sink in that space. It's not just the 3V system, it's what's needed to support it - a special space, with water and enough power.

With an all in one you can brew in the kitchen where there is already power and water. And it's highly portable and can be stored anywhere. Or easily taken to a buddy's place to do a collaborative brew. The storage footprint for my entire brewing system is 20" x 24" x 36" - little more than a chair. And you can set something on top of it.

The kicker for me was that when I was brewing with a 3V I found I was never really using more than 1 vessel at a time. When I was mashing I might have been using the HLT to heat water for the HERMS coil, but now I direct heat the mash. I also direct heat the mash in water in the boiler, so I don't need an HLT for that either. In fact, if you have an on demand hot water heater that goes high enough (175F) for sparging and you can feed it the proper water, you don't need an HLT at all.

And the only thing I ever did with the mash tun while boiling was clean it. And with my all in one, I can do that in the sink way easier than I could clean the mash tun on my 3V. Or I just put the grain basket in the boil kettle and clean both at once.

As the old saying goes, there's more than one way to skin a cat...and there is definitely more then one way to brew a beer!
There sure is. The best brewing system is one that you do the most brewing with and for me that is my all in one in the comfort of my kitchen. It has been a complete game changer for me.

Something nobody talks about with custom 3Vs is resale value. You spend all the time and money building one and if you ever sell it, you'll be lucky to get back 50% of what you put in it.

I hope this helps the OP.
 
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Rik van den berg

Rik van den berg

https://www.instagram.com/odrbrewing/
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Or space wise. They aren't small or portable. So you generally need a dedicated space for them. And if you want to run more than one vessel at a time, you need more power. And you'll need to put a sink in that space. It's not just the 3V system, it's what's needed to support it - a special space, with water and enough power.

With an all in one you can brew in the kitchen where there is already power and water. And it's highly portable and can be stored anywhere. Or easily taken to a buddy's place to do a collaborative brew. The storage footprint for my entire brewing system is 20" x 24" x 36" - little more than a chair. And you can set something on top of it.

The kicker for me was that when I was brewing with a 3V I found I was never really using more than 1 vessel at a time. When I was mashing I might have been using the HLT to heat water for the HERMS coil, but now I direct heat the mash. I also direct heat the mash in water in the boiler, so I don't need an HLT for that either. In fact, if you have an on demand hot water heater that goes high enough (175F) for sparging and you can feed it the proper water, you don't need an HLT at all.

And the only thing I ever did with the mash tun while boiling was clean it. And with my all in one, I can do that in the sink way easier than I could clean the mash tun on my 3V. Or I just put the grain basket in the boil kettle and clean both at once.



There sure is. The best brewing system is one that you do the most brewing with and for me that is my all in one in the comfort of my kitchen. It has been a complete game changer for me.

Something nobody talks about with custom 3Vs is resale value. You spend all the time and money building one and if you ever sell it, you'll be lucky to get back 50% of what you put in it.

I hope this helps the OP.
Great points! Your post surely helped put more doubt in my mind lol.

I thought I had my mind made up to continue my electric 3V build but i am still early enough in the process to abandon it and just go all-in-one.. I can always j keep my current two-cooler, one keggle gravity, propane fired system for 10 gallon or large grain bill brews (which happens once or twice a year)...

decisions, decisions
 

Beenym88

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So about 7 months ago I bought the ss brewtech 3 vessel electric system. I have been using a brewers edge mash and boils since then. I bought the brewtech system for a new house and by the time I realized the full build out was more then I wanted to spend it was too late to return it. I tried to sell it for a while and had no takers. So I finally decided to shell out the money. It’s finally almost finished and on top of buying the table, paying an electrician to put in the 240 volt, and getting a sink put in my basement, and a couple of other toys that didn’t come with it I’m at just about 5 grand. Meanwhile I have been making good beer with my 250$ all in one system. So I am hoping I absolutely love the thing it already looks badass I will post pictures when it’s finally complete. And I know you can do 3 vessel less expensively but I don’t really have the ability.
 
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