M&B vs Brewzilla vs Foundry

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cskid

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Hi everyone. Been doing as much research as possible for a supplement to my large propane biab kettle setup. Want to brew electric most of the time. Plan would be to still use propane system for big beers or large volume.

Deciding between Mash and Boil, Brewzilla 9.5 gallon and Anvil Foundry 10.5. Focused on price, want to recirc mash and whirlpool when chilling with my own pump (no pump needed with purchase).

-Curious on customer service
-Can anyone speak to durability of the electronics on the units (feel if that fails system is worthless)
-Any extreme benefits for one over the others or extreme pitfalls to make me stay away.

Right now, per my research, I’ve been influenced to believe:

M&B is best price point. Limit on volume and not great customer service. Basically non existent from what I’ve read. Makes me nervous if there are reliability issues with system.

Brewzilla. Really great customer service. Everyone seems to rave about it. Seems to be a great all around product. Mid price point for what I’m looking at and mid volume basket as well.

Anvil Foundry. Not found much on customer service. Not sure if that’s because it’s new or very reliable? Assuming with Blichman ties customer service and quality would not be an issue. Highest price point. Highest volume capacity allowing full volume mash.

Have any of you compared the three systems before purchase or have tested/owned more than one of these units.

Feedback is greatly appreciated.

TIA
 

DeNovo

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I have a similar interest. I’m also considering the Foundry and Brewzilla … but no comments in this thread since the original post 9 months ago??
 

Dancy

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I bought the M&B with the built-in recirc pump last November and had been comparing it to the Foundry. I really like it at the price point — it was $299 with the pump at William’s Brewing at the time and it has been around a relatively long time with (as I understand) a history of reliability. That said, I wish I could’ve spent the extra $$ on the Foundry. I like that they improved it by moving the display to the top of the unit as that would be more convenient to my bad back - although that seems less protected from a boil over. Also, the temp control is more precise on the Foundry. On the M&B, you set the temp for the mash and to maintain it, it will drop 4-5 degrees before kicking back up to the selected temp — not that precise. That said, I don’t feel deprived and I’m making really good beer in my small condo kitchen. The fact is, if I had a larger home and a dedicated brew space, I’d probably go for The Clawhammer 10G Unit at $899. In retrospect, for an AIO unit, I’d consider the Brewzilla 9.5G since I’ve started brewing Belgian Dark Strong Ales with a higher grain bill. Hopefully, you’ll receive some input here from other members.
 

cmac62

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I really like my foundry. I had a big shiny 3v system and got rid of it once the foundry came in. with a (i think) 18 lb capacity you can make most beers, and any beer if you don't mind adding DME for the last few pts. I'm thinking about getting a false bottom and using a bag instead of the malt pipe, but it still works great and I love the ability to set the strike temp and wake up to a brew that is ready to go. Good luck :mug:
 

Dancy

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I use a Wilser bag in the pipe of my M&B and it drapes over the outside of the kettle to prevent any grain from getting into the boil and clogging my pump.
 

micraftbeer

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I've personally used all 3. But at different times, so there are some later models/versions out now. I did hands on product reviews with each of them, so I've brewed varying number of brews in each. Here's my experience with each, and links at the bottom to my product reviews you can read to get more in-depth detail.

Mash & Boil
I got this unit in Sep-2017. At the time, there wasn't a pump option, so I used it some without a pump, but I preferred running it with a pump to recirculate during the mash. So I just draped 1/2" ID silicone tubing to connect to an external pump. The reliability of this has been great. I've had it in pretty much continuous use since Sep-2017. On and off as I tried out different equipment, but it's been used as my sparge water heater for my 2V main system I use. When I first got it, I had an issue with an overtemp fault shutdown, but they came out with a revised overtemp sensor and I never had trouble again. I worked through William's Brewing on this, and I found them to have good customer service. You can now buy these from multiple places, obviously.

There was a temperature difference, but if I recirculated, this went away, plus I could map it and adjust accordingly (more detail on that in my review). The timer delayed start is amazing. Any unit you consider should have delay timer start so you can set it come on and start heating your strike water for you. It is just so time-saving, it's a game-changer. I also liked the double-wall insulation. Less of a hassle than the neoprene jackets.

Robobrew (now called Fermzilla)
I got this unit in Jul-2017. I think at the time, it was their V2 (or may have been V1?). This was the one with the built-in pump. I had a few different all-in-one units at the time, and the Robobrew was my go-to unit. It had the best temperature control, which was probably why I used it the most. It had a couple minor issues with it, but Keg King (at the time, now a lot of those folks are at Kegland) specifically fixed those in the next version. And then I had a controller failure. That obviously was a pretty big bummer, and I had only had about a dozen brews on the system at that time. I don't know ultimately what failed, and if it was a known issue that they addressed later or not because my contact from Keg King at that time was not around. But from all of my interactions with that time, I have faith that they will have progressively made that product better over time.

Anvil Foundry 6.5
I got this unit in Mar-2020. This was when it was just coming out into the market. The thing I found with this product, which was the same across all of the Blichmann/Anvil lines was intentional engineering. The features present always seem to be intentionally thought out, and tested. I've used the Anvil for a handful of brews. I haven't used it more, simply because I have the smaller unit, and the batch size doesn't work for me very well right now, and my 2-vessel system works well for me. I don't think I can offer much hands on experience for long-term reliability, but I would expect, based on my experience with other Blichmann & Anvil products, I expect this unit is highly reliable.




 

Spundit

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I have brewed 15 batches on the basic Mash and Boil. I have not had any technical or mechanical issues. Originally I planned to just use it when forced to brew inside but I have used it for every batch since I bought it. I do like the convenience and simplicity.

As others have mentioned, the temperature readings and settings (hystoresis?) aren't the best. This does bother me a bit but I don't think it is having an impact on the beer. My machine is consistent so I can easily compensate. I do not recirculate (I just stir once in a while) and I find the actual mash temp holds very steady over a 1 hour mash.

The metal feet on the grain tube seem a little flimsy but so far they are hanging in there.

Enjoy whatever you pick. It is a nice way to brew.
 
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Brewdog80

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First brew on my 10.5 foundry today. Making a simple Bodingtons clone, and going with no sparge to see what it does. I've an old little giant pump that has served me well and I refit the hoses to give me a quick connect to hose on the foundry and to output. holds mas so far at 35% power at 240v. (yes, I converted and cut the dang connector, don't want to make a mistake and burn up a 120v item using a stupid conversion plug. (sorry, it is a WAY STUPID AND IGNORANT THING TO USE 120V PLUG FOR 240V) rant off. water came up to strike in 40 minutes. an
 

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Brewdog80

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And done, including cleaning at 1015, 4 and quarter hour. About a half gallon over, used bit too much at strike. Lost a gallon with mash, and it did boil off a gallon. I've got to mark my paddle to check Volume. Interior markings are pretty worthless when in use. (appear to be accurate) Got it down to 84 with the immersion chiller. Not too bad. I'll let it sit in my 69 degree basement for a few hours and pitch. So far I like it fine, but tighten the heck out of that cheap vinyl tubing on the chiller.......
 

micraftbeer

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but tighten the heck out of that cheap vinyl tubing on the chiller.......
Yes, I had the same problem. I chalked it up to just my own fault, and my general knowledge that worm clamps suck for a reason... In my case, I also had to re-learn the lesson that you leave these flaky joint connections hanging OUTSIDE your kettle while cooling, so if they do leak, it just gets your floor wet and doesn't contaminate your beer. I hate re-learning lessons like that.
 

Brewdog80

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I've got braided vinyl for my pump hoses, and never have had issue. These cheap vinyl hoses take a lot of torque to get them leak free.
 
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