New equipment overhall suggestions

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itsmymilkyway

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Whats up guys, i havnt posted in a long time but heres' my situation. My burner just died on me(hose probably clogged with bugs), my plastic carboys are going in the trash, my chiller coil that i configured myself is old and not nearly as efficient as i need, my igloo mash tun is old and needs a good replacement, so on and so forth. I have been brewing for about 6 years but i need a consensus on advice.

I am tired of lifting heavy and scolding hot kettles, waiting forever to chill the wort to bitch yeast, shaking a full 6gal glass carboy to oxygenate the wort, everything.

My question is, since i have the opportunity to renew, what would you say is your best purchase you've made to ease the work and shorten the time of a brew day? I love the idea of a 3 tier system, and a conical but outside of that what do you think? Also, specific brands that stand out to you? im looking to not have to buy again for a very very long time, meaning high quality.

Thanks in advance, its lonely in north houston.
 

sillbeer

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Best thing I ever did was going with a three vessel electric system. I bought my Blichmann kettles used here on the forum and they should last me forever. I bought a DIY panel kit and should have the last part wired up today and hopefully ops checked this afternoon. I had fun piecing my system together and doing all the work myself. My goal was to eliminate the noise while brewing. I like to have a casual conversation and listen to music during the brew day. A propane burner and loud pumps don't allow for that. I purchased two Riptide pumps and they are extremely quiet. My next purchase is a ventilation hood and I will be comfortable brewing in my basement during the heat of the summer and freezing winters.
 

jekeane

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I have a single tier 3 vessel Electric herms setup and I enjoy it. While building my system I did a lot of BIAB. If I hadn't already invested in my 3 vessel kettles I would have considered an EBIAB system.

If you just want to hit the reset button and use propane.

I would consider the following.

1: A good burner. I have a blichmann there are many other good ones out there.

2: A 15 gallon kettle with and output and recirculation valve. Name brands are nice but there are lots of inexpensive options that work well.

3: A Custom Wilser biab bag or something equivalent

4: A pump to whirlpool and help with chilling times

5: A good Chiller I live in FL and have the Jaded Hydra Imersion chiller and a Morebeer Counter flow I prefer the Jaded.

6. Cheap submersible pump for ice bath chilling below 100°.

7. SS Brewbuckets, Speidels, or corney keg fermenters. The brewbucket is one of my overall favorite items i own.
 

sillbeer

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I second the brewbuckets. I have two and love them.
 
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itsmymilkyway

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Anyone ever price out what it would cost to have a 3tier platform built locally? is it comparable to just buying one online?
 
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itsmymilkyway

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Whats makes the brewbuckets so nice? also i assume to oxygenate the wort you have to use a O2 bottle? cant exactly shake that SS heavy weight lol
 
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itsmymilkyway

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Best thing I ever did was going with a three vessel electric system. I bought my Blichmann kettles used here on the forum and they should last me forever. I bought a DIY panel kit and should have the last part wired up today and hopefully ops checked this afternoon. I had fun piecing my system together and doing all the work myself. My goal was to eliminate the noise while brewing. I like to have a casual conversation and listen to music during the brew day. A propane burner and loud pumps don't allow for that. I purchased two Riptide pumps and they are extremely quiet. My next purchase is a ventilation hood and I will be comfortable brewing in my basement during the heat of the summer and freezing winters.
Which 3 vessel electric di you go with?
 

sillbeer

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I bought used Blichmann kettles here on the forum in the for sale section. 30 gallon boil kettle, 20 gallon mash tun and 20 gallon hot liquor tank. I purchased the elements and element enclosures form different sites. I sourced a lot of information from Kal at http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/forum/index.php

The brewbuckets have handles and are easy to carry around. The large lids make them easy to clean and there should never be a reason to replace them.

Brew table.jpg
 
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itsmymilkyway

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I bought used Blichmann kettles here on the forum in the for sale section. 30 gallon boil kettle, 20 gallon mash tun and 20 gallon hot liquor tank. I purchased the elements and element enclosures form different sites. I sourced a lot of information from Kal at http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/forum/index.php

The brewbuckets have handles and are easy to carry around. The large lids make them easy to clean and there should never be a reason to replace them.

View attachment 572255
THAT is an AWESOME set up! BTW new update on my end, my amzing wife went out and got me an SSbrewtech Brew Bucket with FTSs chiller coil for my birthday/fathers day! YEEHEE! now to work on my 3 tier setup!

Being that the brew bucket is new to me however, im a traditional primary/secondary guy, whats the usual process for the brew bucket? just use it as a primary and no secondary? Only way to oxygenate it would be to use a O2 bottle?
 

jekeane

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THAT is an AWESOME set up! BTW new update on my end, my amzing wife went out and got me an SSbrewtech Brew Bucket with FTSs chiller coil for my birthday/fathers day! YEEHEE! now to work on my 3 tier setup!

Being that the brew bucket is new to me however, im a traditional primary/secondary guy, whats the usual process for the brew bucket? just use it as a primary and no secondary? Only way to oxygenate it would be to use a O2 bottle?
I use a o2 wand. Some sort of O2 setup is your best option. The bucket isnt that heavy but the legs and the large opening would make shaking a pain and mess.
 

brewmeister13

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Best thing I ever did to ease my day was ditch 3 vessel systems and go to a two vessel, full volume mash. Sure it takes more grain, but I shave an hour or more off my day by not sparging and my pumps don't hate me so much.

Also, I had my stand welded locally. It cost me $600 for a flat 3 vessel system.
 

sillbeer

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I use the brewbuckets for primary fermentation and transfer to kegs for secondary unless it's a long beer, then it goes into glass.
 
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itsmymilkyway

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got me a brew bucket with FTss chilling coil and a new blichmann burner! next i have to get me a Hydra immersion chiller
 

MX1

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IMHO (humble)

I went from a 3v eHERMS to a 2v eRIMS with the ability to brew Brutus 20 style as well and that was awesome.
Now, I am selling that set up, and going 1v eBIAB.

I am also going to ditch my plate chiller for a IC.

I want beer, not equipment

T
 

mirthfuldragon

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Buy a grainfather. I started out towards building a 3 vessel system, but pivoted towards an electric single vessel BIAB with recirculation. I did my first BIAB batch (25th overall) a couple of weeks ago in a keggle on a propane burner, no sparge, and lost 2-3% efficiency. My brew day was probably two hours shorter and clean-up was a lot less.

Now I just need to finish upgrading the house electrical from 1950s chic to modern standards.
 
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carpathia

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I went with a Two-Tier electric K-RIMS and it works pretty damn well.

>>>> I am tired of lifting heavy and scolding hot kettles

No Pump/Valves? I have a blichmann riptide and couldn't be happier with it. Plenty durable too; despite multiple bad drops, it works like a charm. I use it to transfer the wort pretty much anywhere; mashtun to mashtun; pot to mashtun; post-boil whirlpool; pot to fermentor.

>>>> waiting forever to chill the wort to bitch yeast

I haven't used it yet, but I have a ZChiller (was a toss up between that and the exchilerator). I have an existing pump to recirculate ice water instead of running the hose (as I don't trust a shutoff 50 feet away while water is running near my electrical), and cleanup/backflushing is more or less CIP and will be done as part of my normal post-boil cleaning. It should be pretty damn efficient.

>>>>>shaking a full 6gal glass carboy to oxygenate the wort

I went with the morebeer aeration system (it's a filtered air pump; claims to be as good in 5 minutes as shaking.) I didn't want to mess with O2 bottles. I let it run in the freezer while it gets down to whatever pitching is.


If I were to start all over again, and wanted to just do 1 vessel, I'd do a Stout 18 gallon BIAB kettle, add some kind of recirculation fitting, pair it with a riptide or a z-chiller, and control it with a hosehead (uno or 5BC for upgrade room).

I'm also a fan of the fermonster plastic fermentor(not as fancy as a conical, but has awesome headspace, fits in a freezer, and I like seeing the state of fermentation).
 

grassfeeder

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I as well recommend the SS Brew Buckets. I've also recently added the Blichmann RipTide pump and absolutely love it. Super quiet and easy to use. Cleans well too.

Exchillerator is also a nice piece of equipment.
 

augiedoggy

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I enjoy the equipment part of this hobby too and decided to stick with a 3 vessel single tier system I can for the most part CIP... It works well for me and I do prefer it over the limited BIAB brewing Ive done. I think different systems suit different peoples wants and needs. I do use 2 stainless hop spiders so my plate chiller works great as well.. the brewing system has to work as a whole to get the most out of it.. If I brewed a lot of ipas I would not be using the same setup as far as chilling goes.
 

Nmnbrewer

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I have 2 brewer friends who are ditching their 3 vessel systems for single vessel ebiab like mine. 3 1/2 hr View attachment 576663brew day start to finish (including cleanup) and consistent efficiency from cream ales to imperial stouts. I’m 60+ batches on this and it has yet to let me down. Brew boss controller, spike 20 gal kettle, arbor fab basket, tops flo pump, exchilerator.
 

sillbeer

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3 1/2 hours seems impossible. I have a 240v, 3 vessel setup and I regularly run 7 hours. That goes for crushing grains to cleanup. Am I missing something?

**I brewed EBIAB in the past and decided to go a different route. The hoisting and squeezing wasn't my thing.
 

augiedoggy

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Its about 4.5hrs for me but im also not looking to break records either... normally I enjoy homebrewing
BTW I own a riptide and it is quiet ... not as quiet as the td5 or the 24v tan pumps but a lot quieter than the other march pumps and the chuggers.

BTW the little td5 pumps are strong buggers... I did water tests on my 3bbl system last week and they are strong enough to fill the 145gallon boil kettle from the bottom.. I like having the flow control via pwm for my recirculating and sparging for consistency...
 
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Genuine

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I went to a 2 vessel E Kettle Rims system and my brew days are about 4.5 hours. It’s quicker, temp control is amazing and vessels, less equipment, etc. I built a 2 tier stand with room
For my brew panel. Mash tun gravity drains to kettle with element in it and that feeds to the pump to recirculate. Works great for me and produces great beer.
 

Nmnbrewer

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That hoist and squeeze thing is how you get to the impossible 3.5 hours. Actually it's usually 3.75 hours for me including cleanup.
3.75 to 4 hrs in the spring and 3.5 in the fall. 38 degree vs 62 degree ground water. 4.5 if I’m drinking while brewing. 5+ if I’m drinking with friends and not paying attention at all. Ha.
 

LittleRiver

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That hoist and squeeze thing is how you get to the impossible 3.5 hours. Actually it's usually 3.75 hours for me including cleanup.
That's about the same time it takes me, including cleanup. Not all of that time is spent brewing, during the mash I go do other things (I don't recirculate, so I don't have any worries about leaving).

I don't squeeze. I just hoist the bag, fire the burner, and let gravity do the draining while it comes up to a boil.
 

sillbeer

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I usually mark the whole day off when I brew, I enjoy the process. I stared today at a little before 8 and finished around 1600. Wife and kids were out so it was me by myself. I cranked up the toons and enjoyed myself in the garage. In the past I've thought about cutting my time down but I haven't thought about it in awhile and it isn't really a concern anymore. The timing hasn't really been important to me.

It struck me off, 3.5 hours seemed really fast. Especially when you consider some beers that benefit from longer mash, mash outs and extended boil times. I suppose you can cut your time down when you crush grains in advance and pre heat your water the night before but is that saving time when you advertise 3.5 hours? I absolutely am not saying it can't happen, but realistically, not every time. I'm not bashing the time thing at all, it's not what I measure a brew day by.

LittleRiver, You should squeeze the bag. I used two large kettle lids and was surprised how much liquid came out. I've read pros and cons on squeezing. At the end of the day if you make good beer you are happy with, who cares.

Cheers.

-D
 

LittleRiver

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...cranked up the toons and enjoyed myself ... timing hasn't really been important to me...
I love what you are saying there, and I can totally relate. I always have music on, and I brew to enjoy the process as much as the end result. Brewing is fun.

... 3.5 hours seemed really fast. Especially when you consider some beers that benefit from longer mash, mash outs and extended boil times. I suppose you can cut your time down when you crush grains in advance and pre heat your water the night before but is that saving time when you advertise 3.5 hours? I absolutely am not saying it can't happen, but realistically, not every time. I'm not bashing the time thing at all, it's not what I measure a brew day by.
My sub 4 hour times do not involve any of those tricks, nor do they involve rushing. I do a full one hour mash, and a full one hour boil. I do not pre-heat water the night before, nor do I crush grains in advance. My brew day times include everything, from starting by filling the kettle, to the end of cleanup.

While the water is heating up to strike temp I get organized, weigh/grind my grains, and weigh my hops.

I don't have to stay at the kettle to monitor temps because I use a thermometer that has a remote probe and hi/low alarms. I am free to go do other things while it monitors the temp for me. When it beeps I turn off the burner, stir in the grains, and insulate the kettle.

During the mash I clean/sanitize the fermenter, etc. That only takes a few minutes so I usually have time to go do some other chores or run errands during the mash.

I use an immersion chiller, but I don't dump the cooling water. I recirculate and save the resulting hot/warm water for use during cleanup. The pump & hoses don't have to be cleaned because they've only been exposed to clean water. The immersion chiller is cleaned by just dunking in the warm water.

I raised my burner so I can drain directly into my fermenter. That way I don't have to use or clean a siphon.

I never have stuck sparges, because I don't sparge. Why would I, my efficiency is ~83% for "normal" gravity beers.

I never have problems with controllers, hot wort recirculation pumps, etc, because I don't use them. I would consider those things a downgrade.

If I was going to do a lot of step mashing I might consider a wort recirculation system, but I don't currently have that need. I don't need recirculation for clarity, using good technique gives me good clarity. If I wanted to improve clarity even more I would add gelatin to my process before I'd add recirculation.

I've made a very conscious choice to use a very simple single vessel rig -- that is my key to an enjoyable and time efficient brew day.

LittleRiver, You should squeeze the bag. I used two large kettle lids and was surprised how much liquid came out....
I have tried squeezing. I can get an extra beer or three worth of volume, but it is just not worth it.

I hoist the bag, fire the burner, and let gravity drain the bag while I sip coffee or do something else. That is a whole lot more enjoyable than squishing a bag of hot wet grain.

My brew days are very enjoyable. They last less than 4hrs but they're not rushed. The beers are great. So I have no plans to downgrade/complicate.

IMG_20180209_160815_280.jpg IMG_20180209_165836_517.jpg
 

kh54s10

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I have done a few BIAB and if it saves me any time over my 3 tier gravity system it is negligible. You mash for the same amount of time (usually) I batch sparge and that takes about the same amount of time that draining/squeezing the bag takes. You usually boil for the same amount of time. Clean up is about the same, in fact I can rinse out my cooler mash tun faster than I can clean the BIAB bag. I don't really rush and the biggest time expenditure, other than normal brewing is cooling off the wort. FL water is about 80 degrees by February.

What I don't have is a way to hoist a 20-30 pound bag of hot sticky messy bag and hold it while it drains.
 
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shelbymedic

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No better way to start the morning then to comment on a seven-month-old post. Oh well. Maybe it will start additional conversation. My all grain brew days were always around seven hours or so with my previous burner. Now I have a 10 inch banjo burner that can heat up 15 gallons in less than a half hour. That knocked off 30 to 45 minutes. Also, I will be brewing Saturday for my first time with a counterflow chiller. Chilling 11 gallons with a 25 foot immersion chiller took a decade. With the exchilerator and in-line oxygen stone, I will knock off over an hour of time. So now my seven hours is down to 5 to 5 1/2. I’m pretty happy with that.
 

Soulshine2

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I usually mark the whole day off when I brew, I enjoy the process. I stared today at a little before 8 and finished around 1600. Wife and kids were out so it was me by myself. I cranked up the toons and enjoyed myself in the garage. In the past I've thought about cutting my time down but I haven't thought about it in awhile and it isn't really a concern anymore. The timing hasn't really been important to me.

It struck me off, 3.5 hours seemed really fast. Especially when you consider some beers that benefit from longer mash, mash outs and extended boil times. I suppose you can cut your time down when you crush grains in advance and pre heat your water the night before but is that saving time when you advertise 3.5 hours? I absolutely am not saying it can't happen, but realistically, not every time. I'm not bashing the time thing at all, it's not what I measure a brew day by.

LittleRiver, You should squeeze the bag. I used two large kettle lids and was surprised how much liquid came out. I've read pros and cons on squeezing. At the end of the day if you make good beer you are happy with, who cares.

Cheers.

-D
I kinda have to question these short brew times as well. I mean my mash time alone is 60 minutes , a boil is 60 minutes and theres the setting up,filling, draining, heating and chilling times . Even on my most "time efficient" days , I'm still looking at 6 hours.
But, its how I'd rather spend my time off and make a day go by. When I work , I work 6 or 7 12s (72-84 hrs a week)for a month or 2 or more on end.
Plus, it gets me off of the computer on a nice day.
Speaking of which , I hear a brew kit calling me now...brew on ,my friends.
 
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