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Golddiggie

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Over the past few months I've been getting gear delivered from Spike Brewing. First a new MT, then a new BK and HLT (all custom builds of course), including the SCL for the BK. Then a pair of CF10s came via FedEx. Add odds and ends to make the system more complete and it has added up to a not small sum. I was looking at other manufacturers of gear, but remember the posts when Spike was just getting started (here in 2011). Which made the decision a little easier. Between having what I wanted, with nothing I didn't want, it's been where I've been spending my funds.

Through all of that there were some issues with the items. BUT, the reps from Spike took care of ALL of them with minimal fuss and NO negativity. Between the chill coils for the CF10's appearing to have been rushed through (somehow they missed what appears to be the final step) to other things. Replacements were send after sending emails (I always include pictures to show what's going on). They wanted the chill coils returned, but provided a return label for that (IMO, that's not a minor thing).

I worked with one woman on the kettle designs, getting what I wanted. Got the BOM for the two CF10's with her as well. I've sent messages asking questions about different aspects, when I didn't find answers in the FAQ section as well. Replies came in within a reasonable amount of time.

Overall, the experience with Spike has been very positive. IMO, they produce a high grade of product at a very reasonable price point. I do hope that they expand their brewing system lineup to go above the 1 barrel capacity at some point (in the next few years). Even if they don't, I like having my current setup and expect to get more years from it. I'm already trying to decide if I should upsize my 15 gallon MT to a 20 gallon, or just get a 20 gallon as well (I have the 20 gallon BK and 15 gallon HLT). Had I known the direction that MT purchase would take me, I would have had the temperature port placed in the back, instead of the front since that's where the other kettle sensors go. I did get the "Spike+" setup with all 1.5" TC fittings in them. Less hassle than dealing with the NPT fittings.

One thing I wish they did a little different is the markings inside the kettles for volume. It would be nice if they went by 1/4 gallon (quart) not 1/2 gallon increments. It would just make things a bit easier for the strike water additions. As it is, I'm adjusting the strike water volume to get me to a 1/2 gallon increment and then doing as much as possible to get the sparge water pull "close enough".

Now I just need to make some more brews on the system to dial everything in and get my recipe (or recipe type) efficiency numbers solid. First brew was 81% (with first control panel config and not really knowing much about the kettle change). This past weekend's batch hit 90% with a frequent recirculation of the mash. Communication with Spike yesterday gave me some hints on how to get a more constant recirc going for the mash to either get a better number, or more consistent efficiency level. If I can hit 85% (or better) every time, I'd be very happy.

IMO, if you're looking for new brewing gear, check out what Spike offers. Send a message and work with them on something. Sure, it's not the cheapest stuff out there, but it's a high value for your spend.
 
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I couldn't agree more, 2 years or so ago I made the jump to their 30gal kettles with 2 cf15s and have ordered all the doodads to accompany them. I had one minor issue that they immediately took care of, the customer service was absolutely fantastic. Any questions I have had were answered very promptly. In the 2 years of brewing on the system I get 80% to 85% efficiency depending on my grain bill, naturally a little more on lower gravity beers but I don't brew them to often. I would not hesitate to make the same decision again. Great company!
 

Rob2010SS

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I went with Spike for my 3v 20gallon system. Overall, pretty happy with it. Had 1 issue with the stainless table that came with the system where one of the pockets for the legs was about 1/2" out of square and had to be setup a little precariously, but it's been working and they gave me a credit in the form of a gift card for the issue. To this day, that table has been the one thing that I'm not happy about. It's now got a pretty severe sag in the middle from the MT being in the middle of the table and the one side that had the screwed up leg pocket still wobbles back and forth pretty badly. I'm waiting for one day when the leg gives out in the middle of a brew. Should just replace it...

For fermenters, I went with SS Brew Tech unitanks. I've heard really good things about them but since I already have SSBT tanks, not sure I'll ever make the switch. I like having the tanks all the same mfg. If I EVER switch, it'll be to a Brew Tools tank.
 
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