Author Topic: BrewEasy  (Read 5935 times)

Offline majorvices

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Re: BrewEasy
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2014, 01:35:11 PM »
There's more info in the owner's manual which you can download from their website.

Good call! Thanks!
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Offline chinaski

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Re: BrewEasy
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2014, 08:17:04 AM »
I think it's cool & if I had gobs of cash I might be tempted.

When I looked at the system on-line, it appears to not operate not on a rims tube style heating but rather by firing the kettle/liquor tank on the bottom when needed and constantly recirculating the wort.  I think the tower of power controller does this function automatically.

While price is a big factor for me personally, I do appreciate that Blichmann's designs allow you to use existing equipment and/or add stuff to it.  Looks like this particular system requires their kettles exclusively.

Offline smkranz

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Re: BrewEasy
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2014, 03:48:28 PM »
Looks like a mere $250 for the kit will wed my 15 and 20-gallon kettles.  Have pumps, don't need the Tower.

August.  That's when the Spousal Unit visits family, which is my window to acquire new gear.  I like the idea of moving from two burners to one, losing the HLT, and shortening my brew day.  This should cover 90% of the ten gallon beers I brew…for the really big beers I'll just revert back to using the 20 gallon kettle for a mash tun.
Steve Kranz
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Offline smkranz

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Re: BrewEasy
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2014, 07:41:40 PM »
Pulled the trigger on the kit, which arrived today.  Amazingly fast shipping after ordering thru my LHBS.  I reinstalled the short legs on the burner, and hope to do my first BrewEasy batch this weekend.

Be aware that Blichmann's burner manual has maximum weight capacities of 150 (with leg extensions) and 175 lbs. (with short legs).  Since the 10 gallon setup can easily exceed even 175 lbs. (15 gallon mash atop a 20 gallon kettle), I emailed them and received a very prompt reply that the weight limitations are for stability purposes, and the short legs will be fine for any size BrewEasy setup.

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Steve Kranz
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Midnight Homebrewers' League
Westminster, Maryland
http://www.midnighthomebrewers.org

Offline smkranz

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Re: BrewEasy
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2014, 11:52:49 PM »
BrewEasy maiden voyage today, and she worked flawlessly.  Recipe calc as if BIAB to figure water volume.  Half goes up to the mash fun, half to the kettle below.  Connect it all turn on pump, add heat.  The volumes remain in perfect balance throughout or u can adjust if more or less liquid is needed in the mash or kettle.

Heating water is continuously recirculating til you reach your strike temp.  Close mash tun valve and shut off pump and burner.  Add grain, wait 10 min., then crank it up again.  Add more heat as needed under the kettle, which recircs up to the mash.  I did a continuously rising mash from 113 to 162 (Saison Dupont style) over 1:45 and this worked grrreat!  The temp in the mash never lagged further than about 3 degrees behind the kettle temp.  Mash out was easy.  Then shut off the pump and let the mash drain into the kettle.  Remove grains, then disconnect the drain tube and remove the mash tun.  If you've left the burner on the hole while, by the time the mash tun comes down you'll  be very close to boiling already.

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« Last Edit: May 23, 2014, 11:55:48 PM by smkranz »
Steve Kranz
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Midnight Homebrewers' League
Westminster, Maryland
http://www.midnighthomebrewers.org

Offline majorvices

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Re: BrewEasy
« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2014, 08:22:50 AM »
BrewEasy maiden voyage today, and she worked flawlessly.  Recipe calc as if BIAB to figure water volume.  Half goes up to the mash fun, half to the kettle below.  Connect it all turn on pump, add heat.  The volumes remain in perfect balance throughout or u can adjust if more or less liquid is needed in the mash or kettle.

Heating water is continuously recirculating til you reach your strike temp.  Close mash tun valve and shut off pump and burner.  Add grain, wait 10 min., then crank it up again.  Add more heat as needed under the kettle, which recircs up to the mash.  I did a continuously rising mash from 113 to 162 (Saison Dupont style) over 1:45 and this worked grrreat!  The temp in the mash never lagged further than about 3 degrees behind the kettle temp.  Mash out was easy.  Then shut off the pump and let the mash drain into the kettle.  Remove grains, then disconnect the drain tube and remove the mash tun.  If you've left the burner on the hole while, by the time the mash tun comes down you'll  be very close to boiling already.

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Awesome! Thanks for the review. I'll be checking it out at NHC in a couple weeks.
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Offline alestateyall

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Re: BrewEasy
« Reply #21 on: May 24, 2014, 08:36:38 AM »

BrewEasy maiden voyage today, and she worked flawlessly.  Recipe calc as if BIAB to figure water volume.  Half goes up to the mash fun, half to the kettle below.  Connect it all turn on pump, add heat.  The volumes remain in perfect balance throughout or u can adjust if more or less liquid is needed in the mash or kettle.

Heating water is continuously recirculating til you reach your strike temp.  Close mash tun valve and shut off pump and burner.  Add grain, wait 10 min., then crank it up again.  Add more heat as needed under the kettle, which recircs up to the mash.  I did a continuously rising mash from 113 to 162 (Saison Dupont style) over 1:45 and this worked grrreat!  The temp in the mash never lagged further than about 3 degrees behind the kettle temp.  Mash out was easy.  Then shut off the pump and let the mash drain into the kettle.  Remove grains, then disconnect the drain tube and remove the mash tun.  If you've left the burner on the hole while, by the time the mash tun comes down you'll  be very close to boiling already.

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How was the clean up after brewing? Easy? Difficult?
Tommy M.
Huntsville, AL

Offline smkranz

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Re: BrewEasy
« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2014, 10:54:13 PM »
Cleanup is pretty much the same.  I will say that with my old two burner setup, I could heat cleaning water in the mash tun and let it soak with some PBW while the boil proceeded.  Can't do that with just the one burner in this setup.  If you want to keep ahead of mash tun cleanup while the boil is happening, just use cold water and PBW.  Or wait until the beer is in fermenters.  Then fill the kettle with fresh water, get it hot, add PBW, clean, then put the empty mash tun back upstairs and pump the hot PBW solution up to clean it next.

There are probably economies of time to be found here, as i get to know the system better.

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« Last Edit: May 24, 2014, 10:58:18 PM by smkranz »
Steve Kranz
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Westminster, Maryland
http://www.midnighthomebrewers.org

Offline majorvices

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Re: BrewEasy
« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2014, 06:15:12 AM »
What was your efficiency?
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Offline smkranz

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Re: BrewEasy
« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2014, 08:20:11 PM »
What was your efficiency?

Looks like about 70%, tho today's Dubbel seems a gravity point or two short of that.  Not having brewed this way before, my intuition tells me that a big beer might result in lower efficiency with a "BIAB" no-sparge  process than a lower gravity beer, just by virtue of the % of sugars in the mash that are left behind.  Can any BIAB brewers corroborate this?

Only my second BrewEasy batch and I'm still honing my equipment's numbers in BeerSmith.

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« Last Edit: May 25, 2014, 08:23:33 PM by smkranz »
Steve Kranz
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Offline braufessor

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Re: BrewEasy
« Reply #25 on: May 27, 2014, 11:31:33 AM »
What was your efficiency?

Looks like about 70%, tho today's Dubbel seems a gravity point or two short of that.  Not having brewed this way before, my intuition tells me that a big beer might result in lower efficiency with a "BIAB" no-sparge  process than a lower gravity beer, just by virtue of the % of sugars in the mash that are left behind.  Can any BIAB brewers corroborate this?

Only my second BrewEasy batch and I'm still honing my equipment's numbers in BeerSmith.

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So..... in reading your posts - you got the conversion "kit."  All said and done, do you basically have the "Brew Easy" system?  Meaning - is this pretty much now exactly what it would be if someone were to buy the complete system from them? 

This is something I am interested in, but have found no information or reviews on at all. No videos, not much of anything.  If I were to get it, I would be buying the full system, tower, etc. Just wondering if that is pretty much what you have now, at this point.  Yours is really the only actual feedback I have seen on this.

Offline smkranz

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Re: BrewEasy
« Reply #26 on: May 27, 2014, 06:21:48 PM »
So..... in reading your posts - you got the conversion "kit."  All said and done, do you basically have the "Brew Easy" system?  Meaning - is this pretty much now exactly what it would be if someone were to buy the complete system from them? 

This is something I am interested in, but have found no information or reviews on at all. No videos, not much of anything.  If I were to get it, I would be buying the full system, tower, etc. Just wondering if that is pretty much what you have now, at this point.  Yours is really the only actual feedback I have seen on this.

Yes, all said and done, what I have assembled is the full BrewEasy system without the Tower of Power temperature controller and tower stand.  There really isn't much doubt that I will eventually add them, too.  But honestly with the mass of mash and water in this "10 gallon" system, and with the recirculating pump running continuously, it holds mash temperature very well and it's a simple matter to add a little heat manually when necessary.
Steve Kranz
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Midnight Homebrewers' League
Westminster, Maryland
http://www.midnighthomebrewers.org

Offline smkranz

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Re: BrewEasy
« Reply #27 on: May 27, 2014, 06:48:02 PM »
Here's a snapshot of my setup.  The top of the mash tun comes to about mid-chest high on me (and I'm 6"3").  I've had that little wooden stepstool for awhile, waiting to be deployed for a higher purpose.  With the pump and Therminator mounted to it, it is now a BrewStool.  It is awesomely portable, and I fitted the underside of the lower step with some V-shaped aluminum channels that let me just slide the pump on and off.  Shown in the second photo (chiller in operation), is a drip-shield I fashioned for the pump out of an empty 8 lb. P.B.W. jug.  It looks like a gaggle of hoses in this photo, but it really is a simple setup.

Since this photo was taken, I have added a switched power strip to the outside of the stool so as to easily turn the pump on and off.



And chilling...

« Last Edit: May 27, 2014, 06:49:56 PM by smkranz »
Steve Kranz
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Offline smkranz

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Re: BrewEasy
« Reply #28 on: June 03, 2015, 05:53:27 PM »
Since starting this thread, I have added a Tower of Power gas controller, and am also using Blichmann's Top-Link software on a laptop to create mash profiles for the controller.



The gas controller works very well.  It is simple to connect, and fairly brainless to use.  It turns the gas on and off ignites the burner with an electric spark element when the system needs heat.  Coolest thing it does is turn itself back on, literally in seconds, if the flame blows out from a gust of wind.  It comes with a temp sensor which plugs into the system on the output side of the pump, on the way back up to the top of the mash.

There is a differential of several degrees between the measured temperature coming out of the lower kettle, and the actual mash temp inside the tun.  On the 10 gallon system, Blichmann recommends starting with the 1.25 gallon/minute orifice in the tube coming out of the mash.  Using that flow rate, the differential between measured temperature off the pump, and inside the mash, was about 8 degrees.  I up-sized to the 1.5 gallon/minute orifice, and this differential came down to about 1-3 degrees.  Once the mash settles into a temperature, maintaining a temperature for an hour, the differential went down to almost zero with the larger orifice.  Doing this creates a little more suction on the mash and you need to watch out for a stuck mash.  But I've done it now on three batches with zero issues.  Just be sure you let the mash sit for the first 15 minutes as recommended, and avoid using a fine crush.

The latest addition to the system was the communication cable, and plugging into a laptop with Blichmann's Top-Link software.  I first tried installing the software onto an old HP mini computer running XP.  It installed but didn't run correctly...the on-screen buttons were missing.  So it now runs on a larger HP Stream 11 running Win 8.  Works perfectly.  Creating a profile on the software is easy but I suggest you view the videos on Blichmann's site to see how the program runs.  I used it to create a mash profile for a Saison using the Saison Dupont mash profile described in Farmhouse Ales.  It is a continuously rising mash starting at 113 degrees and rising to 162 over 1:45.  This gives an increase rate of about .5 degree per minute.  Send the profile to the device using the software, run it, and by golly...it worked absolutely perfectly to turn the burner off and on about three times a minute, gently ramping the temp from 113 to 162 degrees over the hour and 45 minutes.

At any time, you can stop running the profile and return the controller to manual control, or just use the device's panel to enter a new target temperature if you want.

The software lets you save profiles for later use, and it also has an option to graph the progress of your mash for later viewing, if you want to tweak it for future batches.  One thing which seems like a glitch, is when I went to the graphing option, then closed out and went back to the main screen, the program closed down.  Opening it back up, and the same mash profile was still running and picked up where it left off.  Actually, the videos say that once you send a profile to the device and run it, the controller is doing the work and the desktop software is just monitoring it.  But stopping the profile on the desktop, or turning the switch on the device to On or Reset will also stop the profile from running on the device.
Steve Kranz
AHA • BJCP
Midnight Homebrewers' League
Westminster, Maryland
http://www.midnighthomebrewers.org