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Author Topic: Grainfather vs. Anvil vs. Brewers Edge vs. Klarstein Maischfest vs...  (Read 11579 times)

Offline SeanFawcett

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Hi:

I have been brewing in an eight gallon brew kettle and a propane burner for about 7 years.  I am thinking about getting an electric "all-in-one" system that I can use in the kitchen, primarily to make the process simpler but also to assure more consistency in the mash temperatures and boil process.

There are a number of products on the market and I am wondering what I should be aware of before buying one.  GrainFather runs around $1,000, Anvil and RoboBrew at around $450, Brewers edge in the low $300's all the way down to a Klarstein Maischfest 6.6 gal that I can pick up for $175. 

I am inclined to get a low cost one (Brewer's Edge 7.5 Gal, < $300) to start and upgrade to a more expensive one later on.

Does anyone have any advice as to what I should be looking out for?  Why would I need to spend more for the more expensive models?

It would be nice to find a used one but that might be too much to ask for.

Any advice would be appreciated before I pull the trigger.

Thanks!

Offline Oiscout

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Re: Grainfather vs. Anvil vs. Brewers Edge vs. Klarstein Maischfest vs...
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2021, 06:38:24 pm »
I recently moved from a propane set up to the Anvil Foundry 10.5 gallon. I purchased the small batch ring for it and the recirculation pump.

I have two brews through it so far.

My advice is definitely go with the 240 volt and the 10.5 gallon option. The small batch ring will allow you to do the 2.5-4 gallon batches if you would like and you pull the ring out and can go up to 6.5 gallon batches.

The first brew I made with it had an off flavor but I'm chalking that up to stressed yeast. ( I wanted to see how sturdy Kveik yeast really was, didn't turn out well but that's part of it)

Electric brewing has cut down my brew day by atleast two hours and my clean up time has more than halfed.

IMO that anvil has the most bang for your buck.

But I did notice so far you need to watch your mash temps as it's easy to over shoot. Follow the mashing guide that comes with the anvil. Also the recirc pump is weak I would spend the money to get a better one.

Just like anything you'll need to get the feel for what works for your brew day on it.

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« Last Edit: February 20, 2021, 06:41:47 pm by Oiscout »

Offline Oiscout

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Re: Grainfather vs. Anvil vs. Brewers Edge vs. Klarstein Maischfest vs...
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2021, 06:42:15 pm »
My next will be a claw hammer system but I do like the anvil.

https://youtu.be/Wk9TznTWzXY



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« Last Edit: February 20, 2021, 06:46:32 pm by Oiscout »

Offline pete b

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Re: Grainfather vs. Anvil vs. Brewers Edge vs. Klarstein Maischfest vs...
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2021, 05:18:13 am »
I just got the anvil 10.5 did two brews and loved it. What sold me is that it is capable of using 120v or 240v. That way I can just plug it in in kitchen and use it now and when I eventually build a dedicated brewery I can convert to 240.
I sort of accidentally didn’t get the pump because I already have one and figured I would use that but I didn’t realize that the pump came with a few parts that were needed. I can get or make those parts myself but because I wanted to use it right away I just did two brews without recirculating and it worked fine. So if you are not attached to recirculating you can get the anvil for $350.
As far as running it on 120v the boil intensity was right where I want it anyway but I am sure the boil would have started sooner with 240v. I still shaved about an hour off my brew day vs my usual lugging everything outside and the brew days were also more chill because of the automation.
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Offline Kevin

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Re: Grainfather vs. Anvil vs. Brewers Edge vs. Klarstein Maischfest vs...
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2021, 07:39:00 am »
I just bought an Anvil  Foudry10.5. I wanted something that I could brew in the house with during our many months of freezing weather outside. What tipped me towards the Anvil is it's compatibility with the Turbo 500 distilling condenser.
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Offline Oiscout

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Re: Grainfather vs. Anvil vs. Brewers Edge vs. Klarstein Maischfest vs...
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2021, 07:45:03 am »
I just got the anvil 10.5 did two brews and loved it. What sold me is that it is capable of using 120v or 240v. That way I can just plug it in in kitchen and use it now and when I eventually build a dedicated brewery I can convert to 240.
I sort of accidentally didn’t get the pump because I already have one and figured I would use that but I didn’t realize that the pump came with a few parts that were needed. I can get or make those parts myself but because I wanted to use it right away I just did two brews without recirculating and it worked fine. So if you are not attached to recirculating you can get the anvil for $350.
As far as running it on 120v the boil intensity was right where I want it anyway but I am sure the boil would have started sooner with 240v. I still shaved about an hour off my brew day vs my usual lugging everything outside and the brew days were also more chill because of the automation.
+1 on the lamping around on brew day.

I set my mash timer for my periodic stir and check the temp and as it's getting up to a boil I clean the mash pipe and put it away.

Pete his much steam does your anvil give off at 120 volts? I'd really like to start brewing inside but don't have any ventilation besides a fan in ky brew room downstairs.

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Offline denny

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Re: Grainfather vs. Anvil vs. Brewers Edge vs. Klarstein Maischfest vs...
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2021, 08:53:50 am »
I have experience with 2 different systems.  First was a Mash and Boil, a low cost system.  After a few brews I hac0ve it to a friend.  It seemed to be cheaply built and was not an effective brew system.  Then I went to a Grainfather, one of the more expensive systems.  I love it.  Well built, easy to use, does what it says it will.  I think you'll hear from people who love their system but have no point of comparison.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Grainfather vs. Anvil vs. Brewers Edge vs. Klarstein Maischfest vs...
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2021, 09:13:44 am »
I just got the anvil 10.5 did two brews and loved it. What sold me is that it is capable of using 120v or 240v. That way I can just plug it in in kitchen and use it now and when I eventually build a dedicated brewery I can convert to 240.
I sort of accidentally didn’t get the pump because I already have one and figured I would use that but I didn’t realize that the pump came with a few parts that were needed. I can get or make those parts myself but because I wanted to use it right away I just did two brews without recirculating and it worked fine. So if you are not attached to recirculating you can get the anvil for $350.
As far as running it on 120v the boil intensity was right where I want it anyway but I am sure the boil would have started sooner with 240v. I still shaved about an hour off my brew day vs my usual lugging everything outside and the brew days were also more chill because of the automation.
+1 on the lamping around on brew day.

I set my mash timer for my periodic stir and check the temp and as it's getting up to a boil I clean the mash pipe and put it away.

Pete his much steam does your anvil give off at 120 volts? I'd really like to start brewing inside but don't have any ventilation besides a fan in ky brew room downstairs.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
I brew with it in my kitchen which does not have exhaust to outside. It produces about the same amount of steam as making a batch of stock. It fogs nearby windows but doesn’t get so bad that the moisture drips down on the trim and sills which is the point where it would be a problem. I actually think of it as a great humidifier for the dry winter air.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Grainfather vs. Anvil vs. Brewers Edge vs. Klarstein Maischfest vs...
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2021, 09:18:12 am »
Well I can't compare mine to another system but I really like my BrewZilla - which I think is the same thing as the RoboBrew. I have the 35L (9.25G) 110V system. For me I don't need anything larger than this which makes the 110V perfect since I don't have a dedicated 220V without unplugging the dryer. If I want to brew larger batches I just double batch into my old 15G kettle and use propane.

Some have complained that the 110V takes too long to come to temp or come to a boil - I'm not sure how fast folks expect but since I'm not in a hurry on brew day it is plenty fast for me.

The screens they have designed for the mash basket allow a very clear vorlauf and lauter. The only real issue is that there is a temperature variance from the bottom of the kettle (where the temp probe is) to the top of the mash. I still need a thermometer to get my mash temp right since it takes a while for the temperature to become homogenous.

Also, it is not an entirely "hands off" system. You have to keep your eye on it during vorlauf until you get the flow timed right, but once it is correct it is pretty easy with minimal monitoring. For me, both these complains are minor.

A minor complain that I have seen other systems address is the control panel on the bottom means a lot of bending over to read and press buttons. Some other systems have the control panel projected outwards and at an angle facing up which seems like a logical design inclusion which was somehow left out on this brand. I have it raised up about 2 feet when I brew with it so NBD usually.

I've had it for 18 months now. Haven't brewed on it as much lately due to personal reasons so I can't give any feedback on longevity but I also haven't read too many reports of things going bad on this version (the prior version there was some circuit board issues). It does seem like if the heating elements go out you are screwed which was my primary concern.

Offline SeanFawcett

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Re: Grainfather vs. Anvil vs. Brewers Edge vs. Klarstein Maischfest vs...
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2021, 09:34:17 am »
Thanks for the info everybody.

It looks as though everyone likes the Anvil.  What was the reasoning behind that choice?  I am looking at the Brewer's edge... it seems like pretty good quality and I like the price-point.  Does anyone have any info on that one... or any anecdotal evidence why it would not be a good choice?

What should I be wary of?

Thanks again

Offline Oiscout

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Re: Grainfather vs. Anvil vs. Brewers Edge vs. Klarstein Maischfest vs...
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2021, 09:47:46 am »
I liked what I saw in the reviews and the price was a third of The clawhammer system I was looking at. And it looked like it would stream line my brew day. Which was a correct assumption

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Offline denny

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Re: Grainfather vs. Anvil vs. Brewers Edge vs. Klarstein Maischfest vs...
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2021, 10:02:46 am »
Thanks for the info everybody.

It looks as though everyone likes the Anvil.  What was the reasoning behind that choice?  I am looking at the Brewer's edge... it seems like pretty good quality and I like the price-point.  Does anyone have any info on that one... or any anecdotal evidence why it would not be a good choice?

What should I be wary of?

Thanks again

That's the Mash & Boil, right?  If so, I wasn't impressed.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline SeanFawcett

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Re: Grainfather vs. Anvil vs. Brewers Edge vs. Klarstein Maischfest vs...
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2021, 10:19:51 am »
That's the Mash & Boil, right?  If so, I wasn't impressed.
What was it that did not impress you?  Quality?  Performance?

Thanks


Offline denny

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Re: Grainfather vs. Anvil vs. Brewers Edge vs. Klarstein Maischfest vs...
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2021, 11:10:19 am »
That's the Mash & Boil, right?  If so, I wasn't impressed.
What was it that did not impress you?  Quality?  Performance?

Thanks

Both quality and performance.  Lightweight, cheaply built, didn't hold temps well.  Once I tried a Grainfather, the M&B shortcomings were even more annoying.  Gave it to a friend because I couldn't justify selling it to someone.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Grainfather vs. Anvil vs. Brewers Edge vs. Klarstein Maischfest vs...
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2021, 10:42:24 am »
I have the Foundry 10.5 gallon and like it.  It is a hands on brewing system - the only timer function is the preheating of the strike water (I preheat over night and set the timer to start an hour before I wake.  I use 240V in my garage, 120V in my kitchen.  I rarely recirculate any more - just stir periodically during the mash and sometimes lift the basket to get some additional recirculation with the liquid outside of the malt pipe.  I use 50% power once mashed in at 240V, so the cycling is slower for maintaining the temperature set point without overshooting (100% power at 110V usually).  I get to a boil plenty quickly at 240V, but don't have a problem with 110 V taking a bit longer.  I haven't had any service needs, so I can't speak to that, other than as a Blichmann-related business, I would expect great service.

My neighbor has the Grainfather and he likes it, especially since he bought the neoprene jacket (helps get up to temp a little quicker and holds temp better in his opinion).  He likes the counterflow chiller, that came with the unit, but now that they make superfast immersion chillers for all of these units (Jaded, CuSS, etc..), you can go with that version as an add on, if you would like.  The Grainfather definitely has more bells and whistles and sounds like it has great service in those rare instances where service is needed.  I brewed side by side with my neighbor and the Grainfather is definitely able to outperform some others, at least in terms of setting it up and letting it go through its paces automatically.

Durability is the one thing I was concerned about in buying an all in one - the heating element replacement being a critical key here.  It sounds like most of the brands have the low watt element aspect dialed in for long haul use.  I don't know how many others have exposed elements in their design (Brew Tools comes to mind, but is very expensive) nor whether the internally placed elements are replaceable for the Foundry and Grainfather.  Likewise as to internal pumps vs. external pumps.  Ultimately, make a list for side by side by side comparison of your key product attributes and make a decision based on the one that meets your expectations the best.  Any of the well made versions will make beer well and last a long while, one would hope.

Cheers and good luck!

 
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