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Author Topic: Best Mashing/Brew System  (Read 5249 times)

Offline Jacky Rice

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Best Mashing/Brew System
« on: January 30, 2022, 08:22:36 pm »
Hello,

I'm looking for my next step in brewing. I have been homebrewing for a few years now, but I have done very little all-grain brewing. The all-grain I have done has been brew in a bag, which is a pain. I'm highly interested in the science behind brewing and looking for a system that requires me to be closely involved in the brewing process.

I was wondering about getting something like the Grainfather, BrewZilla, or anything like that, as recommended by a friend who also brews. For the longest time I was set on converting a cooler into a mash-tun, but these all mashing systems seem great. I want something that has me involved in the brewing process and that is highly efficient. Please let me know the pros and cons of the systems you guys have any recommendations.

Offline redrocker652002

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Re: Best Mashing/Brew System
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2022, 08:37:31 pm »
I'm still in the newbie class, and like you, I was thinking of converting a Igloo cooler to a mash tun.  What little I have looked at, the Anvil Foundry seems like a great setup.  If I was ready to drop dime on a system, that would be the one I would be interested in. 

I was thinking of trying brew in a bag, what is wrong with that way of brewing?  I have read it is a great way to go to start the all grain process without really dumping a bunch of money into it.  I have to buy one pot, and a bag.  LOL. 

Offline fredthecat

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Re: Best Mashing/Brew System
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2022, 08:44:53 pm »
Hello,

I'm looking for my next step in brewing. I have been homebrewing for a few years now, but I have done very little all-grain brewing. The all-grain I have done has been brew in a bag, which is a pain. I'm highly interested in the science behind brewing and looking for a system that requires me to be closely involved in the brewing process.

I was wondering about getting something like the Grainfather, BrewZilla, or anything like that, as recommended by a friend who also brews. For the longest time I was set on converting a cooler into a mash-tun, but these all mashing systems seem great. I want something that has me involved in the brewing process and that is highly efficient. Please let me know the pros and cons of the systems you guys have any recommendations.

i dont have an all-in-one system, but i wish i had tried one, for the features and compactness you get it has a DIY setup beat IMHO. im sure people here or online reviews would point you towards the best one

I'm still in the newbie class, and like you, I was thinking of converting a Igloo cooler to a mash tun.  What little I have looked at, the Anvil Foundry seems like a great setup.  If I was ready to drop dime on a system, that would be the one I would be interested in. 

I was thinking of trying brew in a bag, what is wrong with that way of brewing?  I have read it is a great way to go to start the all grain process without really dumping a bunch of money into it.  I have to buy one pot, and a bag.  LOL.

absolutely nothing wrong with it. however you need to either stand there and hold a fairly hot bag up high while it drains for ~15-20 minutes or rig some thing to hold it up. i did that for several batches and it definitely works.


Offline Richard

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Re: Best Mashing/Brew System
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2022, 08:53:20 pm »
absolutely nothing wrong with it. however you need to either stand there and hold a fairly hot bag up high while it drains for ~15-20 minutes or rig some thing to hold it up. i did that for several batches and it definitely works.

There are other solutions. I have used a large colander that fits into the top of the kettle. Lift the bag, slip the colander under it and set the bag back down. Eventually the handles on the colander broke. Now I have two nested buckets, with the bottom of the inner one drilled full of holes. I lift the bag out of the kettle and into the buckets. The bag drains through the holes in the inner bucket and I can pour from the outer bucket back into the kettle.
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Offline BrewBama

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Best Mashing/Brew System
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2022, 06:08:53 am »
I believe the all in one systems are great. However, I prefer having individual components that can be replaced as required.

As you investigate systems ensure there is access to spare parts. Heater elements, pumps, etc should all be available in case they fail.  Mfr remove and install technical information is a plus.

I also recommend stand alone control vs internet requirements. Bad things happen when connectivity is unavailable.

Technology is great …when it works.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2022, 06:14:15 am by BrewBama »

Offline Semper Sitientem

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Re: Best Mashing/Brew System
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2022, 08:11:36 am »
absolutely nothing wrong with it. however you need to either stand there and hold a fairly hot bag up high while it drains for ~15-20 minutes or rig some thing to hold it up. i did that for several batches and it definitely works.

There are other solutions. I have used a large colander that fits into the top of the kettle. Lift the bag, slip the colander under it and set the bag back down. Eventually the handles on the colander broke. Now I have two nested buckets, with the bottom of the inner one drilled full of holes. I lift the bag out of the kettle and into the buckets. The bag drains through the holes in the inner bucket and I can pour from the outer bucket back into the kettle.

+1. Necessity is the mother of invention. I made a cube out of pvc pipe with a crossbar on top. It sits very stable on the kettle handles. The crossbar, which is removable, has horns that the bag loops hook on. I roll it up, lock it in with a chain mechanism and let it drain. I can also squeeze. Lift off when done. Less effort, less mess, less cleaning. Very easy.
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Offline denny

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Re: Best Mashing/Brew System
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2022, 08:24:30 am »
I have brewed on a number of systems, from old fashioned 3 vessel to high tech all in ones.  The Grainfather G40 is dead and shoulders above anything else I've ever used.  The build quality and functionality is superb, and cleanup is dead easy. If you don't need connectivity, the S40 is the same great design for 1/3 the price of the G40.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Best Mashing/Brew System
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2022, 09:57:06 am »
Good to hear on the G40.  I think that is where I will be headed, if ever (when, I suppose) my current Anvil Foundry gives out.  A neighbor had the first generation Grainfather and his only gripe (and it was slight) was the slow-ish timing from mash to achieve a boil.  With the new 220V/3300 watt element on the G-40, it looks like it has the best of all worlds.  The S-40 would probably be my choice, but only because I generally want fully hands on brewing (which, of course, is available on the G-40, but then why pay the higher price for the automation aspects....)  The point is the improvements made over the last few years really make these new systems quite dependable and fun to brew with!  If I was starting out new right now, I would not hesitate to jump into any one of the major makers' products.
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Offline denny

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Re: Best Mashing/Brew System
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2022, 10:30:28 am »
Good to hear on the G40.  I think that is where I will be headed, if ever (when, I suppose) my current Anvil Foundry gives out.  A neighbor had the first generation Grainfather and his only gripe (and it was slight) was the slow-ish timing from mash to achieve a boil.  With the new 220V/3300 watt element on the G-40, it looks like it has the best of all worlds.  The S-40 would probably be my choice, but only because I generally want fully hands on brewing (which, of course, is available on the G-40, but then why pay the higher price for the automation aspects....)  The point is the improvements made over the last few years really make these new systems quite dependable and fun to brew with!  If I was starting out new right now, I would not hesitate to jump into any one of the major makers' products.

FWIW, there's a 220v G30 also that heats much more quickly.  But with the G/S 40 available now, I can't really recommend a G30.
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Offline Kevin

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Re: Best Mashing/Brew System
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2022, 02:17:23 pm »
I have and Anvil Foundry 10.5 and love it. What attracted me to it was price and the units ability to use both 110v and 240v. Anvil just recently released their new Foundry 18 gallon unit if you wish to brew more than 5 gallon batches.
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Offline Don

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Re: Best Mashing/Brew System
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2022, 03:52:32 pm »
If you're looking to get into the nitty-gritty, nothing makes you do that like a 3v HERMS system. I had a Grainfather, and while it is easy to use, getting into the science of it confused me, as it's a BIAB style system... which I never realized until later.
I built my system around this design... https://shop.theelectricbrewery.com/
Yeah, it's expensive. But, as a result, I now have had to study conversion efficiency, lauter efficiency, brewhouse efficiency, boil-off rates and so on, to truly understand what the H*LL I'm doing.

Offline denny

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Re: Best Mashing/Brew System
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2022, 03:54:59 pm »
If you're looking to get into the nitty-gritty, nothing makes you do that like a 3v HERMS system. I had a Grainfather, and while it is easy to use, getting into the science of it confused me, as it's a BIAB style system... which I never realized until later.
I built my system around this design... https://shop.theelectricbrewery.com/
Yeah, it's expensive. But, as a result, I now have had to study conversion efficiency, lauter efficiency, brewhouse efficiency, boil-off rates and so on, to truly understand what the H*LL I'm doing.

All of those are relevant to a GF, or any all in one, also.  Guess I'm confused why you were confused!
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline Megary

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Re: Best Mashing/Brew System
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2022, 04:16:01 pm »
If you're looking to get into the nitty-gritty, nothing makes you do that like a 3v HERMS system. I had a Grainfather, and while it is easy to use, getting into the science of it confused me, as it's a BIAB style system... which I never realized until later.
I built my system around this design... https://shop.theelectricbrewery.com/
Yeah, it's expensive. But, as a result, I now have had to study conversion efficiency, lauter efficiency, brewhouse efficiency, boil-off rates and so on, to truly understand what the H*LL I'm doing.

Yeah, that’s why I just use a simple pot and a brew bag.  I don’t need to understand any of that.  I just randomly throw in some grain and it magically turns into yummy beer!
/sarcasm /joking /wink face…

Offline redrocker652002

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Re: Best Mashing/Brew System
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2022, 08:30:31 pm »
I was thinking of trying brew in a bag, what is wrong with that way of brewing?  I have read it is a great way to go to start the all grain process without really dumping a bunch of money into it.  I have to buy one pot, and a bag.  LOL.
[/quote]

absolutely nothing wrong with it. however you need to either stand there and hold a fairly hot bag up high while it drains for ~15-20 minutes or rig some thing to hold it up. i did that for several batches and it definitely works.
[/quote]

Sounds to me like another DIY project in the works.  LOL.  I have seen where guys use BBQ racks and put them over the kettle and push down with the lid of the kettle to drain the bag, that was kinda where I was going to go with it  But hey, a weekend DIY with a few beers could be fun.  Thanks for the input though, I appreciate it. 
« Last Edit: January 31, 2022, 08:33:38 pm by redrocker652002 »

Offline majorvices

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Re: Best Mashing/Brew System
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2022, 01:57:24 am »
You mentioned BrewZilla so I will chime in here. I own one and I think it is a very good system. I usually brew about 5.5-6 gallon batches on it. If you like lower medium high gravity ales it works perfectly with very clear vorlauf and lauter. For higher gravity beers about 1.080 is about as high as you can go on that system without adding extract, sugar or going for a lower final volume yield. I have done 4 gallon barley wines so high gravity beers are doable but at a lower final volume of beer.
   I haven't brewed on an Anvil or GrainFather so not promoting this system over those ... just saying I really like mine. That said, I brewed 12 gallon batches on a rigged homemade batch sparge system (ala denny conn special) for very many years. You don't have to spend a lot of money on an "all-in-one" system to make great beers.