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Brewing Systems: BIAB, 2V, 3V, BM etc.

Discussion in 'Gear and Equipment' started by Spiesy, 3/11/13.

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If you were to build yourself a new all-grain homebrew system, what would you build and why? ($3.5k

  1. BIAB system

    50.0%
  2. 2V System

    0 vote(s)
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  3. 3V System - no RIMS/HERMS

    0 vote(s)
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  4. 50l Braumeister

    0 vote(s)
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  5. 3V RIMS System

    50.0%
  6. 3V HERMS System

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. Other

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%

 

  1. Spiesy

    Illmatic

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    Posted 3/11/13
    So, I'm interested in upgrading from my 70l BIAB system. Homebrew is easily my biggest hobby and passion in life, has been for a couple of years now, and I'm only getting more obsessed with time.

    I've read up a bit on 3V RIMS (which I'm keen on), 3V HERMS (which I'm not so keen on) and then today I was reading up on the expensive beast that is Braumeister.

    Everything has it's pro's and con's - but if you had a budget of around $3.5k and wanted to buy or build a system that could easily pump out double batches (40l out of the brewery) - what would you do, knowing what you know now?

    Keen to hear the general consensus and the rationale behind your decision.
     
  2. wbosher

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    Posted 3/11/13
    If I had 3.5K I'd continue to BIAB and take the missus and kids on a holiday. Or if I could palm the kids off, go on a cruise with her indoors. :)
     
  3. Spiesy

    Illmatic

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    Posted 3/11/13
    For the sake of the argument, pretend you don't have a brew system.
     
  4. NewtownClown

    Cenosilicaphobic

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  5. Spiesy

    Illmatic

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    Posted 3/11/13
  6. Rurik

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    Posted 3/11/13
    I like this question and had it myself a few years ago at the same budget. I brought a 20l BM because it worked in my situation. I live in a three bedroom town house and have four kids plus my wife so space is at a premium. We also plan on buying a unit in the city in the future so the space problem is not going away any time soon so I need to have a space efficient system. Also there is a need for it to run on electricity for space reason and due to the strata arrangement it had to work off 10amp. I work from home so I wanted a set and forget while I got about my day. If I need 40l I can brew twice in a day or I can brew two days in a row or I can use malt extract and water it down.


    I am very happy with my choice and would not change it but it may not work for you.
     
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  7. Spiesy

    Illmatic

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    Posted 3/11/13
    Without wishing to sway anyone - for me, at the moment, I'm torn between 3v RIMS and 50l BM. For these reasons:

    3V RIMS:
    Pro's
    Cheaper
    More flexibility (can produce higher gravity worts) and more manual control

    Con's
    Bigger, requires more space and more time to clean
    Not automated, requires more attention throughout brew day (an issue, we're hoping to start a family sometime soon)

    50l BRAUMEISTER
    Pro's
    Smaller footprint, ran electrically - so can be run indoors
    Less cleaning
    More automation, less attention required throughout brew day

    Con's
    More expensive
    Less flexible (slight restriction in amount of brew styles and strengths that can be brewed).

    Probably more pro's and con's that I'm not yet aware of.
     
  8. doon

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    Posted 3/11/13
    Trust me unless you have a good extraction fan you dont want to brew indoors with a bm unless you want sticky condensation running down all your walls.

    I was doing it with a 20 and it was bad enough
     
  9. doon

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    Posted 3/11/13
    And with a bm 50 pretty sure you could brew quite high gravity brews if you dont mind having less finished product
     
  10. dicko

    Boston Bay Brewery

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    Posted 3/11/13
    I thought long and hard before I sold my beloved 3v herms 50 litre brew rig..but in the end I did sell it and got a BM.
    My reasons were the first, to scale down in size
    The second was that lifting those big pots and all that cleaning was getting me down and I was putting off brewing because of it.
    The third was that the BM is set and almost forget which then gives me time to do other things while brewing.
    The fourth was that I gained a heap of space in my brew area if compared to the 3V Herms.

    Like many other people I had spent a lot more money building the 3V Herms brewery than you ever get back and a lot more than if I had just gone and bought a 50l BM. As it is, I opted for the 20l version which suits my needs.
    I very rarely brew "big" beers and for that reason the BM suits me just fine.


    I have done 40 brews with my BM in the garage which is UMR and lined with gyprock and painted and prior to that I had done at least 60 brews with the old brewery with a 100 litre kettle that had a diameter of nearly 1 metre and a Nasa burner and I don't see any evidence of any sticky residue....not saying it may not happen in a small room with no ventilation.

    I was always lead to believe that when wort boils it is the water that evaporates as steam and the sugars stay in the kettle.

    If staining occurs when boiling wort is probably more due to the walls being dirty with fat or cooking residue and the steam enhances this.

    Good lick with whichever way you decide to go Spiesy.
     
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  11. Rurik

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    Posted 3/11/13
    This was my answers to the pros and cons when I asked them to myself. I am just sharing to give you another POV. Please take it as such and not me trying to sell you a unit.

    When I looked at it the 3V was just as much as the BM when brought ready to go. If you are going to make it you still need to factor in your time and the cost of tooling up. Now a build may appeal to you. As to the more control, how? The BM can be manually driven with accuracy to a degree. If you want to program it it can have five steps to within a degree. Also the ongoing cost are much less as the cost of per unit energy making it into your brewing is a lot less. Yes they are more flexible with the range of gravity you can brew but the question I asked myself was how much beer did I make that had an OG over 1.060. The reply was not much and there are ways of exceeding this in a BM.

    As to the BM cons. There is just as much cleaning in a BM time wise as it is rather fiddly, it is not hard or anything but it has to be done and there is no quick way of doing it. Also see my comments in regards to cost above.

    I brew indoor with a pretty average extraction fan in one spot and none in the other. I have never had a problem with condensation I just brew next to an open window with a cross breeze.
     
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  12. Rurik

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    Posted 3/11/13
    I concur with this experience.
     
  13. Rurik

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    Posted 3/11/13
  14. Bribie G

    Adjunct Professor

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    Posted 3/11/13
    What is this upgrading you speak of? Do you want to make beer or tinker with equipment? Nothing wrong with the latter of course, more power to the Arduino (whatever that is)

    I can rip out a 50L brew using BIAB in an urn plus a twenty dollar esky any time I like, and top quality.

    Got a good blind-tasting peer review on my quality over the weekend, picking up a gong for second place in the Pale Lagers at the Nats, very chuffed and many thanks to the Canberra organisers. :super:
     
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  15. QldKev

    Brew Dude

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    Posted 3/11/13
    My 2c based on my personal experiences.

    BIAB
    A great way for brewing. If you want to have temp control or do step mashing it becomes harder than it needs to be. Wanting to do step mashing easily was the only reason I moved away from it. I also tried up-scaling the system. I build a side by side setup so I could brew 2 BIAB brews simultaneously. I tried a double size BIAB setup, and even ended up with a 100L (beer output) system.

    1V (recirculating BIAB/BIAP brew in a pot?)
    I use a (28L beer output) recirculating system with a pot to hold the grain, having a slotted bottom for recirculation. A standard heating element sits just under the pot. The element is used to maintain the heat, to allow step mashing, and also for the boil . I love using mine, it is quick to setup, fun to use and quick to clean up. The only issue I see is by the time you scale it to a bigger system you loose a lot of that easy to use characteristic about it.

    3V
    Mine has an element under the false bottom I call an internal RIMS, and also a HERMS. It can do up to a 112L (beer output) batch and I found one element for the heat exchanger was not enough, hence I ended up with RIMS and HERMS. The RIMS can be a pain when mashing at lower temperatures. If I'm doing an acid rest I have to wait for the HERMS alone to bring up the temperature as shit always burns onto the RIMS element at that temperature. There is a lot more to setup, and a hell lot more at cleaning time. I do find the main run pretty straight forward.

    Braumeister
    I have never used one, or even seen one in action. So I can't really comment on this. I do see most people enjoying the use, but see people talking about limitations for grains bills etc.



    I think all the systems are great ways of making great beer.
     
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  16. Bribie G

    Adjunct Professor

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    Posted 3/11/13
    Great post Kev - would take issue on the step mash thingo, with BIAB because you have to raise the temperature to boiling anyway, you get the steps "for free", although I take your point that it can involve a tad more work with re-lagging the mashtun between steps.

    As your venerable Premier Joh who is now reborn in his new persona said; " there's many ways of skinning a cat"
     
  17. Crusty

    The Electric Brewery

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    Posted 3/11/13
    I've had a 3V Rims, PID controlled, & for me, it was very bulky, was a pain to use & I encountered a few stuck sparges which peeved me off. I ended up selling it because I wanted something a bit more simple.
    I moved on to Biab in an urn. Simple system, great results but the exposed element means a hassle to step mash, especially at protein rest temperatures. I lose a couple of degrees over a 90min mash but the beers are turning out great. I would like the ability to step mash more simply, control mash temps better & not have to just do single infusions.
    I think I would get a 50lt BM if I had the coin. Small malt pipe for experimental batches & a bit less finished volume if you want to create really big beers.
    Full control with a small footprint.
     
  18. Bribie G

    Adjunct Professor

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    Posted 3/11/13
    Protein rest with BIAB and an urn can be nasty as you can toast the element. However that can be worked around with an addition of boiling water to do that initial raise up to sacch. rest, then the urn hadles everything from there on.
    That aside, what issues have you had with stepping, Crusty? I just move from step to step with stirring/pumping the mash with a paint stirrer then wrap the urn up again for the 40 minutes or whatever per step.
     
  19. timmi9191

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    Posted 3/11/13
    Off topic

    Anyone step mash BIAB via a Hermes? I Use a 60l frosty boy esky as a mash tun and double batch. Was considering building a manifold and running it through a Hx to step mash. Anyone?
     
  20. Spiesy

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    Posted 3/11/13
    Upgrading to easily allow for stepping, sparging and a bit more control. The BM, if I go down that road, also offers a lot of automation.

    I'm (mostly) making good beers now, but I still want to get better. I'm under no illusion that the equipment is all I need to make better beers, but it will likely help.
     
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