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Buying in a 1V brewing instrument. Advice appreciated

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Hey everyone,

I am looking at buying something to brew grain in.

Background:
Live in a big share house (university) and have this setup so far:
- 4x 19L kegs
- bar fridge 2- taps (fits 2 kegs)
- bottles for leftover fermentation (no waste)
- 2x 30L plastic fermentors.
- alot of bits and bobs

For the last few years have been making brews from the supermarket (can + sugar mix), but I'm sick of that taste that is associated with this mix. I went to a friends place who has a Braumeister (35L) and I was sold on grain brewing after tasting some of the brews we made. The BM is well out of my price range (2k ish). I tend to make a lot of beer, we go through 2 kegs most weeks (we have a lot of people coming over) and buy cartons when I can't be bothered brewing.

So I am asking for opinions on what to get. Currently, I am torn between 3 systems.

1. The BIABasket by Cheeky peak brewery ($700 including adds on and postage)

Pros:
- looks like it is well made
- can later be modified to 3V if I ever wanted.
- 50L capacity
- can use gas
- everything replaceable
Cons:
- Most expensive (once you add re-circulation kit, chiller, pump etc..),
- no programming feature (not sure how important this is though, pleas let me know, could also add one easily if required)

2. Guten ($400 + postage)

Pros:
- cheaper,
- programmable cycles (I think)

Cons:
- looks a bit flimsy compared to the BIABasket
- program pad in a bad spot for getting knocked/ split on

3 Brewzilla ($400 + postage)

Pro's and cons same as guten except for 5L less capacity.

So I'm leaning towards the BIABasket but also tempted by the other two because of the price difference. Any advice/ experience is appreciated. Also worried about the volume of the 40L or 35L, maybe I should be comparing the 65L versions which are more comparable price-wise to the BIABasket. Also, let me know how necessary other equipment is (sparge tank for hot water etc..) and let me know your recommendations.

Finally, the other item I NEED is a mill. I'm leaning towards a basic $100 mill from the two main brew sites. Please send recommendations for quality mills (well best quality for a few hundo max).

Thanks, any advice is appreciated.
 

JDW81

I make wort, the yeast make it beer.
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There’s some good and bad reviews for both the Guten and Brewzilla. To be honest I find it hard to make much sense of them as there seem to be so many vested interests/biased reviews on both. If I was buying a single vessel recirculating system it would either be a grainfather or a Braumeister. The cost is much more, but you get what you pay for IMHO, but definitely understand that they are a big outlay for a student.

With respect to the Guten/zilla, the one’s I’ve seen seem pretty similar in build quality/features. Both would serve you well. There’s a thread on both here. It seems like both KK and KL are quick to replace/solve any issues that arise with them.

If you’re in a share house, and renting then the 60L versions are probably no good, as you’ll need a 15amp socket to run them and there’s unlikely to be one. YOu’ll either have to convince the landlord to install one, or ask if you can have one installed at your own expense.

Is there anyone locally who can supply a Guten/brewzilla? Might make it a bit easier for product support.

JD
 

mje1980

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I have a 35L robo. Previously had 3v setup, then basic BIAB. I’ve done 29 batches since November, it’s awesome.

I have a cheap 2 roller grain mill from KL and it’s fine. I used to have a fancy one from the US, but the KL one works just as well IMHO.

If you have 15amp, grab the 65l robo, I wish I had. Though if I end up getting a 65L I’ll probably keep the 35

You could also get a digiboil from KL, no recirc pump, but for many many years home brewers made great beers without recirculating mashes, and still do
 

Nullnvoid

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Personally, I would go the Cheeky Peak System. They look really well made and Cheeky Peak are amazing.

The Guten/Brewzilla are cheap and so the quality can vary. You get what you pay for.

But yeah, my vote would be the Cheeky Peak system.
 
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Thanks for the advice. I think you guys are right in that the one thing I will regret is not going big enough. We have a pretty good relationship with the landlord and dad is a sparky (I worked with him for 4 years), luckily the circuit board is near where I do all my brewing so installing a new breaker and PP would be a quick and cheap job, so that isn't going to affect my decision too much.

The 50L BIABasket produces around 35L of beer. Does that mean the 35L brewzilla produces about 23L of beer? I do like the idea of doing larger batches. So I think I will start considering the 65L systems.
 

Sidney Harbour-Bridge

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I have had a robobrew and now use a cheeky peak mash tun in a 3V set up. of the two single vessel setups I would go for the Guten as it has a slightly larger capacity, you could almost do double batches of lower gravity beers on it, with a 60 L fermenter you can fill two kegs per brew.

I went with thecheeky peak tun because the electronics on the robobrew got wet and let me down, if you progress to 3V brewing then the cheeky peak is the way to go.
 

mje1980

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In fairness, regardless of brand, electronics don’t like water lol. The cheeky peak stuff looks good though, I like the big basket and the fact a burner can be used with them
 
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I have had a robobrew and now use a cheeky peak mash tun in a 3V set up. of the two single vessel setups I would go for the Guten as it has a slightly larger capacity, you could almost do double batches of lower gravity beers on it, with a 60 L fermenter you can fill two kegs per brew.

I went with thecheeky peak tun because the electronics on the robobrew got wet and let me down, if you progress to 3V brewing then the cheeky peak is the way to go.
How is the quality of cheeky peaks SS nano pots? They look like a quality product in the picture cant find anyone except the owners doing reviews on youtube.
 

paulyg

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I have recently upgraded from a 37-liter pot and esky mash tun to a cheeky peak 125L system. I don't have the recirculation pump but did get them to add the recirculation fitting to the lid in case I add a pump down the track. I usually do full volume/no sparge brewing and I have done a few 40 liters batches and a few 50-litre batches (keg volumes) and its been pretty consistent and fast.

I no chill at the moment so, no comments the chiller but the inkbird controller works well and I have never found myself wanting to have programable mash schedules but I do like things simple. Really happy with it and its pretty future proof as I can change the heating elements size to go all-electric, or ditch the element and go all gas, currently I use both gas and element.

and the brew in the basket is awesome, saves heaps of time being able to drain that over the pot while ramping up to boil

if you want to brew 2 kegs worth per batch I would seriously consider going to at least the 75 liter, I don't think you would regret it.

so my vote is cheeky peak
 

The Mack

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Brewzilla. Easy, compact, 20L big W pot for sparge water.

For what it's worth I have three of them, and having previously BIAB and 3V brewed I wish these were available at this price point when I'd started brewing.

If you no chill you can continue to knock out cubes even when you don't have the fermenting capacity and really build up a stockpile so to speak.

Going through a couple kegs a week though, you might need to share the brewing out with your housemate or buy some FWK's for quick turnarounds, the only other option is brewing larger batches.

For the mill keep your eye out on marketplace or gumtree, I've seen some mash master minimills pop up for ~ $70 (which is insane value), again if your flatmates are sharing in the spoils I'd hit them up to throw in some coin for the purchase, buy once cry once.
 

Sidney Harbour-Bridge

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How is the quality of cheeky peaks SS nano pots? They look like a quality product in the picture cant find anyone except the owners doing reviews on youtube.
I have their smallest mash tun, 35l I think it is, it's good quality gear, thicker SS than the robo/guten, design is heavy duty, I like the idea of the grain stopper false bottom but it is higher than needed if you don't have an electric element in the tun, tap also could be mounted lower. I modified the false bottom to reduce the dead space under it so I can get another Kg of grain in if needed. The sparge arm is a good idea, you don't need to monitor the level above the grain and can keep the lid on whilst sparging. I didn't like the floating tube as it piled the grain up on one side when recirculationg so I made one that fits inside the pot ans directs the liqior more gently towards the center. I didn't like the three way diverter valve as it allows liqior to run out of the pot if you have it very full without the float on. I have the insulated jacket, which again is a good idea although the holes are a bit big to clear the fittings so I fixed that too.

Probably need a bit of work to get them just right bit IMO worth the effort. Maybee for a newbee 3V is not the best way to start in all grain. Robo or Guten could still be incorporated into a 3V system if you wanted to later on
 

mattoo

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I am biased as have only used BIAB. my 50L kettle with swiss voile bag, immersion chiller (water supply was not an issue where I last lived) spat out endless quality APA / IPA Pale ales etc. I always ended up with 1 full corny keg (~20L) & usually a six-pack, depending on the ABV & amount of hops added. Its simple, effective, easy to clean & very close to nothing to break. I use a quality thermometer to get strike water within 1 degree max, cover the kettle with my ski coat & blankets for a 90 min mash & rarely see more than 2 or 3 degrees variation at end of mash (even with outside temps just above zero - and i was brewing in a stairwell..) I did also use no chill in peak winter when temps we sub-zero & the outside tap was frozen... i use brewmate for my recipes. happy to share any info or recipes you may need. oh - have a false bottom and always used gas. 30L plastic fermenters (never secondary) gravity fed into the kegs with a small swiss voile bag over the end (inside te keg) to stop trub. workes a treat
 
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Thanks for all the feedback guys, they all look like good systems. All systems out of stock at the moment as well, I guess the are having supply problems or a lot of people are taking up homebrewing.

Still leaning towards the cheeky peek system. I'll keep researching until the systems are available.

A few people have mentioned they don't chill. The main add-on cost of the cheeky peek is the chiller and they offer 3 different types:
- Counter Flow Chiller
- Immersion chiller
- Chillout plate
Are chillers really necessary (northern NSW) and if they are is there a significant difference between the 3? I would probably get the immersion chiller as its the cheapest and the other two systems use them, also can later become HERM if I ever went 3V.

@ paulyg
Yeah, the 75L is looking more likely now, thanks.

@The Mack
I enjoy brewing and the costs are all shared for ingredients.

@SHB
I'm pretty handy with the tools, like to modify things and tinker. Get everything perfect. That is one of the main appeals for the cheeky peek system for me. So the fact that its not perfect out of the box is no issue.

@mattoo
Yep that sounds similar to what I am going to be doing/ already do. The most effective way I have stopped the sediment build-up from pouring from my fermentors into my kegs is chilling the fermentor a day before transfer (It solidifies all the sediment so it falls and sticks to the bottom). Will probably behave differently from grain fermentation though.
 

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