Nano vs Brewzilla or Guten

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antelope741

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Hi Brewers,

Very new to this brewing scene, but excited to get more into it, only been fermenting bottling and kegging brought worts so far but keen to do the whole deal.

I'm guessing this topic has come up a lot but couldn't find a clear answer on what is the best option in previous posts so here I am. I want to brew single batch's (20Lish) pale ales, pacific ales, and beers similar to this which I believe use around 5 kg of grain per 20kg brew am I right?.. I'm interested in the cheeky peak nano 35L intermediate biabasket, or the 35L brewzilla or the KK Guten. the nano is around $200 extra if you get the shower ball, pump etc to have similar features to the other options. My question is what is the best option for my need? will the 35L be big enough? I don't mind paying the bit extra if it genuinely is worth it.

any help would be appreciated and sorry for my lack of knowledge in this.
 

Sidney Harbour-Bridge

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All will produce good wort if you do your bit correctly, the cheeky peak nano is much a much sturdier set up and can be upgraded into a 3V system if you choose to go that way later on, from a health and safety point of view it is heavier and will do more damage if you drop it on your foot. Where I am now I would buy cheeky peak first off but lots of people stick with guten/robobrew/grainfather for years. I started all grain with a robobrew and only moved to cheeky peak when it broke.
 

MashBasher

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You are right on the quantities of grain. @5kg will get you 23 liters of 1.040 to 1.050 beer assuming average efficiency.

Now, I may be a just a wacky old guy with outmoded ideas, but here's an alternative approach to spending big to transition to all grain: you can go old school. This is what you would need:

- An esky for a mash tun (to mash your grains). Can be a round one or a square one, around 20 liters or bigger.
- Two 20 litre food grade buckets (the white ones) to make a lauter tun (to allow you to sparge - drill a bunch of small holes in the bottom of one bucket, and nest it inside the other to make a giant strainer)
- One more 20 litre bucket as a liquor tank (to hold your sparge water)
- A big 25-30 litre stainless steel pot for a boiler
- A gas burner suitable to bring the big pot to a boil quickly
- an accurate instant read thermometer

You will need a few taps and a few hoses as well. A plastic jug and a funnel too, but these are incidentals.

All up this will cost bugger-all. Especially if you can source food grade buckets from a local restaurant or similar.

You can make as good a beer with this setup as you can with one costing hundreds more.

You will also learn a lot more from doing it this way because you will be very hands on. Every step of the way.

If you want to know how this all comes together as a system, get yourself a copy of Charlie Papazian's book "The Complete Joy of Home Brewing" to see how really, really simple it is to make good beer.

The book is old, but the principles are sound.

Then when you have learned a thing or two, spend your hard earned dollars wisely.

Good luck.
 
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MHB

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Agree completely, all the bling in the world is no substitute for learning your processes.

Even just a stockpot/keggle, a bag, a gas burner and a few other incidentals will get you started cheap.
The one place where I think everyone looking to step up their brewing should start is temperature control of your ferment (well assuming you have hygiene under control).

I went from several different homemade systems to a Braumeister (before the other 1V options existed) mainly so I could find time to brew. Absolutely no regrets at the higher price and would spend the extra every time but that’s a personal decision based on knowing what I want from a system.

Graham Wheelers UK/CAMRA books are another good basic or starting out guide to brewing, Palmers “How To Brew” isn’t too bad and the free version on line a great starting point.
Mark
 

duncbrewer

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As others have said many ways to skin a cat. Mostly comparing like to like to like so in the end go with the one that you think is right. One vessel systems are convenient, good to learn on and brew on. I had no regrets with a robobrew, you can do bigger beers on them with an efficiency hit or use other techniques such as reiteration and partigyle.
It's good to understand what you are trying to do before you do it or why it happened after. I agree the Graham Wheeler books tell you about brewing and background as well as how to apply it I enjoyed them and wish I had got them back from a new brewer I leant them to in the UK. Next time I get back there I'll reclaim them.
Finally like HiFi once you've got your system stop looking at others or you'll always be not as content as you could be.
 

antelope741

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Hi Guys, thank you very much for the input, i have gone with the nano and did my first full brew on saturday, i think it went really well but the test will be when i get to try it in a few weeks.. just as to getting some increase in knowledge i see MHB mentioned there was a free version of the Palmers "how to brew", do you happen to have a link for this? I couldn't find it.
Agree completely, all the bling in the world is no substitute for learning your processes.

Even just a stockpot/keggle, a bag, a gas burner and a few other incidentals will get you started cheap.
The one place where I think everyone looking to step up their brewing should start is temperature control of your ferment (well assuming you have hygiene under control).

I went from several different homemade systems to a Braumeister (before the other 1V options existed) mainly so I could find time to brew. Absolutely no regrets at the higher price and would spend the extra every time but that’s a personal decision based on knowing what I want from a system.

Graham Wheelers UK/CAMRA books are another good basic or starting out guide to brewing, Palmers “How To Brew” isn’t too bad and the free version on line a great starting point.
Mark
 

Drowro

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@antelope741 - Do yourself a favour and go and buy the book. I have been brewing for 20 years and still go back to it. The other one i use a lot is Designing Great Beers.
Those two books have enhanced my learning a lot.
Good luck and most of all, Have Fun! ;)
 

CyriusBrew

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I have a 3v setup where I have pumps/etc... However, I also have Guten I bought in last year's NZ lockdown, and I also have a bag and pot.
For me it is horses for courses. I find the Guten to be a pain in the rear for big brews and get stuck sparges unless I reuse the wort for another run through of grains to get the OG up. Apart from that, it is good for a quick brew.
For starting out, I reckon nothing beats a good old BIAB, and I still do it to this very day when my time is tight.
Nevertheless, congrats on the Nano Brew! It looks like a nice piece of kit!
 
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Posting here as opposed to creating the exact same thread again haha! I'm keen to get some opinions here also...

I'd love to know what everyone's response would be if the options were the NANO base model only (no recirc etc) vs Brewzilla/Guten, on the basis that you wouldn't be able to upgrade to the pump/recirc etc for the foreseeable future, i.e. if you had a blanket $500.

How much value do you associate with the fact the CP has a longer lifespan/is more sturdy etc when comparing it to all the functionality of the BZ/Guten with recirc, automation etc??

Also, how does that stack up when considering BZ Gen 4? Do people think the updates are worth the extra $100? @ $500 does the preference swing from CP back to BZ?

My brain has been racing on this for far too long haha...
 

Hangover68

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All good points FF, i'm thinking about upgrading my system and originally looked at a CP 50ltr nano but the 50ltr Guten looks good.
Not sure how the automation will improve anything but the re-circulation function would probably improve my efficiency not that i'm concerned about that, like you mentioned i would worry about the longevity of the electronics in the Guten whereas the Nano wouldnt be an issue.
About the only things i would improve in my basic BIAB system is to replace the mesh bag with a s/steel grain basket and add temp control to the kettle, both which is nearly half the cost of the Nano.
 

raybies

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I was recently in the same situation.
I ended up getting a Brewzilla. I am not totally satisfied with it's usability nor quality (LCD issues, mash basket/malt pipe handle a little short, so it's ~hard to get the basket out without it falling back in and soaking your garage floor in sticky wort, more...), but it gets the job done.

If I were to be in the same position now, I think I might just settle for a Digiboil + false bottom and a separate pump.

I think I prefer BIAB, and the Brewzilla comes w/ a centre malt pipe to prevent over flows, I think, but just gets in my way, so I had to remove it and buy the "pro" screen. It still has 2 holes on either side where the handle "just" reaches to prevent over flows and if your strike is ~20L should prevent dry firing the elements.
 
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I was recently in the same situation.
I ended up getting a Brewzilla. I am not totally satisfied with it's usability nor quality (LCD issues, mash basket/malt pipe handle a little short, so it's ~hard to get the basket out without it falling back in and soaking your garage floor in sticky wort, more...), but it gets the job done.

If I were to be in the same position now, I think I might just settle for a Digiboil + false bottom and a separate pump.

I think I prefer BIAB, and the Brewzilla comes w/ a centre malt pipe to prevent over flows, I think, but just gets in my way, so I had to remove it and buy the "pro" screen. It still has 2 holes on either side where the handle "just" reaches to prevent over flows and if your strike is ~20L should prevent dry firing the elements.
Interesting take, that you would go the Digiboil if you had your time again. I wonder if any of those things you aren't satisfied with are addressed on the Gen 4... although first production run on a new vessel there is likely to be other problems (even if the old are fixed). I also wonder if a separate pump with the Digiboil would still have the same issues as the internal pump on the BZ (though a lot of that sounds like user error).

@Hangover68 - everyone keeps referencing the electronics in the BZ/Guten, but the NANO is electric as well haha. The NANO can more easily be placed on a burner/stove though if something goes wrong... but you could still do that with the BZ/Guten, just have to drain it to a different vessel.

Also, realistically the BZ isn't an AIO because you still need a second vessel to sparge... which wouldn't be required on the NANO.

Would love to know which way people would go that have used both/all three - NANO (base model only) vs BZ vs Digi w/ pump. Too many options haha.
 

duncbrewer

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You can just put a blanking plate on the hole in the false bottom of the malt pipe. Cheap as chips. You could always buy a separate pump if you wanted to add that feature later to the Nano, the original robobrews didn't have a pump.
@CyriusBrew I use glucanase in most of my mashes, this doesn't add volume ( oat and rice hulls do) and not having stuck sparge issues at all.
Agreed though getting high mash efficiency and extraction from the one vessel systems takes a while to get optimised. Still a work in progress for me.
 

Unslaven

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Posting here as opposed to creating the exact same thread again haha! I'm keen to get some opinions here also...

I'd love to know what everyone's response would be if the options were the NANO base model only (no recirc etc) vs Brewzilla/Guten, on the basis that you wouldn't be able to upgrade to the pump/recirc etc for the foreseeable future, i.e. if you had a blanket $500.

How much value do you associate with the fact the CP has a longer lifespan/is more sturdy etc when comparing it to all the functionality of the BZ/Guten with recirc, automation etc??

Also, how does that stack up when considering BZ Gen 4? Do people think the updates are worth the extra $100? @ $500 does the preference swing from CP back to BZ?

My brain has been racing on this for far too long haha...
Hey.
So I started with a 25L BIAB setup, then got a Brewzilla 65L, then a 3V Keggle system and now have a large 4V.

I did a lot of research before getting the BZ, and I think for the price it is the best. The Guten is similar, but the BZ 65 won out due to the add ons for distilling, and that I actually found one 2nd hand.

The Nano is well built, but if you can't afford an external pump, then the built in pump in any all in one systems is priceless. It's not just recirc. I used mine to knockout, clean, and save my back instead of lifting. Just dont do what i did and back flush it with a garden hose at full bore and blow out the silicon joiner elbow inside the unit!

The BZ/Guten systems also work closer to a true mash/lauter tun with the pipe format rather than the basket of the nano. This is a big deal for me, but probably not for most homebrewers.

Regarding the BZ gen 4:
I would pay $100 without any regrets for a true bottom outlet on any vessel that touches Wort for the time saved in cleaning alone. They haven't officially (AFAIK) announced feature set yet but that would seal it for me.
Cleaning is a pain, especially when you go to bigger systems. If i dont have to flip a vessel to drain it, and can employ true CIP then it is one step closer to a pro piece of equipment.

Lastly, somebody mentioned that you'll need a second vessel for sparge, which is arguable, but I believe true. Any large pot on the stove could work in a pinch. 10L should get you close.
 

duncbrewer

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Guten 70 has a bottom outlet that's flush with the base, not on a nut / bulkhead connection as on brewzilla. I clean mine with CIP, inverting to ensure it's dry is optional, a quick rinse and pump before next use would wash away any water that had sat in the pump during downtime.
The bigger systems of course you can do a no sparge technique as well so that would save on using a pot or second boiler.
I think if you wait for the next best thing you'll never get there and kegland does have a slight tendency to push stuff to market and get it tested by the early adopters and come out with mods to correct these issues soon after, aka the robobrew 3.0 and then the 3.1.
No doubt the BZ 65 won second hand but down here the guten 70 is less expensive than the BZ 65.
It's horses for courses and you can brew on all of them.
 
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@Unslaven - appreciate the detailed response. In terms of the NANO I was more interested in removing the pump from the equation so that the comparison at a particular price point was relevant... so much feedback on these units talks about upgrades and modifications over time (which is great), but by that time you might as well be comparing it to Braumeister or something. I currently brew 5-12L batches with sous vide, and have 2 Anova sticks, so I'll be using one of them as my sparge water heater in my current 19L pot - so that takes care of that one haha.

KL have announced the updates in the forums here:

"1. Easier to clean with CIP options
2. It can drain out completely
3. It will come with the RAPT controller so you can turn on/off and program profiles remotely using the APP or using a web connected device.
4. It will log the previous brews

We also have a bunch of new accessories too and the accessories will be backward compatible with the older 3.1.1. Some of the accessories include new improved distillation lid, boiler extension and a few others." They have also confirmed the controller will move to the top of the unit (potentially moveable with magnet), the pump will be more accessible, and the element is being upgraded.

Given all the above, I'm extremely conscious of what you have mentioned @duncbrewer in terms of the early adopters doing the testing for them. All these updates sound amazing, but undoubtedly it will raise a whole new set of issues that need to be ironed out in the 4.1, 4.1.1 and so on. I'm definitely tempted by the 65L/70L options, and I do have a spare 16amp circuit, but the $400 to get it run to garage and powerpoint set up etc changes the pricing mechanic haha. I'd also like to continue to brew smaller trial batches without reverting back to sous vide & stove, so the smaller unit has that advantage also.
 

TheAussieBrewer

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My question is what is the best option for my need? will the 35L be big enough?
I would direct you down the path of the 50L Nano BIAB or the 70L if you plan on doing double batches down the road.

The Nano is by far the most customisable and repairable system.

I went the 125L 3v route and have never looked back.

241191945_150455907244965_2709098943447725860_n.jpg240886254_1000413620748906_2019580620844056750_n.jpg
 

duncbrewer

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@fridayfrothies
Can't see a price for the guten 40 in aus. Can confirm the guten 70 does drain to empty because of the drain hole position and design. Can't say re the 40 or 50.
CIP not an issue really with the smaller units, all of them you still have to get the hop residue and trub out before CIP anyway. Which you can use hosepipe and pump for on Guten as it drains to empty.
Who knows how friendly the rapt interface will be / work well if you find being near your brew kettle during mash / boil a nuisance then you trust your kit much more than I do. But there are some great aftermarket PID controllers you can fit to the brewzillas and guten that have web control etc.
The boiler extension is a collar I understand that will clip on to increase volume, likely to fit the guten and others as they are the same diameter. Guten lid already correct shape for distillation ( ie domed ).
I'd get brewing on any of them really, I don't regret learning on the robobrew 3 and upgrading to the guten 70 at all, but have definitely found the guten brew days less stressful for batches that don't go to the brim, I did tend to try and get nearer 30 litres to the fermentasaurus with the robobrew and that meant it was always very full. Just didn't like seeing the fermentasaurus not as full as it could be.
 
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I would direct you down the path of the 50L Nano BIAB or the 70L if you plan on doing double batches down the road.

The Nano is by far the most customisable and repairable system.

I went the 125L 3v route and have never looked back.

View attachment 121109View attachment 121110
Have seen your setup on a few of the Facebook groups - it's a thing of beauty for sure!

Did you ever use the BIABasket single vessel? Undoubtedly the NANO is a better option if you see your setup evolving into something like what you have built, but if you are looking at it purely for what it is, and it remaining that way, it's probably a slightly different picture. I have heard (from people that have used AIO units and the BIABasket) that the Inkbird is significantly less reliable for mash temps (experiences larger fluctuations, up to 10deg either way) than the AIO units, but that obviously the reliability & replaceability of the electronics on the CP units is much better. Once you include recirc, chiller etc. into the NANO it's essentially twice the cost of the BZ/Guten, which is why I think it's an interesting comparison purely between the base model NANO (no recirc etc) and the AIO units. Would love to try out the base model NANO with a sous vide in there somehow, which I feel would give better temp control and consistency due to the water movement, but it doesn't fit between the basket and the pot I'm told.
 
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