Nano vs Brewzilla or Guten

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@antelope741 apologies for hijacking this thread, but hopefully the discussion continues to be useful if you haven't yet made your decision!

@duncbrewer how do you find the software on the Guten compared to the BZ? Extra 5L on the Guten is attractive, but after seeing Gash's YouTube comparison of the 2 it appears that the BZ is the preferred unit for build quality and software. Seen a few people on the FB groups posting about loving the Guten, with the exception of the clunky user interface.

If I was going down the PID route then I would absolutely go with the NANO, as the mash temp situation with the Inkbird wouldn't be as problematic. Going the PID route really suggests a desire to further customise and expand though, which really lends itself to the CP longer term. I'm with you in regards to wanting to be near the equipment during the boil - haven't been concerned about the mash in the past (stir every 15mins with sous vide connected to bluetooth). Given your comments on CIP and RAPT (which I entirely agree with), really the upgrade is the element, pump access, and controller placing - all nice to have, but potentially don't justify a further $100 if the current model has ironed out most problems (without creating more).
 

TheAussieBrewer

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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.
I had never used the BIABasket 1v Nano prior to purchasing my 3v, I had borrowed a smaller 3v system before making the purchase of mine and prior to that was brewing on a ghetto cooler tun 2v system using a HDPE fermenter as my sparge water vessel after heating it in my 30L BCF pot.

I have used a GrainfatherBZ/Guten system in the past and my experience it wasn't an enjoyable one, clogged pump, grain getting into the boiler, very slow recirc with a heap of hulls thrown at it.... etc

I agree that the inkbirds aren't really the best tool to use for the brewing side, but a simple PID with an SSR is all you really need and is is quite an easy DIY project if it is something you are comfortable doing.

Its hard to not just look at price when making a comparison, although the Nano does cost more, I think people will get a lot more use out of it, but that is just my opinion after using my system and trusting it to do what I want.
 

duncbrewer

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@fridayfrothies
Have just looked at the Homebrew network comparison. It's a bit apples and pears as the BZ 65 compared to 50 litre guten and from march 2019. The smaller gutens have been upgraded I think with the features in the 70 litre guten. The Guten is shinier ( hence Smoother ), the malt pipe is telescopic not the BZ one that goes up and then falls off, it's more like a car aerial on the guten so is tight ( no liquid can leak thru the joints ). The BZ slidy overflow pipe is not water tight.
The bottom mesh in the mash pipe on guten is rolled over and sits solidly into the lip in the bottom of the malt pipe, it's very secure and solid when in place and doesn't have that BZ bend.
Control panel is in 0.1 celsius increments and the wattage adjustable in 100 w increments from 100 to 3000. Pump really powerful and I use mine with an auto program all the time.
Overall if you want a current review of Guten see


Not much more up to date than that.
 
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@TheAussieBrewer I definitely understand that there's a hell of a lot more to it than price, but I've just seen so many of these threads where people recommend the NANO due to the ability to add on and upgrade (which is great, and true) but realistically not everyone will do that, and if you do you end up building a system 3/4/5 times the value, so it's somewhat an apples and oranges. Having said that, being able to do it in stages is great, but who knows how long/how much investment is required to get to the level you actually want (the old homebrewing equipment rabbit hole).

Cheeky Peak announced a NANO controller way back in May but they've said nothing about it since. Could be interesting to see what that costs... if it's reasonable then maybe it's possible to build a 1V eBIAB setup without the Inkbird obviously (similar to the SS Brewtech 1V) for under$1000. I suspect the controller will be reasonably pricey though.
 

Hangover68

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I guess it will come down to do you see yourself adding on to the basic system, if yes then the Nano makes sense as the all in ones cant really be added to in any meaningful way .
And do you want/need automation, these are my considerations for when i upgrade.
 

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I guess it will come down to do you see yourself adding on to the basic system, if yes then the Nano makes sense as the all in ones cant really be added to in any meaningful way .
And do you want/need automation, these are my considerations for when i upgrade.
I completely agree, but will say I have used my Brewzilla in a 3V as a mash tun without the malt pipe and it works really well. Can recirc and maintain temp during the mash then draw off to the kettle with the inbuilt pump whilst sparging. Probably not the ideal mash tun but it saves a whole lot of messing around with external RIMS or HERMS if somebody wants to attempt a 3V without needing too much extra gear.
 
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Thanks to those that have provided input since I hijacked the thread haha...

I've made my decision and I thought I'd explain it a little so that anyone who comes to this thread with the same questions can potentially benefit from it. I know everyone will have their own opinion and some will potentially disagree with everything I'm about to say, but figured it was worth detailing my thought process anyway.

After what can only by described as an "obsessive amount of homework" I've decided to go Brewzilla 35L. A few key points on why:

  • This hobby (as we all know) is a giant rabbit hole. I feel like if I went for the NANO I'd be forever falling down that rabbit hole upgrading my hot-side setup bit by bit (which could be considered the fun bit for some)
  • One of the bigger issues I have with the NANO is the Inkbird controller & it's mash temp fluctuations (which are highlighted by almost all users) - I have absolutely no interest in trying to build a PID/controller etc. The rabbit hole is big enough without needing to include IT, and I don't consider myself an incredibly 'handy' person in that regard (or any regard for that matter haha). The NANO controller will undoubtedly be pretty expensive if it ever releases.
  • The price of AIO units vs NANO is significantly different by the time you add recirc, wort chiller etc to the NANO (literally double) and I wanted to spend a certain amount of money now. Given I'm 'upgrading' from my BIAB on the stove, I really wanted to play with the benefit of things like recirc, step mash, automation (we're all busy, right?) etc. which aren't possible without going down the aforementioned rabbit hole with the NANO
  • Price was a big consideration (I have just bought a house and have an upcoming wedding to pay for) - we're all forever buying the next thing in this hobby, but it makes more sense to me to place a higher amount of investment in the cold side of the process where things are more likely to go wrong/where the bigger impact can be made. I'd rather have half the money back from the NANO and put it into a new stainless conical, or a couple of all rounders, or another fermenting fridge, or a kegerator etc etc. Wort production is probably the last area worth spending more on (to me), and I'm comfortable with this as I have made plenty of small batch BIAB on the stove that I'm more than happy with (again, personal taste).
  • A lot of people highlight an 'advantage' of the NANO being its expandability into 3V - I've seen plenty of 3V systems with BZs in them... maybe it's not ideal or whatever, but who's setup if perfect anyway? Seems adding the BZ to a 3V would actually be pretty handy (though I have no intention of doing so)
  • In terms of BZ vs Guten, this probably could have gone either way but a few things tipped it to the BZ, not the least of which was the announcement a few hours ago of the boiler extensions, essentially taking the 35L to a 47L. This will allow double batches of lower ABV stuff, and potentially higher ABV stuff too if a bag is used instead of the malt pipe. It also reduces the boil-over potential, and is only $50.
  • General feedback is that KL is significantly better to deal with than KK, both as a customer and a LHBS... take that with a grain of salt, and I'm sure there's plenty of people with the opposite opinion
  • The BZ also wins for me (vs Guten) as I have friends who brew on it, the legend at the LHBS has brewed on it a bunch, and there's simply a hell of a lot more people brewing on them in general - I feel like this makes it easier to get help, recipes, recommendations, support etc. I'm sure some people will have it the other way in their own circle
  • I decided on the 35L as opposed to the 65 for a handful of reasons too - price (not only the unit but the power situation), I still want to be able to do my smaller batch experimental stuff in 10-12L volumes, I have little intention of double batching with big beers, and I can now double batch lower ABV beers with the new extension
  • Finally, I decided against waiting for the Gen4 and going for the 3.1.1 purely because of KLs history of letting the early adopters do a lot of the 'real world' testing of their machines, which usually highlight a lot of frustrations. It seems most people are super happy with their 3.1.1 (with a bit of practice etc) and a lot of the issues of previous Gen 3 models have been fixed.
Apologies if I just wrote an essay and it's of no use to anyone haha, but maybe 1 person will benefit from this as they consider the options in the future. Again though, this decision has a lot to do with my personal circumstances, friends, etc. and as everyone always says - they're all capable of making fantastic beer.

Cheers all!
 

philrob

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Great post FF. I'm sure it will be of use to a number of people.
 
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Key to it now is don't look at any more equipment, buy a book on brewing and don't look on the internet and you will be eternally satisfied with your choice.
Hahaha ain't this the truth. I think I've done that much research and thought this through SO much that I'm at a point where I'm probably confident in my decision regardless of what happens (short of Brewtools doing 90% discount or something). All my attention is now going to be on getting the thing to work, and all research will go into some new cold side upgrades ;)
 

BrewLizard

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Seen a few people on the FB groups posting about loving the Guten, with the exception of the clunky user interface.
It's similarly clunky to an Inkbird, but not complete arse like an STC1000.

The good news is that once you set up a recipe or two, you can pretty much use it for all your brews.

It is amazing that there are 8 pushbuttons available, but they still managed to make it fairly arduous to program. It's somewhat tempting to make an ESP8266 temp controller for it and program it with Arduino for full Wi-Fi control...
 

blacktop™

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Hi guys,

I’ve been watching this thread closely and there’s been some excellent discussion going on.

For anyone on here wanting a PID/SSR for their nano/cheeky peak setup, I can build you a simple plug & play solution for around $110. Add $10 if you want pump control.

A bit about me, I’ve been a member for nearly 4 years, a licensed electrician and just trying to help AHB members find a solution for those not too keen to play with electricity but want a better mashing solution for their nano/DIY setup.

Admin, please delete if I’ve broken the rules, just trying to help out :)
 
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clickeral

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  • One of the bigger issues I have with the NANO is the Inkbird controller & it's mash temp fluctuations (which are highlighted by almost all users) - I have absolutely no interest in trying to build a PID/controller etc. The rabbit hole is big enough without needing to include IT, and I don't consider myself an incredibly 'handy' person in that regard (or any regard for that matter haha). The NANO controller will undoubtedly be pretty expensive if it ever releases.

Cheers all!
So might be different as I have a herms as part of my Nano 3v (my nano is a mix of GEN 1 and also the HLT/Herms is Triclamp version) I have both a full inkbird pid and an inkbird temp controller. I have no issues using my Inkbird temp controller with my herms setup, no overshoot etc, I don't really use my PID much atm

No judgement etc just personal experience, im actually waiting on a 35L boiler to my 3v so I can more easily ceral mash and add additional volume to my MLT and kettle. I like my 3v as I can do a massive range of volumes and styles without issue, I've pushed my kit to the max capable and like the options it gives me. In saying that I am constantly tweaking it, because I like to tinker. I just went back to using an 90 degree barb fitting as my pickup from a braid/lauter helix as I get sick of it getting blocked (user error on my part) and I still got good results
 

bird

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I completely agree, but will say I have used my Brewzilla in a 3V as a mash tun without the malt pipe and it works really well. Can recirc and maintain temp during the mash then draw off to the kettle with the inbuilt pump whilst sparging. Probably not the ideal mash tun but it saves a whole lot of messing around with external RIMS or HERMS if somebody wants to attempt a 3V without needing too much extra gear.
Hi unslaven.
I've just made myself a boiler to add to my guten and hlt setup. I use the guten as a mash tun but with the malt pipe in and have thought about getting the false bottom and doing away with the malt pipe in the guten but was worried about drying out the elements if mash compacts and runs to slow. How do you go when recirculating? Doesn't run dry at all?
Thanks Bird
 

Unslaven

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Hi unslaven.
I've just made myself a boiler to add to my guten and hlt setup. I use the guten as a mash tun but with the malt pipe in and have thought about getting the false bottom and doing away with the malt pipe in the guten but was worried about drying out the elements if mash compacts and runs to slow. How do you go when recirculating? Doesn't run dry at all?
Thanks Bird
So I haven't tried any massive beers with that setup (biggest was 1.058 IIRC with oats and wheat) but I didn't have any problems. I did however use rice hulls. I got rid of the overflow on the BZ malt pipe long ago so got used to not running the recirc too fast, and now using it as a mash/lauter I run off to the kettle real slow. I also only run the 500w while mashing, then crank full 3500w while lautering as the wort doesn't sit there long enough to scorch.
But, correct me if my physics is not up to scratch, but if, unlike using the malt pipe, there is nowhere for the wort to go but through the mash bed, then theoretically there is no chance of the elements going dry. The pump will stop pumping if you get a stuck mash, but there is no way of sucking air into the system like around the edge of a malt pipe.
Hope that helps.
 

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