Quantcast

Upgrading My Brew Rig

Aussie Home Brewer

Help Support Aussie Home Brewer:

GuyQLD

Well-Known Member
Joined
13/5/12
Messages
504
Reaction score
152
So as I sit in throat infected misery (third time in 2 months, not getting old at all) I'm scrounging the internet looking for info for upgrading my rig.

I'm a bit torn, currently I BIAB and no chill but the lure of 3V is out there. Luckily, I don't currently have space to go to anything bigger than a 1v system like BIAB at the moment and given some of the crazy stuff people are doing with single vessels recently, you start wondering if there's a point. But anyway, rambling.

So with that in mind; Design goals are simple.
  • Compact
  • Expandable
  • Ability to do double batches... maybe...

I was leaning towards a 70L SS pot and an italian spiral. Figured this would meet the above criteria. Went with the spiral for the balance between heat output and noise (noise is a big factor for me)

Beerbelly seem to be only place that has the burner, anyone know if it's known by another name or if you can get them anywhere else?

There also seems to be a big disparity in the pot market. The craftbrewer pots are seriously cheap compared to something like a Chefinox Elite (I got a quote for $310). How would they stack up though? The Chef Inox ones are serious gear. The lid alone is heavier than my whole aluminium setup :lol:


Although once you start getting into $500 worth of gear just to do doubles over my current gear.. you start to question your sanity. I don't even know if I'd use the full capability all that often.

At which point the following options start making more sense..

1. Do nothing (although I'm pretty limited to 5kg of grain in this, my pot is only 37.5L so it's a tight fit)
2. Buy a crown urn :lol: Though I do have a mild preference for gas, and no I don't know why.

And would I be right in assuming the guys using 3V's with kegs are only doing single batches? Or can you squeeze a double out of these (2x20)? And where do you even get the kegs to start with?
 

DKS

Well-Known Member
Joined
23/3/08
Messages
1,018
Reaction score
4
I have Craftbrewers 70lt pot over an Italian spiral. Ive had the pot about 6 months and Im really happy with it so far and the spiral burner was something I was set on getting for ages. Very good burner IMO. Unfortunately the pots are out of stock atm at CB, I just happened to be browsing earlier this arvo. I usually do 46lt batches but you could push that out to 55-56lt I reckon.
Cheers
Daz
 

killspice

Well-Known Member
Joined
4/6/08
Messages
61
Reaction score
11
I'm in the same boat as you Guy, but a step behind as I only have a 20l bigw pot.
I would probably go for an electric element over gas though, despite the extra effort involved i think it will make things easier for any future recirculation plans and gives me more flexibility on where i brew.
I know a lot of people on here recommend the cb pots, but have mixed opinions of the cheap ebay ss pots so i am guessing ross' gear is pretty good for the price. I am tempted by the kitchenwaredirect ali pots for the price though. If i was to continue with stove top i am thinking of the 37l bcf crab cooker with insert which i could probably use right away but i'm worried i am limiting myself too much with such a 'small' pot.
The urn just seems pricey for what you get, although it is an all in one solution you would get so much more from a cb pot and either burner or element.
 

GuyQLD

Well-Known Member
Joined
13/5/12
Messages
504
Reaction score
152
I'm in the same boat as you Guy, but a step behind as I only have a 20l bigw pot.
I would probably go for an electric element over gas though, despite the extra effort involved i think it will make things easier for any future recirculation plans and gives me more flexibility on where i brew.
I know a lot of people on here recommend the cb pots, but have mixed opinions of the cheap ebay ss pots so i am guessing ross' gear is pretty good for the price. I am tempted by the kitchenwaredirect ali pots for the price though. If i was to continue with stove top i am thinking of the 37l bcf crab cooker with insert which i could probably use right away but i'm worried i am limiting myself too much with such a 'small' pot.
The urn just seems pricey for what you get, although it is an all in one solution you would get so much more from a cb pot and either burner or element.
Mate I'm currently using the BCF crab cooker pot (I put 4 SS bolts in the insert so that it sits on top of the pot. Bag comes out, insert sits on top and I put the bag in it. It sits there and strains as I bring it up to boil)

For full volume mashing (Still bottling so I still do 23L batches) it's a tight fit, less than 5mm headspace if you mash 5kg and 32L.

For kegging it's a good solution, 1-2L less would be about the sweet spot for the system. The quality is pretty dicey though, you can bend it pretty easily (someone stepped on my lid and no longer fits snuggly after we bent it back into shape)

Hence why I'm looking elsewhere.
 

Crusty

The Electric Brewery
Joined
29/6/08
Messages
2,614
Reaction score
601
Location
Yamba, NSW
I'm a bit torn, currently I BIAB and no chill but the lure of 3V is out there.

Look away, run as fast as you can. Don't be fooled into thinking that a high tech 3V system will make better beer than your BIAB rig, you'll be bitterly disappointed.


Luckily, I don't currently have space to go to anything bigger than a 1v system like BIAB at the moment and given some of the crazy stuff people are doing with single vessels recently, you start wondering if there's a point. But anyway, rambling.

Some people like the bling, the gadgetry & the bells & whistles. Will it make better beer? No unfortunately!


So with that in mind; Design goals are simple.
  • Compact
  • Expandable
  • Ability to do double batches... maybe...

Although once you start getting into $500 worth of gear just to do doubles over my current gear.. you start to question your sanity. I don't even know if I'd use the full capability all that often.

Single batches are heaps better. Drinking a double batch of a shit beer is no fun & you'll end up really pissed off & will stick to singles for good.

At which point the following options start making more sense..

1. Do nothing (although I'm pretty limited to 5kg of grain in this, my pot is only 37.5L so it's a tight fit)
2. Buy a crown urn :lol: Though I do have a mild preference for gas, and no I don't know why.

The Crown Urn could well be the best decision you will make. BIAB in the urn is so easy & produces fantastic beers. DO IT!

And would I be right in assuming the guys using 3V's with kegs are only doing single batches? Or can you squeeze a double out of these (2x20)? And where do you even get the kegs to start with?

I had a 3V PID controlled keggle set up & only ever did single batches. The mash tun was fine but you will need a bigger kettle than a 50lt.
 

Yob

Hop to it
Joined
14/11/09
Messages
15,036
Reaction score
6,410
Location
Ringwood, Melbourne
You say had... What are you running now? Why did you turn off the 3v?

Genuine curiosity
 

kelbygreen

Crazy Clown
Joined
28/11/09
Messages
2,850
Reaction score
21
my pre boil volume is 54lts for a 42lt into cubes now that is hard in a 50lt keg :p you can do a smaller boil and top up in the fermenter I guess but its easier to just boil full volume and you have less restrictions, I run 50lt keggle HLT, 70lt MT and 80lt kettle and I would not go any less on all of them when you add mash out the 70lt MT is pretty full it could fit prob 3-5lts but the heat softens the plastic and it bows a bit so I would not put any more in it
 

Crusty

The Electric Brewery
Joined
29/6/08
Messages
2,614
Reaction score
601
Location
Yamba, NSW
You say had... What are you running now? Why did you turn off the 3v?

Genuine curiosity
Well I just wasn't happy with the whole brew day in general. Before the 3V PID set up, I had a 2V set up, boil kettle was my HLT & I had a Rubbermaid cooler for my mash tun. I made some great beers with this set up & it was working great. I started getting heavily involved in making beer more often & saw some of the incredible brew rigs on this forum & decided to make my system better by trying to control 1deg of temp loss from my mash tun & venture into complete control of the mash via a Rims or Herms. I went rims & spent in excess of $2500.00 to get my Rims set up operational. I encountered a few stuck sparges, even with a liquor to grain ration in excess of 3l/kg, occasionally 3.5lt/kg. I did some compensating by opening up my mill gap settings to help with the stuck sparge problems. I started reading about protein rests so did a few of them as well. My beers lacked head retention so stopped doing the protein rests. This can be compensated by adjusting the recipe with maybe some wheat or head retaining malts but I got the shits big time with it in the end. My beers were no better than my simple system that I started with & I never encountered a problem with that system. So all I did was over complicate everything & turned a simple brew day into one of firing up burners, swapping camlock hoses here to there, transferring water from A to B & so forth, it was a pain in the arse. I was looking at going back to the simple mash tun but stumbled onto BIAB in the electric urn. It couldn't be simpler than that & I am back to making those fantastic beers that I used to make with great head retention. I just believed that to make better beer I needed temp control of the mash, a dedicated sparge & a chiller to cool the wort. In the end, I wasted my money big time. I BIAB no chill now & can't believe how simple it can & should be, so a big lesson learnt.
 

barls

causer of chaos and mayhem
Joined
30/1/05
Messages
6,167
Reaction score
784
this from the same bloke that gave up kegging a few months ago.
personally it doesnt matter what system you use just so long a it is dialled in.
 

Crusty

The Electric Brewery
Joined
29/6/08
Messages
2,614
Reaction score
601
Location
Yamba, NSW
this from the same bloke that gave up kegging a few months ago.
personally it doesnt matter what system you use just so long a it is dialled in.
You wouldn't be having a dig at me barls by any chance? I gave up kegging about 18 months ago, lost my job, no money so I sold some gear. We had to sell some of our belongings as well & our Land cruiser Prado to get out of the hole that no employment created. We got through it, got a new job & am back on the road to fulfilling my equipment list again. My new kegging system shits on the old one too so very happy that I could upgrade the beer fridge.
I think it matters a lot on what system you brew on. I spent a ridiculous amount of money foolishly believing that the upgraded version would produce better beers than my old system, it had to right? Wrong! I over complicated everything & I now brew in the electric urn. I am back to making some great beers & the no hassle brew days are fantastic.
 

pk.sax

RIP bum
Joined
19/8/10
Messages
4,362
Reaction score
415
Crusty, I went through a few iterations of a 'brew rig' before I got to my last one. Each time I changed something it was because I was already doing what I wanted to do but in a half arsed makeshift way that needed monitoring or need to be more careful with things, crushing etc. Eventually got to the point where I could just add it all in, set the timer and walk away.
Now, the first vessel was a 19L pot. The next happened to be a keggle for biab. Since I was already down this path it let me add bits as I got bits of spare cash. I did think of buying an urn at one point, however, I wasn't even closeto sure about what I was doing brewing all that beer! If I could just manage to get a bit of consistency in how I brewed I'd be happy. Certainly didn't warrant splashing out on an Urn.
The thought of spending thousands never even crosses the mind.
Yet, some people do find themselves in the position where they find barely a day in a month to brew and yet the beer gets consumed faster. The nicest rigs I've seen have been neatly laid out gravity rigs. No reason why someone can't adjust to whatever they build and get it to work. It's like blaming a recipe for beig wrong when the cook refuses to adjust for the variation in produce. They just work. Also, if you have the space in the shed to put up a rig that contains the waste and mess then why wouldn't you. The urn isn't the only way to do things, in fact, people make HLTs out of kegs for way cheaper than an urn can be bought for. That's essentially an urn, especially if you temp control it. While its pretty awesome that you are having a great time brewing in a bag with an urn, your constant tirade against anyone thinking to make anything is getting a bit old and annoying.
Chill out and have a beer.
 

barls

causer of chaos and mayhem
Joined
30/1/05
Messages
6,167
Reaction score
784
You wouldn't be having a dig at me barls by any chance? I gave up kegging about 18 months ago, lost my job, no money so I sold some gear. We had to sell some of our belongings as well & our Land cruiser Prado to get out of the hole that no employment created. We got through it, got a new job & am back on the road to fulfilling my equipment list again. My new kegging system shits on the old one too so very happy that I could upgrade the beer fridge.
I think it matters a lot on what system you brew on. I spent a ridiculous amount of money foolishly believing that the upgraded version would produce better beers than my old system, it had to right? Wrong! I over complicated everything & I now brew in the electric urn. I am back to making some great beers & the no hassle brew days are fantastic.
yes mate, im having a dig.
correct me if im wrong but didnt you say kegging wasn't worth the effort as well. hence why you went back to bottling. you never said anything about selling things off for that reason.

mate if the best beer came out of single vessel units, wouldnt they be doing that commercially.

not saying you have to have all the bells and whistles but sometimes it makes it easier.

you are almost as close minded as speedie was.

as i said before it doesnt matter what system you use so long as you get it dialled in.

personally i use a 3v but have mates that brew biab, both have limitations and benefits.
 

Acasta

Bro Member
Joined
16/5/10
Messages
1,368
Reaction score
14
I went rims & spent in excess of $2500.00 to get my Rims set up operational.

I encountered a few stuck sparges, even with a liquor to grain ration in excess of 3l/kg, occasionally 3.5lt/kg.
First of all, was your rims tube made from solid gold? :lol:

Did you consider slowing the flow rate? It's clearly just an issue with the stuch sparges you could have over come.
 

Crusty

The Electric Brewery
Joined
29/6/08
Messages
2,614
Reaction score
601
Location
Yamba, NSW
Crusty, I went through a few iterations of a 'brew rig' before I got to my last one. Each time I changed something it was because I was already doing what I wanted to do but in a half arsed makeshift way that needed monitoring or need to be more careful with things, crushing etc. Eventually got to the point where I could just add it all in, set the timer and walk away.
Now, the first vessel was a 19L pot. The next happened to be a keggle for biab. Since I was already down this path it let me add bits as I got bits of spare cash. I did think of buying an urn at one point, however, I wasn't even closeto sure about what I was doing brewing all that beer! If I could just manage to get a bit of consistency in how I brewed I'd be happy. Certainly didn't warrant splashing out on an Urn.
The thought of spending thousands never even crosses the mind.
Yet, some people do find themselves in the position where they find barely a day in a month to brew and yet the beer gets consumed faster. The nicest rigs I've seen have been neatly laid out gravity rigs. No reason why someone can't adjust to whatever they build and get it to work. It's like blaming a recipe for beig wrong when the cook refuses to adjust for the variation in produce. They just work. Also, if you have the space in the shed to put up a rig that contains the waste and mess then why wouldn't you. The urn isn't the only way to do things, in fact, people make HLTs out of kegs for way cheaper than an urn can be bought for. That's essentially an urn, especially if you temp control it. While its pretty awesome that you are having a great time brewing in a bag with an urn, your constant tirade against anyone thinking to make anything is getting a bit old and annoying.
Chill out and have a beer.
I'm not against anyone making anything, I did just that. If you can tinker & build stuff, go for what makes you happy. I am just pointing out that so many inexperienced brewers read a lot on here & seem to think from the get go that If they don't get a 3V system operational, they simply won't be able to produce as good a beer by using a simple system. I believed just that from inexperience & spent the money only to prove that it wasn't necessary. Spend what you like on your set up, I really don't care.


yes mate, im having a dig.
correct me if im wrong but didnt you say kegging wasn't worth the effort as well. hence why you went back to bottling. you never said anything about selling things off for that reason

mate if the best beer came out of single vessel units, wouldnt they be doing that commercially.

not saying you have to have all the bells and whistles but sometimes it makes it easier.

you are almost as close minded as speedie was.

as i said before it doesnt matter what system you use so long as you get it dialled in.

personally i use a 3v but have mates that brew biab, both have limitations and benefits.
Really didn't want to air my dirty laundry on the forum & tried to justify going back to bottling. I still think certain beers are better bottled, it's just a pain in the butt bottling as opposed to kegging. Who said anything about BIAB making better beer than anything else? I never said that. I said spending all that money never resulted in a better beer, for me.



First of all, was your rims tube made from solid gold? :lol:

Did you consider slowing the flow rate? It's clearly just an issue with the stuch sparges you could have over come.
Nope. Stainless. The whole rig cost me a tad over $2500.00.
I did indeed slow the flow down on several occasions. Too slow a flow & you run the risk of a tad too much heat on the wort for my liking. You need a certain amount of flow for correct temp reading.
 

Yob

Hop to it
Joined
14/11/09
Messages
15,036
Reaction score
6,410
Location
Ringwood, Melbourne
Shit man $2k is a fair drop to get a system.. Especially not to be happy with it!!

My ghetto 3v HERMS setup probably cost a couple of hunge.. Not counting elements i keep blowing up...lol..

I found that when i said "no more tinkering" with it everything worked out.. One of the biggest things i did for consistency was stop fking with it..

Ha.. That said, i always knew my current setup was temporary.. I just got some steel frames on the weekend to make myself a rig frame. But i so enjoy a good build..

Brewery upgrade imminent. :)
 

QldKev

Brew Dude
Joined
21/6/05
Messages
7,471
Reaction score
1,031
Location
Bundy
So as I sit in throat infected misery (third time in 2 months, not getting old at all) I'm scrounging the internet looking for info for upgrading my rig.

I'm a bit torn, currently I BIAB and no chill but the lure of 3V is out there. Luckily, I don't currently have space to go to anything bigger than a 1v system like BIAB at the moment and given some of the crazy stuff people are doing with single vessels recently, you start wondering if there's a point. But anyway, rambling.

So with that in mind; Design goals are simple.
  • Compact
  • Expandable
  • Ability to do double batches... maybe...

I was leaning towards a 70L SS pot and an italian spiral. Figured this would meet the above criteria. Went with the spiral for the balance between heat output and noise (noise is a big factor for me)

Beerbelly seem to be only place that has the burner, anyone know if it's known by another name or if you can get them anywhere else?

There also seems to be a big disparity in the pot market. The craftbrewer pots are seriously cheap compared to something like a Chefinox Elite (I got a quote for $310). How would they stack up though? The Chef Inox ones are serious gear. The lid alone is heavier than my whole aluminium setup :lol:


Although once you start getting into $500 worth of gear just to do doubles over my current gear.. you start to question your sanity. I don't even know if I'd use the full capability all that often.

At which point the following options start making more sense..

1. Do nothing (although I'm pretty limited to 5kg of grain in this, my pot is only 37.5L so it's a tight fit)
2. Buy a crown urn :lol: Though I do have a mild preference for gas, and no I don't know why.

And would I be right in assuming the guys using 3V's with kegs are only doing single batches? Or can you squeeze a double out of these (2x20)? And where do you even get the kegs to start with?

Changing systems is a decision only you can make. I BIAB for years and enjoyed it and made some great beers, ok awesome beers B) . I never ran a heat exchanger for my BIAB so even with using BeerSmith to calc strike water temps (and living in Queensland where the max temp only varies by about 10c over a year) my beers did vary slightly with the seasons as I could never hit 100% the exact same temp every time. Also trying to do step mashes was too hard, rooting around lifting bags or constantly stirring, it just wasn't fun. Now I've moved to 3V with both RIMS and HERMS (long story) I can't see myself brewing a beer with out a minimum of 2 temperature steps, the controller and heat exchangers do all the work. I do believe that my beers are now more consistent and it has allowed my to tweak them to make them even better. So IMHO my current beers are better than I made consistently with BIAB. When you think about it recirculating through a heat exchanger allows you to get exact repeatable numbers, so if you don't make better beer you are doing something wrong.

Brew system size is also something you need to look after taking the input of others. You need to think about how much beer YOU (aka your household) consumes and how often YOU want to brew. Some people make 1/2 sized brews in a small pot, some make huge brews. In my case my household consumption is about a keg a week. When I started brewing I was making a single sized batch using BIAB, hence I found I had to brew every week. It was fun for a while but got boring very quick, and sometimes I just could not find the time so I had to resort to kits :( . I can see why after 2 or so years a lot of brewers on here pull the pin. I then built a dual setup so I could run 2 single brews simultaneously. Then I upgraded a size to do a double size batch, hence making 3 brews at once. Finally after I got the kettle planned for my 3V, I started making a 100L BIAB. The 100L BIAB meant I only had to brew once a month. In the process I decided my brewing needs to meet how often I want/can brew, and it had to remain simple and fun to do. Things like not running around the house with hot water from house kettles/pots on the stove, not lifting bags or stirring all the time. When I brew I want it easy as most the time I have mates around for beers while I brew. With my current 3V I can do either 3 or 4 23/25L batches. I find brewing every 3 or 4 weeks fun.

The only downside to the bigger system is when you want to play with ideas. I want to brew a wheat beer and also a Lambic once summer gets here, both I only really want a single brew of each. I'm in the process of building one of the recirculating BIAB setups. A lot of gear I had laying around, a keggle from my BIAB days and brass fittings from my build up prior to switching to all stainless parts. But in saying that I don't keep a close eye on costs of my brewery, it's a hobby and I want to enjoy it. How much have I spent on boats/fishing tackle, caravans, 4wd's, motorbikes, my V8 commodores, etc over the years. Don't get me wrong I don't just throw money at it, but if I need something I will get it. The system I'm going to build will be kept as simple as possible, but must ensure I can make beer easily. So while the reverse flow of the Braumeister may be superior?, I will be recirculating from top down as it simplifies the system. I will run an electric element under a false bottom to allow me to maintain accurate temperatures and also allow ramping between steps, finally becoming the element for the boil. I've got no intention for sparging as it will only make it harder on brew day and will take it away from the simplicity of a true 1 pot system. Not knocking what other people have done, I just want to make it as easy / fun as I can.

Hope this info helps

QldKev
 
Top