Should I, shouldn't I..?

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Should I, shouldn't I..?

Unread postby TheRedDarren » Mon May 02, 2016 2:36 pm

Hey,
I'm thinking of ordering a BM...
I currently use a kettle and a converted coolbox as a mash tun. I've done 22 brews so far using this set up, and while it's pretty good - most beers have all been really good - I'm getting frustrated with inconsistent mash temps. On small beers the temperature can drop by 4/5 degrees sometimes ending up at 62 ish, leaving a really thin beer after fermentation.

So, maybe a BM...
Things I'm not sure about.
1) Big beers.
I don't often brew past about 1.065, but would like the option. I don't mind using sugar to boost OG, so is it possible to brew to about 1.075/1.080 ish to 20l using the BM?

2) Efficiency.
What sort of BHE can I expect? I have my own mill, and I mill an hour before dough in. My current BHE is 81%.

3) Daft question given the forum but... Is it worth it?!
I'm going to potentially spend £1400 ish after buying the extras like small malt pipe and hop strainer etc.. Thats quite a spend for basically getting good mashing temps!
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Re: Should I, shouldn't I..?

Unread postby mashy » Mon May 02, 2016 3:57 pm

Do it.

The issue is not about mash temps, big beers (yes it does) or efficiency (does 1,2, or 5% efficiency really matter on a £5 bag of malt!)

Its about enjoyment and a BM is very enjoyable (AND it makes some stunning beers)

...if you don't get one, you will never know :D
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Re: Should I, shouldn't I..?

Unread postby Nesto » Tue May 03, 2016 5:55 am

1) Not a problem. See many threads! I have an award-winning barleywine of 12%.
2) Should be at least as good - see threads for correct mill gap settings.
3) Nope. From a strict £ standpoint, you can brew much cheaper. But you may (will) find that brewing is easier and you'll do it more often!
Do it!
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Re: Should I, shouldn't I..?

Unread postby Snakebite1969 » Tue May 03, 2016 7:12 am

I just bought the 50L BM.

One of the main reasons was the ability of producing big beers by just boiling the wort down from 50L to reach the required gravity and still produce enough wort to fill a keg.

I also liked the idea of producing 60L of a session ale and fill three kegs per brew if needed for those long hot summer days.

I'm also from NZ and some guys from the Homebrew store frowned at me for not buying the locally produced Grainfarther which may be worth a look if your main requirement is big beers with stable mash temperatures.

I wanted automation and large batch size and hence went with 50L BM
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Re: Should I, shouldn't I..?

Unread postby BreadMurderer » Tue May 03, 2016 7:51 am

Snakebite1969 wrote:I'm also from NZ and some guys from the Homebrew store frowned at me for not buying the locally produced Grainfarther which may be worth a look if your main requirement is big beers with stable mash temperatures.


Isn't the Grainfather "designed" in NZ but made in China? Not really locally produced eh. :wink:

In saying that I'm interested to know how you got your BM (not to derail the thread) as I am moving to NZ at the end of the year and it seems extra expensive there (and only one distributor?).

I'm really toying with the idea of a Grainfather and upgrading it's STC to have BM like functionality. Price is deffo an issue but not the end all.
Drinking: Whatever craft beer I can find!
Conditioning: Nowt
Fermenting: Nowt
Planning: To buy a pimpin' setup on my return
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Re: Should I, shouldn't I..?

Unread postby mashy » Tue May 03, 2016 8:05 am

I would have a look at one first - the build quality was not a patch on the BM.

For want it worth I think the best unit on the market at the moment in an original BM.
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Re: Should I, shouldn't I..?

Unread postby Snakebite1969 » Tue May 03, 2016 8:50 am

I got one of the 2014 50L models for $2995NZ ($2100 US) so not really that expensive. I think they have one left at that price.

I also looked at upgrading the controller on the Grainfather, but at the end of the day it wan't going to produce the volume I wanted. There is a pre-programmed temperature controller that looks like it could be swapped in but haven't heard anyone do it yet and use the original controller for the fermentation fridge.
http://www.haurakihomebrew.co.nz/beer-making-equipment/1528-dual-temperature-controller.html
http://cdn.kegking.com.au/Downloads/MKII-Temp-Controller.pdf
I also have a Computer Science Degree and actually looking for a cheap secondhand Grainfather to play aroud with (custom program my own controller)

Some of the Australian homebrew shops can ship to NZ within 48 house so if you did go with a BM and end up in NZ, you can quickly get that replacement part without having to wait 3 months for the only NZ distributor to get it back in stock.

I'm happy I went with the 50L BM and made the right decision. The quality of the product is second to none and will last a lifetime.

I hope I haven't derailed your thread, but give you some information about BM in NZ.
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Re: Should I, shouldn't I..?

Unread postby BreadMurderer » Tue May 03, 2016 9:47 am

Snakebite1969 wrote:I hope I haven't derailed your thread, but give you some information about BM in NZ.


Thanks for that Snakebite! I am still for the BM, just weighing up my options. :D

I too have a computer science degree but do I still do programming? Do I buggery. :lol:

With regards to the Grainfather upgrade, check this post I popped on another forum, very interesting links. http://www.thehomebrewforum.co.uk/showt ... hp?t=62469

I'll be heading to Wellington hopefully, where about do you reside if you don't mind me asking?
Drinking: Whatever craft beer I can find!
Conditioning: Nowt
Fermenting: Nowt
Planning: To buy a pimpin' setup on my return
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Re: Should I, shouldn't I..?

Unread postby Aleman » Tue May 03, 2016 10:15 am

The one thing about the Grainfather upgrade with the STC1000p, is having to have the instructions with you when you want to program in a different mash regime. I don't brew enough to be able to remember how to do it, so my STC1000p is still sat doing nothing while my fermentation fridge is working well under the watchful eye of a home brewed BrewPi.

That is the reason I got a BM, easy and foolproof, and no regrets :cheers:
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Re: Should I, shouldn't I..?

Unread postby Snakebite1969 » Tue May 03, 2016 10:47 am

BreadMurderer wrote:
Snakebite1969 wrote:I hope I haven't derailed your thread, but give you some information about BM in NZ.
I'll be heading to Wellington hopefully, where about do you reside if you don't mind me asking?


I'm from Auckland. You will probably be in for a real treat when you walk into your first Home Brew shop in NZ. Distillation of fermented sugar / wort is Legal !
http://homedistiller.org/intro/legal
Most home brewers I have meet have no interest in Distillation and like me just want a few of your own home produced Craft Beers :drink: with dinner rather then some paint thinners out of a still. As a side not, this makes the Grainfather interesting since it is also the bottom part of a still now sold in most Western Countries.
Last edited by Snakebite1969 on Tue May 03, 2016 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Should I, shouldn't I..?

Unread postby BreadMurderer » Tue May 03, 2016 11:01 am

Snakebite1969 wrote:
BreadMurderer wrote:
Snakebite1969 wrote:I hope I haven't derailed your thread, but give you some information about BM in NZ.
I'll be heading to Wellington hopefully, where about do you reside if you don't mind me asking?


I'm from Auckland. You will probably be in for a real treat when you walk into your first Home Brew shop in NZ. Distillation of fermented sugar / wort is Legal !
http://homedistiller.org/intro/legal
Most home brewers I have meet have no interest in Distillation and like me just want a few of your own home produced Craft Beers :drink: with dinner rather then some paint thinners out of a still.


Haha. I won't be bothering to distil anything. :)

If the home brew shops are anything like Oz then I'll be over the moon. Anyway, sorry, went off topic here. Thanks for your input too Aleman (not just for me), the videos I watched for programming a mash schedule via an STC1000 did look a tad complex compared to the BM.

Get a BM, I would too! :cheers:
Drinking: Whatever craft beer I can find!
Conditioning: Nowt
Fermenting: Nowt
Planning: To buy a pimpin' setup on my return
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Re: Should I, shouldn't I..?

Unread postby mbarn » Tue May 03, 2016 6:39 pm

Others have answered your questions, but to add.
Is it good value, no. Is it worth it, hell yes. ;-)
I was in the same position as you last October. Perfectly good setup, but quite inconsistent. Same ingredients brewed on different days meant slightly different beer due to temps and the lack of control.
My enjoyment comes from cloning a known beer or adjusting someone's recipe. I don't enjoy messing around trying to hit temps and volumes.
The BM provides consistency every time.
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Re: Should I, shouldn't I..?

Unread postby RichM » Tue May 03, 2016 8:28 pm

I upgraded to my BM last Christmas from my previous 3V system which i'd pretty much built, nothing ever worked quite how i was ever expecting it to, stuck sparges, blocked taps, inconsistent temperature control. leaking pipe joints, things falling apart just when i wanted to use them etc etc, it was all becoming a real ball ache, and whilst i learn't loads about AG brewing i wasn't really enjoying my brew days. you'll know doubt have read through the technical support page and seen the various issues folks have, i myself have suffered with the condensation issue, which now thankfully Speidel has seemed to fix, but with all that in mind i'd still buy one, i compared the Grandfather to the BM before i bought and as others here have said the BM is far better made, and being able to set the program and walk away leaving it to do its thing has been really good, even to the point i've started over night brewing which has cut my brew days in half now.
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Re: Should I, shouldn't I..?

Unread postby mashy » Wed May 04, 2016 6:56 am

Well put. Enjoying brew days. Cracking beer. No hassle s.

I have a Web Cam on mine (an old phone) so I get the benefit of the phone app.
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Re: Should I, shouldn't I..?

Unread postby TheRedDarren » Wed May 04, 2016 10:00 am

Well thanks all, it all sounds like good advice. I'm pretty much decided to go ahead and get one.
I haven't yet read through the technical issues, I shall ASAP, but what was the condensation issues you suffered from?
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