To BM or not to BM, that is the question

Are you considering the purchase of a Braumeister? Please enter and we'll convince you to bite the bullet!

To BM or not to BM, that is the question

Unread postby 3LB » Sun Dec 07, 2014 3:55 pm

So, time for my first post :)

Found this forum, which I expect to be very helpful, via the Hobbybrouwen one (where I'm active as 'brouwmus') and just wanted to let you guys know I'm strongly considering upgrading to all grain brewing, moving away from kits.

I'm still hesitating between getting a few pans and other equipment, or jumping in and going for the more expensive option - a 20L Braumeister...

That said, I still have a few kits lined up that I want to brew & eventually drink, so I don't have to decide just yet :)

At least there'll be hours and hours of fun of reading up on this forum ahead!

Oh and for those who are wondering, '3LB' is short for 'Drielandenbrouwerij', Drielanden being the area of Harderwijk I'm living in with my wife and two daughters.

Cheers!
John
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Re: To BM or not to BM, that is the question

Unread postby Dicko » Sun Dec 07, 2014 8:25 pm

Hi John,
Welcome here.

I would consider the BM if you wish to spend time with your wife and daughters.
The 3 vessel brewery that you build will "own" all your time an any brew day while the BM will allow you to use much of the breweing time doing other things.
The cleaning time of the BM is half the time it takes with the 3v.
My experience with building a 3v system is that by the time you have it working as you like it, or should I say as best as you can have it, then it has cost you more than a new BM anyway. i talk from personal experience here.
The above does not consider other advantages such as a small footprint for storage and operation and great resale value should you decide that brewing is not for you.

This may help with your decision. :lol:

:cheers:
The worst thing that can happen if I die is that my wife will sell all my brewing equipment for what I told her I paid for it
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Re: To BM or not to BM, that is the question

Unread postby BrauTim » Sun Dec 07, 2014 11:04 pm

Welcome,

I would suggest that you do brew those kits before going AG, otherwise they will be left on the shelf gathering dust, only to be used in emergencies :lol:

You can probably go 3v for about 50% of the cost of a BM, but if you are already looking at the BM now, then you will probably end up here eventually as its calling is strong, too strong for me to resist anyway.
To brew or not to brew, that would be a stupid question !
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Re: To BM or not to BM, that is the question

Unread postby redwing_al » Mon Dec 08, 2014 1:13 am

I have to say that I could answer your question more accurately next week as I have recently ordered a 20l and it will be here this week.

However, as someone who has made the progression from kits, to partial mash kits, to all grain BIAB and now to Braumeister, I am convinced this was the best choice to further my knowledge. Dont' let people fool you when they say you can't make big beers or your limited on your quantity.. Yes, it's true to a point, but my likely work around is to simply make less or double mash. Each use case has advantages, but the way I see it, I'll simply make somewhat smaller batches. The advantage to that is that I'll likely brew more often! Which is what i want to do anyway..

I have 4 FastFerment conical vessels (https://www.thefastrack.ca/main/fastferment), 3 carboys and 1 fermentation bucket. I see a say when all 6 kegs are full as well as my fermentation pipeline and I can't wait.
Eagle & Schmitt Brewing
Keg 1:
Keg 2:
Keg 3:
Keg 4:
FastFermenting Vessel 1: ~
FastFermenting Vessel 2: ~
Next Up: Don't Wheaty, Be Hoppy (Wheat IPA)

Total BM Brews: 10
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Re: To BM or not to BM, that is the question

Unread postby Cervantes » Mon Dec 08, 2014 4:08 am

You've come to the wrong place for an unbiased opinion really............

Most here are already BM owners and once you go BM you'll never go back.

Well one or two have, but they are by far in the minority.

I like the BM for it's simplicity of use and predictability/repeatability of results.
Cheers :cheers:
Andy
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Re: To BM or not to BM, that is the question

Unread postby 3LB » Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:40 am

Thanks for all your replies guys!

One of the best points about the BM, apart from its automated features, is its compact form, in my opinion. I wasn't going to build a full (semi)automatic 3V system anyway due to lack of space (the curse of living in Holland).

Indeed I'll first finish the kits :drink:
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Re: To BM or not to BM, that is the question

Unread postby dinnerstick » Mon Dec 08, 2014 2:08 pm

3LB wrote:One of the best points about the BM, apart from its automated features, is its compact form, in my opinion.


Mine too. it's great for its small footprint during use and storage.

3LB wrote:(the curse of living in Holland)


i always thought that was the weather!
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Re: To BM or not to BM, that is the question

Unread postby 3LB » Wed Dec 17, 2014 11:06 am

dinnerstick wrote:
3LB wrote:(the curse of living in Holland)


i always thought that was the weather!


Yep, that too!
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Re: To BM or not to BM, that is the question

Unread postby 3LB » Wed Dec 17, 2014 11:11 am

Seriously though, I do have the following questions which would influence my decision:

:?: - Is it fully feasible to brew Belgian style ales on the 20l BM?
(I'll mainly be using the BM for tripels, strong blondes, dubbels and quadrupels but also British style ales except for barley wines - regular bitters and IPAs won't be a problem, I guess)

:?: - The thermal jacket seems like a good investment. Right?

:?: - Not sure about the SS hood though - and what would be the difference with the copper version (except for the price)?

Anyone?

Thanks!
John
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Re: To BM or not to BM, that is the question

Unread postby dinnerstick » Wed Dec 17, 2014 11:27 am

3LB wrote: :?: - Is it fully feasible to brew Belgian style ales on the 20l BM?
(I'll mainly be using the BM for tripels, strong blondes, dubbels and quadrupels but also British style ales except for barley wines - regular bitters and IPAs won't be a problem, I guess)


what do you mean, is this in reference to the higher gravity of those beers? I find it easy to get gravity in the mid-1.060's range without doing anything tricky (I get around 80-83% total efficiency), and some percent of fermentables in tripel/dubbel/duvel-like is from sugar, so, yes it's fully feasible to push out 1.060-1.070 base wort and add your sugar on top of that. For a really big quadrupel, indeed you have to push the limits of the BM. I am not afraid to 'cheat' and add 5-10% malt extract; i'd rather do that then double mash, overload and risk a stuck mash, or boil down to a smaller volume. But if you are regularly making big 1.090+ beers then the BM might not be your best bet.

3LB wrote: :?: - The thermal jacket seems like a good investment. Right?


yes, i think so. or just make one from a camping/yoga mat. but it holds temp much better with a bit of insulation.

3LB wrote: :?: - Not sure about the SS hood though - and what would be the difference with the copper version (except for the price)?


I don't have either, but I can't imagine there's any practical difference other than price and aesthetics. No disputing that you maintain a stronger boil with the hood, from reading everyone else's experiences. also possible to make your own, as some users have.
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Re: To BM or not to BM, that is the question

Unread postby 3LB » Wed Dec 17, 2014 1:07 pm

Thank you, dinnerstick!

One roadblock less then - yes, Q1 was regarding the higher gravities, I wasn't sure if it's possible. I won't be brewing extremely high gravity all grain beers (barley wine, RIS etc).
As you said, sugar is normal in Belgian style ales and if mid-1.060s gravities are easily obtained this will serve my purposes, no problems.

If I'm going to pay EUR1300,- for this machine I think I can persuade myself to get the great looking & well fitting jacket rather than a more improvised solution...

Hood: does it mean that if you have a stronger boil, you can have a shorter one? (Eg 60 minutes rather than 90?)

Thanks!
John
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Re: To BM or not to BM, that is the question

Unread postby niels » Wed Dec 17, 2014 2:07 pm

Speidel doesn't even offer the copper hoods anymore. Only the stainless steel ones are in their new product list.

You could go for a shorter boil, but I typically don't go shorter than 75 minutes.

If you want to buy a BM20 for 1300 EUR you want to buy the current model on sale as the new one will be about 85 EUR more expensive...

PM me if you want more accurate pricing of the new models.

- Niels
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Re: To BM or not to BM, that is the question

Unread postby 3LB » Wed Dec 17, 2014 2:20 pm

Thanks Niels.

Yes, there was something about it on the Hobbybrouwen forum too.

Forces me to make a decision sooner rather than later...
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Re: To BM or not to BM, that is the question

Unread postby Nesto » Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:45 pm

3LB wrote:Thank you, dinnerstick!

One roadblock less then - yes, Q1 was regarding the higher gravities, I wasn't sure if it's possible. I won't be brewing extremely high gravity all grain beers (barley wine, RIS etc).
As you said, sugar is normal in Belgian style ales and if mid-1.060s gravities are easily obtained this will serve my purposes, no problems.

If I'm going to pay EUR1300,- for this machine I think I can persuade myself to get the great looking & well fitting jacket rather than a more improvised solution...

Hood: does it mean that if you have a stronger boil, you can have a shorter one? (Eg 60 minutes rather than 90?)

Thanks!
John


Some here have done double mashes, but I don't worry about the slight increase in cost and have used up to 20% liquid malt extract (I'm close to a home brew shop that has fresh LME). I've done several high gravity beers this way with excellent results. If you do use LME, honey or sugar, I've found it best to draw off wort from the boil to mix in. With sugar, you avoid burning it on the coils. And with honey or LME, I've found that if you pour it directly in the BM the pump likes to suck it all up before it dissolves and gets a little gummy.

I did a DIY hood (viewtopic.php?f=4&t=197) and it does help the boil. I haven't been able to tell if there is any difference in the end product. Have done a few recipes with and without the hood. What the hood means is that you get the BM boil up to the same vigor as a propane kettle boil. Without a hood, the boil is fine, but pretty tame. You'll still want to do a 90 min boil if you have pilsner malt. 60 minutes is ok for other recipes.
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Re: To BM or not to BM, that is the question

Unread postby 3LB » Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:21 pm

Thank you, Nesto, very valuable info indeed!
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