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cossie.j

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Hi all. I’m after some advice from experienced users on this system if possible please?
So after 2 years brewing with my grainfather, i feel it’s about time i moved on and I’m eyeing up a Brewtools system to replace my trusty grainfather. Mostly because I want brew slightly bigger batches, and experiment with split batches etc. I narrowed it down to a Brewtools B80 system for flexibility and the option to be able to add on extras as and when i feel the time is right?
I’ve watched about every YouTube video going and I’m still trying to get my head around how all the valves work? There isn’t actually any real detailed videos out there showing simple setups? Or possibly I’m wrong? Lots of people showing how many valves and bends pipes etc they have, but nothing basic ( which is how I want to starter off ) and get to know the system. Am I missing something here? Or overthinking it?
I know the grainfather G70 is going to be more familiar, but I like the idea behind the Brewtools system and the added advantage of upgrading bits at a later date etc also its an awesome looking bit of kit and looks to be far superior in build quality than all the other all in one brewing systems on the market. I’m a more of, quality over quantity kinda person
So my question is really, is it as daunting to use as it actually looks? The one disadvantage for me though, is it seems to have a big fan base on Facebook? And me being the miserable ol git i am...... I just don’t do Facebook : ). I appreciate any feedback if possible
Many thanks
James
 

LeeH

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I sold my B40 and purchased a 50L for plus BM.

One on eBay right now complete with a chiller for the jacket for 1600. No brainier especially if you purchase the small malt pipe.
 

cossie.j

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I sold my B40 and purchased a 50L for plus BM.

One on eBay right now complete with a chiller for the jacket for 1600. No brainier especially if you purchase the small malt pipe.
Is there any specific reason why you sold your B40?
I did think about the BM50 plus, but again it’d be just like brewing on a grainfather no? Please excuse my ignorance here. What draws me to the Brewtools system is the ability to completely customize it your own preference? Obviously once you get used to the system that is.
 

LeeH

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It’s like brewing on a 3V system, too many valves to strip and clean. That’s why I sold it, I wanted simplicity.

Only the BM offers a cooling jacket, but be aware that summer ground water temps will be an issue but a chiller solves that.
 

cossie.j

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Well that’s actually a valid point and something I hadn’t actually considered. Thank you
 

nickjdavis

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You can operate the Brewtools as simply as you want. There is no need for all the complicated valve arrangements if you are willing to do a bit of moving pipes around manually.

For instance there is no real need to have a 3 way valve on the right hand side of the BT if you are willing to fill the BT manually and sparge manually. If you dont have an external chiller then you just really need a single 3 way valve on the left hand side - either to redirect recirculated wort back in to the vessel or send it off to your FV when it is cool.
 

cossie.j

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You can operate the Brewtools as simply as you want. There is no need for all the complicated valve arrangements if you are willing to do a bit of moving pipes around manually.

For instance there is no real need to have a 3 way valve on the right hand side of the BT if you are willing to fill the BT manually and sparge manually. If you dont have an external chiller then you just really need a single 3 way valve on the left hand side - either to redirect recirculated wort back in to the vessel or send it off to your FV when it is cool.
Thank you. I didn’t find any simple setups on YouTube initially, but since found a couple which have been very helpful. I was ready to pull the trigger and buy the complete system with the 3 valve starter pack plus lots of extras! But there hasn’t been any more stock come in, so I’m gonna give it miss now? I’ll stick to using my grainfather, as I’ve been having great results recently. So I guess the saying is,if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
And save myself 3k at the same time
 

xozzx

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I sold my GF30 and bought a B80 with 3 valve kit. Absolutely no regrets, the B80 is a fantastic piece of kit. Cleaning is easy, you dont need to strip it down every brew, just fill with PBW, percarb, etc, and pump round all the circuits for 15 mins then empty and do same with water. If I have a free evening I will sometimes just strip it down and thoroughly clean but don't think it is really necessary. I also got a digiboil 35L as sparge heater which works well. A lot of people on the facebook group are not a fan of the sparge hat - for me I am getting way better efficiency than I ever got with the GF so am happy with the standard hat.

There is one huge downside to it tho - the initial cost is huge and it is really just the very beginning... I have to buy all the extras slowly with each grain order to hide it from the wife but there are a lot of others Im just going to have to bite the bullet and buy. I dont have the steam condenser or steam hat but think I really do need these, I "need" another 3-way valve and sight glass, laser cut false bottom... definitely getting the trubinator when its available (this is actually another downside to the B80 is I lose a lot at the end when transferring due to the trub and no filter). I thought I could get away without a winch but it is really awkward and dodgy to lift the grain basket without one - I bought a decent one of amazon for around £100 which works well. I also bought a trolley as I dont have a permanent area to brew in (I use the utility room) and it is quite heavy to move around. I built a stand onto the trolley which holds the B80, sparge heater and chiller. The chiller isnt great in my opinion as it takes a long time to cool to pitching temp but I now just leave it circulating back into the B80 until it reaches temp then transfer into FV which takes a while but works.

When I first got it I spent a while setting it up then ran through a fake brew a couple of times to get the hang of the valves, once you understand how the valves work it is actually really simple, I wouldnt worry about it being complicated, just take a bit of time at the beginning to properly understand it.

If you are happy to spend the money Id say definitely go for it. For me, brewing is my main hobby and I see people easily spend 5k on a new mountain bike etc so I can justify buying a top of the range brewing system - I also made the money for it with matched betting - now when is the brewtools F100 unitank getting released??
 

cossie.j

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/Thanks for the insight, totally appreciate that. Yeah I don’t have a problem with spending that amount on a quality system to be honest, as like yourself brewing is my only/main hobby, My way of thinking was to purchase the 3 valve setup pack which would get me started straight away, without things being overly complicated? Add sight glasses etc at a later date? Definitely was going to purchase 2 adjustable dip tubes as well, as i can see a great benefit from these.

Actually i was intending on keeping my grainfather and using this as a sparge water heater it’ll work quite well I think with the pump? And my intentions are to use the hat to sparge too and keep it simple. I have no idea as to when the unitanks are being made available? The MaltMiller doesn’t even say when? I did look into buying a couple of SS unitanks? But I’ll stick with my grainfather conical fermenters they work well, but they aren’t without any issues so to speak! Actually pricing it up this morning, the B80 with all the bits I need is something more like £ 3,300 ish?. My only issue now is, I’ve just been laid off work! So I’m finding myself in a predicament now! However thanks for your helpful input
 

xozzx

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My way of thinking was to purchase the 3 valve setup pack which would get me started straight away, without things being overly complicated? Add sight glasses etc at a later date?
Yep, thats what I did. It also allows you to work out what additional pieces you really want/need. You get one adjustable dip tube with the 3-valve kit, I dont really see any advantage to the other dip tube being adjustable so Im happy with the one. The sight glass doesnt really add much benefit but would make a nice addition, same with the laser cut bottom plate. If you are brewing inside and dont have some serious ventilation then the steam condenser and hat would be very useful, I need to get one soon as worried Ill do damage to the house from all the condensation.

I considered keeping the GF but decided no advantage over the digiboil. I connect the digiboil to the B80 pump and it sucks the sparge water out the digiboil and up through the sparge hat, works perfect so no need to also use the GF pump.

I guess the best approach is to buy the 3-valve setup, do a couple of brews and decide what extras to get. If you do go for it also add a couple of extra tri-clamps as the 3-valve kit seems to be one short which is a pain (I posted about this on the FB group and seems Im not the only one who found this annoying).
 
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