Help with new electric brewing setup

The Homebrew Forum

Help Support The Homebrew Forum:

Mar 3, 2020
Reaction score
Hey guys, Sorry for the long post but I could do with some guidance on a new electric brewing setup. I have done some extract brews on the hob (kits) and want to move in to the world of all grain and electric brewing,

I'll start off with a little overview of what I want to achieve (considerations) and then some assumptions I have made, which may or may not be accurate. Then I'll highlight my main problem at the moment before finally talking about some equipment.

Your thoughts on any of the below would be much appreciated.

In no particular order:
  • I love to experiment and thus want to brew a lot, so ideally I would mostly want to do 2.5 gallon batches with the capacity to do up to 5 gallon batches. It would take us a long time to drink 5 gallons thus I couldn't experiment as much.
  • I really value quality, I want to make the best beer possible.
  • My favourite beer styles are heavily hopped IPAs/DIPAs (easy low oxygen dry hopping ability is a must), strong desert stouts/porters and to interesting fruity sours. I like strong beer and I'd like to be able to experiment with aging beer with different nuts, fruits, etc but this could come as a second stage of my brewing evolution. I might make some lagers, but not as part of my initial setup.
  • I'd like my setup to be expandable, by this I mean I still only want to brew small batches, but I'd want to be able to increase things like, having more beer fermenting at once and I'd like to increase the number of taps I have on over time.
  • I'd like to have a kegerator, initially with 3 taps (but expandable) hooked up to half size kegs (2.5 gallon) - with the occasion beer in a 5 gallon keg.
  • This setup will be in a large wooden cabin down the end of my garden.
  • Budget is fairly liberal.
  • All electric brewing systems available in the UK are aimed at brewing 5 gallon batches or more. You can get/make pipework for most (all?) of these systems to do half batches (2.5 gallon) so that shouldn't be a problem.
  • I'll need a closed transfer system for the styles of beer I'm brewing, oxygen hurts hoppy beer and when aging stouts.
  • Pressurized fermentation ability will aid in making heavily hopped beers. The smallest pressurized fermenters are for 5 gallon batches and up.
  • Ignoring pressurized fermentation, in the very least I need fermenters that can handle a couple of PSI for closed transfers to secondaries / kegs.
  • Putting 2.5 gallons into a 5 gallon fermenter leaves too much headspace for contamination and is not a good idea.

The only real problem I haven't really been able to solve is that I want to brew small batch (2.5 gallon) so that I can experiment lots, but there's no fermenters that size that can take pressure for closed transfers. I have seen videos of people doing this glass carboys, but that just doesn't feel safe. Do I just have to bite the bullet and brew 5 gallon batches or am I missing something there?


With the above in mind and assuming I just have to brew 5 gallon batches because the kit doesn't exist to safely do closed transfers with a 2.5 gallon batch I am considering the following initial setup to get me going. I am only listing the larger items and missing out items like regulators, measuring instruments, tubing, connects, wood for keezer collars, etc.
  • Brewzilla 3.1 / Grainfather G30 - I was leaning towards a grainfather originally, but some people, including David Heath have swayed me more to saving money and getting a Brewzilla 3.1. The only downside is that I'd prefer a counterflow wort chiller and there doesn't appear to be much available in the UK apart from plate chillers - any thoughts here?
  • Fermzilla 27L x 2 - this is assuming there isn't workaround to my 2.5gallon problem above.
  • 2 x 200L chest freezers, one for a keezer and one for a fermentation chamber - however as we live in the UK I am wondering if that's overkill and I should just build a fermentation box with wood + foam insulation board? Will need a tube heater + 2 x inkbird temp controllers too for either setup.
  • 6 way tap manifold (+ taps, etc), but only hook up 3 taps initially, can get at least 5 full size kegs in a 200L chest freezer (co2 outside) so should be fine, especially if I can work out how to make smaller kegs work from a closed transfer perspective. Also probably use inline regulators to adjust flows.
  • Malt mill 3 roller - is this overkill?

Many thanks, for your help!