Thursday, October 20, 2016

All in one brewing systems

This entry is meant to collect information about all in one brewing systems. I'm in the market to purchase one and if I could find a system that is completely self contained (one piece solid construction), easy cleaning, and easy to setup and use, that would be ideal system.

Here is what I found so far (in no particular order):


Name Price Volume Personal Rating Notes
Homebrewery BIAC $3,114 (small, base) / $5,895 (medium, decked out) 3-5 / 5-15 gallons 8/10 Kinda big but still small? Automation, easy to clean (according to their website), conical design, and lots of documentation. Good for mashing, boiling, and fermenting. Very high price point.
The Grainfather $899 8 gallon 6/10 Cylinder design. Total brew and cleanup time (according to a review): 6 hours. This due to the 120v electric heating system taking 70 minutes to get from 168 to boil.
Brew Boss $1,299 10 gallon 5/10 According to their website, 3.5 hours for a 10 gallon batch including clean-up! However, I believe this is for the 240v version and not the 120v. Couldn't find any brew times for the 120v version.
Blichmann Brew Easy $2,025 5 gallon 4/10 Rather pricey for a small batch system. 240v required. Gas version available too. This price doesn't include a wort chiller ($199).
Picobrew Zymatic $1,999 < 5 gallons 3/10 Batch sizes ~2.5 gallons. Fairly easy clean-up. Very high price for such a small batch yield.
Speidel Braumeister V2 $1,800+ 5.2 gallons Uses European electrical system. Small batches.
Unibräu Pro 45L 120V Brew System $2,399 11.89 gallons 8/10 Website says you can brew in as little as 4 hours but doesn't give details on the setup for this duration.
Other resources to consider:

I may want to also consider a 10 gallon electric HERMS system.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Old Style Testing of Bitterness of Home Grown Hops

If you're not sure how to measure the bitterness of your home grown hops, try this technique that I discovered in April of 2014.

"...Take one ounce of your hops.

Boil two cups of water for 15 minutes with 1 scant Tbsp of sugar (utilization).
Add your hops and boil for 10 minutes.

Strain the hops and take your tea to dilute

1/4 of a cup of water to 1/4 cup of tea= one %.
So dump the first mixture retaining 1/4 cup and then add 1/4 cup water
Continue with dilute 1/4 cup of your tea until the bitterness is not distinguishable by taste.

Now if you have diluted 6 times and only have the slightest barely there bitterness -- you think about 6.1 or 6.3 %

It is a rough estimate: 5% to 6% for example, but it means you can brew with some idea of AA and you get to taste the hop tea too to get a flavor profile."

Copied from

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Hop chart

Monday, January 13, 2014

Clearer beer

"counter flow wort chiller
It is very important to chill your beer as quickly and sanitary as possible.  The cold break is your second chance bind those remaining proteins together before making it to the fermentation vessel.  If your wort starts looking like an egg drop soup, the cold break is a win.  It is nearly impossible to chill the beer quickly without a wort chiller.  If you do not know what egg drop soup is, visualize snot. While you are running your wort chiller, stir to create a whirlpool powerful enough to see the bottom of your kettle.
I am sure you are asking “what in the hell is he using?”.  My secret to a fast cold break includes a wort chiller, a floor pump, an under the bed shoe storage bin, and ice water.  I usually run my wort chiller through an ice bath and recirculate the ice bath through the chiller.  210 to 70 in a few minutes if I create a nice whirlpool too."

I should try this at home with a water pump, a ton of ice, and a deep container full of ice water.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

What are the guidelines when substituting honey for sugar in a recipe?

Dear Mr. Wizard,

I am basically a beginner and still use sugar in my wort. The batch usually has a slight "wine" taste. An experienced friend suggested that I try honey in place of sugar. I use four cups of sugar. What is the equivalent when I use honey?
Henry Wix, via e-mail

Mr. Wizard replies:

Cane sugar is well known to give beer a cidery or winey flavor. If you want to get rid of this flavor, using honey in place of sugar is one of several solutions. When substituting brewing ingredients in recipes it is much easier to base your conversion on weight, not on volumetric measurements such as cups, because ingredient densities, especially those of malt, vary quite a bit. To substitute honey for sugar, you should use about 1.25 pounds of honey for every pound of sugar in the original recipe. This conversion is approximate because the solids content of honey has a large range, but most honeys are around 80 percent solids.
According to the label on a commercial brand of honey, three-quarters cup of sugar is equivalent to one cup of honey. This honey has a solids content of 81 percent. Consider substituting malt for sugar if you want to make beer that tastes like beer. Although honey will take care of the odd flavors associated with cane sugar, honey beers have their own distinct flavor notes that make them taste different than all-malt beers. You can substitute dry malt extract for cane sugar on a pound-for-pound basis and can substitute malt extract for cane sugar at the rate of 1.25 pounds malt extract per pound of sugar. If you want to brew a beer with a lighter flavor but don’t want a honey beer, try using rice syrup. Rice is used in many commercial beers, including Budweiser and Coors, and has its own special flavor contribution.
The thing to remember when brewing beer is that you can use different techniques and buy all types of fancy gizmos to improve the brewing process, but at the end of the day, beer flavor is a product of the starting ingredients. Be an explorer and try out as many different brewing ingredients as you can. Cane sugar, brown sugar, candi sugar, pineapple sugar, corn syrup, rice, wheat, barley, oats, rye, potatoes — the list goes on for the variety of carbohydrate sources used in brewing. Add to the list the variety of flavors found in different hop varieties, yeast strains, brewing spices, and water. You will discover through exploration that ingredients hold the keys to flavor!
Mr. Wizard, BYO's resident expert, is a leading authority in homebrewing whose identity, like the identity of all superheroes, must be kept confidential.