Category Archives: Blichmann

Hands on Review: Blichmann BrewCommander Controller!

This review is by Homebrew Finds Contributor Brad Probert.  Brad is an engineer, expert homebrewer and experienced reviewer.  Grab a link to Brad’s website at the end of this review.

Blichmann BrewCommander Controller

Controllers for an electric brew rig are surprisingly expensive. They seem to have such a simplistic job- control temperature and/or modulate output power. But of course that job is the heart of an electric brew system. It’s what allows you to have a more stress-free brew day because you can set the temperature and then go do something else. It’s what enables you to brew inside with electric and not have to battle the weather, or have to drag equipment from a storage space inside to a brew area outside. So I guess even though they do a job that’s easy to describe, the value they provide to the brew day is pretty significant. And thus justify their price tag with that.

As electric brewing continues to grow in popularity, more controller options become available. Blichmann has had a controller out on the market for a while, but they were long overdue for an upgrade. The BrewCommander, however, is more than simply an upgrade, as it leapfrogged itself with more features and came out with a lower price. From a features standpoint, it distinguishes itself from other stand-alone controllers with features like an LCD touchscreen and delayed start timer that previously was only available with built-in controllers on all-in-one electric brew systems. The BrewCommander comes in a version to control your gas-fired rig, but my review will focus on their electric controllers.


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Hands on Review: Blichmann Engineering RIMS Rocket

This review is by Homebrew Finds Contributor Brad Probert.  Brad is an engineer, expert homebrewer and experienced reviewer.  Grab a link to Brad’s website at the end of this review.

Blichmann RIMS Rocket

I heard the term ‘RIMS’ long before I really knew what it was. The decoded acronym ‘Recirculating Infusion Mash System’ didn’t help much, either. In hindsight, the acronym has all the info in it to describe what it is. It’s a system to control mash temperature by adding heat to your recirculating wort. You use a pump to draw wort out of your mash tun, push it past a heating element, and then return that heated wort back to your main mash tun. Connected to a controller, a temperature sensor monitors the temperature of your recirculating wort and turns your heat source on or off based on the measured temperature, as compared to your target temperature. And since this heating element is outside of your mash tun, a RIMS can be used whether your mash tun is a plastic cooler or a steel pot.

Connected to a RIMS Controller and Mash Tun

Blichmann offers two levels of RIMS. The first is a 120V system that has a 2000-Watt heating element, and the other is a 240V system with a 3500-Watt heating element. The 120V system is designed for up to 10 gallon batches, and the 240V system is up to 20 gallons. To get an idea of the heating potential, Blichmann provides a formula on their website to calculate the heating potential.

°F/minute = 0.0068*(Wattage/gallons of wort).

So with 6 gallons of wort in your mash tun, the 2000W/120V system can heat at about 2.3 degrees/minute. The 3500W/240V system on the same 6 gallons can heat it 4 degrees/minute.

The heating element sits inside a stainless steel canister that holds about 0.75 gallons of wort. With the heating element’s large corkscrew design, it has a lot of surface area to transfer heat to your wort without scorching. There are 1/2″ NPT fittings on the inlet and outlet of the canister. On the outlet you need a Y-fitting so you can install a temperature sensor to monitor the temperature of the wort as it exits the RIMS Rocket.

The heating element connects through Blichmann’s custom heating element connection. The large, robust connection ensures a solid electrical connection and grounding to the housing for safety. You disconnect your cable to make cleaning and storage easier, so you don’t have to drag the cord around like a tail. And although not waterproof to dunk in a bucket of water, it has a good-sized splash shield to protect the connection from the splashes that come with the wet sport of brewing.

Smooth Machined Inside of Housing

The inside of the housing is machined and designed to be free of crevices or cracks. This is important since mash recirculation is practically guaranteed to have some level of grain particles passing through that you don’t want to get stuck. The heating element built into the base seals to the main cone of the housing with a large O-ring. And it is held together and tightened with a circular band clamp with a threaded nut/bolt combination. This clamp makes for fairly easy disassembly to clean inside as often as you’d like.


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Hands on Review: Anvil Bucket Fermentor Cooling System

This review is by Homebrew Finds Contributor Brad Probert.  Brad is an engineer, expert homebrewer and experienced reviewer.  Grab a link to Brad’s website at the end of this review.

Anvil Bucket Fermentor Cooling System

Blichmann created the Anvil line of equipment to provide good gear at an affordable price. Across the line-up, you can find great quality stuff that’s notably cheaper than other high-end brew gear. By making it more affordable, it allows more homebrewers to step up their equipment. I reviewed their 7.5 gallon stainless bucket fermentor a little over a year ago. It was a great product, but it wasn’t compatible with my existing fermentation temperature control systems. So I was excited to see they came out with a custom system. And as per their formula, it was upper tier brewing capability at an attainable price.


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The system is targeted to those looking to control their temperatures in the 50-55F temperature zone where lager yeast provides its cleanest flavors. It comes with a neoprene insulating jacket to insulate the walls of the bucket, a cooling coil & thermowell mated to a special stopper, a submersible pump and cooling lines to circulate your cooling water, and a digital controller. The neoprene jacket is custom-made for the Anvil fermentor, with cut-outs for the handles, the lid clamps, and the spigot.

Plot of Cooling System Performance

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Hands on Review: Anvil Brewing Equipment Forge Propane Burner

This guest review is by Homebrew Finds Reader Tom Brennan.  Read more about Tom and grab a link to his website and YouTube channel below.

Anvil Brewing Equipment Forge Burner

When I was looking for a new burner I stumbled upon this utilitarian looking burner it was for me, with the BTU’s (72,000/hr) to back it up. This looked strong, rugged, and simply made. And at first glance, the Anvil Forge Burner had it all for me.


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Anvil Temperature Controller – Heat Or Cool – $24.99 + Free Shipping

Anvil Temperature Controller - Heat Or Cool - Homebrew Beer Carboy Fermentation

Anvil Temperature Controller – Heat Or Cool – Homebrew Beer Carboy Fermentation

More Info

From the product description, check product page for current description, price and availability:

The Anvil temperature controller is tuned and designed for home brewing. No need to spend time configuring and fiddling with settings. Just plug it in and start controlling your temps! The unique design has an integral male plug on the back allowing it to be to plugged into any 120V wall receptacle greatly reducing cable clutter and eliminating the need to drill holes for mounting. Simply plug your refrigerator or pump into the front and you’re ready to go. The 9.5 ft long sensor cable reaches anywhere you need. We’ve also selected a robust 15A internal relay for long life and more capacity than the competition. All this at one cool price.

Features:

  • 120V 15A operation
  • Control temps to +/- 1F
  • Temperature Control Range: 16 – 220°F
  • Fahrenheit display
  • Selectable heat and cool modes (not dual stage)
  • Plugs into any 120V wall receptacle – no mounting holes needed!
  • Reduced cable clutter
  • Plug can be inverted to match your receptacle
  • 9.5 ft sensor cable length
  • 1.5″ sensor probe length

 

As if this posting, this is eBay offering is selling for just $24.99. Shipping is also free to many US addresses.

Anvil Temperature Controller – Heat Or Cool – Homebrew Beer Carboy Fermentation

Also: Yeast Starters & Fermentation | Kegerator Tips & Gear | Inkbird ITC308 Review | Inkbird Deals

More: Our Last Fifty Finds!

Prices, shipping and availability can change quickly. Please note that product prices and availability are subject to change. Prices and availability were accurate at the time this post was published; however, they may differ from those you see when you visit the product page. Check the product page for current price, description and availability.  rp:ebayanviltc

Homebrew Reviews: Temp Control

Hands on Review: Blichmann Engineering AutoSparge

blichmann autosparge review

This review is by Homebrew Finds Contributor Brad Probert.  Brad is an engineer, expert homebrewer and experienced reviewer.  Grab a link to Brad’s website at the end of this review.

Blichmann AutoSparge

The Blichmann AutoSparge is an ingenious device that gives you “digital like” control precision, but uses no electronics to accomplish it. Its function is to automatically maintain a water level in your mash tun during sparging or recirculation of wort. If your brewing process uses sparge water transfer or recirculating wort, the AutoSparge turns this into a hands-free operation where you set it up once and then can go worry about other things (or RDWHAHB).

The AutoSparge uses some cool engineering principles to maintain the liquid level in your mash tun. The main function is a slider piston valve that uses hydraulic pressure to let liquid flow into your kettle. This screws into a 1/2″ NPT port on your kettle. With fluid pushing on the valve (either from a pump or from a gravity feed), it pushes the valve back and lets beer in the kettle. There’s a barbed fitting and a length of hose that comes with it to take circulating wort from the top of your kettle down to the grain level. Attached to the other end of the valve is a long rod and stainless-clad hollow ball. This ball floats on the water level in your kettle. As the fluid level rises, the ball floats up and pushes the slider valve closed, shutting off the flow of wort into your kettle.

The rod and floating ball is adjusted simply by a wing nut you loosen and adjust the float to sit at the level you want, then hand tighten it down. With laws of physics and lever arms, the ball can easily contain the high flow rate of a recirculating pump you may have hooked up. Another nice detail is the hose that delivers the wort down to your grain bed has its own little floating ball. In this way, it will sit on the top of your fluid level, and not be buried down in your grain bed blasting its own trench.

Once you have your float level set, you just let your pump(s) run. As you pull wort out from the bottom of your mash tun, the fluid level goes down in the kettle and the float arm opens up the valve and lets more wort come in. If you’re pulling fluid out slowly, the wort level drops slowly and therefore the valve only opens a little bit to replace that wort slowly. If you’re pulling out wort quickly, the level drops more quickly and the valve opens up more.


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Homebrew Reviews: Blichmann Engineering and Anvil Brewing Equipment

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Blichmann Engineering Reviews! +Related

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Get a Hard to Find Anvil Foundry Brewing System! – In Stock or Get in on the Next Batch + Hands on Review

  • Anvil’s Foundry Brewing Systems have been wildly popular since their introduction.
  • This is evidenced by the fact that there have been consistent availability issues.
  • As a shipment becomes available.. it sells out in short order.
  • To my knowledge these all ship directly from Anvil.  That means there’s one pool that everyone is drawing from.
  • Prices should be about the same no matter where you purchase.
  • As of this update on 7/29, product pages are showing a variety of dates, from available right now to pre-order or no dates at all.  It’s my understanding a mid August shipment is coming in.  I don’t know if that’s sold out yet or not.  Place your order now to get in stock unit or, reserve your spot in the next shipment, presumably September as these have seemed to come in once a month batches.
  • Check each retailer for current price, selection, description and availability.

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We’re keeping a close eye on the FoundryConnect with Homebrew Finds to Stay in the Loop!

Hands on Review: Anvil Foundry Brewing System!

More: Our Last Fifty Finds!

Price, promotions and availability can change quickly.  Please note that product prices and availability are subject to change. Prices and availability were accurate at the time this post was published; however, they may differ from those you see when you visit the product page.  Check the product page for current price, description and availability.  pst:foundry

Hands on Review: Anvil Bucket Fermentor

This review is by Homebrew Finds Contributor Brad Probert.  Brad is an engineer, expert homebrewer and experienced reviewer.  Grab a link to Brad’s website at the end of this review.

Anvil Stainless Steel Bucket Fermentor

It’s well known that you don’t have to just ferment in that plastic bucket that came with your homebrew beginner’s kit. When you are ready to upgrade there are multiple material options, and varying levels of size/features. As it goes with most homebrew gear, brewers love stainless steel. So, of course you can get your fermentor in stainless steel, too.

Stainless provides a better oxygen-proof barrier than the plastic brew buckets and is easy to clean. The easy cleaning not only makes the worst job in homebrewing (brew day clean-up) slightly better, it also means you don’t have to worry about things hiding in crevices to sneak out and do funky things to your beer. Stainless is also durable and long-lasting, meaning you can look at it like a longer-term investment. Typical price tags on steel fermentors also make you consider it from a longer-term investment perspective as well.

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Hands on Review: Blichmann Engineering Riptide Homebrew Pump

This review is by Homebrew Finds Contributor Brad Probert.  Brad is an engineer, expert homebrewer and experienced reviewer.  Grab a link to Brad’s website at the end of this review.

Hands on Review Blichmann Engineering Riptide Pump

In the world of hot wort pumps for homebrewing, there are a couple of big name players that have dominated the market for some time. There are also some new entries in this segment that offer just as good function, but at a much lower price. Blichmann came in with a completely different strategy. Rather than trying to do the same thing better, or the same thing for less money, they wanted to re-write expectations for what a homebrew pump should do. It’s like the first time you saw a BBQ grill that had lights to cook at night and a built-in bottle opener. You told yourself, “Wow, I didn’t know you could get one like that… I want one!”

As with anything Blichmann makes, the Riptide follows suit with top-notch quality and looks, and a price tag to remind you that you’re buying top of the line. In the case of this pump, they legitimately bring features that no other pump on the market has and at a price comparable to the current top of the line wort pumps (that don’t have these features). So it’s arguably reasonably priced.


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Note that links could potentially show Riptide Pump, Riptide Upgrade and related Riptide parts and equipment


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