Brewzilla/Robobrew opinion

Any hardware used for mashing, fermenting or aging.

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Smokee
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Brewzilla/Robobrew opinion

Post by Smokee » Thu Jun 18, 2020 7:36 am

I usually make 2-12 gallon batches of all-grain mash a month, have been doing this for 6-7 years. I heat using a 10 gallon modified pot on propane then carry that into my nerd-cave to mash-in. It's kind of a bitch with hitting the right temps, carrying boiling-temp water, adding more heat if needed....

A couple weeks ago I tried to do a strait malt, just did a simple one-step mash. It turned out okay, I got plenty of notes and learned a good bit from it. One thing I realized is that I really could use something better for my mashing process, something with more control. I did some research and found the Brewzilla/Robobrew. It seems like this would really simplify my mashing. Just wondering if anyone uses this and what your opinion is. My local brew shop has the 240V model for $450, I'm thinking of ordering one.

I primed the wife last night (no, not that way), she mentioned my Glocks, truck... pretty much all my toys but she never cares so it's getting ordered today. I thought I check-in here to see if there's any major deficiencies in this thing before I buy it.

I think it'll be nice to be able to have more control over my temps and also let me do better step mashing.

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dieselduo
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Re: Brewzilla/Robobrew opinion

Post by dieselduo » Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:21 am

Take a look at the anvil foundry. The pump is external. I like it

Smokee
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Re: Brewzilla/Robobrew opinion

Post by Smokee » Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:49 am

dieselduo wrote:
Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:21 am
Take a look at the anvil foundry. The pump is external. I like it
Thanks, diesel! I looked this up and like it. The only thing I see that makes a difference to me is the programmable steps the Robobrew has, does the Anvil not have a programming option? Also, how do they handle the dual voltage? Different plugs?

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Tummydoc
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Re: Brewzilla/Robobrew opinion

Post by Tummydoc » Thu Jun 18, 2020 9:37 am

If you're using all malt, a sous vide immersion heater works and much cheaper. I use these for BIAB beer brewing. A 1000W stick will handle 5 gallons easily and hold temp within .2 deg F

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zed255
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Re: Brewzilla/Robobrew opinion

Post by zed255 » Thu Jun 18, 2020 9:40 am

I have a Robobrew v3.1.1, 120V US/CAN version. I have only used it about four times so far, flying it manually despite it being programmable. I have never done AG any other way, so I can't speak to its advantages / pitfalls compared to other systems either simpler or more complicated.

I do like the all-in-one functionality. You heat your strike water, dough in, mash (with recirculation), lauter, sparge and boil all in one vessel. You need to heat your sparge water separately unless you are lazy like me and just use hot tap water.

I have noticed some hysteresis in the temperature, about 3*F. I also suggest pulling the bottom screen prior to boiling to allow full circulation of the wort. I had this screen become occluded to the point that I over cooled a batch because the screen trapped hot wort under it, skewing the temperature reading. If brewing beer I'd just clean the lower screen after sparging if you are adding hops directly, or not use it at all if using a hop spider or mashing for a whiskey. I have also had a slow recirulation and sparge because I allowed flaked adjunct grains onto the mash pipe screen. This was my fault and now just make sure all my barley is in first to get a good grain bed established first.

You can get a distilling lid too, just be aware the gasket supplied is silicone and will need to be replaced with something else or at least wrapped the PTFE tape. I have not gotten around to attaching a ferrule yet to see how feasible it is as a still, given the almost non-existent power control of 500W steps from 0 to 1500W. I thought maybe even just using it for stripping medium sized batches that fall between my keg and by small pot. Will have to try it to determine its viability as a still.
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Smokee
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Re: Brewzilla/Robobrew opinion

Post by Smokee » Thu Jun 18, 2020 2:14 pm

I appreciate the info, zed.

I'm on Amazon reading the feedback, there's quite a few low ratings. I also checked Grainfather's and 25% of its feedback were 1 star. I don't base my purchase on that alone but I'm surprised how low both were.

I'll do more reading tonight when my wife puts one of her Bravo shows on.

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Yonder
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Re: Brewzilla/Robobrew opinion

Post by Yonder » Thu Jun 18, 2020 9:26 pm

I run the robobrew 3 for beer. Have done many batches and am pretty satisfied with the performance. Cleanup is a snap and it saves space and time.Two things: heating the initial water is a bit slow at 1500 w, so i tend to use propane and a 10 gal pot to get started. And the addition of a sight glass is just about mandatory else you’re playing flashlight games to see the vol during sparge. Can’t speak to a still run with it but I don’t advise it because of the (lack of) power.
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Re: Brewzilla/Robobrew opinion

Post by Smokee » Fri Jun 19, 2020 5:07 am

Yonder wrote:
Thu Jun 18, 2020 9:26 pm
I run the robobrew 3 for beer. Have done many batches and am pretty satisfied with the performance. Cleanup is a snap and it saves space and time.Two things: heating the initial water is a bit slow at 1500 w, so i tend to use propane and a 10 gal pot to get started. And the addition of a sight glass is just about mandatory else you’re playing flashlight games to see the vol during sparge. Can’t speak to a still run with it but I don’t advise it because of the (lack of) power.
Sounds like you have the 110V unit? I've read that in some of the feedback. I had 2-240V lines run to my "brew room". I was using a hotplate and pot when I started, it took hours to heat up.

Did your temp sensor ever fail? That seems to be something I've read about in a few of them.

Dieselduo's suggestion for the Anvil has me leaning that way but no one has them right now including the manufacturer. :thumbdown:

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Yonder
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Re: Brewzilla/Robobrew opinion

Post by Yonder » Fri Jun 19, 2020 9:11 pm

Correct, it’s the 110v model. i’ve not had any problems with the electronic guts at all. In fact i once got sloppy and the pump input got stuffed with graint (my fault); i had it apart, cleaned and reassembled in 30. Good look at the electic bits and they were well assembled, neat, and modular.
Double, Double, toil and trouble. Fire Burn and pot still bubble.

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Re: Brewzilla/Robobrew opinion

Post by Smokee » Mon Jun 22, 2020 4:34 am

I ended up getting the RoboBrew 17.1 gallon, it'll be here tomorrow. I would of went with the Anvil had they had them in stock, with the bigger RoboBrew I can do everything in one evening so that kind'a worked out. I mashed in 6 gallons last night and will do another tonight for 2-6 gallon buckets. Once this arrives I'll be able to do 12 gallons in one shot. :thumbup: I bought two new buckets last week, I'd like to be able to double what I make so I can have some left over to age for years instead of 6 months.

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