my e-BIAB rig

Post #1 made 2 years ago
Hi all, I wanted to share my set-up. I finally got it all working this past weekend - first brew was done in 5 hours (set-up to tear-down), and that included a 90 minute mash and 90 minute boil.

When I started my build, I started a blog to document the process: http://makeitstout.com/.

In summary, I brew in a bottom-draining keggle. I heat with a 240V electric element, regulated by an integrated control box built from a kit from ebrewsupply.com. The entire apparatus is contained in a home-built cart that I can wheel out to set up and put away.
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Instead of squeezing my grain bag, it set it into my old mash-tun and let it drain into the kettle while I bring the wort up to boil.
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I have a Chugger pump I use to circulate the wort for temperature regulation during the mash but also during chilling (I currently chill with a 25' immersion chiller - this is next on my list to upgrade).
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I ferment in a 30 year old side-by-side fridge that I acquired for $50. I use a typical STC-1000 to regulate temps.
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All details of my build (including where I purchased all components) are in various pages of the blog, but if anyone has any questions, please post away. I will update this thread as I continue to tweak my design and upgrade new equipment.
Last edited by MakeItStout on 22 Sep 2016, 03:09, edited 1 time in total.

Post #2 made 2 years ago
I suppose I should talk about some of the motivations for building a system like this.

I have been brewing for a long time using a propane burner, 8 gallon pot, 5 gallon igloo cooler mash-tun...bare bones basic all-grain. I batch-sparged, mostly due to equipment simplicity. The whole process was cumbersome to do, and involved a fair amount of equipment, which all needed stored, cleaned, sanitized, etc.

Last year, we bought a new house that included an unfinished basement. Obviously, I wanted to build a brewery down there. However, adding the necessary plumbing and ventilation wasn't going to fit in the budget, plus my wife (a real-estate agent) wouldn't sign off on it due future issues with re-sale. So, my compromise was I got to finally break the lock off of the wallet and upgrade my gear, but I had to brew outside.... and all of my gear had to store neatly and easily.

Here is what is important to me for my brew day:
1. accuracy and precision for all measurements - volume, temperature, etc.
2. ease of use. I want my brew-day to be a relaxing event at home, not worrying about mash temps, stirring this, watching that, etc. I want it to be as automatic as possible.
3. time. With a wife and two small kids that constantly demand attention, it's difficult to find 6 hours to devote to brewing. 4 hours or less makes a huge difference. Further, I think I can get a brew day down to 3 hours, which opens up the possibility of week-day brewing - that would be a big deal.

BIAB helps with the time and ease of use by drastically simplifying the process. Electricity helps with accuracy and precision, at least with temperatures. The configuration of the cart makes the whole apparatus store easily. In short, it all works well to give me exactly what I'm looking for.

Post #4 made 2 years ago
Mad_Scientist wrote:Nice :thumbs:

Are you happy with the controller kit? Was the book a good step-by-step how-to wiring guide?
Overall, yeah, I guess. It's not a ringing endorsement, but I'm not knocking it.

There's a few things I would do different (with full benefit of hindsight). One is the locking plug for the pump. I don't see a need for that. the plug from the pump is a standard USA 120V plug, whereas the outlet with the kit is a 120V locking, 3-pronged plug. If I cut the plug from the pump I void the warranty so I ended up having to make a jumper cable, which defeats the point of a locking plug to start with. All told, that was $30-$40 that didn't need to be spent (locking outlet, locking plug, cable, standard female plug for other end of jumper).

I probably would not have gone with rail-mount hardware. I can see where that all makes sense for a larger build but I think it's overkill for a simple BIAB curcuitry. A couple of simple bus bars would have worked fine.

If I had to do it over again, I think I would have bought a pre-assembled kit. The money saved by building a DIY quickly evaporates when you buy various hole-saws and other misc. hardware...plus devote a couple solid evenings to build/debug.
Last edited by MakeItStout on 22 Sep 2016, 09:59, edited 1 time in total.
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