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Buy new, buy used, or build

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  • Buy new, buy used, or build

    I need to decide what electric 3 vessel 2 or 3bbl system to start with. I know nothing about brands besides what I can search up. Hear good and bad things about Chinese products. But in my case where I only plan to use this for a few years I'm not sure the lack of quality (if any) would be an issue. I'm also fully capable of all metal and mechanical work to build my own system if need be.

    I have been brewing on my 3 keg half bbl system forever decades. I really enjoy brewing this way. I have a burner under each pot. I can keep my mash temp within 1 degree every time using my pumps and direct flames. I would love to have my same system in a larger scale. But I need to change from flames to electric. Does anyone have an element in the bottom of the mash ton? I like to brew back to back and would like to be able to heatup the mash without using one of the other pots.

    Recommendations for a system? Brand? Vendor? Used equipment (I'm in FL)?

    Also need a half dz or so fermenters. Don't really have the room for a larger cool room. Thinking lining the walls with double walled temp controlled units would be best but also the most exspensive way to go.
    Any suggestions as for fermenters? Homemade solutions?
    Plan to serve from kegs out of a cold room chilled by a 24 k BTU ac unit.

    Appreciate your time and suggestions.
    Thank you
    Last edited by Jay Newbie; 10-16-2019, 04:39 PM.

  • #2
    Anyone home?


    • #3
      Hi Jay, I'll give you my thoughts on the subject.

      My professional background is in high-spec welding and fabrication and always maintained a side hobby as a home brewer. These two things combined a few years back and I spent about 5 years running a company that manufactured 3.5-30bbl brewery equipment. I still fabricate equipment on the side, and am currently deciding if I should start my own thing full time. Enough about me.

      A few things I learned in that time:

      1) Don't cut corners when it comes to your brewhouse. It is the workhorse of the brewery and sees quite a bit of stress (thermocycles) on a day to day basis. This is also a piece of equipment you don't want going down on you as there is really no back up. I wouldn't recommend buying an american made brewhouse. I have had numerous discussions with previous customers of mine that went Chinese at first and lived to regret it.

      2) For the most part Chinese cold side is okay, just do your research and buy from reputable company. Of course, american made is always a better option if you can swing it.

      3) If you are considering making/modifying equipment, check out this book if you haven't already. I personally know the author and he is a wealth of information. He's also got some great info on what he calls his Frankenbrewery setup.

      Last edited by Bigredwelder; 10-16-2019, 12:02 PM. Reason: Typo
      Robert "Red" Westphal
      Quality Manager/Certified Welding Inspector/Independent Stainless Steel Fabricator
      Phone: 719-661-8602


      • #4
        Thx Red

        I had over 100 vendors producing machined and fabricated parts from around the planet. I know all to well what a mess it can be dealing with a vendor in China. Communications, material issues, any changes, the slow boat from China is real, and customs. That being said I do have a few people from here using equipment from and recommending Gavin from Sungoods. Seems they have it down rather well. Everyone receiving what they ordered and their happy with it.

        But yes it would be nice to have Made In America stamped on the side.

        I'm fimiliare with Frankenbrewery. Lots of good ideas.

        Now if I could just get he Electrical Eng to show up and tell me what I can do for power I could decide on 2 or 3bbl lol


        • #5
          2BBL/3BBL brewrey kits

          Hi Jay,

          I surfing on internet and see your post two month before .Here is some personnel opinion.

          Better not fabricate the brewery kits by yourself if up to 1bbl .It is not only"welding an cylindrical tun".there is "design"" pressure testing" etc.

          About China manufacturer, there are certainly some good manufacturer while there are a lot bad company too. There is one easier way i could tell, choose the company located in Ningbo area.

          I and my company is from China.We are going to attend CBE with an exhibit 2hL fermenters.It may save some cost for you if you are interesting with our company.

          you may drop email to randy ( this.



          • #6
            I have had great luck dealing with Gavin from sungood... They make equipment for another popular company and I believe a couple others but im not going to get into here because last time I did it was censored..

            Anyway, We just ordered our 3 3.5 bbl unitanks from him as well since we have had no problems or complaints with the 3bbl setup we bought from him a couple years ago... all together even with customs and shipping we saved well over 10 grand vs buying the same exact products elsewhere. (some of it is available sold under multiple brand names from multiple resellers).

            Also make sure your local inspector is onboard with your plans from the get go and get it in writing... Ours got amnesia after we built everything and made us hire and engineer just to give the green light for the coolbot (which is not ul listed BTW and makes the ac unit non ul listed because the ul listing does not refer to or cover using it for refrigeration) which delayed things for months.
            Last edited by augiedoggy; 01-29-2020, 09:52 PM.