Blichmann Alternatives? Advice Sought

Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:23 am

So, I ordered a blichmann top tier stand over a month ago. Despite their website saying "top tier in stock and ready for immediate shipment now", I still haven't received it. Shortly after I placed the order, I found out that the 20gal pots I ordered were going to be backordered. I decided at the time to upgrade to 30gal pots, thinking that 30gal now is better than 20gal in 3 months, and plus: bigger is often better. The nice people at NB cut me a shipping deal, and I paid the difference. Since then, I've received the pots and burners for the toptier, but not the toptier itself.

I've pretty much gotten the run-around from BE, and it's starting to grate. Two weeks ago, I was told, "we're going to be shipping them out next week". When I got nothing, and John Blichmann himself told me to talk to NB about it, NB inquired on my behalf and found out that they should be shipping "later this week". Well, it's friday afternoon and I'm thinking: I bet I'm not getting a stand in the mail next week either. Turns out, I could have just waited for the 20gal pots, since the toptier stands are ALSO backordered. That makes me feel a bit euchy. Plus: I'm down to only one batch in secondary, and I'm going to bottle that this weekend. Nothing in fermentation then, I'm waiting for the new system. I've drilled all my QDs out, laid out the plans for the system, bought some sacks of grain. I'm ready, man.

At some point, I might just need to cut my losses and say, "f-that". I know Blichmann makes good products and is a show sponsor, and I can even understand the reason why the stands are delayed (apparently the legs were flawed and they needed new ones). But their lack of effective customer service is starting to really wear. I don't need hour-by-hour updates, but given the relative amount of money I've spent here, I feel like I do deserve emails when they miss their deadline explaining what's going on and why. I mean, I already PAID for this thing.

Okay. Rant over. I'm considering canceling the toptier order and recouping the $500 or so I've spent on that. If I do that, I'll still need a brewstand though (the reason I went with the TT in the first place is that it seems like a really good price).

So I have three burners, some hardware, and no regulator (most of the central gas stuff is part of the toptier packaging). I'm sure I could buy a LP regulator and some black iron pipe, though. What I'm wondering is: what kind of luck do you think I'll have trying to make a 1- or 2-level brew stand for about $500? I've got absolutely zero welding experience, but I do have some friends with TechShop memberships, so they might be able to help out. If I made a 1-level system, I'd have to factor in the cost of an extra pump there, I've got one already as I was planning on having an elevated HLT to gravity feed my sparge with. I figure I need something that will hold everything up and that I can mount the burners on. The burners don't need to be load-bearing, and the housing that they shipped with has a number of useful bolt holes already drilled, so it's mostly a matter of finding or fabbing a frame.

Pretty can come later- once I've got the system all running and dialed in, I'll worry about that. Right now, I'm looking for functional. My big summer brew season will be upon me soon (summers off, whoo!) and I want to be ready, not waiting.
pfooti
 
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Re: Blichmann Alternatives? Advice Sought

Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:21 am

I can't comment on alternatives, but please do post on when/how this gets resolved as I'm planning to order a Top Tier later this month.
MNHazmat
 
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Re: Blichmann Alternatives? Advice Sought

Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:16 am

I think you should be able to get the SS square channel for a horizontal Brutus style sculpture for about $400-$450. Then you gotta have someone weld it. From what I undestand, I think it should be TIG welded for the stongest weld, since it has to support a good bit of weight. This does'nt figure for castors, but maybe could get by till later. Then add for the second pump. I think I will eventually go this route one day. Good luck
-Scott
A woman drove me to drink, and I never had the courtesy to thank her-W.C. Fields
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scotchpine
 
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Re: Blichmann Alternatives? Advice Sought

Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:18 am

You can always go ghetto style and make a "stand" out of wood. I used most 2X4's, a 2X6, and a 3/4" piece of plywood that the burners sit on. My system is a two tier with the HLT and MT being on the upper level. The height is low so I can easily see and stir the grains in my MT. I have two pumps, but like having the ability to gravity feed to the BK in the event the pumps crap out. The nice thing about the plywood platform is that I use it as a table for my hop additions, whirlfloc, clamps etc. Initially I was going to make a wood platform with casters and then use Superstrut for the framing, but liked having the platform so much being used as a table that I dont plan on changing it up. The platform can handle three 30g pots no problem with the casters and wood that I used. The total cost to build was like $100-$125. Lockable casters are the expensive part (like $10 a piece). For the pumps, I used 2X4's and some left over angle iron from the garage to bolt the pumps. My system is not pretty, but works great, was cheap and was fun to build.
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krizwit
 
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Re: Blichmann Alternatives? Advice Sought

Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:08 am

I'd check with Morebeer to see what they will sell you a stand for.

I can't help but think you could have a stand similar to the blichman made out of normal, carbon steel for $100 by your local welding shop.
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Quin
 
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Re: Blichmann Alternatives? Advice Sought

Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:49 pm

A buddy of mine just ordered from here:
http://brewersequipment.com/New%20Brew%20Stands.html

The price us right, and I know the guy will customize it some for you.
disasterbrew
 
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Re: Blichmann Alternatives? Advice Sought

Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:26 pm

Hmm, seems like a lot of options. Thanks, everybody. That last link in particular looks like it could be a winner; if I can mount the Blichmann burners (which I already bought, so there's no sense in paying to ship them back) on that stand I can probably get a single-tier system for more or less what I paid for the base toptier.

Let's see if Blichmann gets back to my latest enquiry. For three weeks running, I've been told that the stands "should go out later this week". Given my lack of a regulator and gas plumbing, I'm not even able to do boil off and heat-retention testing on my system yet. Maybe I'll scavenge the regulator from my Bayou Classic and see if I can attach it temporarily. It would be nice to calibrate my pots and stuff so I can have a plan for after the stand arrives. Plus, it's something vaguely beer-esque to do. I've got nothing in primary or secondary anymore. Just some bottles slowly conditioning and a big yeast starter I'm growing up so I can hit the ground running as soon as I *do* get my stuff. 15 gallon batch size means a lotta yeast.
pfooti
 
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Re: Blichmann Alternatives? Advice Sought

Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:26 pm

disasterbrew wrote:A buddy of mine just ordered from here:
http://brewersequipment.com/New%20Brew%20Stands.html

The price us right, and I know the guy will customize it some for you.


Has anyone had experience with this guy? How were they? Is he legit?
rlynge
 
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