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.