Re: Blichmann Alternatives? Advice Sought

Fri May 10, 2013 4:23 pm

gwk453 wrote:Don't understand about the whining about Blichmann products. Are they worth waiting thru the backorder problem. Yes! I run a 20-20-30 TopTier System w/natural gas. The Tower of Power control module is installed on my March pump. I don't have or need the bells and whistle pump and flow stand or a module on my HLT. It is simple to eyeball the autosparge recirculation stream to know where you are as far as flow @ 10 minute intervals and readjust as necessary. It takes all the diddle dicking around to control mash temp away. It is a freaking breeze to do temp rest, mash temps, and mashouts. It is a fantastic way to mash while eating a pizza or playing in the BN chatroom. Blichmann equipment cleans up easily! Steal my car, take my cat, my nag, but don't even think about my TopTier setup!

:aaron
Gary


I'm not whining at all. But I've had a ton of issues. On top of the few hundred dollars worth of stuff I already had from them, I've dropped $1400 on more stuff from them in the last few months. The only 2 things I've gotten that weren't damaged or had major factory flaws in them were the auto sparge & the burner. One kettle may have been damaged during shipping. The replacement they sent for that one had a bad seam & some manufacturing flaws all the way around the outside. My beergun showed up completely fucked, also from manufacturing. The list goes on. When I finally get a working product, they seem pretty ok, but their QC department is asleep. The only problem I've had with design is the false bottom. Over a dozen batches, I've made some improvements, but I'm still getting shit for efficiency compared to my self-built cooler. I haven't written them off, but they're not nearly as great as the advertising leads the BN listeners to believe.
Lee

"Show me on this doll where the internet hurt you."

"Every zoo is a petting zoo if you man the fuck up."

:bnarmy: BN Army // 13th Mountain Division :bnarmy:
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Ozwald
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Re: Blichmann Alternatives? Advice Sought

Fri May 10, 2013 5:39 pm

Your looking at the QC results and I believe what your saying. We are at the mercy of overseas production and with that comes their great inconsistency in producing consistent quality products. The bottom line for us is that if you are paying top shelf prices then the product should live up to it's billing. It is cool to bitch if you didn't get what you paid for and you paid a lot. I glad I haven't had to deal with the situation you have had to.

The false bottom has worked excellent for me. I run 1 gal/min recirc which is about a 3 1/2 in. stream on the autosparge pot hose. Time and measure you flow for you system. Don't spare the water! I'm probably 1.5 qt. / lb. .....a good 2-3 in cover. You do have to keep an eye on the flow rate because the grain bed will compact some. I only stir blade depth of my paddle. I know you can brew, but this is just where my brewing has evolved to.

2 row result in 82% mash efficiency consistently with a grain roller gap of .052 which is medium coarse for my mill.
Pilsner malt runs about 75%
I have been adding 1lbs. of 2 row to my complex grain bills to get a better mash efficiency for recipes not calling for 2 row

:jnj
Gary
Eldorado/ Lemon Drop Summer IPA
German Bock
Boh Pils brewed on a 96 degree day.
gwk453
 
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Re: Blichmann Alternatives? Advice Sought

Fri May 10, 2013 5:57 pm

My mill is the worst, cheapest part of my entire brewery. It worked for my old system, but it's very likely part of the problem with the Blich false bottom. I'm back up to 76%eff so it's really not all that big of a deal anymore (when I first started using it with my old, smaller kettle I was getting high 50's at best), but it's still pretty discouraging after years of sitting close to 90 & getting good quality brew without dealing with oversparged, push-it-to-the-limits off flavors.

And I 100% agree. If I wanted cheap chinese built crap & paid the lower prices that it goes for, my concerns wouldn't have a leg to stand on. In fact I probably wouldn't have returned half of it, as long as I could make it functional with less than 100 trips to the hardware store & some serious mods. But premium prices for premium stuff is a different matter. I'm not building my first, second or even third full system. I'm fully expecting to have (& pay for) a $14,000 dream brewery when this build is finally done (& the years it takes to get there). You pay for what you get, but you should get what you pay for.

Edit: When a big brewery decides to make the jump to the finest kettle in the world, designed exclusively for brewing beer & an old used converted dairy tank shows up... same thing. I'm not saying that everything is piss poor or completely unusable (some was), but you have expectations. The very, very best thing about Blichmann - everything was replaced free of charge, without question. They understand. It's the QC before it leaves the building that's the issue.
Lee

"Show me on this doll where the internet hurt you."

"Every zoo is a petting zoo if you man the fuck up."

:bnarmy: BN Army // 13th Mountain Division :bnarmy:
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Ozwald
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Re: Blichmann Alternatives? Advice Sought

Sat May 18, 2013 5:29 am

Ozwald wrote:My mill is the worst, cheapest part of my entire brewery. It worked for my old system, but it's very likely part of the problem with the Blich false bottom. I'm back up to 76%eff so it's really not all that big of a deal anymore (when I first started using it with my old, smaller kettle I was getting high 50's at best), but it's still pretty discouraging after years of sitting close to 90 & getting good quality brew without dealing with oversparged, push-it-to-the-limits off flavors.

And I 100% agree. If I wanted cheap chinese built crap & paid the lower prices that it goes for, my concerns wouldn't have a leg to stand on. In fact I probably wouldn't have returned half of it, as long as I could make it functional with less than 100 trips to the hardware store & some serious mods. But premium prices for premium stuff is a different matter. I'm not building my first, second or even third full system. I'm fully expecting to have (& pay for) a $14,000 dream brewery when this build is finally done (& the years it takes to get there). You pay for what you get, but you should get what you pay for.

Edit: When a big brewery decides to make the jump to the finest kettle in the world, designed exclusively for brewing beer & an old used converted dairy tank shows up... same thing. I'm not saying that everything is piss poor or completely unusable (some was), but you have expectations. The very, very best thing about Blichmann - everything was replaced free of charge, without question. They understand. It's the QC before it leaves the building that's the issue.


I too have had some quality issues with BE. When you make that decision to buy the "best" regardless of cost and then find that it doesn't quite measure up it is disappointing. I haven't seen all the problems that you have but I haven't purchased as much gear. I did buy 3 burners, 2 15 gal kettles, false bottom, auto-sparge, etc. as well as a temp controller. My biggest complaint with BE is the lack of customer service. If you have an issue you must go back to the brew shop from whom you purchased, which is fine except if they can't answer your questions, you're out of luck.

I had some questions about using the temp controller as I was finding that my actual mash temp was a couple of degrees lower than the set temp. I found out that this was due to temp loses from the mash tun, tubing, pipe fittings etc. It would have been nice to be able to speak to someone at BE about the issues. I did trade some emails with John but honestly after spending that much on a product you want more than that. I did figure out, mostly on my own, how to resolve the issues and now find that the system works very well for the most part and my beer is better than ever. I believe John came from a world in his previous life where the manufacturer is completely isolated from the end customer and his model for BE is to copy that. I don't believe that is an appropriate model for this type of business but who am I to argue with his success.
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