Braumeister Electric All Grain Brewing System Review
After hearing the hype and doing a lot of reading, I’ve decided to summarize the Braumeister reviews I’ve found online. This is something I’ve been reading about for a while, and if you are looking for an all-in-one system, it might be for you.
I first became aware of Speidel’s Braumeister when it came up on the MoreBeer! website. I was skeptical when I first saw it; I never really thought an electric home brewery would suit me. BrewSculptures I could understand, since they work similarly to the way I have brewed for years. But this system seemed a little too compact, and too simple. I watched the video (see below), and started to become intrigued. So I did some searching online, and started to look for any feedback I could find on this thing. It is expensive, so I wondered if the cost was justified.
Turns out, this is a pretty cool little device, and it’s even got some advantages over BrewSculptures. It definitely won’t be for everyone, but as far as automation goes, it’s hard to beat. It allows you to program multiple temperature rests for your mash, and (almost) continuously circulates the liquid to keep the temperature even throughout the mash.
The design is fairly simple. It’s one large tank, into which a tube (they call it the “mash pipe”) is inserted. A screen goes at the bottom of the tube, and another at the top, and your grain goes in between. During the mash, water is pumped up through the tube, and spills out over the top, back into the main tank. Then, what makes this thing really simple is that you just lift out the tube, allow it to drain (there’s a rack to hold it in place while it drains), then remove it entirely and begin the boil in the same vessel! Here’s a video created by the manufacturer that shows it in action:
What Do People Think?
The biggest negative I’ve read about this thing, is that it’s too automated. A lot of home brewers feel that it takes away from the art of brewing. I, respectfully, disagree; I’ll get to why in a bit. First, though, I want to point out that the detractors were nearly all people who have not used The Braumeister. The reviews from people who own this thing are overwhelmingly positive. Of course there are still some negative points, as there are for any product. Its users, however, appear to be happy with it overall.
The negative points:
- Requires another heating vessel if you want to sparge (though many get great efficiency without sparging at all)
- Very high-gravity beers may require “double mashing” or long boil times to concentrate wort (or just add some DME or other fermentable)
- Requires 220v outlet
- Cost (though it’s comparable to similar gas-fired systems)
- Small footprint
- Can be used indoors — great if you live in a cold climate
- Only one vessel to clean (plus the “mash pipe”)
- Multiple temperature rests can be completed unsupervised
What About the “Art” of Brewing?
To the point of taking away from the art — the art of brewing is all about tweaking the many variables. We choose which hops to use, how much, and how long to boil each addition. We choose which malts we’ll use and how much of each to control the color, alcohol content, and malt profile of our beer. We choose which strain of yeast to use to get the desired characteristics in our finished beer. Ideally, we even decide at what temperature to ferment our beer. The more we can control each of these variables, the more repeatable and predictable our results. The Braumeister gives us better control over the mash schedule, but we still decide what that schedule will be for each beer we brew. “Art” and “chance” are not synonymous, and any variable we can control allows us more opportunity to experiment and repeat our results when we want to.
This system isn’t for everybody. If you brew a lot of high gravity beers, don’t have access to a 220v outlet and don’t want to hire an electrician, disagree with me and believe that more control takes away from the art of brewing, or just don’t have the funds for it right now, other options would probably be better for you.
If you want more control over the mash schedule, would like to be able to do other things while the mash is going on, have (or can have installed) a 220v outlet, like the idea of a compact system, have the budget for it, and/or would like to brew indoors, the Braumeister might be for you. It’s available in multiple sizes: 20L (about 5 gallons), 50L (about 13 gallons), and 200L (about 53 gallons — good for a club or as a pilot system for a commercial brewery), so you can chose the size that’s right for the way you like to brew. The 20L & 50L units also qualify for free shipping.