I have now done three brews on my Colorado Brewing Systems 15 Gallon eBIAB system, which I think is now the “Nano Brewer Home” but I’m not for 100% sure, so I now have enough experience with the system where I feel good about giving it a review. I wanted to share my thoughts on this system as well as eBIAB in general with those who are trying to figure out which type of system they want to go with. First up, I did a video of my brew day on the system so you can see it in action. WARNING – super nerdy low tech video of a guy with a hole in the armpit of his t-shirt. Who is that guy and what is he thinking ?!?! – WARNING.
General Thoughts: I was very happy with the purchasing process with Colorado Brewing Systems. It was during the winter holidays so they were extremely busy but they were still very communicative and everything showed up as expected and in good condition. It wasn’t laid out exactly as I had expected but I also didn’t fill out their form requesting a specific layout so that’s on me. Also, the layout they put together works well so no real complaints.
The build quality is very good. They are not the worlds most amazing “stack of dimes” welds but all the fittings are very solid and everything has been grinded/buffed nice and smooth. note: the heating element and it’s enclosure were not include.
my only area of concern at all is with the basket. they did point welds at a regular interval all the way around to attach the mesh to the metal frame of the basket. it seems ok but some other vendors in this space do a continuous weld which seems sturdier to me. for example, here is the colorado brewing welds.
and here is arbor fab welds for a hop basket – you can see the nice continuous weld:
Overall brewing on the system was smooth out of the gate. I had been running on a DIY eBIAB system that was awesome but I fried the element and took that as an opportunity to buy a new toy 🙂 I reused the controller and pumps from that build so I really just needed to buy:
As with any change, I was nervous about beer quality and impacts and so far I am noticing no changes from my last BIAB setup which recently brewed a beer that won BOS and two beers that moved on to the finals at NHC so I feel confident that eBIAB makes good wort. Some pros and cons I’ve noticed over the last year of eBIAB brewing:
The wort is not as clear since there is no vorlauf:
This had me very worried at first but by the end of fermentation I can’t tell the difference in clarity from my old 3 vessels beers and my new eBIAB beers. Either way I use gelatin or filter if I want crystal clear beer.
You can’t do as large a volumes with the same sized vessels:
This is probably the biggest issue I can see with this setup. I have the 15 gallon setup and I’m limited to about a 1.065 beer for a 5 gallon batch but I like to finish with about 8 gallons of wort to rack 6 gallons to my fermenters. This really hasn’t been a big deal for me. I mostly brew lower gravity beers and for high gravity beers I’m OK with a smaller batch size but if you want to do high gravity beers on this type of setup you may want to consider the 20 Gallon vessel.
Clean up is a breeze:
At the end of the brew session I just put whatever needs cleaning in and run PBW through the system recirculating for an hour and then rinse it out with water and let it dry. Super easy.
Brew Days are fast:
For standard ales, I’m done brewing in 4.5 hours and totally done in 6 including clean up.
Simple is good:
I very simple controller, a single pump and just a couple hoses and triclamp fittings to deal with makes the likelihood of human error or something breaking just a little bit lower.
Welded Tri-clamp fittings rule:
I have used weldless fitting for many years and they work fine but the welded tri-clamp fittings are a dream to work with. very easy and reliable and super easy to clean. it takes me 5 minutes to remove everything, clean thoroughly and reassemble. in the past I would put off cleaning weldless fittings for months due to the hassle.
Temp controller is fantastic:
Having a single vessel with a powerful element makes ramping up temps super fast but also makes temperature maintenance easy and reliable. HERMS and RIMS sound cool but it is hard to beat the simplicity of the single vessel recirculating eBIAB.