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Brew Magic?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Nuwanda, May 1, 2013.

  1. Nuwanda

    Nuwanda Aficionado (195) North Carolina Nov 8, 2009 Subscriber Beer Trader

    Is anyone using a Brew Magic? If so, do you think it was worth the investment?
  2. Those look very nice and have good capability, but are pricey. One needs to know that the brewer (and the Yeast) makes the beer, not the system. A guy in our club has won many awards with a very simple stove top brewing system.
    pweis909 and Genuine like this.
  3. telejunkie

    telejunkie Savant (425) Vermont Sep 14, 2007

    couple questions...how many years have you been in the hobby? how handy of a person are you? do you have interest in brewing at a professional level?
    For 99.9% of homebrewers I think the ultimate answer to your question is no, it's really not worth it. But there are definite advantages to the system and from my inspection of it, they're bad-ass and built to last. That said, I've never actually brewed on one. So imo if you're planning on brewing professionally and may be using it for years to come as either a pilot system or a homebrew system that you can run in similar fashion to a pro system, then yes it could be a good investment. If you've got extra change, are in the hobby to stay, not really interested in building one yourself and want a bad-ass system, then yes it's worth it.
  4. Nuwanda

    Nuwanda Aficionado (195) North Carolina Nov 8, 2009 Subscriber Beer Trader

    Those look very nice and have good capability, but are pricey. One needs to know that the brewer (and the Yeast) makes the beer, not the system. A guy in our club has won many awards with a very simple stove top brewing system.

    hopfenunmaltz, Today at 1:23 PM Report

    I believe that the premium you pay for these, is for consistency, control, and the amazing data logging that allows you to precisely contool and alter every aspect of the brewing process. I can see myself paying the premium for this, I was wondering if anyone else and what their thoughts were about it.
  5. JohnSnowNW

    JohnSnowNW Champion (755) Minnesota Feb 6, 2013 Beer Trader

    Just adding my voice to the consensus. Unless you are a serious brewer, then this system will be a waste of money. That is unless you have money to burn.

    It's a great system, for the right brewer. Your 5 gallon batch once every 1.5 months brewer, is not the right fit.
  6. WickedSluggy

    WickedSluggy Advocate (530) Texas Nov 21, 2008

    It is a nice system if you have no talent for DIY projects. My friends bought a Sabco brew magic used for $8000 in grade 1 condition. I used it as a model for my system. But I improved on it.

    My mashing process is identical to the Brew Magic except my connectors are not tri-clover. They are cam-lock. This does not matter no matter what Sabco tells you because we are talking about "hot" side here.

    Mine is single tier system. (Brew magic is a 2-tier system). Single tier is a better design that does not depend on gravity. It was the one thing I bought complete - about $900.

    My controller is based on a BCS-460. It is far more advanced than the Brew Magic Controller.

    My RIMS tube is home made from electric water heater element. It functions perfectly but it is copper. Brew Magic no longer uses a copper RIMS tube. It is stainless. You can by a SS RIMS tube from Brewers Hardware (does not include heat element) for $110. I made mine complete for $25.

    Completed, my system cost $1750 (estimate) or so.
  7. So what would it cost for you to build me one?
    Beerontwowheels and jbakajust1 like this.
  8. WickedSluggy

    WickedSluggy Advocate (530) Texas Nov 21, 2008

    I'm not really interested in going into that business, but I would certainly be willing to help you put together the system you need.

    I bought a lot of the stuff, and I got my keggles pretty cheap from a welder on Craig's list who makes brew stands. I can point him out easy enough but he's in Garland, Texas.

    Stand w/ burners for around $900 (from a local welder/home brewer)
    Two March pumps $130 each
    Mash Tun that I patterned Brew Magic MT $150 (same welder)
    HLT - Identical to MT except it has a sight glass $150
    I already had several Boil Kettles
    I'D make the RIMS tube for $60 including labor. That's fun.

    Then you need to supply the brain and handle any switching requirements.

    The one thing I don't care to mess with on a regular basis is wiring the relay box for the controller. It's not that it takes a tremendous amount of time (a good 10 hours though). It's very tedious if you have more than two relays. If all you need it for is the PID controller for the RIMS tube, you don't need a relay box like mine or a sophisticated controller. Just buy a PID controller. You can run your RIMS system with a single relay PID controller if you are willing to set temperatures and switch the pumps on and off manually.

    The BCS controllers (embedded control concepts) are great for processes control. It provides brain and the 5V to switch power the relays. The relay box is how you convert the 5V logic to the actual switching of 110-240 power. But you might not need all that. For instance, my guess is that most people don't bother to set up a "program" to perform their step mash. You can just set the temperature manually. Why take the time to write a program to automate something that you only do very occasionally? I do it sometimes because I like to tinker with the stuff and watch it work. My friends bought their Brew Magic as a pilot system for Deep Ellum Brewing company. I would be willing to bet that they have created very few (if any) actual programs. Why? You can always manually set temperatures. Frankly that's all the Brew magic can be programmed to do: Hit a temperature, wait, hit another temperature Etc. It can also turn the pump on and off based on the temperatures (it has two outputs one for the RIMS tube and one for the pump). The BCS controllers are capable of doing actual "work" beyond temperature control and turning the pump on and off because they can respond to other "events". One controller could run a small brewery.
  9. pweis909

    pweis909 Champion (800) Wisconsin Aug 13, 2005

    Until I brew more frequently than I drive, this would feel like a pretty steep investment to me. However, if the Brew Magic had a front-wheel drive option...
  10. You lost me at relays. Sadly if I had an extra 8 grand, I'd pay it for just that reason.
  11. WickedSluggy

    WickedSluggy Advocate (530) Texas Nov 21, 2008

    I'm sure that's why they sell a lot of their systems. The funny thing is that by the time they learn how to use the system, they'll understand a lot of the concepts. A couple hours. That an education saved me a lot of money. I figured it all out by seeing the Brew Magic run and doing a little research. But the system is a hobby in itself.
  12. telejunkie

    telejunkie Savant (425) Vermont Sep 14, 2007

    to piggyback on wicked's comment here is a perfect read if you've got the time seargant: