In late 2019 I ordered the 6.5 Anvil Foundry All-in-one electric brewing system. The original intent was to make fast, somewhat easy, 1-gallon to 2 and half-gallon test batches before committing to a full brew day on my three-vessel propane “brew house.”
Two years later, the visible layer of dust on top of my old mash tun speaks volumes. And now that three-vessel system looks incredibly lonely, sharing shelf space with my new, second Anvil Foundry All-in-one electric brew system – this one being the 10.5-gallon version.
I’m not the only one in the club that’s jumped on this ever-increasing all-in-one electric brewing system bandwagon, far from it. Many CFHB club members have switched or added one of these systems to their brewing arsenal. The Foundry, Grainfather, Brewzilla – nearly every major player in the all-in-one field is owned by at least one member of the CFHB. Why are so many of us checking it out and brewing excellent beers on these systems? Here are a few reasons why:
Ease of use – The controls differ in look and use from system to system. But one thing nearly every all-in-one electric system has in common is the single control panel. One place to set your strike temperature, one screen to begin your boil, and one place to monitor everything at a glance.
Precise control – Temperature control may be one of the top things home brewers focus on both during the brew day and after. Now while the all-in-one units can’t contribute to the stability of fermentation temperatures, their precision control over mash temperatures is unmatched. Once the brewer gets used to the control of their unit, these electric brewing units can hold mash temperatures within 1 degree during the entire mash process. And with easy-to-use controls, a step mash, mash out, or any desired temperature adjustment is incredibly simple. Some units can even do it for you with pre-programmed mash schedules.
Slim footprint – Saying these all-in-one systems have a “small footprint” is a bit misleading. They are considerably tall and do need room to be stored. But luckily, nearly, if not all, the items used on a typical brew day can be stored inside the system unit itself. Now when it comes to brewing – there are not too many changes. It takes the same floor space, though you will need a bit of clearance to lower and raise the malt pipe, and if you’re brewing inside you may want some additional clearance to let the steam dissipate. The size and design of these systems make them an excellent option for people with limited storage space, brewing space, apartment brewers, and anyone looking to brew in a small area and get big results.
Cleaning – There’s no avoiding cleaning on a brew day. In most cases, it’s the majority of the work. There’s no magic solution to eliminate cleaning (apart from the invention of disposable brewing gear), but the efficient design and limited parts used with these systems make the process slightly less painful. Cleaning more all-in-units is reasonably straightforward, and their modular design makes slowly spreading the process over the brew day possible.
Consistent results – Repeatability is important, both in competitive brewing and brewing you’re favorite beers again and again. But when you’re dialing in a recipe and making minor changes to each brew to make it perfect, relying on your mashing and brewing vessel to do what you expect is just as important. Once the brewer learns and adapts their recipes to their all-in-one system, the brewing system becomes the last thing they have to worry about on their brew day. They can concentrate on making more subtle (or not so subtle) recipes and process changes, knowing their brewing system will do what they expect.
So if you’re new to the all-in-one electric brewing world or thinking about entering that world soon, you are not alone at the CFHB. Many of us have been using them for years, and our numbers continue to grow. Come to the upcoming meeting, meet some of our all-in-one electric brewers, ask questions, share experiences, and continue making fanatics beers with these fantastic systems.